Nick Wetzel, Sports Editor
It’s the start of a new year on college campuses around the world which also means the MLB regular season is coming to an end. This season has been one of the weirder ones in recent memory with twists and turns occurring all over the league, such as the New York Yankees being sellers at the trade deadline, while the Chicago Cubs were buyers. So let’s get started.
AL East: Boston Red Sox– Three games separate the first place and fourth place teams in this division so anything can happen, but the Red Sox hold the top spot right now and I expect them to hold onto it. They have young studs all over the field with Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. helping out the grizzled veterans Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia. Rick Porcello also recently became the first 20-win pitcher of the season.
AL Central: Cleveland Indians– This division has been owned by the Kansas City Royals recently, but the Indians are running away with it this season. They currently are up by 6 games and are expected to hold onto that lead thanks to their great starting pitching, led by Corey Kluber, and the bullpen, anchored by Andrew Miller.
AL West: Texas Rangers– Everyone was on the Houston Astros bandwagon coming into this season but they stumbled out of the gate, opening the door for the Rangers to swoop in. This team is led by their two aces, Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. They also have high powered bats with trade acquisitions Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy joining Adrian Beltre and Ian Desmond in this ferocious lineup.
NL East: Washington Nationals– At one point this season this division looked wide open with the Nats, Mets, and Marlins all looking worthy of the crown. That part of the season has come and gone however, as the Nationals are currently up by nine games. Bryce Harper is easily the engine that drives this team, but he doesn’t do it alone thanks to Daniel Murphy and reigning Rookie of the Month winner Trea Turner. Trade deadline acquisition Mark Melancon shuts the door out of the bullpen also. They are definitely hoping Stephen Strasburg can come back at some point this season though.
NL Central: Chicago Cubs– The Cubs came into the season as World Series favorites and they have looked every bit the part to live up to that high praise. They currently sit 39 games above .500 and are up 15 games on the Cardinals. They are my pick to win the World Series.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers– The Dodgers are up by four games on the San Francisco Giants right now, but the biggest news for them is the return of their ace Clayton Kershaw after a stint on the disabled list.
AL Wildcards: I think the American League wildcard teams are both going to come out of the AL East with the Blue Jays grabbing the 1st spot. For the 2nd spot I’m going to be a homer and give it to the Yanks, mainly because the Orioles play against the Red Sox six more times and that’s going to be tough to get past.
NL Wildcards: For the National League, I predict that the San Francisco Giants hold on to the first wildcard spot and the St. Louis Cardinals outlast the Mets for the second spot.