Setting the Stage: Opening Day 2018

It is finally here! It feels like just a week ago that I was watching the Astros celebrate their 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers. Finally, meaningful baseball will be played and the fantasy season can begin. No more speculating what will happen as we can finally watch the season unfold before our own eyes. All the hope we had in the offseason for our favorite teams will begin to fade with each passing day (looking at your Mets). It seems like every author who writes about baseball provides their predictions for the upcoming season. With this post, it looks like I can officially put myself into that group of people. In addition, I will cover the fantasy leagues I will be competing in this year as I will be referencing them on occasion.  I only had the idea for this post yesterday so no record projections by me. I am just going off of my gut . Let’s begin.

Regular Season Predictions

End of Season Finish AL West AL Central AL East NL West NL Central NL East
1st Astros (2) Indians (1) Yankees (3) Dodgers (2) Cubs (3) Nationals (1)
2nd Angels (4) Twins (5) Red Sox Diamondbacks Cardinals (4) Mets (5)
3rd Mariners White Sox Blue Jays Rockies Brewers Phillies
4th Athletics Tigers Orioles Giants Pirates Braves
5th Rangers Royals Rays Padres Reds Marlins
Table 1: 2018 Regular Season Predicted End of Year Standings

If these look similar to everyone else’s picks, it is simply because: Option 1) there are clearly some teams that are stacked with talent, some in the middle of the road, and some that are not “tanking” or Option 2) I am unoriginal. Take your pick. The numbers in parenthesis next to teams indicate how I think they will be seeded for the post season. For the American League (AL), I put the Indians, Astros, and Yankees in order based on how I perceive the difficulty of their respective divisions, with AL Central being the least difficult and AL East being the most difficult. The Red Sox are a very good team, but I think the Twins less difficult division helps them return to the  Wild Card game this year. In addition, I really hope the Angels get into the post season. It would be better for baseball if Mike Trout was in it and so I have willed it to being with this prediction! Might as well not even play the games now. For the National League (NL), I ordered the Nationals, Dodgers, and Cubs based on the same criteria as the AL. The Dodgers are run so well and a very deep ball club, but I think this could be the year the Nationals finally put everything together. I like the moves the Mets made in the offseason, and I am a homer, so they get the 5th spot in the NL. Really though, predicting Wild Card teams is way more difficult than the division winners. Now time for the post season predictions.

Post Season Predictions

Games AL NL
Wild Card Game
Angels Mets
DS: 1st vs WC Indians (4) Nationals (4)
DS: 2nd vs 3rd Astros (7) Dodgers (6)
ALCS/NLCS Astros (5) Nationals (6)
World Series Nationals (7)
Table 2: 2018 Post Season Predicted Winners

This table shows who I believe to be the winners of each round of the playoffs. In the Wild card games, I have the Angels over the Twins because Mike Trout and the Mets over the Cardinals because I am a homer having Thor or DeGrom guarantees them a good chance to win one game. In the Division Series (DS) rounds, I have neither Wild Card team advancing as I think the top teams are very likely to advanced, but anything could happen over a few games. For the Championship Series (CS), I have the Astros repeating, but this time I think the Nationals will be victorious over the Dodgers. Honestly, it was really difficult to put anything other than an Astros-Dodgers World Series repeat and it was even more difficult to not have the Astros win again, but I want to be “different” and think the Nationals have a shot to win it all. The number in parenthesis here indicates the number of games I think will be played in each series. This is what I think will probably happen, but if I had to give a totally non bias prediction, the Mets are definitely going to win it all!

2018 MLB Awards

Award AL NL
MVP Mike Trout (LAA)
Cy Young Luis Severino (NYY)
Rookie of the Year Willie Calhoun (TEX)
Comeback Player Miguel Cabrera (DET)
Reliever of the Year
Roberto Osuna (TOR) Sean Doolittle (WSH)
Table 3: 2018 Select Award Winner Predictions

Every year at the end of the regular season, there are awards for a variety different categories that are given out. I decided to select a few and predict who I think will win them. With the Angels making the playoffs, Mike Trout would be an even more obvious choice for Most Valuable Player (MVP) than he already is and if the Nationals are the best team in the National League, I have to assume it is because Bryce Harper had another MVP season. I almost wrote a post earlier this offseason about Luis Severino being a legitimate ace so he is my pick for AL Cy Young (best pitcher) and while I have the Nationals dominating this year, Clayton Kershaw is definitely a good candidate to win the award for the fourth time over Max Scherzer, who is also looking for his fourth Cy Young award. Rookie of the Year is a tough one to predict, as seen last year with Aaron Judge as he was not even considered for the award in the preseason, yet he won it easily, so I decided to go with two bat first rookies in Calhoun and Winker. Calhoun is starting the year in the minors, but I have to think the Rangers could use his bat at some point this year if they want to compete for a post season berth. Winker has very good plate discipline and is probably already one of the Reds best hitters. I did not pick Ronald Acuna here because I wanted be a different.

For Comeback Player of the Year, if Cabrera is healthy again, this award is probably his. As for Gonzalez, his struggles were linked to his sleep issues, which he believes he has under control now, so I could see him having a bounce back year, especially since he is still in Colorado. Reliever of the Year should probably just go to Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen right now, but I wanted to continue to be different. Osuna has really good peripherals and all it would take is a season with a high save total for him to get noticed. As for Doolittle, he was really good with the Nationals last year and follows with my line of thinking that this is the Nationals’ year to win.

Fantasy leagues for 2018

Now for the moment everyone who has been reading this has been waiting for. This year I will be competing in five fantasy leagues, which continues to be the most I have ever done at one time (I believe for three years running now). I love fantasy baseball, but I think it would be very difficult for me to be successful if I go beyond this number. The leagues are as follows:

League Name Home League REL: Deep AL Only JBL: Deep Mixed AL only
Tater Chasers
Years in League: 6 3 1 1 1
Type: Keep 4 Dynasty Dynasty Redraft Redraft
Format: Roto & H2H Roto with H2H Playoffs H2H Roto Roto
# of Teams: 12 15 24 8 11
Roster Size: 22 25 40 28 5
Minor Size: 2 NA Spots 3 NA Spots & up to 20 Player farm 60 Player Farm 0 0
Transactions: Daily pick ups Twice a week Bidding (FAAB) Auction Bidding Weekly Waivers
Daily Pick ups
Transaction Limits: None None 3 Winning Bids per Month None None
Trading: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Platform: Yahoo & Google Sheet  Yahoo & Google Sheet Fantrax, Proboards Forum, & Google Sheet Yahoo Yahoo
Draft Type: Online Draft Online Draft
Slow draft for Minors and Draftees, Slow Auction for Free Agents
 In Person Auction  Online Draft
Lineup Locks: Daily Daily Weekly Weekly Daily
Unique Rules: H2H and Roto Scoring Must Keep 15 from your Affiliated MLB Team (Orioles for me) Salary Cap per Team, Transactions made through Forum Counter offer all trades, Drafting April 8th Taters
Table 4: My 2018 Fantasy Leagues

I apologize for this monstrosity of a table as I am still trying to figure out tables in WordPress. That said, this should provide you a basic overview of the leagues I am in. As my fantasy baseball “career” has evolved, I have moved from mostly playing in shallow, mixed redraft leagues into deeper dynasty formats. I am not sure if I have a favorite type per say as each provides its own unique challenges. This post is long enough so if you have any questions about any of these leagues, feel free to ask in the comments below or on twitter. I have specific content coming out about Tater Chasers and my Home League as well so stay tuned. This is cannot miss stuff folks…
There you have it, my unoriginal predictions and my fantasy leagues, that I only care about. Time to watch some baseball and out smart luck some competition. If you are a baseball fan or have a fantasy baseball team, good luck to you this year. Now let’s watch athletes play ball!

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2 thoughts on “Setting the Stage: Opening Day 2018

    1. Thank you for the sentiment Arod. I think I am starting to get the hang of this whole blog thing. I am also looking forward to watching you on Sunday Night Baseball.


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