The return of the 162 game Major League Baseball season is upon us. While the 60 game sprint offered quite a bit of excitement, there is something comforting about having the marathon of a baseball season back in our lives. The 162 game schedule is the great equalizer; it shows not only good Major League teams, but great Major League organizations.

This season will require teams to rely on its depth more than ever before. Teams won’t be able to rely on pitchers throwing 200 innings this year after having them only go through a 60 game schedule. Organizational depth always plays a part when it comes to overcoming injuries, but this year that depth will be needed for even the healthiest teams.

Predicting the outcome of a Major League Baseball season is always difficult and an exercise in futility. Even the best projection systems can’t measure injuries, trades, sudden growth, and sudden regression. But, hey, it’s fun and we’ll get right to it.

(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)

American League East (Vegas Over/Under)

  1. New York Yankees (95.5) Record: 99-63

The Yankees have a ton of questions in their rotation after Gerrit Cole and the health of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will always be a concern. But, they have the best lineup in the division, the best bullpen, and the ability to add as the season progresses. And, they can expect big bounce back years from Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays (86.5) Record: 92-70

The Rays traded away Blake Snell, let Charlie Morton walk, and may be without Nick Anderson for the season. And, they replaced them with Chris Archer, Michael Wacha, and Rich Hill which doesn’t seem to add up. But, the Rays have more young arms ready to move in as the season progresses and it’s only a matter of time before we see Wander Franco, Baseball’s number one prospect make his debut.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays (86.5) Record: 90-72

There’s so much to like about what the Blue Jays did this winter. They fortified an already potent lineup with George Springer and Marcus Simien. Vladimir Guerrero looks poised to have a monster year and Bo Bichette should take another step towards stardom. But, that rotation isn’t a playoff staff as is. They desperately need Nate Pearson to return healthy and make good on his promise. The bullpen behind closer Jordan Romano will keep them in contention all year, but the Jays will need to add if they are serious about contending. And, I need to get in an Alejandro Kirk is a good hitter mention.

  1. Boston Red Sox (80.5) Record: 80-82

Everything about the Red Sox pitching staff  is ugly right now. It’s so ugly that even a mid-season return of Chris Sale won’t save their season. The offense, however, will produce, keeping this poor defensive team in games. It’ll be fun to see what true three outcome slugger Bobby Dalbec can do with 600 at bats and what Franchy Cordero can do with a starting gig.

  1. Baltimore Orioles (64.5) Record 63-99

It’s all about development in 2021. The Orioles young arms will be gradually eased into the rotation. Uber prospect Adley Rutschman could make his debut at some point this year as should Yusniel Diaz and Jahmai Jones. The wins and losses won’t make it seem like it, but it will be a fun season in Baltimore as the future of the organization finally reaches the Major Leagues. And, how can we forget about the comeback of Trey Mancini?

American League Central

  1. Chicago White Sox (90.5) Record: 88-74

The White Sox will miss Eloy Jimenez, but they have enough offense to win out in what should be a tough division. Expect regression from Lance Lynn and Dallas Keuchel, but the bullpen will give the White Sox just enough to get into the post season tournament. Of all the predictions, this one is the least certain as one could see this team winning 100 games. They’ll be a dangerous group in the playoffs.

  1. Minnesota Twins (88.5) Record: 87-75

Nelson Cruz seems to be getting better with age and will, once again, hit 40 home runs. But, there is so much injury risk to the offense and the pitching staff outside of Jose Berrios doesn’t have a great health track record as well. The 162 game schedule will expose their lack of depth at times, ultimately causing the Twins to miss the playoffs.

  1. Cleveland Indians (81.5) Record: 82-80

The Indians are a pitching factory that nobody seems to pay attention to. Shane Bieber is the known quantity, but look out for the development of their young pitchers. This year may be a struggle at times, but the Indians will use 2021 to build their young arms and be back in contention next year. If Triston McKenzie, Zach Plesac, Adam Civale, and Logan Allen all take a step forward this year, the Indians will surprise. But, that seems to be a year away.

  1. Kansas City Royals (73.5) Record: 76-86

There’s a big part of me that wants to declare the Royals the surprise team of 2021. Their offense projects to be dynamic and the change of scenery could be exactly what Andrew Benetendi needs to rebound. The rotation is thin after Brad Keller and Brady Singer, but the bullpen arms should keep them in games. At the very least, the Royals will be the team nobody wants to play.

  1. Detroit Tigers (69.5) Record: 62-100

Sort of like the Orioles, this year is all about development for the Tigers. Their farm system needs at least another year of development, but young pitchers Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize will get a year of Major League experience and exciting short stop Willi Castro will see if his tools translate to the Major League level.

American League West

  1. Houston Astros (87.5) Record: 88-74

This could be the year the Astros miss the playoffs, but their young core offense is too good to ignore with Yordan Alvarez seemingly healthy, Kyle Tucker on the precipice of elite, Carlos Correa playing for a contract, and Alex Bregman looking to prove he’s still an elite. And, the pitching staff, if it holds up–a big if–is the best in the division.

  1. Oakland A’s  (87.5) Record: 87-75

The A’s have a talented offense and play good defense. And, they always over achieve. But, the pitching looks thin this year and Trevor Rosenthal is no guarantee at the back of the bullpen. The A’s will contend all season, but unless some young pitcher break out, they look on the outside of the playoffs.

  1. Los Angeles Angels (83.5) Record 86-76

There’s a scenario where the Angels offense carries a mid-level rotation to the playoffs here. With Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon anchoring the offense that has some good role players, mixed with some potential sluggers like Jared Walsh, the Angels will score runs. Joe Maddon will have to work some bullpen magic to keep the Halos in contention with that, at best, league average rotation.

  1. Seattle Mariners (72.5) Record: 76-86

The Mariners will promote some really exciting talent this season with Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez likely making their debut soon. With Ty France, the return of Mitch Haniger, Taylor Trammell, Evan White, and Kyle Lewis, the M’s have an intriguing offense. The rotation, if healthy, can be slightly better than league average, making the Mariners a tough team to play and one that could stay in the race until late in the year.

  1. Texas Rangers (67.5) Record: 64-98

The Rangers seem to be rebuilding, but it’s hard to see what they are rebuilding with. They’ll see if Nick Solak, David Dahl, Nate Lowe, and Leody Taveras can be everyday players. This season will be more about who they trade away during the year (Joey Gallo) and what they manage to get in return. It’s going to be a long season in Texas.

National League East

  1. New York Mets (90.5) Record: 94-68

The Mets made the big splash with the Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco trade and still have the best pitcher in the sport in Jacob DeGrom. They play in the toughest division in the league, but a well rounded offense, a retooled bullpen, and an owner who will add during the season gives them the slight advantage.

  1. Atlanta Braves (91.5) Record: 90-72

The Braves’ farm system keeps them in the race as it has good depth. But, a generally young pitching staff will be tested a year after the sprint of 2020. They’re good enough for a Wild Card, but unless the young pitchers Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and Mike Sorotka can stay healthy, they’ll fall short.

  1. Philadelphia Phillies (80.5) Record: 86-76

The Phillies should have a top tier offense behind Bryce Harper, who somehow has managed to be a forgotten superstar. And, you could be optimistic about the rotation behind Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, but they will field one of the worst defenses in the league. That will cost them games and a playoff spot.

  1. Washington Nationals (84.5) Record: 82-80

The Nationals’ have Juan Soto and Trey Turner, but the rest of the offense is sub par. Add in durability issues from the rotation and there is a recipe for a fourth place finish in the best overall division in the sport.

  1. Miami Marlins (70.5) Record: 75-87

If only the Marlins played in different division. They are going to be the team that nobody wants to face, but they are a year away from really contending. It’ll be fun watching prospects Jazz Chisholm, Sixto Sanchez, and the bevvy of others play throughout the season. The future is bright in Miami.

National League Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers (83.5) Record: 90-72

The Brew Crew bring in an elite defense, an underrated rotation, and the nastiest pair of relievers in the sport. Run prevention will cover for a less than stellar offense and in the worst division in the sport will be more than enough to take the division crown. And, they have ownership that has proven to add pieces when contending.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals (86.5) Record: 84-78

They made the splashy trade for Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carson seems to be a stud, but unlike most years the Cardinals’ pitching is in flux and could lead to their ultimate demise.

  1. Chicago Cubs (78.5) Record: 77-85

The rebuild is on. The Cubs could be good enough for a .500 finish, but they could also be deadline sellers, trading Kyle Hendricks and whatever other player can be sold off. The offense will be exciting, but that pitching staff looks ugly.

  1. Cincinnati Reds (81.5) Record: 77-85

The Reds lost Trevor Bauer and did some odd things on defense such as putting Eugenio Suarez back at short stop this year. It’s a shame as two years ago they looked close to being contenders.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates (58.5) Record: 59-103

The rebuild is in the ugly stage for an organization that seems to be perpetually rebuilding. But, hey, at least you can watch Ke’Bryan Hayes, Mitch Keller, and see if Bryan Reynolds can rebound. And, maybe we can notice that Collin Moran is a bit underrated.

National League West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (101.5) Record: 105-57

The Dodgers have everything a team needs in a post 60 game season. They have so much depth on the pitching staff that Tony Gosselin and David Price will function as bulk relievers and supplement with starts. They have one of the best players in the sport in Mookie Betts and, oh yeah, they added Trevor Bauer to the rotation. The best team in the sport just has to maintain health.

  1. San Diego Padres (94.5) Record: 97-65

Now, that’s an off season. They made the bold move to lock up Fernando Tatis and added Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove. The Padres will be the National League’s second best team. But, do I dare say that we are putting far too much on Tatis’ brief career?

  1. San Francisco Giants (75.5) Record: 74-88

One of the least inspiring teams in the league. The farm system is rebuilding, but the Major League roster can’t compete. It’s conceivable that Kevin Gausman gets off to a good start and gets traded. The veteran laden team will keep them near .500 for much of the season if all are healthy, but that’s not a safe bet.

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks (75.5) Record: 74-88

The Diamondbacks aren’t the worst team in the league, but they are not a contender. Zach Gallen’s injury definitely hurt, but he isn’t the difference between them contending or not. Christian Walker’s development is really the only thing worth watching. 

  1. Colorado Rockies (63.5) Record: 58-104

Here’s the worst team in the sport and it starts from the top, down. It’s unfortunate because there is still talent here. The Rockies’ story will be if they can trade Trevor Story and the talented German Marquez and acquire some assets to build with. For the record, Marquez is one of the most underrated pitchers in the sport.

World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers win in 6 games over the New Yankees.

NL Awards

Rookie of the Year: Dylan Carson, St. Louis Cardinals

MVP: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

NL Comeback Player of the Year: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

AL Awards

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox

MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Cy Young: Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Trey Mancini

Gary Armida
Gary Armida

Orioles Analyst

First and foremost, a Father. After that, I am a writer and teacher who not only started my own company and published an i-magazine as well as a newsletter, but have been published by USA Today, Operation Sports, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Digest, Gotham Baseball Magazine, and numerous other publications. As an educator, I have 20 years of classroom experience and am utilizing that experience in my current position as department coordinator. Wrote the book The Teacher And The Admin (https://theteacherandtheadmin.com/the-book/) and operate that website which is dedicated to making education better for kids.

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