I love baseball. It’s a perfect game. On every single pitch the entire game changes every single time. It is the ideal tonic to our always-too-fast-21st century lifestyle. It slows our world down. It slows us down. It is the perfect drink of ice cold lemonade on a warm summer day. It’s our national pastime. It’s baseball.
Enough poetry. More prose (and predictions) on Opening Day!
For the first time since 1995, I see the Atlanta Braves winning the Fall Classic. It won’t be easy as they’ll have to take down the defending champion San Francisco Giants in a Wild Card game, top their division rival, the Washington Nationals, in the divisional round, and rekindle a classic rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodger in the National League Championship Series before ultimately outlasting the Detroit Tigers in seven epic games of the 109th World Series. For closing out all four wins, reliever Craig Kimbrel takes home Most Valuable Player honors.
Want to know how your favorite squad will fare? Check out my team-by-team predictions and find out how all the playoffs will shake out.
As for my Bold Prediction of the Year: the New York Yankees will finish in last place in the American League East.
And the award(s) goes to . . .
NL MVP: Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers
AL MVP: Mike Trout, LF, California Angels
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
NL Rookie of the Year: Julio Teheran, SP, Atlanta Braves
AL Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar, 2B/SS, Texas Rangers
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi González, Atlanta Braves
AL Manager of the Year: John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays
A position-by-position breakdown of my five—Willie Mays Hayes, Buck Weaver, Ray Kinsella, Adirondack Slugs, and Charlie Hustle—fantasy baseball drafts:
Catcher: Victor Martinez (2), Jonathan Lucroy (2), Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Miguel Montero, Jesus Montero, A.J. Pierzynski
First Base: Corey Hart (4), David Ortiz (2), Mark Teixeira (2), Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Allen Craig, Adam LaRoche
Second Base: Emilio Bonifacio (3), Jurickson Profar (2), Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist, Rickie Weeks
Third Base: Hanley Ramirez (3), Alex Rodriguez (2), David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Wil Middlebrooks, Marco Scutaro, Jedd Gyorko
Shortstop: Billy Hamilton (4), Jose Reyes (2), Martin Prado (2), Troy Tulowitzki, J.J. Hardy
Left Field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, Carl Crawford, Jackie Bradley
Center Field: Jayson Werth (3), Desmond Jennings (2), Adam Eaton (2), Mike Trout, Jacoby Ellsbury, B.J. Upton, Carlos Gomez
Right Field: Shin-Soo Choo (2), Bryce Harper, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce
Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer (2), Yovani Gallardo (2), Marco Estrada (2), Gerritt Cole (2), Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Yu Darvish, Zack Greinke, Matt Moore, Matt Harvey, Dan Haren, Jon Lester, Hiroki Kuroda, Ian Kennedy, Josh Johnson, Kyle Lohse, Jarrod Parker, Homer Bailey, Ryan Vogelsong, Mike Fiers, Hisashi Iwakuma, Josh Beckett, Shelby Miller, Dylan Bundy
Relief Pitcher: Addison Reed (2), Phil Coke (2), Joe Nathan, Sergio Romo, J.J. Putz, John Axford, John Hanrahan, Greg Holland, Chris Perez, Tom Wilhelmsen,Grant Balfour, Glen Perkins
Follow my pursuit of fantasy baseball hegemony—interlaced with ample amounts of wit, wisdom, and good humor—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.