For the 92nd year of the Midsummer Classic, baseball goes to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The last time the mid-summer classic was played in LA was in 1980. Now every year there is always a lot of discussion and some of it a little dated about how the teams are put together. No system will ever be perfect. Fans don’t always get it right and managers won’t either, nor the commissioner’s office. The fact that the players are able to vote for participants was a great choice and they know who is deserving. Regardless of who should or shouldn’t be in the game lets just accept that the best players will always be involved one way or another. Here are my all-stars keeping with the rules that every team be represented and a total of 32 players for each league.
NL MVP – 1B Matt Olson – Atlanta Braves
AL MVP – P/DH Shohei Ohtani – Los Angeles Angels
NL Cy Young – Max Scherzer – New York Mets
AL Cy Young – Jose Berrios – Toronto Blue Jays
NL Rookie of the Year – P Hunter Greene – Cincinnati Reds
AL Rookie of the Year – OF Julio Rodriguez – Seattle Mariners
NL Manager of the Year – Craig Counsell – Milwaukee Brewers
AL Manager of the Year – Charlie Montoyo – Toronto Blue Jays
NL Division Winners – Dodgers, Brewers, Braves
NL Wild Card Winners – Cardinals, Padres, Mets
AL Division Winners – White Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners
AL Wild Card Winners – Rays, Astros, Angels
NLCS – Dodgers over Brewers
ALCS – Blue Jays over White Sox
World Series – Dodgers over Blue Jays
* – indicates new to team
+ – indicates injury
1. Atlanta Braves
Repeating as World Series champions is always difficult, but it will be interesting to see if they do so without Freddie Freeman.
2. New York Mets
They spent a lot of money acquiring many players, but if deGrom isn’t healthy it won’t matter in the end.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
Their lineup got a lot better and their bullpen looks much better than in years past.
4. Miami Marlins
Pitching is still a strength for them, but I’m not sure if their lineup is good enough to get past other Wild Card contenders.
5. Washington Nationals
It’s gonna be another rough year, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
Player to Watch: 1B Matt Olson – Atlanta Braves
Best Acquisition: P Max Scherzer – New York Mets
New Kid on the Block: P Edward Cabrera – Miami Marlins
In an eerily similar fashion to 2019 when the Washington Nationals went on an improbable run to win the World Series. The Atlanta Braves in 2021 went on a similar run from August to October. This is a franchise that went on one of the most dominant runs in sports history winning 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005. That run of success resulted in only one World Series title in 1995. They have won the NL East for four consecutive seasons currently and they could be starting another long run of success.
The last time the Atlanta Braves made an appearance in the World Series was in 1999. Their last World Series championship was in 1995. The irony of them being in the Fall Classic this season is that the commissioner’s office took the All-Star game away from Atlanta, Georgia due to what they saw as ‘racist’ voter ID laws. Now they are here on the sports biggest stage. For the Houston Astros they are in their third World Series appearance in the last 5 seasons. They won their first World Series title in 2017, but that championship has an asterisk next to it due to the fact they were cheating for most of the season by stealing signs electronically. The irony around the 2021 World Series looms quite large this year. Let’s see if the play on the field will take away from what’s happening off of it.