I don't remember what happens if you make these sort of predictions and turn out to be right, because it's been a while since I had the correct World Series winner. All the same, each time Opening Day rolls around, I find myself compelled to make them again. In the four years I've been writing about baseball online, I haven't gotten a single World Series participant right. I'm 0 for 8 on those, and only 11 for 24 on division winners. I've been correct on only one of my eight Cy Young guesses, and on none of my eight MVP selections. Despite all that, when Opening Day rolls around, like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, I must make predictions.
Just don't put any money on these, unless you're looking for the tax deduction available to those with gambling losses.
The first predictions I remember making weren't for baseball, they were for football. The book fair at my grade school provided me with Bruce Weber's Inside Pro Football, which included a variety of things, including profiles of star players, statistics from the previous season, a schedule for the upcoming season, and Bruce's picks for what was going to happen. (I don't know when exactly our book fair was, but it must have been either during the NFL season, in which case the information was a little late, or months and months before the NFL season, in which case Bruce was working with pretty incomplete information.) I took the idea and made my own predictions, picking the 49ers to win the Super Bowl. Lo and behold, the 49ers did win the Super Bowl, and having determined that I was a genius, I was compelled to make predictions for all sorts of things from there on out.
I was an optimist for my first decade or so of making predictions, until watching the Indians lose the World Series twice beat that out of me. From then on, my predictions tended to run along the lines of my worst fears, which meant I had the Yankees winning it all every season. In recent years, I've been able to find some level of middle ground, not that it's helped my accuracy any.
National League West
2) Giants (Wild Card)
I don't think Arizona's big offseason was enough to put them into the postseason. Meanwhile, the Dodgers look worse than they did a year ago, but still better than the rest of the division.
National League Central
I've wondered for years when the Cubs would get their act together and start taking advantage of their cushy financial situation. They finally have, and now look poised to be a perennial contender.
National League East
2) Mets (Wild Card)
The Mets are the popular pick, but I think they'll come back to earth just a bit this season, while the Nationals will get their act together. The Phillies and Braves, on the other hand, will be the two worst teams in baseball.
American League West
The entire AL feels like a tight race to me. I like Houston to win a close one out west, with Seattle close behind, while Anaheim continues to waste the prime years of a generational talent.
American League Central
4) White Sox
The projections (which I usually side with) continue to be unimpressed with Kansas City. After being woefully wrong the last two years though, I'm jumping ship and expecting them to succeed again. I hope I'm wrong.
American League East
1) Blue Jays
2) Red Sox (Wild Card)
3) Yankees (Wild Card)
Toronto has the best offense in baseball, and enough pitching (I think) to win the division again. Boston and New York won't be too far behind though, and TV executives will be giddy about their Wild Card matchup.
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
AL MVP: Carlos Correa
AL Cy Young: David Price
NLCS: Nationals over Cubs
ALCS: Blue Jays over Royals
World Series winner: Washington Nationals