Rank – 1
Projected Record – 102-60
Finish – 1st in ALW
The Astros are reigning champions and were nothing short of sensational last season winning 101 games and overpowering the Dodgers in a World Series for the ages. Unless there is a championship hangover that were unaware of, there’s absolutely no reason to believe they can’t do it again. Altuve and Correa are MVP candidates, while the likes of Springer and Bregman are all star calibre. Offensively they have little to no weakness , the rotation has improved and on a season they won 101 games Verlander was only available for 1 month. They start of this year with a healthy Verlander and the addition of Gerrit Cole, a healthy McCullers could be a boost this season as well. The Bullpen was an issue in the World series, however Ken Giles is a great regular season closer and on paper they look to be deeper than last season.
Back to back championships is one of the hardest things to do in sports, the expectation is on this group and they possess the talent to get the job done.
MGR – A J Hinch
MVP – Jose Altuve
ADD – Gerrit Cole
SLP – Derek Fisher
Rank – 2
Projected Record – 100-62
Finish – 1st in ALE
The Yankees are coming off a stellar season in a year that they surprised everyone by coming within 1 win of the World Series, which naturally led to the dismissal of Joe Girardi. The Yankees possess a potent young core which will insure greater success moving forward and the only way is up from last year. They already have two of the best young talents in major league baseball in Sanchez and Judge, the latter of which is more than capable of hitting 40+ HR over a full season, add to that Giancarlo Stanton the reigning NL MVP and its a deadly lineup. Stanton at Yankee stadium is a lethal combo, the rotation was among the AL’s best in 2017. The Bullpen looks special, Chapman is the question mark and can be unreliable but Betances, Green and Robertson are great insurance.
No question the Yankees have the talent on paper to win a Championship in 2018, they just have to find an edge to get passed the franchise that shattered there dreams last year.
MGR – Aaron Boone
MVP – Aaron Judge
ADD – G Stanton
SLP – Brandon Drury
Projected Record – 98 – 64
Projected Finish – 1st in NLW
The Dodgers put on a show last season and fell agonisingly close of a World Series and just 1 win short. They’re back as major contenders again in 2018, they will be without all star Justin Turner via injury for the start of the regular season however the lineup remains lethal. Seager is on target for a huge year and Bellinger is a 40 HR threat, the Dodgers attempted to move Kemp however he is still a deep ball threat and a powerful hitter. The rotation is still progressing, Kershaw is the best of his generation whilst Rich Hill, Ryu and Maeda need to have bug consistent seasons if the Dodgers are to replicate 2017. The loss of Darvish hurts but we can’t forget he was unreliable in the World Series. This Bullpen has a lockdown closer and the potential to go one better than last season and bring a World series to Los Angeles.
MGR – Dave Roberts
MVP – C Kershaw
ADD – Matt Kemp
SLP – S Alexander
Rank – 4
Projected Record – 94-68
Finish – 1st in NLE
The Nationals were somewhat in cruise control through the regular season in 2017, and on paper it all leads to much of the same in 2018. The postseason was a different tale but the hope of the franchise is new blood and with it a new culture to lead October success. The lineup is loaded and will benefit from the return of Adam eaton, Trea Turner is a flatout all star when healthy and Harper and Rendon are MVP candidates. The rotation is one of the best in baseball, Strasburg was great last season, and Scherzer is on the fast track to the Hall of Fame. The Bullpen isn’t quite as strong as they would hope, but it was much better after trades, Kintzler and Doolittle are reliable late inning arms, but middle innings relief remains Washington’s biggest question mark. That’s not the world’s worst weakness to have and should not make much of a difference in there division. The Nationals perhaps on paper are the NL’s most talented team and should have a big year, but all eyes are on Dave Martinez and October success.
MGR – Dave Martinez
MVP – Max Scherzer
ADD – Matt Adams
SLP – A.J Cole
Rank – 5
Projected Record – 96-66
Finish – 1st in NLC
The Cubs were fabulous in 2016 and took a stepback in 2017, however they still had enough to reach the NLCS for a third consecutive year. They ooze young talent and look to be headed in the same direction this season. The lineup is loaded, Kyle Schwarber is primed for a huge season and looking fully fit, Bryant and Rizzo are the dynamic duo and Contreras is a top tier catcher. The rotation has improved on previous years, Darvish can replicate Arrieta and high hopes remain for Tyler Chatwood after his exit from Coors Field. The only real weakness is a lack of quality relievers, the Bullpen has depth but there is no Chapman or Wade Davis types as late inning relievers.
The Cubs have the artillery and what it takes to win a World Series in 2018.
MGR – Joe Maddon
MVP – A Rizzo
ADD – Yu Darvish
SLP – T Chatwood
Rank – 6
Projected Record – 92-66
Projected Finish – 1st in ALC
Cleveland were a powerhouse in 2017, putting together a win streak we may never see again. The season ended disappointing however with an ALDS collapse. They comeback primed for success and another 100 win season is not out of the question for these Indians. They have to make up for the exit of Carlos Santana, but Alonso isn’t the worst option. Lindor and Ramirez are a dangerous left side infield, however the outfield remains the query. The rotation is as strong as ever led by Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer had a great finish to the season. The bullpen is a potential issue with the absence of workhorse Bryan Shaw and Jay Bruce.
Terry Francona and the Indians have the talent to win the AL central and make a deep run in the postseason.
MGR – T Francona
MVP – Corey Kluber
ADD – Yonder Alonso
SLP – B Zimmer
That closes out our division winners and top 6 projections for 2018, our full list of rankings are below.
Boston Red Sox – 90-72 2nd in ALE
Los Angeles Angels – 89-73 2nd in ALW
Minnesota Twins – 89-73 2nd in ALC
Milwaukee Brewers – 88-74 2nd in NLC
Colorado Rockies – 87-75 2nd in NLW
St Louis Cardinals – 86-76 3rd in NLC
Arizona Diamondbacks – 85-77 3rd in NLW
New York Mets – 82-80 – 2nd in NLE
Seattle Mariners – 81-81 3rd in ALW
Philadelphia Phillies – 80-82 3rd in NLE
San Francisco Giants – 80-82 4th in NLW
Toronto Blue Jays – 80-82 3rd in ALE
Baltimore Orioles – 79-83 4th in ALE
Atlanta Braves – 77-85 4th in NLE
Texas Rangers – 75-87 4th in ALW
San Diego Padres – 73-89 5th in NLW
Chicago White Sox – 72-90 3rd in ALC
Cincinnati Reds – 71-91 4th in NLC
Kansas City Royals – 69-93 4th in ALC
Oakland Athletics – 68-94 5th in ALW
Pittsburgh Pirates – 68-94 5th in NLC
Tampa Bay Rays – 66-96 5th in ALE
Detroit Tigers – 62-100 5th in ALC
Miami Marlins – 61-101 5th in NLE