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2021 MLB Season Preview: Real Baseball is Back!

The Dodgers added to their massive payroll with the addition of Trevor Bauer.

Let’s clear up a few things before I make my 2021 MLB season predictions. First off, the Washington Nationals are still the de facto defending World Series champions. They are the last team to win a legitimate World Series following a legitimate baseball season, rallying from 19-31 to survive a 162-game grind. They followed that with a record-tying 12 postseason wins, taking out triple-digit-win teams like the Dodgers and Astros along the way.

Second, last season was nothing short of a disgrace. The stats and records counted, but only in a technical sense. Anyone that cares even slightly about baseball would feel that way. Playing barely more than a third of a traditional season, with empty stadiums, regional play only, silly new rules, and expanded postseason was a pitiful last-ditch effort by MLB to save complete economic devastation. Baseball is all about tradition and history, and 2020 should be all but scrapped from the record books.

Okay, with that diatribe out of the way, let’s turn the tone more positive: baseball, in its true form, is back! So, too, are fans (at least partially). While we still long for full stadiums (maybe by September?), we will have a full 162-game slate with almost all the normal rules back (except for that awful extra-innings rule and shortened doubleheaders, but we’ll save that for another time).

So who, if anyone, has an edge coming into this year? The Dodgers understandably enter as the heavy favorites. They won 43 whole games last year (!) and 13 more in an “everyone-can-join” postseason, and added Trevor Bauer to the fold. The Yankees came up short of the final stage, but added Corey Kluber. The Padres made some major additions in hopes of challenging L.A. for Western supremacy. The White Sox have tons of talent, and the Blue Jays made some big free agency moves.

Will there be any surprises? You have to figure there will be as always, but baseball still feels way too top-heavy. Let’s jump into some season predictions:

 

*-Indicates Wild Card team

AL East

1. New York Yankees

2. Toronto Blue Jays*

3. Tampa Bay Rays

4. Boston Red Sox

5. Baltimore Orioles

 

AL Central

1. Chicago White Sox

2. Minnesota Twins*

3. Cleveland Indians

4. Kansas City Royals

5. Detroit Tigers

 

AL West

1. Houston Astros

2. Oakland Athletics

3. Texas Rangers

4. Los Angeles Angels

5. Seattle Mariners

 

NL East

1. Washington Nationals

2. Atlanta Braves*

3. New York Mets

4. Miami Marlins

5. Philadelphia Phillies

 

NL Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals

2. Chicago Cubs

3. Milwaukee Brewers

4. Cincinnati Reds

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

 

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2. San Diego Padres*

3. San Francisco Giants

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

5. Colorado Rockies

 

POSTSEASON

AL Wild Card

Blue Jays over Twins

NL Wild Card

Padres over Braves

AL Divisional Series

Yankees over Blue Jays

Astros over White Sox

NL Divisional Series

Dodgers over Padres

Cardinals over Nationals

ALCS

Yankees over Astros

NLCS

Dodgers over Cardinals

World Series

Yankees over Dodgers in 7

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