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Drei’s 2018 MLB Predictions

With our Boys in Blue coming within one game of glory, expectations are once again high for a return to The Fall Classic, this time of course, with a happier ending…
American League
East

  1. Red Sox 93-69
  2. Yankees 91-71 (WC 1)
  3. Blue Jays 85-77
  4. Orioles 72-90
  5. Rays 70-92

Though the Yankees added muscle to their lineup with the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, the Red Sox aren’t relinquishing their division hold so easily. Toronto could be the division sleeper
Central

  1. Indians 98-64
  2. Twins 88-74 (WC 2 Tie)
  3. White Sox 79-83
  4. Royals 69-93
  5. Tigers 64-98

Cleveland, fresh off a 102 win season, looks to reclaim their dominance in the AL Central. The Twins, baseball’s first team to make the post-season after a 100 plus loss season, looks to build upon last years run…
West

  1. Astros 103-59
  2. Angels 88-74 (WC 2 Tie)
  3. A’s 76-86
  4. Mariners 74-88
  5. Rangers 69-93

No surprise that the Astros are the overwhelming favorite to win the AL West. The addition of Gerrit Cole to their rotation should only add more pitching depth. The Halos look to return to post season play for the first time in 4 years. Shohei Ohtani’s spring struggles don’t seem to faze the off-season acquisition from Japan.
Wild Card Tie Breaker Game


Angels over the Twins
Yes, that’s right, I’m calling a tie for the last wild card spot. While we expect the division race in the West and Central to be runaways, the Wild Card spots throughout the AL are wide open…
Wild Card


Yankees over the Angels
Yes, I’m going against popular opinion by not picking the Yanks to win the AL East. However, they should have more than enough muscle to get past the Halos in the Wild Card matchup…
ALDS


Indians over the Red Sox
Unlike last year where the Tribe blew a 2 game to none lead, the Indians should prevail this time around.


Yankees over the Astros
No, I’m not bitter over last year’s defeat to the ‘Stros. Matter of fact, I find it hard to believe I don’t have them in the ALCS. This is a series that could, and probably will, go down to all 5 games. It’s too bad, because a matchup of this caliber deserves the full 7…
ALCS


For the second straight year, these two cross paths, this time in the ALCS. This is another matchup that has the potential to go the full 7 games. The Yankees, after coming 1 game short of their first World Series appearance since 2009, make it back to the Fall Classic…
National League
East

  1. Nationals 97-65
  2. Mets 84-78
  3. Phillies 77-85
  4. Braves 65-97
  5. Marlins 53-109

Is this Bryce Harper’s final year in the nations capitol? The Mets look to rebound from an injury plagued 2017 and have the arms to make things interesting. Phillies addition of Jake Arrieta adds a veteran presence to their rotation. Giving the Marlins 53 wins might ACTUALLY be generous…
Central

  1. Cubs 96-66
  2. Cardinals 88-74 (WC 2)
  3. Brewers 85-77
  4. Pirates 67-95
  5. Reds 65-97

After winning it all in 2016, the Cubs, after waiting over 100 years, realized just how difficult it is to repeat as champions. 92 wins and a trip to the NLCS would more than satisfy most teams. That’s how much expectations have risen in Wrigleyville. The Cardinals, always a contender and the Brewers should make things interesting for the Cubbies…
West

  1. Dodgers 98-64
  2. Rockies 90-72 (WC 1)
  3. D-Backs 87-75
  4. Padres 75-87
  5. Giants 71-91

5 straight NL West titles going on 6. The only thing missing, missing for the last 30 years, is that Grand Prize of October. Colorado and Arizona look to continue to challenge the Dodgers in the west. It’s looking like Matt Kemp is going to make the Opening Day roster, maybe even start in left field. With the spring he’s had, he’s certainly made a strong case to start. Can Cody Bellinger avoid a sophomore jinx? Is Kershaw really entering his 11th season with the organization? Oh if he can just come up with that ONE big win HE, and WE, are all waiting for…
Wild Card


Colorado over St. Louis
The Wild Card races will be interesting here in the senior circuit and could have the potential of hosting a tie-breaker game as well. As with any one game elimination wild card, anything can happen. I look for Colorado to muscle past traditional post-season participant St. Louis…
NLDS


Nationals over Cubs
In what could be Bryce Harper’s final year in Washington, the Nationals, in a series that should go the full 5 once again, finally prevail.


Dodgers over Rockies
While to Rockies continue to progress, the Dodgers should still have more depth to take down their division counterparts…
NLCS


Dodgers over Nationals
This is another one that was not so easy to figure, with the Cubs and Dodgers knocking each other out en route to World Series trips the last two years. It could very well be those two again, any of those 3 are more than capable of reaching the NLCS. It’s too bad one of them would have to play each other in the brief NLDS. The run through the NLCS won’t be so smooth this time around for The Blue, but I still look for them to prevail, setting up the World Series matchup we’ve waited 37 years to return…
World Series


Dodgers over Yankees
It’s been 37 years since these two have met in The Fall Classic. Time to renew an old rivalry as the Yanks go in via the Wild Card and the Dodgers claim their 6th straight NL West flag. Another classic Fall Classic?


Still waiting to add another one in MY lifetime… Still confident it’ll happen before I turn 50 (Got 6 years to do it…)
ITS TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!

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Drei’s 2017 National League Forecast

Leading Off…What Drei Said Last Year

NL East…

“The Nationals, last year’s favorites among many of the experts to win the WS, still posses a pretty potent all-around lineup to compliment their strong rotation, anchored by Stephen Strasburg. Injuries and the lack of team unity played key roles in the Nats late season meltdown, costing Matt Williams his job… It is hoped that proven skipper Dusty Baker will be able to keep this team completely focused…”

In his first season as the Nationals skip, Dusty Baker restored some order in leading the Nats back to the post-season, to be eliminated in 5 games by The Blue. While Dusty may be one of the finest managers of the game, going back to the 2002 World Series his teams have lost 9 straight post-season series clinchers. He can say what he wants about some of Dave Roberts moves in Game 5, fact of the matter is, once again, he was simply out-managed when it counted.

NL Central…

“Many are picking the Cubs to not only go deep into October but to also win that big Fall Prize that has eluded them the last 108 years. This could just be their year…Much of the attention will be focused on their pitching, considered to be one of the deepest with the top 3 in the rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey.”

Much of what was said here and by the pundits came to full fruition last year for the North Siders, ending a 108 year drought without a World Series title. The Cubs, even with the loss of Dexter Fowler, are once again primed for another deep post season run.

NL West…

“Much has been made of the off-season moves within the division and it is expected to be a 3 team race between the Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks…in spite of our early season worries, not every Dodger got hurt during Spring Training. The top 3, led by Kid K with Scott Kazmir and off-season addition Kenta Maeda, will give the Blue a formidable front end of the rotation. My concerns however are how will Maeda, coming off a solid spring,  hold up in his first big league season…”

Once again, the Dodgers are being picked by many to win another NL West crown. This would mark their 5th consecutive division title. During this stretch, only the St. Louis Cardinals have more regular season wins than The Blue. 

Last year, Drei said The Blue would win 91 games…Check. Drei also said the Dodgers would meet the Cubs in the NLCS…Check. Drei said the Blue would take down the Blue Jays in the Fall Classic. Oh how Drei wishes he could trade in the first two for a better final result…

Here We Go…

East…

The Nats and Mets should once again be the class of the division, with both featuring some of the games deepest rotations. Miami, even with the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez, still has a lot of young talent and could be the divisions sleeper. Atlanta and Philly should also see continued improvement from last season. 

Central…

Much of the Cubs roster, minus Dexter Fowler, remains intact as they are once again expected to make a deep run in October. St. Louis, though without any true impact players, came within one game of a post-season spot. A mad run by the Giants in the final week including a 3 game sweep of The Blue in the final weekend would undo the Red Birds post-season hopes. The Bucs can’t really be considered a post-season sleeper. Should they avoid any prolonged injuries they still have a formidable pitching staff that can carry them into October. 

West…

Last year, Dave Roberts managed to will the Dodgers to the NLCS in spite of the numerous injuries to the rotation. While it is expected to be a 2 division race between the Dodgers and Giants once again, Colorado may not be too far behind and may even be not only the division’s but the leagues sleeper as well. If the Rockies highly touted young arms can maintain their composure in hitter friendly Coors Field, the Rockies just may make a legitimate run at the post season…

NL Wild Card

Giants over the Mets

NLDS

Cubs over the Giants. 

Like last year, this will be a tight series that this time will go the full 5 games

Dodgers over the Nationals. 

This could also go the full 5 again. Dusty Baker could also throw shade at Dave Roberts after being out-managed again…

So, in virtually a repeat of what happened last year in the Senior Circuit to this point…

NLCS

This time around, it’s the Boys in Blue…Dodger Blue, that is, that ends a World Series appearance drought. 29 years may not be as long as 71 years, but for a generation or two of Dodger fans born from 1989 on, it’s time…

And finally…

World Series

Dodgers over Blue Jays in 6. I had these two last year, both came within a combined 5 games of making your truly look the part of a genius. Why change? 

Some of Drei’s concerns…

  • The health of our rotation. Last year, the rotation was literally a mash unit. 
  • Can Kenta Maeda endure a full season this time around
  • Can Corey Seager avoid a sophomore jinx?
  • How much will the Dodger depend on the bullpen
  • How much does Adrian Gonzalez still have left
  • Will Puig’s potential finally be fully realized. Will he be on his best behavior between now and October/November ?
  • Does Andre, the longest tenured Dodger, finally get his World Series ring? 
  • Will Andre still be wearing Dodger Blue in October?

ITS TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL !!!

 

Drei’s 2017 American League Outlook

Leading Off…What Drei Said in 2016

In the Junior Circuit…

“ Boston has a good mix of veterans along with some up and comers in Mookie Betts and Xander Bogarts and the addition of David Price to their rotation should help them contend in the east…”

“ Cleveland has a pretty formidable rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Will off-season additions Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe and Marlon Byrd, players not exactly in their prime make a difference ? Having said that, I still feel Cleveland is ready to challenge for the division.”

“The Astros, last season’s biggest surprise, is ready to make more noise this season. A full season with Carlos Gomez certainly can’t hurt the lineup. The Mariners, picked by many last season to represent the Junior Circuit in The Fall Classic after an 87 win campaign in 2014, regressed last season, something that could be of concern in Houston with expectations being higher. The M’s strength is still pitching, led by Felix Hernandez. I expect the Mariners to bounce back and be the sleeper in this division….”

Last season saw Drei pick the AL Central Division winner correctly, while the Blue Jays would take the wild card and Drei’s sleeper from last year, the Seattle Mariners, would see their playoff hopes diminish on the 2nd to final game of the season. Last season’s picks also saw Drei picking Toronto over Seattle in the ALCS.

Drei’s AL Outlook for 2017…

East

The AL East will once again be the toughest division to fully grasp. Boston, with the addition of Chris Sale to their rotation, is everyone’s favorite to win the East. The Blue Jays, coming off 2 straight ALCS appearances, have lost some offensive firepower with Edwin Encarnacion heading to Cleveland but they still boast a formidable rotation. The rest of the division is capable of claiming one of the two WC spots.

Central

The Tribe came within one game of bringing the city of Cleveland it’s second championship in a 5 month stretch. While The Tribe made it to the Fall Classic on the strength of their rotation, they’ve added some offensive punch by adding Edwin Encarnacion from Toronto.

West

After surprising many in 2015, the Astros somewhat regressed last season, starting off 15-28 before finishing off with a respectable 84 wins.  The Astros, led by Jose Altuve, are being picked by many to win the AL West. With the teamwide  so-called “sophomore jinx” now out of the way, this could very well be their year they take over the west. Seattle has a pretty formidable lineup themselves especially the heart of the order, where Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager combined for a total of 95 home runs last season. Felix Hernandez by his standards had an off season last year but is expected to lead the rotation once again. 

Wild Cards

Boston over Houston

ALDS

Cleveland over Boston

Toronto over Seattle

ALCS

Toronto over Cleveland

Last season I picked Toronto to win the ALCS with Seattle being the surprise team. While I may not have these two meeting in the ALCS this time around, though the Jays may be a little thinner from last years team, it’d be too easy to go with everyone’s favorite’s between the Red Sox and Indians, though both teams made some impressive off-season moves, especially Cleveland. So, if all goes according to form here, a rematch of last year’s ALCS will be in order. 

R.I.P. Mr Padre, Tony Gwynn

In his 20 MLB seasons, all of them in a Padre uniform, we had the pleasure to watch Tony Gwynn many a time , be it at Dodger Stadium or Jack Murphy Stadium . I really couldn’t tell you how many times I saw Tony Gwynn torment the Dodgers . Yes, he was a thorn on our side, as he was to every team he faced. But he played the game the right way. And in this day and age of high salaries and free-agency, he played all 20 of his seasons in a San Diego Padre uniform. Some career numbers against the Dodgers from the Dodgers-LowDown

Tony Gwynn Career Numbers Vs. Our Dodgers

225 Games
215 Games Started
931 Plate Appearances
822 At Bats
126 Runs
271 Hits
49 Doubles
8 Triples
10 Home Runs
90 Runs Batted In
32 Stolen Bases
16 Caught Stealing
90 Walks
30 Intentional Walks
41 Strikeouts
.330 Batting Average
.396 On Base Percentage
.445 Slugging Percentage
.841 On Base + Slugging Percentage

From L.A. to San Diego via Twitter

TGwynnDodgerStadium9202001 Tony Gwynn, in his final Dodger Stadium appearance as a player, 9/19/2001, during a pre-game ceremony celebrating his 20 year career .

TGwynnFanFest2010 Tony Gwynn sharing his baseball stories to fans at the All-Star Fanfest in Anaheim, July 2010 .

TgwynnandJr Fathers Day, June 2011 with then Dodger and current Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. . I had the pleasure to greet the elder Gwynn after the game as I was walking through the Stadium Club level. He was very cordial and took the time to greet well-wishing fans .

From Junior…

Tony Gwynn was more than Mr. Padre. He was Mr. Baseball. It can also be said that Tony Gwynn was the face of San Diego. R.I.P. Tony Gwynn. Baseball fans all over will miss you .

TGwynnRIP

TonyGwynnStatue Here I am standing next to the Tony Gwynn Statue , April 2009 .