Double Post Package: Lester Impacting Cubs? AND MLB 2015 Preview

Lester Impacting Cubs

The Cubs are making some offseason moves that will rebuild their team back into the playoffs.  Jon Lester, ex-Red Sox and Athletics starting pitcher, has even increased their world series odds from 1 in 50 to 1 in 12.  I think along with Travis Wood and Jake Arrieta, Lester will help make the Cubs rotation one of the best in the entire MLB.  The starting lineup has some big hitters like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, and they added Dexter Fowler.  Joe Maddon being the Cubs new manager will also help, after experiencing manager position for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.  The Cubs may soon have one of the best teams in the MLB.  So, if you want to see how they compare to the rest of the MLB based on my current 2015 predictions, read the second post in this double post package.

MLB 2015 Preview

AL East

1.New York Yankees 91-71

2.Boston Red Sox 90-72

3.Tampa Bay Rays 80-82

T4.Toronto Blue Jays 77-85

T4.Baltimore Orioles 77-85

This division will fix their previous mistakes.  The Yankees will move to the top, rebuilding throughout the offseason, making themselves playoff worthy again.  The Yankees are back to being those old Yankees you can never seem to beat.  Although they have been quiet in free agency, they have A-Rod coming back from his steroid suspension, who will probably become a full time designated hitter and have Chase Headley at third for a full season, rather than just 2 months of one.  The Red Sox also rebuilt well and will fight the Yankees for the division title, earning themselves a close 2nd place.  The Rays won’t budge much, actually getting worse, with the loss of David Price, star pitcher.  The Rays still have the ace rotation they’re known for.  They even still have Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, but lost Jose Molina to the Nationals.  That puts them in the middle, at 80-82.  The Jays will also stay put.  Although they added Josh Donaldson and now have a decent lineup and rotation, they’ve had losses and weaknesses too.  The Orioles move to last.  Nelson Cruz really was a big booster and mot of the reason the O’s won the division.  With another loss in Nick Markakis, the Orioles could be in trouble, but no worse than Toronto.

AL Central

1.Kansas City Royals 95-67

2.Detroit Tigers 90-72

3.Cleveland Indians 86-76

4.Chicago White Sox 73-89

5.Minnesota Twins 65-97

This division holds little change.  The Royals won themselves the division this time as Detroit is getting both weaker and stronger at the same time, Kansas City is going mostly nowhere but up.  The Tigers stick at 90-72 losing Max Scherzer but having Price for a full season.  Their rotation is still good but lineups are only decent, having Miguel Cabrera.  The Indians start to move away from the middle getting better.  They have Swisher, Kipnis, Bourn and Brantley, come on.  The White Sox go up and down getting Melky Cabrera from Toronto but losing Alejandro De Aza, but getting better rather than than worse, slightly.  The Twins will stay one of the worst in the MLB, with only big hitters in Kurt Suzuki, Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier, and practically no good pitching.  So, not much is different from 2014 in the AL Central.

AL West

1.Texas Rangers 95-67

2.Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 91-71

3.Seattle Mariners 84-78

4.Oakland Athletics 83-79

5.Houston Astros 64-98

This division would be a wreck predicting who gets last place if it wasn’t for the Astros joining the division.  The Astros have nowhere to go but better, but they won’t get much better.  Their prediction has gone up by 13 wins since their real 2013 record of 51-111.  The Rangers will bounce back after a massive rebuild starting in September last year, with only 70 wins that season.  The Angels remain good for 2nd place, keeping an outstanding lineup and decent starting rotation from last year.  The Mariners do not change much after a bounce back year with Robinson Cano, but slightly worse without Justin Smoak, now on the unstoppable Nationals as well.  The Athletics get worse, now without Yoenis Cespedes, Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester plus Josh Donaldson, nobody from the trade left.  Could Oakland absolutely stink?  Are they completely rebuilding?  Looks like that may be true, as their record just barely reaches over .500.  The Astros obviously still have last place, but they’re slowly getting better and could be a lot better in years to come, making this division very hard to steal.

NL East

1.Washington Nationals 97-65

2.Atlanta Braves 82-80

3.New York Mets 76-86

4,Miami Marlins 75-87

5.Philadelphia Phillies 74-88

The Nationals will CONTINUE to add stars to their team and are just getting better and better.  They remain in 1st place at 97-65 for a record.  The Braves however, gave up Justin Upton and more stars, and will not qualify for any more than one win over .500.  Craig Kimbrel is really their only hope left after free agency begins to wrap up.  The Mets, Marlins and Phillies are all close to each other with win amounts in the mid 70s.  The Mets take third having a decent amount of good players like Matt Harvey and David Wright.  The Marlins continue to pile up on good prospects and will finally make big improvements and steps forward.  The Phillies take last and are just too old to be good anymore.  Starting a prospect rebuild will boost the Phillies like it did to the Chicago Cubs making them so much better this year.  This division is what I would call lowly except for those amazing Washington Nationals, one of the 2015 MLB’s greatest threats.

NL Central

1.St. Louis Cardinals 91-71

2.Chicago Cubs 89-73

3.Cincinnati Reds 88-74

4.Pittsburgh Pirates 84-78

5.Milwaukee Brewers 80-82

This division may be one of the best ever, almost nobody under .500, Milwaukee making the mark with one more win.  At the top, the Cardinals have got to remain there, even if they won’t have the best season ever.  A close second in the Cubs is because of three new additions, Dexter Fowler in the infield, Jon Lester added to the starting rotation, and Joe Maddon managing.  Lester and Maddon along with Fowler and already Cubs stars, Chicago will improve greatly from last year’s benchmark.  The Reds won’t be far behind, as long as they stay healthy unlike last year.  The Reds stunk last year because they lost Aroldis Chapman, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to injuries.  Thank god at least rookie star Billy Hamilton stuck around, or they really would’ve been screwed last year.  Hopefully, all four of those guys will have better, healthier, seasons this year boosting Cincinnati back into the playoffs.  The Pirates will stay near the same as they did last year, but with several more losses and missing the playoffs, the Cubs taking over as San Francisco or even Cinci’s wild card opponent.  The Brew Crew just misses the .500 mark, even after the start of last year.  I just don’t see enough potential for playoffs in this team, I don’t know why but I haven’t had much faith for them since I became an MLB follower.  So, this division will be very close, intense, good, and somewhat different from past years.

NL West

1.Los Angeles Dodgers 99-63

2.San Francisco Giants 88-74

3.Colorado Rockies 76-86

T4.San Diego Padres 64-98

T4.Arizona Diamondbcaks 64-98

This division has little change to it.  The Dodgers remain with some great stars, one of the best MLB teams, maybe even the best this year.  San Francisco again gets a chance at the wild card game, facing the Reds to get into it against the Chicago Cubs.  The Rockies take third only because the Padres and D-Backs stink, sitting at 64-98, losing some great players like Chase Headley and Wade Miley.  So, I really don’t have much to say about this division, let’s move on to playoff predictions.  Wait, that’s a whole different post.  See it soon, and that’s all for now.

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