WEEKEND EDITION .... PLAY BALL! 3.30.19

MLB is back in session and the one & only “NostraDAWGmous” is back with his season preview:

The 2019 Major League Baseball season is upon us again. There are old faces in new places, rule changes that are supposed to help with pace of play of the game. I will also give you my predictions for division winners, Wild card teams, American and National League champions, and World Series winner.

Big names in new places: The biggest storyline of the season will probably be how Bryce Harper and Manny Machado impact their new teams. They will put up big numbers and help their teams but my feeling is Harper has the better chance to bring a World Series to his team. Some of the other moves that were made that can have an impact were trades. Paul Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and Robinson Cano was traded back on the East coast to the Mets.

Rule changes: Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced changes this off-season that will go into affect this year and 2020. Most of the changes this year and next year are an initiative to change the pace of play of game. There are also changes to the Trade deadline and the All-Star game.

*Inning breaks: Reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 minutes in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games in 2019. Reduced to 1:55 in both local and national games in 2020.

*Mound visits: Maximum number of mound visits reduced from six to five.

*Minimum amount of batters: Both starting and relief pitchers must pitch to a minimum of three batters or the end of a half inning effective in 2020

2019 MLB Predictions: AMERICAN LEAGUE

American League East: Boston Red Sox

The loss of Craig Kimbrell will probably hurt the bullpen but the team remains intact

American League Central: Cleveland Indians

The pitching staff puts this team above all the rest in the division.

American League West: Houston Astros

This is their division until further notice with all their young talent.

AL Wild card: New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins

Yankees will finish a close second to the Red Sox in the East and I like the Twins as the second wild card with their off-season additions of veteran players.

2019 MLB Predictions: NATIONAL LEAGUE

National League East: Philadelphia Phil

Probably will be one the most competitive divisions in all of baseball but I think the addition of Bryce Harper will put them over the top

National League Central: Chicago Cubs

They have stepped back to reality since winning the World Series but think the team gets back to form with their dynamic lineup

National League West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Kind of like the American League West, there are the Dodgers and everyone else. Giants have the oldest roster in baseball and Padres the youngest. I think the loss of Goldschmidt really hurts the Diamondbacks.

NL Wildcard: Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers

The loss of Harper will hurt but the Nationals still have one of the best rotations in the game. Brewers lost to the Dodgers last year in the NLCS.

2019 MLB Predictions: DIVISIONS & WORLD SERIES WINNER

American League Champions: Houston Astros

National League Champions: Philadelphia Phillies

World Series winner: Houston Astros

The loss of Keuchel may hurt the rotation but maybe he resigns and comes back to the team mid-season. Lineup is still one of the best in the game

Play Ball!