Opinion

MLB Predictions: the Red Sox Unfiltered Staff Edition

Dave Latham and Patrick Green (me) predict MLB things for 2018

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (Oct. 31, 2017 – Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Do you feel it in your bones? Did you wake up with these butterflies flying around your chest equivocal to a kid on Christmas? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then you probably should see a doctor. It is Opening Day, people! The best day of the whole year. We have waited many months and most of them have been freaking freezing. The fragmentation we have constantly felt is about to be a distant memory because MLB is back in the New York groove and 28 other cities.

Like many bored, uncreative sports bloggers, the Red Sox Unfiltered staff has decided to participate in meaningless MLB predictions for 2018. Why? Because it is freaking fun and we like fun. Also, when I say “Red Sox Unfiltered staff,” I really mean just Dave Latham and I. Still, we are really cool people, who are borderline baseball scholars. Our opinions matter to us, so they should matter to you. I do not know how sound that logic is but just go with it for my sanity.

Anyway, without wasting your time any further, let’s get down to the nitty gritty (get the HQ reference?). Here are Dave and I’s predictions for the best MLB season in history, the one in 2018.

American League Predictions

Dave:

 

  1. AL West-Houston Astros
  2. AL East- Boston Red Sox
  3. AL Central- Cleveland Indians
  4. Wild Card #1- New York Yankees
  5. Wild Card #2- Los Angeles Angels

The Astros are the clear best team in the AL, but the next three teams all have a chance to upset them should everything break right. The Angels are clearly the worst team to make it, as the top four teams are in a world of their own. This prediction does assume that Shohei Ohtani bounces back from his awful spring.

American League Rookie of the Year: Willie Calhoun

If Rafael Devers wasn’t promoted too early last season, he’d be my pick. However, he’s not eligible, so my pick goes to Texas Rangers outfielder Willike Calhoun. Calhoun is a power bat on a popular organization that should be average at least, so why not him?

American League Cy Young: Chris Sale

Sale finished as the runner up in the 2017 Cy Young award, so his 2017 wasn’t bad by any means. However, a relatively poor finish to his season made his lose the award. Sale and manager Alex Cora have addressed the fatigue issue, and they’re actively working on keeping him fresh late into the year. If these tactics work, than the award is his to lose.

American League MVP: Jose Altuve

Outside of Mike Trout, there’s no better player in baseball than Jose Altuve. Altuve is what happens if Dustin Pedroia’s 2008 MVP season was the norm for his whole career. He can do everything well: hit for power, hit for average, he’s a great defensive player and nobody gives more effort on a play-by-play basis.

Patrick (me):

  1. AL West- Houston Astros
  2. AL East- New York Yankees
  3. AL Central- Cleveland Indians
  4. Wild Card #1- Boston Red Sox
  5. Wild Card #2- Toronto Blue Jays

Yes, I am that jerk who has the Red Sox finishing second to the New York Yankees. I talked about this in decent detail in my Red Sox team preview, so I will not beat a dead horse, here. Anyway, the Astros are the best baseball team in the galaxy, while the Indians are still really good and play in the worst division in baseball. My biggest surprise is the Blue Jays as the second Wild Card team. The additions they made in the offseason have been fairly underrated, attaining guys like Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk, Jaime Garcia and Aledmys Diaz. Couple that with a strong rotation and Josh Donaldson, and you may just have a recipe for a competitive baseball team in ’18.

American League Rookie of the Year: Willie Calhoun 

Look, I really did not want to pick the same guy that Dave did. I like being original but Calhoun just seems like the guy to take home the hardware this year. He is not even starting the year with the big league club, but he has so much power that you can count on seeing him making an impact with the stick this season.

American League Cy Young: Chris Sale 

This is the second time I have copied Dave’s pick and I am slowly beginning to lose faith in my individuality. Anyway, Sale is a beast and had the award locked up before unraveling a bit in the second-half of last year. His name is not Corey Kluber, who he is equally as excellent as, so I picked him because I do not want to see the Indians’ ace winning it two years in a row.

American League MVP: Mike Trout 

Without question, Trout is the best player in baseball. If he plays a full season, there is no reason to think he will not be the most valuable player. It is, then, a matter of if his team, the Los Angeles Angels, makes the playoffs. You know how weird voters are about MVPs coming from playoff teams. I will say, though, L.A. looks like they are in a pretty decent spot to compete for a playoff spot. If so, Trout is taking home the big prize.

National League Predictions

Dave:

 

  1. NL East- Washington Nationals
  2. NL Central- Chicago Cubs
  3. NL West- Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Wild Card #1- Colorado Rockies
  5. Wild Card #2- Milwaukee Brewers

The Nationals know this is their last chance, and they have the talent to push for 100 wins. Harper’s probably not coming back, so they’ll throw every resource they have into making this the best team it can be. Despite all that, they’ll probably still find a way to lose in the NLDS.

The Brewers are a dangerous pick for the final Wild Card spot, but I like what the organization has built. Travis Shaw was one of the best power hitters in baseball last season, and Mauricio Dubon should become one of the best shortstops in baseball.

National League Rookie of the Year: Walker Buehler

I’m going for something of a dark horse here with the selection of Walker Buehler. He won’t be the ace of the staff, but honestly that should only help his win total. He’s developed incredibly quick, making it to the majors after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2016.

National League Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw’s the easy choice, but he’s the choice I’m making. There’s no better pitcher in baseball, so this award is always his to lose.

National League MVP: Bryce Harper

Harper is one of the most talented players in baseball, and has been one of the game’s brightest stars for the past few seasons. Harper’s in the final year of his contract, and is set to be the highest paid player in baseball next off-season. Look for Harper to have an absolutely crazy 2018 before breaking the bank in 2019.

Patrick (me):

  1. NL West- Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. NL East- Washington Nationals
  3. NL Central- Chicago Cubs
  4. Wild Card #1- St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Wild Card #2- Philadelphia Phillies

Dave and I unanimously agree that the Dodgers, Nationals and Cubs will lock down their respective divisions. They are the obvious choices and seem to be quite ahead of the second-place teams in their division. With my first Wild Card team, I went with the Cardinals, who are comprised of above-average players  and the borderline elite Marcell Ozuna. This team has a crap ton of depth and should give the Cubs a tiny bit of anxiety come July 8th.

Meanwhile, I wanted to be brazen with my second Wild Card team, so I picked a team from the city with the best Philly Cheese Steaks. Disclaimer: while I love Philly Cheese Steaks, they did not influence my decision. Getting back on track, the Phillies upgraded in a pretty significant way, bringing in Carlos Santanta, Jake Arrieta, Pat Neshek and (eventually) Tommy Hunter. They will join a young, on the rise team. To name drop some talented youngsters, we got Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro. Plus, Aaron Nola is probably going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball next year, so look forward to that.

National League Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna

The man is drawing comparisons to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, so how can I not pick him? At age 20, he is seriously getting better at every single level he advances to. He will be an absolute stud. We will just have to wait a little bit to see him in the big leagues because the Braves are trying to get an extra year of service time from him.

National League Cy Young: Aaron Nola

Oh, yes, I could have gone safe and picked Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw, and I almost did, but I thought I would live on dangerously. It is more exciting that way, yet not nearly as exciting as the right-hander. He accumulated a terrific 3.54 ERA, 3.27 FIP and 4.3 fWAR in not even 170 innings last season. Now, he is quite a ways from Scherzer of Kershaw numbers, but could feasibly make the jump, being just 24 with one of the greatest curveballs I have seen. Especially if this race is close, you know the baseball writers love a good story. Watch this kid eat in 2018.

National League MVP: Corey Seager 

Seager has posted back-to-back 5 fWAR+ seasons and is still only 23. He will headline a lineup which should be one of the better ones in baseball. I think he just has to hit slightly better this year to take home the award. His defense is already stellar and he will be on a playoff baseball team.

World Series Predictions:

Dave:

 Astros beat Cubs in five games

The 2017 Cubs clearly suffered from a World Series hangover, and still managed to go all the way to the NLCS. Losing Jake Arrietta hurts, but this team still has an incredible core of young talent. The 2018 unit is a lot more like the 2016 Cubs than the 2017 Cubs.

With all that being said, there’s no unit in baseball capable of matching the Astros right now. Houston has built the most complete lineup in the league, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. This core genuinely has the chance to be as dominant as the New York Yankees at the turn of the millennium.

Patrick:

Astros beat Nationals in six games 

I don’t know. The Houston Astros are just so damn good. They have everything going for them, with by far the best lineup in baseball and a rotation that is seven-quality pitchers deep. Further, they have talented players at the upper-levels of their farm, with Kyle Tucker and the suspended Forrest Whitley.

I know the playoffs are a crapshoot, but they are a crapshoot the Astros are favorites to win. The Nationals, in Harper’s contract year, should prove worthy adversaries, especially if we see Victor Robles make an impact at some point in ’18. Anything can happen in baseball, but the Astros are the best team in the show.

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