2014 MLB Season Preview

MY DESK, Md. — The 2014 MLB season kicked off this past week with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia….wait what?! Yeah Major League Baseball thought it was a good idea to start the season before the traditional Opening Day that was March 31st this year. Despite this, I am looking forward to this season more so than last ones because of the chance that my South Jersey-repping Mike Trout finally wins an MVP Award. Without further ado, here’s a quick primer on what this season will entail:

Best Pure Batting Lineups on Paper

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers — RF Yasiel Puig, LF Carl Crawford, SS Hanley Ramirez, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, CF Andre Ethier, 3B Juan Uribe, C A.J. Ellis, 2B Dee Gordon
  2. New York Yankees — CF Jacoby Ellsbury, SS Derek Jeter, RF Carlos Beltran, 1B Mark Teixeira, C Brian McCann, DH Alfonso Soriano, 2B Brian Roberts, 3B Kelly Johnson, LF Ichiro Suzuki
  3. St. Louis Cardinals — 3B Matt Carpenter, 2B Kolten Wong, LF Matt Holliday, RF Allen Craig, C Yadier Molina, 1B Matt Adams, SS Jhonny Peralta, CF Peter Bourjos
  4. Detroit Tigers — 2B Ian Kinsler, RF Torii Hunter, 1B Miguel Cabrera, DH Victor Martinez, CF Austin Jackson, C Alex Avila, 3B Nick Castellenos, SS Alex Gonzalez, LF Don Kelly
  5. Los Angeles Angels — RF Kole Calhoun, CF Mike Trout, 1B Albert Pujols, LF Josh Hamilton, 3B David Freese, DH Raul Ibanez, 2B Howie Kendrick, C Chris Iannetta, SS Erick Aybar
  6. Boston Red Sox — CF Grady Sizemore, RF Shane Victorino, 2B Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz, 1B Mike Napoli, LF Daniel Nava, SS Xander Bogaerts, C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Will Middlebrooks

Best Pure Pitching Rotations on Paper

  1. Detroit Tigers — Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly
  2. St. Louis Cardinals — Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly
  3. Washington Nationals — Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers — Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren, Paul Maholm
  5. Tampa Bay Rays — David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi
  6. Boston Red Sox — Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubrant

Biggest Offseason Moves

  1. St. Louis Cardinals add Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos
  2. Texas Rangers swap Ian Kinsler with Prince Fielder with Detroit Tigers
  3. Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka signs with New York Yankees
  4. Washington Nationals sign Doug Fister
  5. Yankees sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann
  6. Robinson Cano signs with Seattle Mariners

My Playoff Picks

  • AL East: Tampa Bay Rays
  • AL West: Oakland Athletics
  • AL Central: Detroit Tigers
  • AL Wild Cards: New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox
  • AL Champion: Tigers over Red Sox
  • NL East: Washington Nationals
  • NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
  • NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
  • NL Wild Cards: Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants
  • NL Champion: Dodgers over Cardinals
  • World Series: Tigers over Dodgers

Postseason Awards Predictions

  • AL MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  • AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
  • AL Rookie of the Year: Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
  • NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

Highest-Paid Players This Season 

  1. Zack Greinke, SP, Dodgers — $28 million
  2. Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies — $25 million
  3. Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies — $25 million
  4. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners — $24 million
  5. Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers — $24 million
  6. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies — $23.5 million
  7. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees — $23.125 million
  8. C.C. Sabathia, SP, Yankees — $23 million
  9. Joe Mauer, 1B, Twins — $23 million
  10. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels — $23 million
  11. Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners — $22,857,142
  12. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers — $22 million
  13. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees — 22 million
  14. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers — $21,857,142
  15. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers — 21.25 million
  16. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Yankees — $21,142,857
  17. Carl Crawford, OF, Dodgers — $21,107,142
  18. Matt Cain, SP, Giants — $20,833,333
  19. Jayson Werth, RF, Nationals — $20,571,428
  20. David Wright, 3B, Mets — $20 million
  21. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers — $20 million

All-Division Teams

AL East

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Yankees
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
  4. David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
  5. Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles
  6. Carlos Beltran, RF, Yankees
  7. Jose Bautista, LF, Blue Jays
  8. Brian McCann, C, Yankees
  9. Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
  • Starting Rotation: David Price, CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Masahiro Tanaka, R.A. Dickey
  • Bullpen: Grant Balfour, Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica, Sergio Santos, Joel Peralta
  • Bench: Mark Teixeira, Manny Machado, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, Wil Myers

AL Central

  1. Michael Bourn, CF, Indians
  2. Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
  4. Joe Mauer, DH, Twins
  5. Torii Hunter, RF, Tigers
  6. Alex Gordon, LF, Royals
  7. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
  9. Alex Avila, C, Tigers
  • Starting Rotation: Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Justin Masterson
  • Bullpen: Glen Perkins, Wade Davis, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford
  • Bench: Billy Butler, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Josh Willingham, Alejandro De Aza

AL West

  1. Shin-Soo Choo, CF, Rangers
  2. Mike Trout, LF, Angels
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
  4. Albert Pujols, DH, Angels
  5. Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers
  6. Yeonis Cespedes, RF, Athletics
  7. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
  8. John Jaso, C, Athletics
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
  • Starting Rotation: Felix Hernandez, Jered Weaver, Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir
  • Bullpen: Fernando Rodney, Joakim Soria, Alexi Ogando, Ernesto Frieri, Jim Johnson
  • Bench: David Freese, Josh Donaldson, Josh Hamilton, Alex Rios, Jose Altuve

NL East

  1. Bryce Harper, CF, Nationals
  2. Jason Heyward, LF, Braves
  3. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Marlins
  5. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
  6. David Wright, 3B, Mets
  7. Curtis Granderson, DH, Mets
  8. Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies
  9. Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves
  • Starting Rotation: Cliff Lee, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister
  • Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel, Jose Valverde, Jonathan Papelbon, Drew Storen, Rafael Soriano
  • Bench: Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Johnson, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond

NL Central

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals
  2. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
  4. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
  5. Ryan Braun, RF, Brewers
  6. Matt Holliday, LF, Cardinals
  7. Pedro Alvarez, DH, Pirates
  8. Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
  9. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
  • Starting Rotation: Adam Wainwright, Francisco Liriano, Johnny Cueto, Michael Wacha, Yovani Gallardo
  • Bullpen: Jose Veras, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Grilli, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez
  • Bench: Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Allen Craig, Billy Hamilton, Starling Marte

NL West

  1. Yasiel Puig, RF, Dodgers
  2. Carlos Gonzalez, CF, Rockies
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
  4. Adrian Gonzalez, DH, Dodgers
  5. Hanley Ramirez, 3B, Dodgers
  6. Buster Posey, C, Giants
  7. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
  8. Mark Trumbo, LF, Diamondbacks
  9. Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
  • Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Wade Miley, Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • Bullpen: LaTroy Hawkins, Huston Street, Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Addison Reed
  • Bench: Hunter Pence, Miguel Montero, Chase Headley, Pablo Sandoval, Martin Prado

Preseason All-Star Teams

American League

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Yankees
  2. Mike Trout, LF, Angels
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
  5. David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
  6. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
  7. Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
  8. Brian McCann, C, Yankees
  9. Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
  • Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Chris Sale, Jered Weaver
  • Bullpen: Koji Uehara, Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour, Edward Mujica, Joakim Soria

National League

  1. Yasiel Puig, LF, Dodgers
  2. Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Marlins
  5. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Dodgers
  6. Paul Goldschmidt, DH, Diamondbacks
  7. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
  8. Buster Posey, C, Giants
  9. Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
  • Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee, Adam Wainwright
  • Bullpen: Trevor Rosenthal, Craig Kimbrel, Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo, Huston Street

All-MLB Team

  1. Mike Trout, LF, Angels
  2. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Dodgers
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
  4. David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
  5. Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Marlins
  6. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
  7. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
  8. Buster Posey, Giants
  9. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
  • Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez
  • Bullpen: Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Trevor Rosenthal,

 

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