Posts tagged Chicago Cubs
The 40/40 Club EP 5 - Jose Valentin Can't Switch Hit

Sportscaster Dan Molloy hops on the fifth episode of The 40/40 Club to talk about his beloved White Sox, Lucas Giolito's hot start to 2019, Tim Anderson's beef with the Royals, Ricky Renteria's job security and how many All Stars will come from the South Side. We'll also talk about the Cubs signing Craig Kimbrel, Ben Zobrist's future on the North Side, and fire off random obscure players from both clubs.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 54 - KD Doesn't Have a Hive

Wos of Count The Dings and The Athletic join Scott and Pierce to break down the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Then, Sporting News’ rankings of the current quarterbacks in the NFL, how we’re coping without Game of Thrones, and Goofy Mog of the Week!

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Wos on Twitter: @BigWos

CHICAGO! Come out and hang with The Barber's Chair Thursday, May 30th for Game One of the NBA Finals! The Golden State Warriors will face off against the Eastern Conference Champion at 8:00 p.m. Fall through for drinks and the big game and meet Scott, Flows and Pierce. 3439 N. Sheffield

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Becky might no longer have two belts but you can still get your #FreeTheMan tee on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

The 40/40 Club EP 3 - Teflon Tim

Shakeia Taylor & Anthony Rescan of Baseball Prospectus hop on to talk about Tim Anderson's bat-flip controversy, race and baseball, how the lack of black faces affect the sport as a whole and whether Tim is the right player to lead baseball into a new era. Then Pierce and Scott run through each division in baseball a month and a half into the season. We might drop some airhorns for the Chicago Bears. Gun shots only for Big Mack.

Negro League Legend: Josh Gibson

Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Shakeia on Twitter: @curlyfro
Follow Anthony on Twitter: @AnthonyRescan

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

The 40/40 Club - A-Rod Won

The debut of The 40/40 Club. Mixed drinks of death, Lumen and crawling to Uber's in Beverly Hills (08:24-15:50). The new trailer for Avengers: Endgame (16:12-24:10). WWF Aggression and the wildest wrestling themes(24:18-26:30). Mr. 3000, Angels in the Outfield and our favorite baseball movies of all-time (26:40-42:40). A preview of the 'Elite Milk' discussion on next week's Ball Don't Lie (32:55-36:50). A-Rod puts a ring on J-Lo and gets the ultimate W over Jeter (36:51-38:50). Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy making terrible movies and Friday After Next is the greatest Christmas movie ever (42:41-48:00). Our boy Mets fan Mike joins the show to talk about the toughest division in baseball, how he plans to deal with the pain of another Mets season and when Tim Tebow will make the 40-man roster, if Eloy Jimenez will hit a homer before the Battle of Winterfell, if the Red Sox have become the Yankees daddies, the Cubs hitting struggles, and give over/unders for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (50:09-1:44:04).

This week's Negro League Legend of the Week: Satchel Paige
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Mike on Twitter: @OptimalViewing

Listen to the new bangers playlist from The Barber's Chair on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Ball Don't Lie - "Drew Brees Don't Know Choppa Style"

KOLR-10 sports anchor Dan Molloy joins Pierce and Scott this week to talk about the MLB hot stove and the White Sox pursuit of Manny Machado. Plus Dan's been covering the Kansas City Chiefs all year, so we'll get his thoughts on Championship Sunday, the Bears possibly signing Kareem Hunt, the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home and much much more!

Topics:
White Sox offer contract to Manny Machado
Possible collusion in MLB
Odds Manny signs with White Sox
Bears end-of-season press conference
Chuck Pagano hired as DC
Cody Parkey's future in Chicago
Nagy not shooting down Kareem Hunt to Bears
AFC Title Game preview
NFC Title Game preview
Kyler Murray declaring for NFL Draft
James Harden having another MVP season
Kyrie Irving and the Celtics' woes
Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer
Goofy Mog of the Week


Follow Flows on Twitter: @Flowsandolini
Follow Scott on Twitter: @Scott_C-oh yeah...that's right nvm...
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Dan on Twitter: @DanMolloyTV
Follow the Barber's Chair: @BarbersChairNet

Celebrate your division champs by grabbing one of the NEW shirts straight from The Barber's Chair merch store!
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
patreon.com/barberschairnet

Ball Don't Lie - I Ain't Scared of You Mothafuckas

Pierce & Scott are back while Joe is already a third of the way to meeting our over/under of shows he'll miss this first half of the season. Alas.... we got a soundboard! So just know this show was shenanigans.

Topics:

Sound-Off
Smug media members
Derrick Rose getting his jersey retired in Chicago
Favorite games/stadiums to go to
KD potentially leaving Golden State after 2018-19
Conor McGregor-Khabib UFC madness
Jordan Howard trade rumors
Bears upcoming schedule
NFL week 5 recap
Blake Bortles still trash
Laughing at the NFC East
More Julio Jones slander!
Drew Brees touchdown record
Patrick Mahomes performance vs. Jaguars
Yankees-Red Sox watch party
Pierce rants on the disappointing Cubs season
Top 5 QBs of all-time
LCS preview
Week 6 NFL predictions
Goofy Mog of the Week
Shoutouts

Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair when it becomes available!
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Grab your official Barber's Chair merch as well!
https://teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair

Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega

The Hunt for October

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks in the MLB.  A couple of teams have kicked their run into high gear, some are stuck in neutral, and others are hustling backwards.  Let’s start with one of the more memorable moments of the MLB season which took place on the North Side of Chicago.

Cubs leading a strong NL Central race
(CHC lead by four games)

The “David Bote Game” may be one that we look back on as a defining moment for the Cubs as well as a deathblow for the Nationals. Bote’s game-winning grand slam a few weeks ago was a good feeling, but the Cubs still have some work to do as the Cardinals (2.5 games back) have gone from .500 and selling off assets to a statement sweep of the Dodgers in a month, and the Brewers (three games back) hang around in the division as well.

The Cubs officially shut Yu Darvish down for the remainder of the season, but they added playoff nemesis Daniel Murphy for the stretch run. The Cardinals also added firepower to their lineup by way of first baseman Matt Adams.

Code Red in DC as the Braves separate themselves from the Phillies
(ATL leads NL East by 3 games)

The good news for the Nationals is they've won the first two games in their series with the Phillies, and they'll see Philadelphia and Atlanta for the final time in two weeks. The bad news is that they've already started their fire sale, sending both Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams to contenders, and pulling Bryce Harper back off waivers once the Dodgers claimed him. "Harper Watch" is officially underway.

Speaking of the Phillies, the question of their legitimacy away from Philly remains as they went 2-4 in Arizona and San Diego, and dropped their first two games in Washington. Philadelphia has to consistently beat the teams they’re supposed to beat as well as find success on the road.

The Braves had their own share of drama as young star Ronald Acuna Jr. was plunked by a Jose Urena fastball last week.  Acuna was RED HOT at the plate, homering eight times in eight games leading up to the incident.  Fortunately, Acuna did not suffer a significant injury. It will be interesting to see how things go this weekend when the Braves travel to play Urena’s Marlins.

Anyone’s Game in the NL West (ARI leads by 1.5 games)

While Arizona has been near the top of the division standings all season, the Rockies are the division’s hottest team. Colorado has won nine of its last eleven games, and welcome Matt Holliday into the lineup for the stretch run. The second half of their six-game homestand will be important as the Cardinals are playing great baseball as well.

Meanwhile, things haven’t gone as planned in Los Angeles. The Dodgers' slide continues as they were swept by St. Louis at home this week. Kenley Jansen's second appearance since coming off the disabled list was brutal as he surrendered the two-run homer that ended the game. LA is 4.5 games out of first, 3.5. games back of the second wild card.

RK-Oakland: A’s are AL West Contenders Out of Nowhere (HOU leads by 1 game)

In a way that would make WWE Superstar Randy Orton proud, the Oakland A’s have surprisingly found their way into the AL West race. Oakland’s success has been puzzling to just about everyone outside of the Bay Area being that they’ve entered the season in the bottom three of team payroll. Lately they’ve won their share of close games with the help of their retooled bullpen.  If they can keep this up, we might see the Oakland Coliseum being used for baseball past September.

Houston is trying to find their stride after a rough stretch which they lost three of their last ten. They took two of three in Seattle to push the Mariners down and stay atop the AL West. They'll host the A's in their final series of the regular season next week in Houston; one of the most crucial series left this year.

Seattle isn’t necessarily fading in the AL West; their play has been overshadowed by the two teams above them. So far, every time it looks like that playoff drought might live to see another year, the Mariners show that they still have life. Robinson Cano’s return to the team has been a plus in a variety of ways, although he’s ineligible for postseason play.  However, uncertainty surrounding Felix Hernández’s role on the pitching staff raises eyebrows.  “Will he go to bullpen?”, “Will he ever return to the starting rotation”, “Does he even have anything left in the tank?” are all questions the Mariners need to solve as soon as possible.

Elsewhere, the Boston Red Sox continue to play great baseball.  Since sweeping the Yankees they've gone 9-4, boosting them to a league-best 88 wins. They seem poised for a deep postseason run. Oh, and that JD Martinez guy?  He’s having an MVP-worthy season and very well could make the 50-home run mark this season.

Not to be outdone by Boston, the Indians have quietly put together a solid run of their own winning eight of their last ten. The Indians are the only division leader with a double-digit lead as they’re up twelve and a half games over second place Minnesota.  Looking at the state of the other four teams in the division, Cleveland very well could have the AL Central locked up by the third week of September.

As the White Sox get a glimpse of their future, the present-day Cubs push for playoff dominance

Tuesday August 21st, 2018 could go down as a memorable day in Chicago sports history. On the day the White Sox unleash one of the stars of their very bright future, the hard-throwing right-hander Michael Kopech, the Cubs - always looking to steal the spotlight from their south side cousins - trade for Washington Nationals infielder Daniel Murphy, better known in Wrigleyville as the 'Cub Killer'.

If the hype around the Sox top pitching prospect is real, then tonight is the dawning of a new era of White Sox baseball. Kopech, ranked 13th among prospects by MLB Pipeline (fourth among pitchers), was the prize beside Yoan Moncada in the Chris Sale deal to Boston more than a year ago. The 22-year-old flamethrower is reminiscent of other Texans before him, like strikeout king Nolan Ryan, the great Roger Clemens, and Cubs fan favorite Kerry Wood.

On Monday, Kopech received a ringing endorsement from a Hall-of-Famer who knew how to get a K; Pedro Martinez. “I believe Kopech has the biggest up and coming arm in baseball," Pedro said. "Excited to watch his debut with the White Sox.”

And Pedro isn't the only one. Attendance at Guaranteed Rate Field - the butt of Cub fans jokes for years - is expected to be plentiful for Kopech's debut against the Minnesota Twins tonight. The Sox have averaged just over 19,000 fans a game this year, ahead of only Oakland (a playoff team playing in cavernous stadium with a fan base tormented by fire sale after fire sale), Tampa Bay (a mediocre team with sporadic fan interest and a dud of a dome) and Miami (see Dan Lebatard, Stugotz and the Shipping Container for all the problems they have).

Sox fans have gotten a bad wrap for showing up for games, a long-standing belief that's accurate in numbers, but if you did deeper than the attendance report you'll find a fan base that's simply tired of being 78-84, and the distant second team in the second city. The Cubs championship win in 2016 - whether or not they want to admit it - lit a fire under the Sox ass, front office and fan alike. Thus the rebuild began, and there have been some very lean years in the Bronzeville/Armour Square community.

Be honest, would you come out to watch the 2017 White Sox? Or even the club this season up until this point? $6 Stubhub tickets be damned! Chicago is too gorgeous to be spending my summer watching a bad ballclub. I'd know. I watched sorry ass Cub team after sorry ass Cub team.

Tonight's game signals the true beginning of a new hope on 35th and Shields, and if Kopech delivers and Eloy Jimenez - the 'other' prospect at the top of the chain - gets called up before the season is over as well, the sights, sounds and feelings of old White Sox baseball could be reinvigorated sooner than we think.

As the Pale Hose usher in the ace of their future, the Chicago Cubs, née White Stockings, look to extend their championship hopes in the present-day.

When the fruits of the Cubs rebuild started to show in their magical 2015 playoff run, it was Daniel Murphy who reminded Cubs fans just who they were. Then with the New York Mets, Murphy was the Billy Goat, Black Cat and Bartman all rolled into one as the Metropolitans steamrolled the Cubs in the 2015 NLCS.

Three years and a Chicago World Series title later, Daniel Murphy, the 'Cub Killer', is now a Cub.

The Nationals finally gave in and started their yard sell, trading Murphy to the north side for a minor-leaguer and a player to be named later. President Theo Epstein and the Cubs will almost certainly have to answer questions on their decision to add a man who doesn't believe in the "gay lifestyle" to their supposedly tight brood, but they made the same decision with Aroldis Chapman in 2016 after his domestic violence suspension, and Addison Russell (accused of DV in the alleged cheating scandal last year) remains on the team. The Cubs organization can paint it however you want, but the ugly truth is Theo, GM Jed Hoyer and the baseball operations are focused not on winning PR battles, but World Series' instead.

As for the player they're getting, Daniel Murphy is a machine with a bat in his hand. He missed the first two months of the season following right knee surgery. Since the All-Star break, Murphy has shined as the Nationals faded out of the playing picture, hitting .340 with a .904 OPS post-break. Not only is he a strong lefty bat to insert into the lineup, it takes away a potential bat that could kill the Cubs on the road to another title.

Acquiring Murphy could be the Cubs adding to their embarrassment of riches, or it could be a sign of deeper problems within the 25-man roster. Russell has been playing with a hand injury for a while that's "been bothering him more than he's saying" according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, and he hasn't hit well when in the lineup. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant is dealing with a shoulder injury that's kept him on the shelf for significant portions of the season. Murphy, a second-baseman who can spell Anthony Rizzo at first base during the September stretch, gives them room to move MVP candidate Javy Baez around to short (for Russell) or third (for Bryant). But it does create one hell of a logjam that any team would kill to have.

The Cubs, holders of the best record in the National League, have had their ups and downs throughout the rollercoaster baseball season, but Murphy gives them a murderers row and a proven postseason warrior, necessary for a proven team themselves who happen to go cold at times. The insurance of adding Murphy makes the Cubs, at full strength, the team to beat in the National League. In a few months, we could be looking back on this day as the day the Cubs stamped their ticket to the World Series.

And years down the line, we could look back on this day as the day a legend was born in Chicago.

What a time to be a baseball fan in Chicago. Any tickets left for the Crosstown Classic next month?

Inside the 2018 MLB Playoff Race

It’s August and the games are starting to matter in the Major Leagues. One bad stretch of games in August could leave you on the outside looking in come playoff time. Let’s look at the close divisional and wild card races still going on.

Rex Sox rising, Yankees folding in AL East

For a team that boasts one of the deepest lineups 1-through-9 in the league, the loss of Aaron Judge (wrist injury) has really hurt the Bronx Bombers.  Entering Monday, the Yankees have lost five straight, including a four-game sweep to the rival Red Sox, who now hold a 9 and a half-game lead in the AL East.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox did all of this without the help of ace Chris Sale, who is expected to return from shoulder inflammation this weekend in Baltimore.

 

Second half magic puts Oakland in the thick of the Wild Card hunt

The Oakland Athletics keep winning, I don’t know how… but they just keep winning. The A's took off in June and July to push them right in the middle of the American League Wild Card hunt.

If you look at their roster, your kneejerk reaction is probably “Who are these guys???”. Their rotation consisting of guys who have bounced all around the league (I’m talking about you, Edwin Jackson), their starting lineup can flat out MASH, like Khris Davis (the major league leader in home runs since 2016) and the two Matts (Chapman and Olson). If the A’s find themselves in the Wild Card game, they will be the reason why.

Are the Phillies for real?

There’s a lot of winning going on in Philadelphia this year (shoutout to Meek) and surprisingly the Phillies have kept the trend going. They’ve won five straight and have a game and a half lead over the Atlanta Braves.

Most of their damage has been done at home, with a NL-best 37 wins at Citizens Bank Park. If they want to hold off the Braves and Nationals (there’s still hope for Bryce Harper and Washington), they’ll have to improve on that 25-30 record away from Philly.

The Cubs are finally playing to their potential

The Chicago Cubs hold the best record in the National League, despite missing key members for long periods of time (Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow). They're only a game ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central coming into Monday, but even without those stars they're playing to everyone's expectations.

The Cubs were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, acquiring Cole Hamels and a few relievers to add the pen. The Brewers have been a nice story, but it’s going to be a tough task matching wins late in the season with a team as good as the Cubs. Milwaukee may eventually have to turn its focus on maintaining its lead in the wild card race.

How the (NL) West is won

On paper, the Dodgers are the clear favorite to win the NL West for a sixth straight year, but it’s still wide open out west. They're tied atop the division with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been solid behind MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. The Colorado Rockies have also managed to hang around behind their star Nolan Arenado. Even the Giants sit five games back in the West.

There can only be one division winner, but the added incentive for these teams is to avoid that one game playoff. This race will certainly come down to the last week of the regular season.

Key series to watch

Philadelphia Phillies (62-48) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (62-50)
August 6th-8th

The margin for error for both teams is extremely slim. Can the Phillies get some wins on the road?

Los Angeles Dodgers (61-51) @ Colorado Rockies (58-52)
August 9th-12th

The Dodgers have a chance to distance themselves from the Rockies in a packed NL West.

Milwaukee Brewers (65-49) @ Atlanta Braves (59-48)
August 10th-12th

A potential preview of the NL wild-card game.

35th & Addison Ep. 4 - The Boys of Summer

After an NBA Playoff hiatus, 35th & Addison is back! Pierce & Scott talk Chicago baseball, including the Cubs' surge to the top of the standings, and updates on Eloy Jimenez & Michael Kopech. Plus, what if the Sox were in the same division as the Cubs? We also look at teams who have impressed us so far, discuss Shohei Ohtani's injury and why a top Chicago exec may be lying on Bryce Harper.

Follow Pierce: @HennyOmega
Follow Scott: @Scott_CEOofSUH

35th and Addison ep 3 - It's Still NBA Season

This week Scott & Pierce talk about the Crosstown Classic and what's going on with the Sox and Cubs in early May. Plus their thoughts on Robinson Cano's PED suspension, Mike Trout's historic start to the season, the return of Yankees-Red Sox, and the retirement (of sorts) of Ichiro Suzuki

35th & Addison ep. 2 - Yu Wildin

This week on 35th & Addison, Scott and Pierce talk about the Cubs' strong April and where they need to get better at the plate, Yu Darvish's troubling start, Yoan Moncada's progressions at the plate & the Fun Police v. Tim Anderson. Plus what's going on in the White Sox farm, Sammy Sosa's non-apology to Cubs fans, the Yankees hot streak and how the Dodgers will fare without Corey Seager. Plus a little Infinity War talk cause we couldn't help it.

35th & Addison ep. 1: It's Early

It's the debut episode of 35th and Addison! Pierce (@HennyOmega) & Scott (@Scott_CEOofSUH) bring you thoughtful, hilarious analysis on Chicago baseball all throughout the 2018 MLB season.

This week, the boys discuss the Cubs' slow start, the growing pains of the young White Sox during their rebuild, what's going on down in the Sox farm system, and Anthony Rizzo's call for a shortened season. Plus, Giancarlo's historically bad start at the dish, Shohei Ohtani-Mania in Orange County, and slumping starts by many of last year's playoff teams.

2018 MLB Season Preview

It’s that time again! Baseball is in full swing (no pun intended) and as the days of spring training are winding down, everyone can’t wait for opening day. To pass some time, here’s a preview of the 2018 MLB season and my postseason and award predications.

Before I get into each individual team and their projected rotation, key bullpen pieces, projected lineup and outlook, here’s how I see the standings and postseason shaping out.

*= Wild Card
Teams with homefield advantage in bold

NL East

1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Miami Marlins

AL East

1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox*
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Tampa Bay Rays

NL Central

1. Chicago Cubs
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Cincinnati Reds

AL Central

1. Cleveland Indians
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Francisco Giants
5. San Diego Padres

AL West

1. Houston Astros
2. Los Angeles Angles*
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics
5. Texas Rangers

A.L. Wild Card game: Red Sox over Angels
N.L. Wild Card game: Cardinals over Diamondbacks

ALDS: Astros over Indians, Yankees over Red Sox
NLDS: Cubs over Nationals, Dodgers over Cardinals

ALCS: Yankees over Astros
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers

World Series: Yankees over Cubs


AL East

Scott Engel/AP

Scott Engel/AP

New York Yankees

Projected rotation: Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Jordan Montgomery
Key bullpen pieces: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson
Projected lineup:OF Brett Gardner, DH Aaron Judge, OF Giancarlo Stanton, C Gary Sanchez, 1B Greg Bird, SS Didi Gregorius, 2B Neil Walker, OF Aaron Hicks, 3B Brandon Drury

Outlook: It’s pretty much a two-headed race in the A.L. East between the Yankees and the Red Sox with one of the teams winning the division and the other securing a wild card berth likely. The Yankees and the Red Sox are pretty even this season. Both have first-year managers, both acquired a big-time bat in the offseason, both have stacked lineups but I give the Yankees the edge just because of their bullpen. The Yankees have three closers in their bullpen in Chapman, Betances and Robertson, it’s not even fair.

Boston Red Sox

AP

AP

Projected rotation: Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright
Key bullpen pieces: Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree
Projected lineup: OF Mookie Betts, OF Andrew Benintendi, 1B Hanley Ramirez, DH J.D. Martinez, 3B Rafael Devers, SS Xander Bogaerts, OF Jackie Bradley Jr, C Christian Vazquez, 2B Dustin Pedroia/Eduardo Nunez

Outlook:The Red Sox have the offensive firepower to win them 90+ games but my concern with them is their bullpen. Aside from Kimbrel and Kelly, they don’t have much to show for in their bullpen but if the offense shows up, they really won’t need the bullpen as they would already run the score up on teams. Seven out of nine batters in the lineup are capable of hitting 20+ homers a season.

Baltimore Orioles

Projected rotation: Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, Kevin Gausman, Andrew Cashner, Chris Tillman
Key bullpen pieces: Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Mychael Givens
Projected lineup: 3B Tim Beckham, 2B Jonathan Schoop, SS Manny Machado, OF Adam Jones, DH Mark Trumbo, 1B Chris Davis, OF Trey Mancini, C Caleb Joseph, OF Colby Rasmus

Outlook: I love the Orioles going out and bolstering their rotation by plucking Alex Cobb off the free agent market as well as Andrew Cashner. The starting pitching has always been a problem for the Orioles ever since they broke through back in 2012 and that limited them from going anywhere in the playoffs. It will be hard for them to retain Machado in this upcoming offseason and it seems like Machado will walk as he made the position change to SS to appear more versatile in the market.

Toronto Blue Jays

Projected rotation: Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Jaime Garcia, Aaron Sanchez
Key bullpen pieces: Roberto Osuna, Seung Hwan Oh, Aaron Loup
Projected lineup: OF Curtis Granderson, 2B Devon Travis, 3B Josh Donaldson, 1B Justin Smoak, DH Kendrys Morales, SS Troy Tulowitzki, C Russell Martin, OF Randal Grichuk, OF Kevin Pillar

Outlook: The Toronto Blue Jays (otherwise known as the St. Louis Cardinals of the north) befriended the redbirds this offseason and made not one, but two deals with them as they acquired OF Randal Grichuk in one trade and SS Aledmys Diaz in another. They also signed relief pitcher Seung Hwan Oh in free agency, previously on the Cardinals and also signed starter Jaime Garcia (who was a longtime Cardinal before he was traded to the Braves last offseason). These are nice moves but I don’t see them putting the Blue Jays over the top and into the playoffs.

Tampa Bay Rays

Projected rotation: Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Andriese
Key bullpen pieces: Alex Colome, Dan Jennings, Daniel Hudson
Projected lineup: OF Denard Span, 3B Matt Duffy, OF Kevin Kiermaier, OF Carlos Gomez, C Wilson Ramos, 1B C.J. Cron, 2B Brad Miller, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, OF Mallex Smith

Outlook: It’s no secret that the Rays are in rebuild mode. After trading away, the greatest player ever to grace a Rays uniform, Evan Longoria, the Rays will once again be at the basement of the A.L. East. Starter Chris Archer and closer Alex Colome will be flying around trade rumors as the trade deadline gets closer and it’s a bit of a surprise that they weren’t traded this offseason after a non-busy offseason. Kevin Cash is going to do something interesting this season as he’s going with a four-man rotation. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

AL Central

(Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

(Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

Cleveland Indians

Projected rotation: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Mike Clevenger
Key bullpen pieces: Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Zach McAllister
Projected lineup: SS Francisco Lindor, 2B Jason Kipnis, 3B Jose Ramirez, DH Edwin Encarnacion, 1B Yonder Alonso, OF Michael Brantley, OF Lonnie Chisenhall, C Yan Gomes,OF Tyler Naquin

Outlook: The Indians are once again heavy favorites in a weak A.L. Central. They’ve improved the lineup by adding Yonder Alonso and their rotation is as good as ever. Like the Red Sox, I have some concerns with their bullpen but other than that, their lineup is lethal. Francisco Lindor is an MVP candidate and Corey Kluber is always a threat to win the Cy Young.

Minnesota Twins

Projected rotation: Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Ervin Santana, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson
Key bullpen pieces: Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney, Ryan Pressley
Projected lineup: 2B Brian Dozier, 1B Joe Mauer, 3B Miguel Sano, OF Eddie Rosario, DH Logan Morrison, OF Byron Buxton, OF Max Kepler, SS Eduardo Escobar, C Jason Castro

Outlook: After going from dead last in 2016 to earning a wild card berth in 2017, the Twins showed that they are a wild card of a team and that you don’t know what team you’re going to get. They have a young core and made some nice moves to add to a subpar rotation by getting Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi. The bats are still the same but look for Miguel Sano to win a Silver Slugger this year.

Chicago White Sox

Projected rotation: James Shields, Carlos Rodon, Miguel Gonzalez, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer* (Rodon is projected to be back by June after he had left shoulder surgery in September)
Key bullpen pieces: Joakim Soria, Nate Jones, Hector Santiago
Projected lineup: 2B Yoan Moncada, SS Tim Anderson, 1B Jose Abreu, OF Avisail Garcia, C Wellington Castillo, DH Matt Davidson, OF Ryan Cordell, 3B Yolmer Sanchez, OF Adam Engel

Outlook: I wouldn’t call it a “make or break” year for the White Sox young core of Moncada, Giolito, Lopez and Anderson but they need to show improvements from last season and I think they do that. While the wins might not come this year, the White Sox are totally set for the future and be on the lookout for them to make some noise next season.

Kansas City Royals

Projected rotation: Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jake Junis, Nate Karns
Key bullpen pieces: Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Maurer, Wily Peralta
Projected lineup: OF Jon Jay, 2B Whit Merrifield, 3B Mike Moustakas, C Salvador Perez, 1B Lucas Duda, OF Alex Gordon, DH Jorge Soler, SS Alcides Escobar, OF Paulo Orlando

Outlook: It’s hard to believe that just three seasons ago, the Royals were World Series champs and now, they’re a shell of their former selves. The rotation is not good, the lineup is okay, decent at best and they’re in serious trouble for the future as they have one of the worst farm systems in the MLB. Get used to seeing the Royals pick in the top 10 of MLB drafts in the near future.

Detroit Tigers

Projected rotation: Jordan Zimmerman, Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Matt Boyd, Daniel Norris
Key bullpen pieces: Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, Warwick Saupold
Projected lineup: OF Leonys Martin, 3B Jeimer Candelario, 1B Miguel Cabrera, OF Nick Castellanos, DH Victor Martinez, C James McCann, OF Mikie Mahtook, SS Jose Iglesias, 2B Dixon Machado

Outlook: Like the Royals, it’s crazy to see how far the Tigers have fallen off. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez don’t have much left as they are in the twilight of their hall-of-fame careers. The Tigers farm system is pretty good but expect for the next three or so years for them to be at the bottom of the division.

AL West

Brent Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Brent Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Houston Astros

Projected rotation: Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton
Key bullpen pieces: Ken Giles, Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski
Projected lineup: OF George Springer, 3B Alex Bregman, 2B Jose Altuve, SS Carlos Correa, OF Josh Reddick, 1B Yuli Gurriel, C Brian McCann, DH Evan Gattis, OF Jake Marisnick

Outlook: The Astros will look to defend their World Series title this season as they bring back virtually the same team as last season’s. There are very few weak links in the rotation or lineup, if any but like most teams, their bullpen can be an issue for them. Altuve, Correa, Springer and Bregman is a dangerous core to mess with and with the addition of Gerrit Cole this offseason, the Astros are without a doubt a favorite to win the World Series once again.

Los Angeles Angels

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Projected rotation: Garrett Richards, Shohei Otani, J.C. Ramirez, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs
Key bullpen pieces: Cam Bedrosian, Blake Wood, Blake Parker
Projected lineup: 2B Ian Kinsler, OF Mike Trout, OF Justin Upton, DH Albert Pujols, OF Kole Calhoun, SS Andrelton Simmons, 3B Zack Cozart, 1B Luis Valbuena, C Martin Maldonado

Outlook: The Angels weren’t messing around this offseason as they acquired Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, re-signed Justin Upton, signed Zack Cozart and signed versatile Japanesesuperstar Shohei Otani. Finally, Mike Trout has a legit team to play with.

Seattle Mariners

Projected rotation: James Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, Erasmo Ramirez
Key bullpen pieces: Edwin Diaz, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent
Projected lineup: OF Dee Gordon, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, 1B Ryon Healy, OF Mitch Haniger, C Mike Zunino, OF Ben Gamel

Outlook: The Mariners have the bats but they need consistent pitching from both the rotation and the bullpen. Felix Hernandez isn’t what he once was but James Paxton is a stud. I love the move acquiring Juan Nicasio in free agency to add more depth to the bullpen. I’d say Seattle has a top 10 lineup in all of baseball.

Oakland Athletics

Projected rotation: Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, A.J. Puk, Trevor Cahill, Daniel Mengden
Key bullpen pieces: Blake Treinen, Yusmeiro Petit, Santiago Castilla
Projected lineup: SS Marcus Semien, DH Matt Joyce, 2B Jed Lowrie, OF Khris Davis, 1B Matt Olson, OF Stephen Piscotty, C Jonathan Lucroy, 3B Matt Chapman, OF Dustin Fowler

Outlook: The Athletics are on the come-up. There is a lot of power in that lineup but the pitching needs work. Losing Jherel Cotton for the season thanks to Tommy John is a tough blow for the Athletics as him and A.J. Puk will be a nice 1-2 punch down the road.

Texas Rangers

Projected rotation: Cole Hamels, Mike Minor, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Martin Perez, Jesse Chavez
Key bullpen pieces: Alex Claudio, Matt Bush, Tim Lincecum
Projected lineup: OF Delino DeShields, 1B Joey Gallo, OF Nomar Mazara, 3B Adrian Beltre, SS Elvis Andrus, DH Shin-Soo Choo, 2B Rougned Odor, C Robinson Chirinos, OF Drew Robinson

Outlook: The thing that jumps out at me about the Rangers is the first two spots in the lineup. Manager Jeff Bannister said that batting Gallo second is “a real possibility”, which is odd because he is seen as a four-hole hitter. The thing with Gallo is that teams play a shift on him as he is a heavy pull hitter but with him batting second and speedy leadoff man Delino Deshields getting on base and steals second, teams can’t play the shift as Deshields can walk to third base. With him in scoring position and with Gallo at the plate, that can be a very dangerous combination and the Rangers can get runs up early and often. Bannister is also going with a six-man rotation this year so that will be something to look out for as well.

NL East

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Washington Nationals

Projected rotation:Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, A.J. Cole
Key bullpen pieces: Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson
Projected lineup: OF Adam Eaton, SS Trea Turner, OF Bryce Harper, 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B Anthony Rendon, 1B Ryan Zimmerman, C Matt Wieters, OF Michael Taylor

Outlook: Will this finally be the year that the Nationals get out of the NLDS? The Nationals have been to the playoffs four times in the last eight years and every time they have lost in the NLDS. Maybe new manager Dave Martinez can do it? The Nationals have solid hitters up and down the lineup and the starting pitching is there as well but even with all this talent on the roster, I still think the Nationals are one piece away, whether that’s in the lineup or in the rotation.

New York Mets

Projected rotation: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
Key bullpen pieces: A.J. Ramos, Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak
Projected lineup: OF Michael Conforto, OF Yoenis Cespedes, OF Jay Bruce, 3B Todd Frazier, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera, C Travis d’Arnaud, SS Amed Rosario

Outlook: The Mets are in a weird spot. They have one of the best rotations in baseball yet, their lineup is pretty underwhelming. Cespedes and Bruce are probably the best hitters on the team but it will be interesting to see if their pitching will keep them afloat.

Philadelphia Phillies

Projected rotation: Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Vincent Velasquez, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta* (Pivetta will be filling in for Jerad Eickhoff who will be out until at least May with a lat strain)
Key bullpen pieces: Hector Neris, Pat Neshak, Luis Garcia
Projected lineup: 2B Cesar Hernandez, OF Odubel Herrera, 1B Carlos Santana, OF Rhys Hoskins, 3B Maikel Franco, OF Nick Williams, SS J.P. Crawford, C Jorge Alfaro

Outlook: I’m drinking the Phillies Kool-Aid this season. I love the hiring of their 42-year-old manager that looks like he’s 28, Gabe Kapler. I think his zany nature reminds me a lot of former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in that he’s all about his culture. Now we all know what happened to Kelly but I see Kapler as a better version of Kelly as he probably can connect with his players more than Kelly did because Kapler is a former major leaguer. Add that with a young core of Hoskins, Crawford, Nola and Williams as well as veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta and I think the Phillies can be a sneaky wild card team.

Atlanta Braves

Projected rotation: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir (editors note: Scott Kazmir has since been released by Atlanta)
Key bullpen pieces:
Arodys Vizcaino, Sam Freeman, Peter Moylan
Projected lineup: OF Ender Inciarte, 2B Ozzie Albies, 1B Freddie Freeman, C Tyler Flowers, OF Nick Markakis, OF Preston Tucker, SS Dansby Swanson, 3B Rio Ruiz

Outlook: Stay patient Braves fans. Your time is coming soon, just wait. Top prospect Ronald Acuna should be in the majors this year and the Braves already have a pretty young lineup with Albies and Swanson in the middle infield. Don’t expect the Braves to do much this season in terms of winning as this season will probably be a stepping stone season to get the young guys some time.

Miami Marlins

Projected rotation: Jose Urena, Justin Nicolino, Jacob Turner, Wei-Yin Chen, Dan Straily
Key bullpen pieces: Brad Ziegler, Adam Conley, Kyle Barraclough
Projected lineup: OF Lewis Brinson, OF Derek Dietrich, 2B Starlin Castro, 1B Justin Bour, C J.T. Realmuto, 3B Martin Prado, OF Cameron Maybin, SS Miguel Rojas

Outlook: I feel like the most underrated stat in sports is the playoff drought that the Marlins have been on. The last time they made the postseason was in 2003 when they won the World Series, but that was 15 years ago and it might be another 15 years until the Marlins make the postseason again because what is going on in the 305? Just a few years ago, the Marlins looked like a team on the come up, ready to take over the National League. But after the tragic and untimely death of two-time All-Star and 2013 N.L. Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez back in 2016 and after trading away cornerstone players such as 2017 MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the Marlins, Christian Yelich to the Brewers and Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals, the Marlins are going to be the worst team in baseball not just this year, but potentially years to come.

NL Central

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Chicago Cubs

Projected rotation: Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood
Key bullpen pieces: Brandon Morrow, Carl Edwards Jr, Justin Wilson
Projected lineup: OF Ian Happ, 3B Kris Bryant, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, OF Kyle Schwarber, SS Addison Russell, OF Jason Heyward, 2B Javier Baez

Outlook: The Cardinal fan in me is going to hate this but I think the Cubs get over their “World Series hangover” this year and get back to their domination of the National League. Darvish is a much better pitcher than Arrieta, you know what you’re going to get with Lester, Hendricks, Quintana and Chatwood are quality pitchers, the Cubs rotation 1-5 is very good and could spell trouble for N.L. Central hitters. Ian Happ is really coming into his own after bursting onto the scene last season and the duo of “Bryzzo” Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo will be lethal.

St. Louis Cardinals

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Twitter

Projected rotation: Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas
Key bullpen pieces: Luke Gregerson, Dominic Leone, Tyler Lyons
Projected lineup: 1B Matt Carpenter, OF Dexter Fowler, OF Tommy Pham, OF Marcell Ozuna, C Yadier Molina, SS Paul DeJong, 3B Jedd Gyorko, 2B Kolton Wong

Outlook: Non-biased, I think the Cardinals are a top 10 lineup in baseball. There’s a lot of pop in that lineup with six, maybe seven guys capable of hitting 20+ home runs a year. The addition of Ozuna was much, much needed after the Cardinals went without a true four-hole hitter since Albert Pujols left. I think the bullpen makes strides this season after struggling, and that all depends on Mike Matheny’s bullpen management as well but everything this season comes down to the rotation which is wildly inconsistent aside from Martinez. You never know what you’re going to get from Adam Wainwright or Michael Wacha every start, Luke Weaver is still young and I don’t know anything about Miles Mikolas as the Redbirds signed him from Japan. Alex Reyes will also be a factor this year after missing last year recovering from Tommy John. It will be interesting if the Cardinals want to use him as a starter, his natural position, or a guy in the bullpen, like they did in his first year in the majors.

Milwaukee Brewers

Projected rotation: Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Jhoulys Chacin, Junior Guerra, Brent Suter/Jimmy Nelson
Key bullpen pieces: Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes, Jeremy Jeffress
Projected lineup: OF Christian Yelich, OF Lorenzo Cain, 3B Travis Shaw, 1B Ryan Braun, OF Domingo Santana, SS Orlando Arcia, C Manny Pina, 2B Jonathan Villar

Outlook: I’ve said it many time about the Brewers and I’ll say it again, the thing that limited them from making the playoffs last year was starting pitching and it might do them in again this year. They’ve made big moves acquiring Yelich and Cain but they’ve done little to anything to their rotation and they’re hoping for another quality year out of Chase Anderson but that won’t be enough to launch them into the playoffs but they will certainly be a pest for the Cardinals and the Cubs in the division this year.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Projected rotation: Ivan Nova, Chad Khul, Trevor Williams, Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove
Key bullpen pieces: Felipe Rivero, George Kontos, Michael Feliz
Projected lineup: 2B Josh Harrison, OF Corey Dickerson, OF Starling Marte, 1B Josh Bell, OF Gregory Polanco, C Francisco Cervelli, 3B Colin Moran, SS Jordy Mercer

Outlook: The Pirates are in rebuild mode after trading away Andrew McCuttchen and Gerrit Cole this past offseason. Don’t expect a ton of wins at PNC Park this year as their rotation lacks dominant pitchers, although it is nice to see Jameson Taillon back after he battled testicular cancer last season. Their lineup is okay as Josh Bell, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte are pretty solid.

Cincinnati Reds

Projected rotation: Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle
Key bullpen pieces: Rasiel Iglesias, David Hernandez, Michael Lorenzen
Projected lineup: OF Billy Hamilton, OF Jesse Winker, 1B Joey Votto, 3B Eugenio Suarez, 2B Scooter Gennett, SS Jose Peraza, OF Scott Schebler, C Tucker Barnhart

Outlook: I’m going to be honest here. I’m a huge baseball fan, I love it, it’s my favorite sport, I love the MLB and I follow it heavily. With that being said, I want to congratulate Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani for doing something good enough for me to remember them because aside from those two, I had no idea who the other three pitchers in the rotation were. Did they pick them up off the street? Who are these guys? After doing some research, Luis Castillo is actually a decent pitcher and I even picked him up for my fantasy team but me not knowing most of the Reds rotation says pretty much everything you need to know about the 2018 Cincinnati Reds.

NL West

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Los Angeles Dodgers

Projected rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu
Key bullpen pieces: Kenley Jansen, Ross Stripling, Pedro Baez
Projected lineup: OF Chris Taylor, SS Corey Seager, 3B Justin Turner* 1B Cody Bellinger, OF Yasiel Puig, OF Matt Kemp, C Yasmani Grandal, 2B/3B Logan Forsythe, 2B Chase Utley* (Forsythe will move to 3B while Justin Turner recovers from a fractured wrist, Utley will start at 2B during that time)

Outlook: The Dodgers took a pretty big hit to their lineup (no pun intended) after star 3B Justin Turner fractured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch in Spring Training. The good thing about the Dodgers though is that they have depth and a lot of versatile players who can play a lot of positions should any player go down with injury. Enrique Hernandez burst onto the scene last postseason as more than just a utility guy and of course, Clayton Kershaw will go back to being his dominant himself this year.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Projected rotation: Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, Zack Greinke, Zack Godley, Patrick Corbin
Key bullpen pieces: Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano, Andrew Chafin
Projected lineup: OF David Peralta, OF A.J. Pollock, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 3B Jake Lamb, OF Steven Souza, C Alex Avila, 2B Ketel Marte, SS Nick Ahmed

Outlook: After making the postseason last season, I think the Diamondbacks go back to the postseason this year again. The bats are there, the bullpen is there, the rotation is pretty consistent. The thing that makes them a wild card team though is the Dodgers as they are just too good of a team and I don’t think the Diamondbacks are quite ready to compete for that divisional crown. If they kept onto J.D. Martinez, yes, I think they would be a legitimate threat to break the Dodgers streak of five straight division titles.

Colorado Rockies

Projected rotation: Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis, Kyle Freeland, German Marquez
Key bullpen pieces: Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee
Projected lineup: OF Charlie Blackmon, 2B D.J. LeMahieu, OF Carlos Gonzalez, 3B Nolan Arenado, SS Trevor Story, 1B Ian Desmond, OF Gerardo Parra, C Chris Iannetta

Outlook: I cannot remember the Rockies ever having a true “Ace” of a pitcher. Even when they went to the World Series in 2007, their best pitcher was Jeff Francis. Jeff friggin Francis. The Rockies are a weird team honestly. Coors Field giveth and Coors Field taketh away. The hitting numbers at Coors Field are inflated thanks to the altitude which makes their offense so much better than it already is but then their pitching numbers are inflated as well as the mix of a mediocre rotation and Coors Field is not a good mix.

San Francisco Giants

Projected rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Ty Blach, Derek Holland, Jeff Samardzija
Key bullpen pieces: Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, Tony Watson
Projected lineup: 2B Joe Panik, 1B Brandon Belt, OF Andrew McCutchen, C Buster Posey, 3B Evan Longoria, SS Brandon Crawford, OF Hunter Pence, OF Austin Jackson

Outlook: I’m not buying the Giants hype this year, I don’t care that it’s an even year. Their core is getting older, there isn’t that much young talent on this team, sure they might be contending for a Wild Card spot come September but I think they’re going to fizzle out once they have to face teams such as the Rockies twice, the Mets, the Brewers on the road, the Cardinals on the road and the Dodgers.

San Diego Padres

Projected rotation: Clayton Richard, Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo, Bryan Mitchell, Robbie Erlin
Key bullpen pieces: Brad Hand, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates
Projected lineup: OF Manuel Margot, 3B Chase Headley, OF Wil Myers, 1B Eric Hosmer, OF Jose Pirela, C Austin Hedges, SS Freddy Galvis, 2B Carlos Asuaje

Outlook: Just like the Braves, be patient Padres fans. Your time will come and it will come soon. They have the top farm system in all of baseball, they just secured slugger Eric Hosmer for seven years, they have nice, young pieces such as Manny Margot, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe and Corey Spangenberg, the Padres will be a very good team within the next 3-5 years, this season though, will be a rebuilding year and the main focus will be to develop the younger guys, both in the MLB and in the minors.