Baseball can be crazy and some elements of the game can be very unpredictable. Whether you’re big into sports betting, or just big into baseball, our experts will give you the scoop on which teams will make the postseason.
Disclosure: Here’s the thing – this isn’t virtual baseball! While these results are projected and (in our opinion) more likely to happen than not, anything is possible because all these teams are great. That’s what makes baseball so fun to watch! After all, baseball is a funny game.
The National League West
2018 Winner: The Los Angeles Dodgers
Starting Pitching: 9
5 Key Difference Makers: Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Yasiel Puig
Dark Horse: Rich Hill
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been an interesting team for a few years now. They were always the team that made it into October but could never finish. Since replacing Don Mattingly with Dave Roberts as manager, the team started to look stronger.
Coming just one game short of being crowned World Series Champions just a short year ago, the Dodgers have seemed to have lost something. But the inconsistency hasn’t stopped them from maintaining contention with the likes of Arizona and Colorado. With the makeup of the team, the Dodgers are still looking to be one of the strongest teams in baseball.
Provided their starting pitching can stay healthy, that will be the key to putting them where they need to be. Seeing a solid playoff performance from their ace, Clayton Kershaw would be the next step! But all in all, their offense, bullpen and overall dynamic will make them difficult to pass and will give them what they need to survive the 162-game marathon of a Major League Baseball season.
The National League Central
2018 Winner: The Chicago Cubs
Starting Pitching: 6.5
5 Key Difference Makers: Kris Bryant, Jose Quintana, Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward, Javier Baez
Dark Horse: Yu Darvish
The “lovable losers” aren’t seen as losers since breaking the curse and winning the World Series in 2016! Today we see a team carried by a powerful, dynamic line up and elite manager in Joe Madden.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates are giving them a run for their money, but are less likely to be able to sustain their high numbers. The Cubs have more depth and that’s what gets teams over the hump and into the hunt.
We already talked about their powerful lineup – the thing Cubs fans need to worry about is the starting pitching. Jon Lester, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana and Kyle Hendricks should provide for a strong rotation. The question is pitching down the stretch (and eventually into the playoffs). For this, eyes should be on Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks as they will most likely decide the fate of the Cubs.
The National League East
2018 Winner: The Washington Nationals
5 Key Difference Makers: Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Madson
Dark Horse: Adam Eaton
A division that looked like it was going to be locked up, is becoming more and more interesting with each passing week. After a surprisingly slow start, many were starting to suspect whether or not the Nats would find a way out of their rut, especially with the runs the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have been on.
They’re not making it easy, but it’s unlikely that they will be able to maintain their success at the rate that Washington will. With Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy heating up, the already impressive Nationals lineup will get stronger and the stand alone in the NL East.
The National League Wild Card
2018 Winner: The Atlanta Braves
Starting Pitching: 8
5 Key Difference Makers: Nick Markakis, Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman, Kurt Suzuki, Ozhaino Albies
Dark Horse: Anibal Sanchez
Probably the most exciting team to watch, the 2018 Atlanta Braves resemble the 2017 Yankees. There’s just something about watching young talent carry a team that wasn’t expected to do much. They are truly a great team to watch at a sports bar!
With expectations at a minimum, the Braves have absolutely excelled. Lead by their franchise all-star, Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves are wowing fans with their consistent offense and dynamic starting rotation. There is room for improvement, which is to be expected, considering the very young age of the team, but they are also one of the teams that are better than the sum of its parts.
Like the Yankees last year, there always seems to be someone ready to pick someone else up when they’re in a slump. There are unexpected heroes and what appears to be a solid ability for their pitchers to always keep their team in the game.
2018 Winner: The Milwaukee Brewers
Starting Pitching: 8
5 Key Difference Makers: Christian Yelich, Eric Thames, Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas, Josh Hader
Dark Horse: Lorenzo Cain
Like the Braves, the Brewers have surprised the National League with some very impressive play. Adding key players such as Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain to Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar put them over the hump from a 500 team to a true contender.
The question is whether or not their offense can pick each other up. They have a difficult second-half schedule and while their starting pitching is strong, they aren’t likely to be able to hold off these sluggers for long. This is where the bats need to come in. If the bats wake up, the team has a better chance, maybe some extra batting cage time will be enough.
2018 Winner: The Atlanta Braves
Here’s what it came down to – team chemistry. In a short, one-game playoff we believe the Braves will be able to dig deeper and take the win. Though we do believe it would be a close game and we wouldn’t miss it for anything!