My MLB Postseason and World Series Predictions

October 4th, 2016 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Baseball, General, MLB.


Now that the season’s ended, the postseason begins, and less than a month from now, the Fall Classic will resume; since it ended last November 1st. Unfortunately for the defending World Series champion Royals, they won’t be returning to the postseason, after finishing at .500 this season. With the best record in baseball, the Cubs won 103 games, the fifth most in franchise history, and they’ll be making their second-consecutive appearance in the postseason. With all of that being said, here are my postseason predictions.

Postseason Predictions (the winning teams are on the far right)

October 4th- AL Wild Card- Baltimore @ Toronto– Toronto 

Like the other Wild Card game this week, this match-up tonight will be a hard-fought one. Both teams finished with 89 wins, Toronto has some of the best power hitters in the game, one of the best third baseman in the league, in Josh Donaldson (.284 average, 37 home runs, 99 RBIs), while Baltimore has a fellow AL MVP candidate, in fellow third baseman Manny Machado (.294 average, 37 home runs, 96 RBIs). Among American League teams, Baltimore ranked first in home runs (253), although they only had a team average of .256. Although it’s only one game, the problem this year for Baltimore was their pitching staff- or lack thereof.

Baltimore’s ace Kevin Gausman will most likely get the nod, although he only won nine games and had a 3.61 ERA. For Toronto, they’ll most likely hand the ball off to former Phillie J.A. Happ, who surprisingly won 20 games this year; with a 3.18 ERA to boot. I’m going with Toronto, based off Happ’s success this season, as well as the strong one-two punch of Donaldson and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion; who had 42 home runs this year.

October 5th- NL Wild Card- Giants @ Mets– Giants

Based on being a die-hard Phillies’ fan, with my pick, I’m trying to be as objective as possible here. This will be a pitching match-up for the ages; Madison Bumgarner vs. Noah Syndergaard. Bumgarner’s regarded as one of the best, if not the best, postseason pitcher of all-time, with a 7-3 record and a 2.14 ERA, while Syndergaard had a breakout year. Both made the NL All-Star team, while Syndergaard ranked third best in ERA, at 2.60, and first in fielding independent pitching. I’ll go with San Francisco, based almost solely off of Bumgarner’s postseason track record.

October 6th- ALDS- Red Sox @ Indians– Red Sox

This match-up is a rematch of the 2007 ALCS, which the Red Sox came back from 3-1 to win in seven games. Cleveland’s manager Terry Francona will make his postseason return to Boston this series, after being fired there after the 2011 season, while this year, Cleveland had 94 wins; the most for them since that 2007 season. Boston’s veteran slugger David Ortiz will make his final postseason appearance, after announcing his retirement to begin after the season.

Boston right fielder Mookie Betts had another great year, with a line of .318/.363/.534/.897, 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, and a league-leading 672 at-bats. Betts also ranked first in total bases (359), and amount of games played in right field (157). Boston has one of the best pitching staffs in the league; righty  Rick Porcello won 22 games. It’s a toss-up as to who they’ll start the series with- either Porcello or ace David Price, who has 14 career postseason appearances. Due to Boston’s solid rotation, and the combination of Betts and Ortiz, I’ll go with Boston in five.

October 6th- ALDS- Toronto @ Texas– Texas

Both teams will face off in a rematch of the 2015 ALDS, which Toronto won in five. A year ago, Texas’ starting rotation got a huge boost, when they acquired former NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels from the Phillies. That season with Texas, Hamels went 7-1, and averaged over 8 strikeouts a game. This season, for most of the year, he ranked near the top in wins, and he put up a respectable year; going 15-5, with a 3.32 ERA and an All-Star appearance. This year, Texas ranked as one of the best infields in the league, with veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre hitting 32 home runs and batting .300, shortstop Elvis Andrus hitting .302, and second baseman Rougned Odor hitting 33 home runs.

As mentioned, Toronto also has a plethora of power throughout their lineup, and with Hamels most likely facing his former teammate in Philly, J.A. Happ, it’ll be a huge advantage for Hamels, based on his amount of postseason appearances and success. I think Texas, slightly, has an all-around better team, and although Toronto’s power hitters will put up a fight, I see Texas winning it in six.

October 7th- NLDS- Dodgers @ Nationals– Dodgers

Friday will pin against each other two of the best aces in recent memory, in Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. This year, prior to missing 74 days due to a herniated disc injury, Kershaw had NL Cy Young Award/MVP numbers; with a 1.69 ERA and 10.4 strikeouts per game. Meanwhile, Scherzer won a league-leading 20 games, had a sub-three ERA (2.96), while also leading the league in innings (228.1), strikeouts (284), WHIP (walks + hits/innings) (0.968), and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (5.07). Washington’s one-two punch pitchers, in Scherzer and Tanner Roark, combined for 36 wins and a 2.90 ERA.

Besides Kershaw, the Dodgers had a strong replacement, in Kenta Maeda, who won 16 games, while closer Kenley Jansen had 47 saves and a 1.83 ERA. From the Phillies, the Dodgers acquired two former All-Stars, in second baseman Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz. Shortstop Corey Seager put up solid numbers, hitting .308, with 26 home runs. Despite their pitching and balanced lineup, the Dodgers ranked just 13th in stolen bases, with 45, and Kershaw’s back may not be 100% yet. If Kershaw can regain his old form, prior to the injury, LA has a significant chance of winning on Friday.

The upside for Washington is, to counter Kershaw’s dominance, their lineup was also very balanced, with former Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy hitting .347 and batting in 104 runs. This season, Washington’s offense ranked fourth in home runs (203), while rookie utility infielder/outfielder Trea Turner hit .342. I believe Kershaw’s ability to shut down another team’s solid offense, coupled with the Dodgers’ experience, will win them the series in seven games.

October 7th- NLDS- Giants at Cubs- Cubs

Assuming the Giants knock out the Mets in the wild-card game, this series will feature a ton of talent in their respective rotations, and this series could very well go the distance. Despite his win total, Bumgarner had a solid season, with a 2.74 ERA and an average of 10 strikeouts per game. For Chicago, they’ll field arguably the NL Cy Young Award winner, in former Red Sox ace Jon Lester. Lester tied his career high for wins, with 19, while exhibiting a 2.44 ERA, and accumulating 197 punch-outs.

Then again, Kyle Hendricks led the league in ERA (2.13), which was the first time since Ray Prim did it in 1945 that a Cubs’ pitcher led the league in ERA. Hendricks also won NL pitcher of the month for August, and was also an above-average fielder, too. Besides Lester and Hendricks, Jake Arrieta also had a solid season, winning 18 games, with a 3.10 ERA. Those three stud Cubs’ starting pitchers combined for 53 wins and a 2.56 ERA. This year, the Giants relied almost solely on their pitching, with Johnny Cueto’s contribution; a 2.79 ERA and 18 wins. The Cubs’ remarkable pitching, coupled with San Francisco’s lack of power, will be a very easy task for Chicago to move onto the championship series. I’ll go with Chicago in five.

October 14th- ALCS-  Toronto vs. Boston- Boston

Assuming they win vs. Baltimore, Toronto will attempt to win their second-consecutive postseason series, which hasn’t happened since their consecutive World Series wins in ’92-93. Meanwhile, Boston won it all three-years ago, and despite losing 84 games two-years ago, they rebounded from that and won 93 games and the AL East Division. This past off-season, Toronto lost one of their starters, in shortstop Jose Reyes, who went to reunite with the Mets; his old club. In 2015, Reyes hit a respectable .285. They also lost centerfielder Ben Revere, who was traded to Washington this past off-season, despite hitting .306 last year with Philly and Toronto.

In last year’s postseason for Toronto, Donaldson only hit .243, despite his eight RBIs accumulated throughout 11 games. In eight career postseason games, starter J.A. Happ has never won a game, and his ERA is only 4.82, including a 9.0 ERA in two NLDS games with the Phillies. If both players struggle mightily vs. a team like Boston, Boston’s lineup could, with ease, chew up Happ. Plus, Boston has extra motivation on their side this year, with wanting to win David Ortiz another championship before he retires. To Toronto’s relief, the Red Sox’s top two starting pitchers, David Price and Rick Porcello, have a combined 2-9 postseason record, as well as a 5.00 ERA and 14 walks.

Based on Boston’s lineup’s depth and versatility, I see the Red Sox pulling through, and I believe both Price and Porcello will bounce back from their previous postseason outings.

October 15th- NLCS- Dodgers vs. Cubs- Cubs

The good news for the Dodgers this postseason, they’ll get back left-fielder Andre Ethier, who missed 90% of the season, due to a nagging leg fracture. Last season, in 142 games, Eithier hit .294, with a respectable .366 on-base-percentage. The Dodgers, getting Eithier back is a huge boost for them. Not only is he regarded as a threat on offense, but he’s solid defensively, too, winning a Gold Glove Award in 2011, and having one of the best fielding percentages in the league- among active players. So far, Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts hasn’t announced his starting lineup in the NLDS vs. Washington, which will leave fans and analysts wondering whether or not Eithier will be immediately inserted into the starting lineup or not.

Eithier is a huge x-factor in this series, will he regain his form from prior to his injury, or will he struggle? Another huge factor for Los Angeles is whether or not rookie starting pitcher Kenta Maeda will struggle or not. This year, Maeda had an average ERA, at 3.48, and although he won 16 games, his ERA since August is 4.08. In addition to that, for obvious reasons, the fact that he has no prior postseason experience is a uphill battle for him. If Kershaw can regain his form from prior to his injury, and Maeda can strengthen his performance, Los Angeles will be almost even to Chicago’s starting pitching.

Since the beginning of August, Chicago’s top-three pitchers — Lester, Arrieta and Hendricks — have a win-loss record of 21-5, and an ERA of 2.31; Lester is 8-1, with a 1.58 ERA. In the postseason, Lester has a 2.85 ERA and two World Series rings; with Boston in 2007 and 2013. Even though the Cubs haven’t made a World-Series appearance since 1945 vs. Detroit, and haven’t won a title in over a century, I see their luck reversing and guiding them (finally) to the fall classic. Based on all the factors and statistics that I mentioned, I’ll go with Chicago in seven.

October 25th- World Series- Boston at Chicago- Chicago

In a rematch of the 1918 World Series, which Boston took in six games, both teams had thrilling, very successful seasons, especially the Cubs. As previously mentioned, the Cubs sport arguably the best combination of the top three pitchers in a staff, while Boston’s lineup is one of the youngest, as well as talented, group of the league. Two of their starters, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Mookie Betts, are 23 years old and sport a batting average over .290.

This season, Betts led the American League in total bases, with 359, while finishing second in batting average (.318), while Bogaerts had a .294 average and 89 RBIs. Statistics aside, both players are a perfect blend of skill, power, and athleticism. They both propelled Boston’s offense, as the team ranked both first in the league in runs (878) and doubles (343). David Ortiz had another solid, productive season, driving in 127 runs, hitting 38 home runs, and hitting .315.

In his second season with the Red Sox, first baseman Hanley Ramirez also hit over 30 home runs, while, defensively, he ranked fifth best in fielding percentage (.996).

Chicago’s lineup is relatively young, too, with an average age of 27, with perennial MVP-candidate third baseman Kris Bryant leading the way. Bryant’s only 24, and yet, in only his second season, he’s batting close to .300, had almost 40 home runs, and was constantly getting on base, despite shortstop Addison Russell’s lack of patience (as he hit only .238). The big factor for Chicago is whether or not their running game will be a huge hinder or not; they ranked near the bottom half in stolen bases, and their team leader — Dexter Fowler — only snatched 13 stolen bases all year long.

I envision Chicago’s rotation will be more than ready for the task of facing Boston’s top half of the lineup, and, with that (and all the rest) being said, I see Chicago taking it in six, and finally bringing the World Series trophy back to Wrigley.

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