The 2018 MLB season is officially upon us. Here’s a look at Know Hitter’s predictions for the season.
American League West Winners: Houston Astros
American League Central Winners: Cleveland
American League East Winners: New York Yankees
American League Wild Card Teams: Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins
American League Champion: Houston Astros
National League West Winners: Los Angeles Dodgers
National League Central Winners: Chicago Cubs
National League East Winners: Washington Nationals
National League Wild Card Teams: Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies
National League Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
World Series Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
American League Manager of the Year: Aaron Boone
In his first season as a manager, Boone has been handed a Yankees roster complete with the Aaron Judge–Giancarlo Stanton–Gary Sanchez troika, not to mention a strong rotation featuring Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray.
And oh yeah, they may employ one of the better bullpens in recent memory.
Aaron Boone should rack up plenty of wins.
National League Manager of the Year: Dave Martinez
Could this be the year the Nationals finally get over the hump and win it all? They certainly have the talent to compete with the Dodgers and Cubs thanks to the presence of the likes of Scherzer, Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon.
Martinez could be in for an extremely successful first season in the nation’s capital.
American League Rookie of the Year: Willie Calhoun
Many of the conceivable top contenders for the American League Rookie of the Year—Calhoun, Franklin Barreto, Dustin Fowler, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Willy Adames—are beginning the season in the minors.
There isn’t a clear favorite. If one of the group makes it to the big leagues first and establishes themselves, they could become the front runner, but we’ll go with Calhoun thanks to his surroundings.
The former Dodgers prospect will be playing his home games in Texas, where is power will certainly show well.
Shohei Ohtani could obviously be a candidate here, but he could conceivably run into somewhat of a wall at both the plate and on the mound.
National League Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna
Acuna didn’t make Atlanta’s Opening Day unit, but should be up in the Majors soon. The 20-year-old hit .325 and registered an .896 OPS in 612 plate appearances split across Advanced-A, Double-A and Triple-A.
He was on fire in Spring Training, collecting 19 hits, 11 RBI, eight runs scored, four home runs, four stolen bases and four walks in 52 plate appearances.
That spits out to a .432 average, a .519 OBP, a .727 slugging percentage and a 1.247 OPS. He’ll be playing left field in Atlanta sooner rather than later, and when he does it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him rake once again.
American League MVP: Mike Trout
National League MVP: Bryce Harper
Nothing to see here. Both players look like strong bets to once again take home the MVP award in their respective leagues.
if they can stay healthy and perform, they’ll both be close to shoe ins.
Trout will certainly face competition from Jose Altuve, Aaron Judge and possibly Giancarlo Stanton in the American League, but the do-everything outfielder finished tied for third in the league in fWAR with a 6.9 metric despite playing in just 114 games (507 plate appearances).
By comparison, Anthony Rendon (147 games, 605 plate appearances) and Stanton (159 games, 692 plate appearances) also had 6.9 fWAR metrics.
American League Cy Young: Chris Sale
National League Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Sale has led the league in strikeouts two of the last three seasons and is the active leader in strikeout/walk ratio.
Dating back to 2012, the right-hander has finished sixth, fifth, third, fourth, fifth and second in the Cy Young voting and is second in fWAR since 2015 among starters.
Since 2015, only Kershaw has bested Sale in terms of fWAR with a sparkling 19.7 metric.
That run included a grand total of zero Cy Young wins, as the future Hall of Famer finished third, fifth and second in the voting.
Spring Training stats don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, but it is worth noting that Kershaw didn’t allow a run in 21.1 frames in Arizona.
He’s locked in.