World Series will feature Yankees, Dodgers

A predictable, regular season, an incredible postseason and a forgettable offseason highlighted the year in baseball for 2017. 2018 will most likely be very similar to a primer for a league-wide shakeup in 2019. Teams like Chicago and Los Angeles should get comfortable in their throne now because they might not have ownership come spring 2019.

AL East- The storyline of the year perhaps lies inside the American League East division. The season-long battle between them, once again, the evil empire from New York and their neighbors to the east. The Red Sox went under the radar with their offseason signing of J.D. Martinez, often compared as the lesser to the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees and Red Sox will be a season-long battle on the East Coast that will have a massive impact on the postseason. It will most likely be a battle between the two come first round, but whoever gets home-field will win the series. The Yankees proved this last year when they lost all their road games in a seven-game series. I think that the Yankees have more active bats than the Sox; however, come October anything can happen.

AL Central- This is a no-brainer. The Indians have a clear advantage over the rest of the division. The Twins are close to finishing their rebuild but don’t quite have the firepower to overtake the lead in the Central. The Tigers and Royals are both at the opposing ends of the rebuilding spectrum. Both teams will most likely be sellers at this year’s deadline, as well as the next few years.

The Indians will probably take the second spot in the postseason behind the Yankees. However, I am wary of picking them over anyone they play due to their recent postseason struggles. They couldn’t finish off the Cubs in 2016 and lost their first series last year. I’m not sure if they have the offense to keep up with the rest of the league, but they have the pitching. The Indians will have to hit more home runs if they want to be useful in New York or Boston.

AL West- Houston won last year and came into the season heavy favorites. They’ve shown the success and importance of a proper rebuild.

The Angels are facing the same situation after their acquisition of the so-called “Babe Ruth of Japan.” Shohei Ohtani is a dual tool athlete, recruited as a designated hitter as well as a starting pitcher. The Angels season rides or dies on his success. They could use the extra double-digit wins from the front end of their rotation including a powerful bat to back up Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.

Angels aren’t anywhere close to the level of the Astros or the rest of the league. They’re on the cusp. In the next few years, they could become something special. A free agent signing to either the rotation or batting order would be pivotal in making a run through the American League.

NL East- The Nationals are facing an end of an era and need success now; it is championship or bust. Bryce Harper is facing a critical decision in the free agent market.

Chicago is the favorite to sign him outside of the Nationals, and things aren’t looking positive for the Nats in the gradual future. They have the right materials to run far into October, but the question looming is are they ready. The past few postseasons haven’t been kind to the Nationals, not making it to the World Series as the victors from the NL.

The Mets are up and coming, looking to return to their World Series form from 2015. They have pitching and a game-changing player in Yoenis Cespedes. I don’t imagine that they’ll have problems with the division. The rest of the NL is what worries me. They’ll cruise into the playoffs, but once again, I don’t think they’ll do much damage.

NL Central- The Cub’s are on top of the Central today, but what about tomorrow? They are the clear best team in the division, but if they can’t keep their stars or sign others, the division will catch up to them.

The Brewers made leaps and bounds over the offseason, acquiring key defensive and offensive athletes. The pitching is up and coming; the batting order is growing into its own. The Cubs should be scared of the Brew Crew. They need better players as well as their all-stars to skyrocket to the top of the statistical charts. The Cubs have the power now, but come to the offseason we’ll see if they can improve the opening day lineup. Cubs will make it to the postseason, but I don’t see them coming out of the NLCS with a trophy in hand.

NL West- Similar to the AL East, the NL West is extremely competitive. They were last year, and this year will be no different. It will be a three-team race to the finish between the Rockies, D-Backs and Dodgers. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to the same conclusion as last year, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a shift in power. Picking between the three is hard.

All are very similar in lineups, the Dodgers just having a slight advantage in skill. The D’Backs and Rockies will be a sprint to the finish, and every game of every series will count tremendously. Rockies and D’Backs during the year will be must-see television, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the games birth a playoff-type atmosphere.

I’ll give Arizona a slight advantage, but I don’t think it means much when both teams are so close in ratings. My prediction will be the same result as last year. Arizona beats Colorado in the wildcard, but the Dodgers come out on top in the end.

The power balance is close to shifting in the MLB, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the current state while it’s here. The Yankees short rebuild will bring them to prominence, and Los Angeles will continue their success based on their well-manufactured rotation. The New York Yankees will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series. The series will be seven games but end in a triumphant game seven win for the Dodgers, ending their 30-year championship drought.

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