After an offseason that has felt longer than any one of Odubel Herrera’s 2,154 career at bats, the 2019 MLB campaign is FINALLY upon us. In what shapes up to be another exciting year of bat flips and brushbacks, baseball fans everywhere should be stoked on a season that actually may have some parity, and if we are lucky one that doesn’t result with the Dodgers in the World Series.
Our 6-Division preview won’t help you predict who will have the best WAR or tell you which American League shortstop had the most stolen bases on 1-2 counts in 2018 (jk it will because it was Jean Segura so tell that to your douchey baseball friend who’s a “die-hard” cubs fan because his uncle had a layover at o’hare one time in ‘03 and felt sorry for the fans cause the man with the head radio caught the ball), but it will help get you all fired up for another year of America’s Pastime ©.
*Sidenote, I HATE reading any of the dumbass Bleacher Report/ESPN/MLB articles that I am poorly replicating because they ALWAYS start in the AL East and then move west. And then they go back to the NL East and do the same shit. Fuck that. The AL East is dumb. They’ve had their glory at the bottom of the introduction paragraph for far too long. I’m writing about them last when I am the most TIRED and INARTICULATE.
The landscape of the NL West within the last decade has been shaped by LA dominance, San Francisco’s #Believen dynasty, and the Rockies and D-Backs coming oh-so-close after solid regular season runs. And also the Padres being a team. As much as I want to say that the West is actually up for grabs, only half of the division has actually improved enough to give LA a run for their money. The Rockies’ loss of D.J LeMahieu was quickly remedied by the signing of solid utilityman Daniel Murphy, and the Padres’ BOLD move to sign Manny Machado and inject 50cc of straight cash into their number 1 ranked farm system, made them just a little bit more interesting. With that being said, I believe the Rox largely untouched roster from their 2018 Wild Card run is enough to knock a temporarily Kershaw-less Doyers squad off of the top.
First Place: Colorado
Last Place: Arizona
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: The Padres will finish the season over .500 for the first time since 2010, earning them an opportunity to lose a Wild Card game to like the Mets or something.
In what has arguably been the most competitive division in the National League for years, the usual 3-team race is really blown open this season with the Reds’ offseason acquisitions of Yasiel Puig and Sonny Gray, and the Brewers’ catapult into the MLB’s elite. All but Cincinnati finished with winning records last season, and this year they could finally squeak out enough W’s to join the .500 club. Reigning MVP Christian Yelich will lead a more experienced and upgraded Brewers team back into the playoffs, and look for more than just a taste of postseason glory. However, don’t be surprised to find Paul Goldschmidt and his new Cardinals group breathing down their necks heavier than Bartolo eating ribs.
First Place: Milwaukee
Last Place: Pittsburgh
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: The Cubs will miss out on the Playoffs entirely, freaking them out enough to shop around and trade third baseman Kris Bryant in the following offseason.
“damn yo, the phillys for sure winnin the division cuz they got Harper lol!” That’s something your DUMB coworker who didn’t read this article would say. Yes, all eyes will be on the Phillies to use the team they supplemented with their “stupid money”, to come out on top of a lowly National League East. Despite the huge additions of J.T Realmuto and that Bryce guy, the biggest key for the Phils is going to be the production from Rhys Hoskins in the middle of a now very comfy lineup. But even after their huge offseason, the one thing people seem to be forgetting is that there is another team they have to play 16+ times, and that’s the fuckin’ BRAVES. With what could be the sickest infield in the league now that Donaldson is in the mix, Atlanta is not going to be quick to roll over.
First Place: Atlanta
Last Place: Miami
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: The Nationals will still finish ahead of the Phillies, and Bryce Harper will never get a hit again and seek out a voodoo witch to put a spell on his bat and bring him back into his MVP status but with the price of always having the feeling that he has to sneeze but he never can actually sneeze. Or maybe just the first part.
A division fairly similar to its NL counterpart, the AL West has really only been dominated by 2 teams in the last few years. The ‘stros should be able to cruise to another division title, but what myself and most other baseball fans will be watching for is whether or not the Angels are finally gonna figure their shit out so we can see Trout in October. The Angels have been a head-scratcher for the last few seasons, because their lineup isn’t shitty by any means, and it’s crazy to think that they’re still in a 3-team race for 2nd place with Oakland and Seattle. I’d love to see another sick run for the A’s, but I think the strength in the rest of the league will edge them out of a wild card spot. Until Oakland decides to pull the trigger on some actual free agents, and Anaheim (I almost hate the “Los Angeles Angels of” name more than the AL EAST) can find some mojo, the west is all Houston.
First Place: Houston
Last Place: Texas
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: The Mariners will finish with less than 70 wins for the first time since 2011, but will make a 2012-2013 Red Sox-like turnaround and find themselves in contention next season.
With probably the most drastic decline out of any division in the MLB, the AL Central is one I’ll easily admit that I don’t know much about. Of course Cleveland has found their way into the last 3 postseasons, but outside of the Tribe nobody has really made any noise. I would LOVE for Minnesota to have a strong finish and make the playoffs a-la the 2018 Brewers, but they still are a few pieces away from knocking off a consistent Cleveland squad. Outside of the Twinkies, I don’t see anybody except for the White Sox to really create much of a threat, and it will be a dismal year for AL Central fans. And even though I just shit on the entire division, I do believe the tides are changing and the young talent stowed in the farms will bring the Central back to glory in the coming years.
First Place: Cleveland
Last Place: Detroit
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: Damn I really have nothing here. Maybe like the Indians and the Browns will both make the playoffs for the first time since 1954 (that stat seems insane but i like triple checked it please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t believe it because i can’t either)
Dammit that came up way too quickly. In all seriousness, the best division in baseball isn’t changing in 2019, and if anything it only continues to get better. The East should look pretty much the same as it did last year, but it will be exciting to see if the Vlad Jr. led Blue Jays or dangerous Rays (literally and figuratively) can put some pressure on the two-headed New York/Boston beast. I can’t imagine the Orioles will be equally as shitty (although I won’t hold my breath), so it will be fun to see this division get back into its must-see state. And oh will we see it, 13 times thanks to you ESPN. It won’t be as easy as they’d like, but Boston is just too good to let go of the top spot, and they’ll be nervous to find 2 other AL East opponents battling for a World Series spot in October.
First Place: Boston
Last Place: Baltimore
Hot Take You Can Uncomfortably Make to Your Friends: The Yankees will have another rematch coming from the Wild Card slot, but this time they will knock off their Masshole foes and end up in the Fall Classic ©.
So completely copy, argue, or just shit on these takes as you will, but let them help refresh you for the beginning of the 162 game marathon. Also, keep it handy so you can use it against me when the Mets face off against the Tigers in the World Series and Chris Iannetta smacks 56 bombs to win the MVP.
Happy new year.