The baseball season is well underway, and I wanted to share my projections for the 2021 season. As the season progresses, many burning questions will be answered, such as: Can the Dodgers repeat? Can the Padres challenge them for the N.L. West Crown? Can the Yankees’ stars stay healthy, and finally end their title drought? Here are my 2021 MLB season predictions. (Note: As of the writing of this article (which I wrote during the pre-season), the playoff picture is the way it usually has been: 3 division winners and 2 wild card teams. Also, all I’m doing is giving my projected standings, records, and what I think will happen in the division, along with my projected award winners. Enjoy!)
• Yankees – 100-62 (#1 seed)
• Rays – 90-7
• Blue Jays – 87- 75
• Red Sox – 80-82
• Orioles – 75-87
The Yankees have the division pretty much locked up, as the Rays traded 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. They just need everyone to stay healthy. The Rays are depleted, but still have a good nucleus to keep them in the hunt. The Blue Jays are likely one year away from the playoffs, even with George Springer, as they need constant results from the pitching. The Red Sox will get everyone back but need a full season from Chris Sale, and their bullpen is too leaky to make a push. The Orioles are rebuilding and will see an improvement, but they need all of their young guns from the farm to arrive before they smell playoffs.
• White Sox – 96-66 (#2 seed)
• Twins – 95-67 (#1 WC)
• Indians – 79-83
• Royals – 70-92
• Tigers – 62-100
This is a horrible division. The White Sox will fight the Twins for first the whole season, and then the other three teams will battle to see who can get a better record. The Sox are young, and have lots of talent, while the Twins are more experienced. The Indians got fleeced for Fransico Lindor, and they made the Mookie Betts trade look like the Red Sox won it. Still, they have an okay core, but they just can’t compile enough wins. The Royals and Tigers are just trying to not lose 100 games, as they need their prospects to come, but the youngins aren’t ready right now.
A’s – 95-67 (#3 seed)
Astros – 91-71 (#2 WC)
Angels – 89-73
Mariners – 77-85
The A’s time is now. They have a great, young core, and now they can overtake the Astros for real. They’ll win the A.L. West, but don’t count out Houston. There is a reason why they’ve been to the last four ALCS playoffs. They know how to win. The Astros do have a diminished roster compared to recent years, but they have enough star power to push them to the cusp of the playoffs. The Angles need more pitching, and can’t slug their way to the division title. And then there are the Rangers and Mariners, who are both awaiting help from the farm system (hint: the M’s will probably get it first). These two teams will battle it out for fourth place in 2021.
Braves – 98-64 (#2 seed)
Mets – 92-70 (#2 WC)
Nationals – 81-81
Phillies – 80-82
Marlins – 79-83
Let’s not forget that the Braves were one game away from the World Series last season. They will get Mike Soroka back, a full season from Ian Anderson, and Charlie Morton, so the starting rotation will be better than it was in 2020. I am a big Mets believer. deGrom, Syndergaard, Carrasco, and Stroman are a great core for the rotation. With Lindor, and Pete Alonso in the lineup, only a leaky pen would prevent this team from going to the postseason. The Nationals have Juan Soto, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg, but they are still recovering from the loss of Anthony Rendon, so they can’t do that much. The Phillies are still waiting for their free-agent pickups to work out (Harper, I’m looking at you!), but they have a decent roster. Sadly, it’s not good enough to make the playoffs. The Marlins. Ah, the surprise of 2020! They will go back to being the Marlins. Playing a full 162-game schedule will point out their flaws, but give them two years, and watch out.
Cardinals – 95-67 (#3 seed)
Cubs – 89-73
Brewers – 87-75
Reds – 84-78
Pirates – 59-103
The Redbirds are the favorite to win the division, after making the trade for the best 3B in all of baseball, Nolan Arenado. If the pitching can become stable, this team is going places. The Cubs still have the middle of the 2016 title stars, but they just don’t have much around them. The same goes for the Brewers. Christian Yelich can’t carry the whole team, and his prime years are getting wasted. The Reds have an impressive rotation, even without Trevor Bauer, as they have Sonny Gray, and Luis Castillo, but even with Bauer, they were outmatched when playing playoff-caliber teams. The Pirates are like the Houston Texans — a dumpster fire. They got absolutely zero production from Chris Archer, who is now back with Tampa Bay, and they have nothing else left. Hey, at least they have the number one pick.
• Dodgers – 105-57 (#1 seed)
• Padres – 100-62 (#1 WC)
• Giants – 77-85
• Diamondbacks – 72-90
• Rockies – 60-102
The Dodgers have a chance to break the record of 116 wins. The fact that David Price could be in the bullpen, or the 6th starter is mind-boggling. The Padres will give them a good push, as they acquired Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell, but the Dodgers are proven winners. The last three teams aren’t all that special. The Giants don’t have much at the big league level, and the Diamondbacks are overpaying for Madison Bumgarner. Colorado, on the other hand, didn’t pick up much for pitching and lost Arenado. That isn’t a good recipe. Overall in the N.L. West, it’s San Diego fighting L.A. for the top spot, and the others fighting for third.
A.L.Wild-Card: Astros over Twins (1-0)
ALDS: Yankees over Astros (3-1) – White Sox over A’s (3-2)
ACLS: Yankees over White Sox (4-3)
N.L. Wild-Card: Padres over Mets (1-0)
NLDS: Dodgers over Padres (3-2) – Braves over Cardinals (3-2)
NLCS: Dodgers over Braves (4-3)
World Series: Dodgers over Yankees (4-1)
A.L. MVP – Mike Trout – OF, Angles
It’s boring to pick Mike Trout. It’s easy to pick Mike Trout. So I’m going to pick Mike Trout. He is the best player in baseball and is always getting MVP votes. Look at his 2019 MVP season, where he had 45 homers, and 104 RBI’s, while hitting .291. I’m going to pick him here, and you’re not going to talk me out of it.
Runner-up: George Springer – OF, Blue Jays
A.L. Cy Young – Kenta Maeda – SP, Twins
Controversy alert!!! While Gerrit Cole is dominant, I am a big Maeda fan. He has electric stuff, especially his great moving fastball. Often overshadowed by Clayton Kershaw, and the other fireballers on the Dodgers, he broke out in 2020, following his trade to the Twin Cities. If the Twins are going to do as well as I believe they will, Maeda will be the anchor, winning all of their must-wins.
Runner-up: Gerrit Cole – SP, Yankees
A.L. ROTY – Jarred Kelenic – OF, Mariners
Kelenic will most likely be called up in May, but he’ll still have enough games played to qualify for Rookie of the Year. Pairing up with last season’s best rook, Kyle Lewis, the Seattle outfield will be teaming with talent. Kelenic is the 5th best prospect on MLB.com’s list, edging out fellow Mariner, Julio Rodriguez. Kelenic is a 5-tool player who can do it all. Expect this to not be the last trophy that he collects.
Runner-up: Ryan Mountcastle – 1B-3B, Orioles
N.L. MVP – Fernando Tatis, Jr. – SS, Padres
Tatis is the next big thing. He is a beast. He could have won the 2020 N.L. MVP, but that ended up going to Freddie Freeman. His swing is beautiful, he plays amazing defense, and has such a high baseball IQ, allowing him to be one of the best baserunners in the league. This won’t be his last MVP. Baseball, watch out!
Runner-up: Mookie Betts – OF, Dodgers (Mrs. Shattuck’s favorite!)
N.L. Cy Young – Jacob deGrom – SP, Mets
This pick is like the Trout pick. Even in an off-year, “deGrominator” was able to finish third in the Cy Young voting. He has a full arsenal, capable of getting outs with any pitch, including his 90 mph changeup. Even with other good pitchers behind him, and in the toughest division in baseball, deGrom is able to capture his 3rd Cy Young in four seasons.
Runner-up: Walker Buehler – SP, Dodgers
N.L. ROTY – Ian Anderson – SP, Braves
Anderson was one of the reasons why Atlanta made the NLCS in 2020. A late August call-up, he put some much-needed life into a lackluster rotation. He shut down the Dodgers in all of his games in the NCLS, though they got to him a bit in game 7. He and Mike Soroka have a chance to become a feared duo for years to come. It all starts here.
Runner-up: Gavin Lux – 2B, Dodgers
We’ll see if my predictions come true or if I’m “way off base” — no pun intended! Thanks for reading!