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2014 MLB Predictions

Mar 30, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

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And so the time is near. Technically, the 2014 Major League Baseball season already began last weekend when the Dodgers twice beat the Diamondbacks in Australia. But the stateside portion of the season begins tonight when the Dodgers and Padres meet and then really kicks off tomorrow with the traditional Opening Day.

Which means it’s time to make some predictions. We’ll have our annual Nationals media predictions tomorrow morning, where my fellow beat writers and I guess everything from how many games the Nats will win to how many games Ryan Zimmerman will play at first base. First up, though, Chase Hughes and I have our MLB predictions. We’ve guessed how the standings will look in each division, how the postseason will play out and who will the major end-of-season awards.

There are some similarities between our predictions, but there’s enough variety here to allow one of us to claim bragging rights over the other come October. Enjoy…

MARK ZUCKERMAN
NL EAST
1. Nationals
2. Braves*
3. Mets
4. Marlins
5. Phillies

NL CENTRAL
1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Pirates
4. Brewers
5. Cubs

NL WEST
1. Dodgers
2. Giants*
3. Diamondbacks
4. Padres
5. Rockies

NL WILD CARD GAME: Giants over Braves
NLDS: Nationals over Cardinals, Dodgers over Giants
NLCS: Dodgers over Nationals
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL CY YOUNG: Adam Wainwright
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Gregory Polanco

AL EAST
1. Rays
2. Red Sox*
3. Orioles
4. Yankees
5. Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL
1. Tigers
2. Royals*
3. Indians
4. White Sox
5. Twins

AL WEST
1. Athletics
2. Angels
3. Rangers
4. Mariners
5. Astros

AL WILD CARD GAME: Red Sox over Royals
ALDS: Tigers over Red Sox, Rays over Athletics
ALCS: Rays over Tigers
AL MVP: Mike Trout
AL CY YOUNG: Yu Darvish
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Xander Bogaerts

WORLD SERIES: Rays over Dodgers

CHASE HUGHES
NL EAST
1. Nationals
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Phillies
5. Mets

NL CENTRAL
1. Reds
2. Cardinals*
3. Pirates
4. Brewers
5. Cubs

NL WEST
1. Dodgers
2. Giants*
3. Diamondbacks
4. Rockies
5. Padres

NL WILD CARD GAME: Cardinals over Giants
NLDS: Dodgers over Cardinals, Nationals over Reds
NLCS: Dodgers over Nationals
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt
NL CY YOUNG: Jose Fernandez
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Andrew Heaney

AL EAST
1. Yankees
2. Rays*
3. Orioles
4. Red Sox
5. Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL
1. Tigers
2. Royals*
3. Indians
4. Twins
5. White Sox

AL WEST
1. Angels
2. Rangers
3. Athletics
4. Mariners
5. Astros

AL WILD CARD GAME: Rays over Royals
ALDS: Angels over Rays, Tigers over Yankees
ALCS: Angels over Tigers
AL MVP: Mike Trout
AL CY YOUNG: David Price
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: George Springer

WORLD SERIES: Angels over Dodgers

  1. trochlis318 - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    come on guys you got to give us the pennant lol, but chase would like to mention no way goldy wins mvp if dbacks miss playoffs

  2. unterp - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    I’ll be happy with the National avoiding 79 loses, which usually translate to 83 wins, but 97 wins is not out of the question…

    Cy Young: Strasburg

    WS victory to be determined…

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    Reds winning division over Cardinals is difficult.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 30, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    NL EAST
    1. Nationals
    2. Braves*
    3. Mets
    4. Marlins
    5. Phillies

    NL CENTRAL
    1. Cardinals
    2. Pirates*
    3. Reds
    4. Brewers
    5. Cubs

    NL WEST
    1. Dodgers
    2. Giants
    3. Diamondbacks
    4. Padres
    5. Rockies

    NL WILD CARD GAME: Pirates over Braves
    NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals, Pirates over Cardinals
    NLCS: Pirates over Dodgers
    NL MVP: Yadier Molina
    NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw
    NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Gregory Polanco

    AL EAST
    1. Yankees
    2. Rays*
    3. Red Sox
    4. Orioles
    5. Blue Jays

    AL CENTRAL
    1. Tigers
    2. Royals*
    3. Indians
    4. White Sox
    5. Twins

    AL WEST
    1. Athletics
    2. Rangers
    3. Angels
    4. Mariners
    5. Astros

    AL WILD CARD GAME: Rays over Royals
    ALDS: Tigers over Athletics, Rays over Yankees
    ALCS: Rays over Tigers
    AL MVP: Mike Trout
    AL CY YOUNG: David Price
    AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Yordano Ventura

    World Series: Pirates over Rays

  5. NatsLady - Mar 30, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Interesting article about the Red Sox medical staff and approach. I particularly lke the part about rapport between athletes and medical staff. I’ve questioned before whether Fister, being new to the team, trusted our doctors, and whether they had enough knowlege of him to give him a tailored off-season plan.

    Rex Sox revamped medical staff

    • JW - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Fister didn’t enter the offseason with any injuries. Why would he need a tailored offseason plan from any doctors? He’s a veteran, he knows what he needs to do to get ready.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 30, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    homer-version: :P

    NL WILD CARD GAME: Reds over Giants
    NLDS: Nationals over Dodgers, Pirates over Reds
    NLCS: Nationals over Pirates
    NL MVP: Bryce Harper
    NL CY YOUNG: Stephen Strasburg
    NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Aaron Barrett

    AL WILD CARD GAME: Royals over Orioles
    ALDS: Athletics over Tigers, Rays over Royals
    ALCS: Athletics over Rays
    AL MVP: Evan Longoria
    AL CY YOUNG: David Price
    AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Yordano Ventura

    World Series: Nationals over Athletics

    • mauimo22 - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Love this version, thanks Faraz!

  7. laddieblahblah - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Here it is, short version. The NL title will come down to St. Louis and Washington. The winner of that will take the WS title, no matter who the AL sends to the big show. The Cards and Nats have the pitching to dominate anyone else, and the run-scoring ability to outscore anyone else.

    It will come down to whoever has the healthier and more effective rotation and pen at the end of the season. Key injuries could change everything, so all bets are off, in the meantime. Save your money for the blackjack tables in Vegas.

  8. Candide - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Mark picks the Yankees for fourth place. Chase picks them to win the AL East.

    I predict that one of those picks is wrong. Maybe even both of them.

    And that is the extent of my ninja-jedi prognosticating skills.

  9. rabbit433 - Mar 30, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    I’m convinced you can’t buy a championship. Nationals will win the World Series.

  10. topnat - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Cardinals over Rays
    Love my Nats but you don’t win in the postseason until showing a sense of urgency in every game you have a chance to win all year. In the early season series with the Cards last year St Louis had an answer for everything the Nats threw at them. Nats need to prove they can do the same. Can they? Abolutely. Will they? Nobody can say but I personally feel Williams, if his in game strategy is sound, has the demeanor to instill that urgency into more players than Werth, Desmond and Harper.

    • Eric - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      +1 all around, aside from the prediction, which I won’t try to make ;)

      • dcsportsfan2277 - Mar 30, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        Agree…Williams is the X factor this year and toughens up the team. April is a brutal month but a lot of home games and we will begin to see what this team is made of. Go Nats!

    • adcwonk - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      “Love my Nats but you don’t win in the postseason until showing a sense of urgency in every game you have a chance to win all year.”

      And how do we know that the Nats won’t have that this year until we actually play?

      On the contrary, I think _because_ of last year the Nats will indeed have a sense of urgency all year long.

  11. sjm308 - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I am terrible at predictions
    Not going to list every team
    I have Washington-St. Louis-San Fran. winning divisions Dodgers as WC & Washington winning the WS
    In that lesser league Tampa-Detroit-Oakland w/Boston as WC and Boston losing to our lads in the WS
    Not really going to be upset if all my picks but one prove to be wrong but that one is very important!

    Go Nats!!

  12. sjm308 - Mar 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Many of you know I am not comfortable with computers. Is anyone else having trouble getting the MASN site that Mark lists on the right hand side under Blogroll? I am now getting a list of things that doesn’t look anything like what was there before. Not crucial in that its my 3rd or 4th baseball read but I am wondering if its my computer or a problem from MASN.

    thanks in advance

    • Doc - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      A week or so ago, I got a warning from my Webroot scan that stated that one of the sites was not secure, and as such was unsafe to view. I got the hell out of there in a hurry!

  13. Another_Sam - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    SJM – worked okay for me just now.

    Predictions — I’m not among those of faint heart. After all, it’s still spring. So: 110 wins, and blow everyone out in the playoffs and WS. I’m thinking the club is on the verge of a season for the ages. It’s spring; everyone — and every club — is on the verge of a season for the ages. lol.

    And did you see the picture of Zimmerman on the first page of that section in the Post this morning? Note the crocodile throwing arm. I hope that’s a picture from a while back. :-(

  14. Another_Sam - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    And SJM — that MASN site isn’t on my regular rotation of reads; they cover one club too many for my taste. haha.

    • sjm308 - Mar 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Agreed Sam that its not a go-to sight but the main writer does a decent job and I want to get more than just Mark’s perspective. I do agree that its driven by Orange & black though

  15. Joe Seamhead - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I’m officially not relaxed and don’t think we got this.

    That said, I really am looking forward to another great season of baseball, beer, and bobbleheads.

  16. Another_Sam - Mar 30, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    Same here, Seamhead. That’s why they play the games. And I’m ready. Oh, am I ready. Play ball.

  17. breakbad1 - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    New computer and new season. Let me see if this thing works before I rev up the prediction machine.

  18. adcwonk - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Mark, Chase — given that SI picked the Nats to win the WS, might you explain why you think the Dodgers are going to beat the Nats?

    Also: are we going to have a predictions thread for Nats # of wins?

  19. breakbad1 - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    The Nationals are going to defeat Boston in the World Series, after an incredible year of ups and downs. It will be a wild ride. The Nats will defeat the Cards and Dodgers along the way in tense, memorable series.

    The Nats will fight through some awful challenges during the year:

    Zimmerman’s throwing troubles are not over. He will have as many throwing errors as last year. But all the steps they’ve taken to work around him are going to be successful–other guys playing third, RZ at first, and RZ as DH in all eligible interleague games. He will also miss 30-35 games to injury. (An ice pack on the abdomen is not standard treatment for the flu; something’s going on there.)

    McLouth will have the third-most starts in the outfield. I don’t know if it’s the Nats in particular, or baseball in general, but the injury plague seems to strike almost every team almost every year. So McLouth is going to get a LOT of starts, and he is going to come through in a big way for us.

    Soriano will lose the closer’s job by the All Star break. Hairston will also be gone by the ASG. Fister, after a rough spring, will rally and become a huge part of the championship run.

    Which brings me to the good news:

    Harper, Rendon, Desi, and Ramos are going to have huge years at the plate. Matt Williams will not accept losing, as Davey did. Rick Schu’s hitting philosophy–already proven more successful than “watching-strikes-is-the-key-to-hitting” Eckstein’s–will continue to pay off for us. The bench will be one of the best in MLB, and the bullpen is going to be phenomenal (except for Soriano). Lobaton is going to be a totally-clutch guy.

    The Nats will move from among the worst at holding runners, and overall defense, to among the best.

    Espinosa will be critical to our success, getting many starts at 2nd and short–even third. He will be a contender for Comeback Player of the Year.

    It’s going to be a wild, wild ride. But this team was so sickened by last year’s failure, that they won’t accept anything but a championship.

    • Eric - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      +1!!! I love this prediction and can totally see all of that playing out. My only points of contention are Zim and much more so Soriano. I think Zim might have a bit of a rough start, throwing wise, but it won’t be nearly as bad as last year’s start. Thereafter I think he’ll be good to go. I think Soriano just might be really solid throughout the season.

      The +1 also doesn’t apply to the prediction that we win the WS… I’m terrible at predicting such things. Still, if your overall predictions play out, I think we have a helluva good shot at it and it will mostly come down to how we’re trending as the post season gets under way.

      • Another_Sam - Mar 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        Eric – regarding Zimm’s throwing: I was aghast when I got to spring training. His throwing is just like last year; every throw is an underhand sling, often wild. Whipping it around he infield after a strikeout challenges him. A friend who saw all of spring training said he was okay before tweaking it in mid march. I hope it comes around.

      • Eric - Mar 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM

        You and me both. I do feel we have the infield depth and flexibility to manage it for awhile if it doesn’t, so long as it doesn’t affect his hitting.

        But it would be a lot easier if he’s just good to go ;)

  20. thelatencn - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals will win their divisions, and none of the races will be close. All three will probably win 100+ games. September excitement in the NL will consist ot the race between those three for the best, record,, and it will be an intense and exciting contest motivated by the knowledge that whoever wins it does not have to face either of the others in the NLDS, and thereby materially advances their chance to make the NLCS, which should be an all-time classic. The winner will also win the World Series.

  21. cayucosbaseballconservancy - Mar 31, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    Marlin’s pitching is looking pretty good. With Stanton in his prime he just might be an MVP candidate. In fact I like his odds more than Harper at this juncture of their two careers. The Marlins might produce a surprise if they play their cards right.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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