As fans, we go into every season wanting to think that our team is going to be hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the year no matter how out of reach it actually is. I am going to make it easy on you and tell you right now that your team won’t win the World Series… Probably.
I’ve put all the teams into four categories, the clubs that don’t stand a chance, the teams that can do it but need everything to go perfectly, the teams that will be really good and will contend but will fall short, and the teams that are the real deal when it comes to winning the World Series.
Not a Chance
Miami Marlins: It is amazing that the Marlins can still field a team after the trades they made this offseason.
San Diego Padres: Wil Myers can’t do this himself, Padres fans just need to hope that the rebuild continues to go good.
Atlanta Braves: A successful season for Atlanta this year would be to get some of the top prospects up and acclimated to the majors.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera could return to form and get himself another Triple Crown and the Tigers would still struggle to finish at .500.
Chicago White Sox: Much like the Braves, the White Sox need to get their prospects use to Major League ball.
Pittsburgh Pirates: The post McCutchen era in Pittsburgh will start out with a lot of losses, especially after also losing Gerrit Cole. But they did get some decent pieces from the Astros that could help in a short turnaround for the Buccos.
Philadelphia Phillies: Don’t be surprised if the Phillies do a little better than what their roster looks like, but they are still a long way away from a title.
Cincinnati Reds: With a really young team around superstar Joey Votto, the Reds will be bad again but if they can get solid years from players like Raisel Iglesias and Scooter Gennett again they can cash in on some trades to help the rebuild.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins are young and they managed to squeak into the playoffs because of how horrid the AL Wild Card race was in 2017. This year it will be a lot tougher get in to the playoffs with 85 wins, especially since the Twins haven’t made too many big additions.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays time to contend for a World Series has passed. Toronto’s current roster is starting to decline despite having several players that were on the teams that made back to back ALCS appearances.
Baltimore Orioles: It will be tough for the Orioles to finish anywhere but last in the AL East even with a comeback year for Manny Machado and a healthy Zach Britton. Look for the O’s to attempt to cash in on Machado at the Trade Deadline before he becomes a free agent after the season.
Texas Rangers: A team that finished under .500 and doesn’t have their two best pitchers, according to WAR, from last year will always struggle the following year. The 2018 Rangers are no exception.
Oakland Athletics: The A’s have a nice mix of promising young players to go along with some solid veterans. They will be better than you might think but they are not ready to contend yet.
Tampa Bay Rays: It seems that every year the Rays belong in the Not a Chance category, but every year they surprise me with a solid year. Despite them doing better than expected, they will not win the World Series, especially after trading Longo.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox return most of the squad that finished first in the AL East last year, but the Yankees improved their team and the Sox will have to rely on players like David Price and Rick Porcello to have bounce back seasons and will need relievers not named Craig Kimbrel to step up with good years. They have also been mentioned in talks for both J.D Martinez and Eric Hosmer, if they sign either one they get moved to the Real Deal category.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels are the biggest question amongst the Contenders. They obviously have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, but will be relying on Justin Upton to have a repeat of 2017 to help Trout carry the offense. The Halos also have a below average pitching staff that Shohei Ohtani won’t be able to carry.
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners have been called a sleeper team to win the World Series for a couple of years in a row. They have failed every year. This year will be no different with aging stars, Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz.
New York Mets: The Mets should be better than last year after being plagued with injuries. Getting their players healthy will not win them the World Series sadly, as the front office did not make enough moves to bolster the roster.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals bring back close to the same squad last year plus Marcell Ozuna after whiffing on pretty much any free agent they tried to sign. They did lose some major pitching pieces though. The Cards let Lance Lynn walk and let two of their top relievers in Trevor Rosenthal and Seung-hwan Oh go.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers had probably the best day of the off-season trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain. Despite loading their outfield full of talent, the pitching staff in Milwaukee will hold this team back from hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Arizona Diamondbacks: A surprise team last year, the D-Backs haven’t done anything to improve the team. Even if they bring J.D Martinez back, they will again get bounced by a better team like the Cubs or Dodgers in the postseason.
Colorado Rockies: In 2017 the Rockies got some pitching performances that matched the normal offensive production of the team. Adding one of the best relievers in Wade Davis also doesn’t hurt their chances, but they are in a really tough division and can very easily fall back below .500.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants have put together a Super Team….. If it was 2014. And they won the World Series that year! I’m not saying that guys like Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria are bad players but they are both getting older and slowly declining and the Giants don’t have to many talented young players to compliment the veterans.
New York Yankees: The Yankees made the biggest offseason move, acquiring MVP Giancarlo Stanton. They are also one of the tougher teams to think of reasons on why the won’t win the World Series, but a lot of their success came from breakout years from phenom Aaron Judge and relievers like Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle, all of which could easily show regression in 2018 and slow the team down.
Cleveland Indians: If it weren’t for a historic winning streak, that will be near impossible to repeat in 2018, the Tribe would have barely won the terrible AL Central. Cleveland also lost middle of the lineup bats Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce.
Washington Nationals: You would think the Nationals would just want to get over the hump of winning an NLDS series before they think World Series, but with Bryce Harper in a walk year that is not an option for the Nats. This team is too good to not at least make a really good run at a championship. The Nationals will end up falling short this year on the simple fact that they just can’t quite get it done when it matters most.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs signed Yu Darvish. Based on 2017 that will be the reason they won’t win their second championship in 3 years. The real reason the Cubs won’t win it all in 2018 is the lack of a lock down reliever to give the ball at the end of the game after losing Wade Davis in Free Agency.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers didn’t re-sign the guy that arguably lost them the World Series last year in Yu Darvish, but losing him could make it harder for LA to make it back to the Fall Classic in 2018.
Houston Astros: It is tough to win back to back World Series, just ask every winner since 2000. The Astros did a lot to try and prevent that but we’ve seen a World Series hangover from the past couple of teams to win it all. Houston will be a great team and are the clear favorites in 2018 but don’t be surprised if the Astros fall short this season.
– Brett Grashorn (Guest Writer)