American League Wild Card Series
3. Cleveland Guardians vs. 6. Tampa Bay Rays
The one constant for the Rays the past decade has been a pitching staff that has plenty of depth and is the main reason they are Postseason participants. That is no different this year as their rotation is as strong as its ever been with Shane McClanahan as their ace. Tyler Glasnow has returned from Tommy John surgery and could be that extra spark to make a deep run. Jason Adam has been a force in the bullpen this year and with the return of Pete Fairbanks that only adds to their arsenal. Randy Arozarena had a fantastic run in September and his Postseason heroics of 2020 weren’t that long ago. Expect him to make some noise again. There needs to be more from the lineup if they want to play in the Division Series. Could that be Wander Franco with his return from injury?
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. Toronto Blue Jays
Their rotation is better and their lineup is deeper than it was last season. Their window to win is now.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
They made minor tweaks throughout the roster, but the core remains to contend in a tough division.
3. New York Yankees
The biggest splash they made was getting Josh Donaldson, but that might not be enough to make a long postseason push.
4. Boston Red Sox
There are too many questions in the rotation, but they will score lots of runs and stay competitive.
5. Baltimore Orioles
It’s going to be another rough year, but the prospect pool will be arriving this year.
Player to Watch: 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays
Best Acquisition: P Kevin Gausman – Toronto Blue Jays
New Kid on the Block: C Adley Rutschman – Baltimore Orioles
American League Division Series
1. Tampa Bay Rays vs. 4. Boston Red Sox