Schlossberg Fearless MLB Forecast for 2015 • Latino Sports


Schlossberg Fearless MLB Forecast for 2015


The only guy with a lower success rate than the pre-season baseball writer is the weatherman.

To him, every day is April Fool’s.

In fact, the only time he is right is when he predicts a 50 per cent chance of precipitation. It’s always 50 per cent chance — maybe it will rain or maybe it won’t. Your pick.

That being said, half the fun of being a baseball writer is making predictions that always look ridiculous by Mother’s Day — or maybe even sooner.

Injuries, trades, hot rookies, and veterans who suddenly find themselves over-the-hill are all factors that influence the 162-game title chases — not to mention the unknown influence of drug-related suspensions.

Last year, for example, the Yankees lost Alex Rodriguez for the entire schedule. And this year’s poster boy for bad behavior is Ervin Santana, signed to be the No. 1 pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. He’s been slapped with an 80-game ban, effectively half of the 2015 season.

Ervin Santana isn't smiling after learning of his 80-game ban for substance abuse

Ervin Santana isn’t smiling after learning of his 80-game ban for substance abuse

There have been lots of other spring surprises too: the Cubs cutting Kris Bryant after he led both leagues with nine spring training home runs, the Diamondbacks dealing Trevor Cahill to the Braves in an obvious salary dump on the eve of the openers, and Will Ferrell proving his athletic ability is even more laughable than his acting.

The Spring of 2015 will also be remembered for rookie commissioner Rob Manfred saying he would consider reinstating Pete Rose, the career hit king, and returning baseball to Montreal, where a two-game series last spring drew nearly 100,000 fans. Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays are ready to run to Quebec after St. Petersburg decided to kill a vote on building a new ballpark.

Rob Manfred ponders the possible reinstatement of Pete Rose

Rob Manfred ponders the possible reinstatement of Pete Rose

With all that being said, here’s how the season should shake out:

American League East — The Boston Red Sox, completing a wild roller-coaster ride, will become the first team to vault from last-to-first-to-last-to-first. But that depends on Hanley Ramirez mastering the Green Monster, Pablo Sandoval watching his waistline, the team finding a dependable catcher, and a so-so rotation overcoming the loss of Jon Lester, who followed Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs. Next in line would be the refortified Toronto Blue Jays, followed by the pitching-thin Baltimore Orioles, aging Yankees, and budget-conscious Rays. Toronto, with thunder in its lineup, will take a wild-card slot.

American League Central — Since repeaters are rare and Kansas City’s run from wild-card to World

Miguel Cabrera, if healthy, could contend for the AL Triple Crown again

Miguel Cabrera, if healthy, could contend for the AL Triple Crown again

Series was an obvious mirage, look for the Chicago White Sox to win after adding Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, and Jeff Samardjzia, among others. Detroit, strong on starting but thin on relieving, gets enough power from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to win a wild-card spot. After that, in order, are the Cleveland Indians, Royals, and bare-bones Twins.

American League West — Even though Safeco Field is a graveyard for sluggers, Seattle slew competitors in the race to ink home run king Nelson Cruz. With Felix Hernandez heading a solid rotation, the M’s will surprise the Angels, A’s, Rangers, and Astros — although Evan Gattis will find Minute Maid Field’s dimensions cozy enough to make him the new AL home run champion.


Miami mauler Giancarlo Stanton could bag his first MVP in 2015

National League East — First Miami made Giancarlo Stanton richer than most Latin American countries. Then they added Dee Gordon and Martin Prado to bat in front of him. That, plus the June return of Jose Fernandez, will result in the first division crown in club history. Washington, whipped by injuries this spring, will make things close if Jayson Werth, Denard Span, and Anthony Rendon return quickly. Young arms propel the New York Mets, who will also get a bump from newcomer Michael Cuddyer and rebounding Eric Granderson. The Braves, rebuilding for speed and defense, and the aging Phillies bring up the rear.

National League Central — Say it ain’t so, Joe: the Chicago Cubs, under new manager Joe Maddon, will rise to the top of the division if rookie slugger Kris Bryant returns from the minors before Mother’s Day. Adding Jon Lester, a leading lefty, bolsters a promising rotation. Even with a delayed debut from Adam Wainwright, this year’s Cy Young favorite, the Cardinals will win a wild-card spot thanks to the acquisition of Jason Heyward. Pittsburgh, still potent, will battle the Nationals for other wild-card spot but the Reds and Brewers won’t pose problems for the three top teams.

National League West — Completing the tradition of not picking repeaters, why not the San Diego

Justin Upton brings his big bat to San Diego

Justin Upton brings his big bat to San Diego

Padres? They scored the fewest runs in the majors last year, then traded for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Meyers, Will Middlebrooks, and others. All they have to do now is get Petco Field and a young pitching staff to cooperate. The Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke but are older, slower, and less potent at the plate. Ditto San Francisco, without Pablo Sandoval. The Rockies could rise if Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez stay healthy but their pitching remains suspect. Cost-cutting Arizona, retooling under Tony La Russa, could contend for the worst record in the game.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Veteran baseball writer Ed Lucas will attend his 60th consecutive Yankees opener, a record even Bob Shepard couldn’t match, on April 6 . . .

Justin Verlander starts 2015 on the DL  [Photo by Lisa Luevanos/Latino Sports]

Justin Verlander starts 2015 on the DL
[Photo by Lisa Luevanos/Latino Sports]

Justin Verlander, Detroit’s former Cy Young Award winner, has never been on the disabled list before this year . . .

Being lefthanded helps, as Felix Doubront (Blue Jays) and Joe Beimel (Mariners) can attest after being released by one club and signed by another within 24 hours . . .

Having a long medical history hurts, as Atlanta’s release of Wandy Rodriguez, a 35-year-old lefty, after he pitched five hitless innings during a 2015 exhibition game . . .

Surprise No. 1: the Astros sent uber prospect Jon Singleton to the minor leagues . . .

Surprise No. 2: the Red Sox, overloaded with outfielders, cut Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley, Jr. . .

Surprise No. 3: Dan Uggla cracked the Washington varsity, claiming undiagnosed concussions caused his

Dan Uggla says his stroke is back

Dan Uggla says his stroke is back

two down years with the Braves, but has no regular spot with Yunel Escobar, another ex-Brave, ahead of him at second base . . .

Closer-in-waiting Jose Valverde, who asked San Diego to release him, must have a deal cooking elsewhere . . .

Now that he’s entering the walk year of his contract, sinkerballer Trevor Cahill will find happiness with Andrelton Simmons playing behind him in Atlanta . . .

Rockies pitcher David Hale says he saved four baseballs of his “firsts”: first pitch, first strikeout, first hit, and first win — all achieved with the Braves. Will Venable, another Princeton grad in the big leagues, made Hale’s task easier by fouling his first pitch to the backstop.


About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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