Prediction season continues on this off day as the Rangers move from Arizona to Arlington for two more practice games Friday and Saturday. Here is how I see the season playing out:
1 Boston—Pitching will not be as dominating as thought. Chris Sale will battle for Cy Young. David Price’s arm will be a problem. Rick Porcello will return to Rick Porcello. Mitch Moreland.
2 Toronto—Enough to beat the three teams below them. Not as good as in the past. Plus, as wild card team, won’t get the luxury of playing the Rangers in the playoffs this time.
3 Baltimore—Not enough pitching.
4 New York—One of the worst rotations the Yankees have ever had. Playing out the season until they have nearly $80 million coming off the books. Next offseason, they will re-fill the pitching pantry. Where Darvish will end up.
5 Tampa Bay—Lots of arms. No bats.
1 Cleveland—Best team in the American League got better with Encarnacion, and with all their injured pitchers back. Only question mark is Kipnis’s health.
2 Detroit—Verlander, Miggy, Kinsler, JD are enough to carry this team further than it should go.
3 Kansas City—The World Series gets one season further in the rear view mirror.
4 Chicago—As long as they have Jose Quintana, they have one of the top pitchers in baseball. His numbers are even with Hamels’s over the past three years. No matter how bad they get, they’re not the Twins.
5 Minnesota—An embarrassing rotation. An almost as equally embarrassing offense.
1 Texas—Davish and Hamels are the best one-two punch in baseball, but rest of rotation is punchless. A lot is riding on Tyson Ross. Offense is strong. Going to need to be.
2 Houston—Keuchel needs to bounce back, McCullers needs to get healthy. Their young phenoms are primed to blossom. Any team with Altuve is formidable. Should be a classic duel with Texas. Edge goes to Banister over Hinch.
3 Los Angeles— They have Mike Trout. He has had the best start to a career of any player in major league history.
4 Seattle—For some reason, people think they got better. All they did was allow Cano, Cruz, and King Felix to get another year older. Besides, they are the Mariners.
5 Oakland—The Athletics still have a team?
A.L. wild cards: Toronto, Detroit. Detroit wins.
Cleveland beats Detroit.
Boston beats Texas.
Cleveland beats Boston.
1 New York—By far the best rotation in baseball. So deep they have better pitchers than most teams ready to step in when injuries happen. Good enough offense.
2 Washington—The Texas Rangers of the National League. Always the brides maid, never the bride.
3 Miami—Is it possible to get a full season out of Stanton? Volquez is no Jose Fernandez.
4 Philadelphia—They don’t have a single player under contract for longer than this year.
5 Atlanta—New ballpark, same results. Bartolo Colon celebrates his 70th birthday.
1 Chicago—By far the best team in the National League. A lock to repeat as NL champs.
2 St. Louis—This used to be their division. It would be still if it weren’t for the Cubs.
3 Pittsburgh—Not enough.
4 Milwaukee—Their motto for 2017: Thank God for Cincinnati.
5 Cincinnati—Poor rich Joey Votto.
1 Colorado—Great offense. The pitching will be enough to carry them to the top. Surprise team of the year.
2 San Francisco—Bumgarner, Cueto, and Moore three of only fifteen pitchers to reach 200 innings last year. Offense is decent.
3 Los Angeles—Can win it all if Clayton Kershaw can start every game. Too many holes.
4 Arizona—Tom Wilhemsen. Enough said.
5 San Diego—The worst team in baseball.
NL wild cards: Washington, San Francisco. Washington wins.
Chicago beats Washington.
New York beats Colorado.
Chicago beats New York.
Cleveland beats Chicago.
REMINDER: RANGERSROUNDING3RD.COM NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK.
It’s Saturday, June 3, at 6:15 against the Astros, in the Cholula All-You-Can-Eat seats in right field. Tickets are $40 each. There will be a raffle. Someone will leave with an autographed ball of a Rangers legend with more than 2000 hits. More to come. Let me know if you are interested. Only a few tickets left.