June 24, 2018

2018 Tailgate Society MLB Preview: Tom Danielson edition

Editors Note: I tasked some of the baseball minds of TGS to write a Major League Baseball Preview asking them to answer these questions. Hope you enjoy them. 

Please check out others pieces as well

Matthias Schwartzkopf’s is here

Lindsey Schoon’s is HERE

Spencer Hughes’s here

Nicole Gustafson’s is here

David Graf’s is here.

Shawn Fensterman’s is here

1.Who will win the divisions?

Indians, Yankees, Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Nationals. This is actually the worst year ever to pick division winners. There’s only one division favorite at plus odds (Yankees +120) and all they did was reach game 7 of the ALCS last year. Other than that you have the Cubs at (-130), Dodgers at (-150), Nationals and Astros at (-160) and the Indians at (-400). I really hope nobody picked against the Indians in the AL Central. I can’t even imagine the things that would have to go wrong for them not to win the division.

2. Who will be the Wild Card Teams?

The AL East runner up will be the first WIld Card team in the AL. Based on my predictions that will be the Red Sox, but just like last year, if the Sox catch the Yanks for the AL East, then the Yanks will roll through a one game playoff against the 2nd Wild Card team anyway. I’m thinking the 2nd Wild Card spot is going to be a repeat of last year. It’ll come down to the Angels and Twins. I’m giving it to the Twins, not because I think the Twins are a better team, but because they get to play in the AL Central. The Tigers, Royals and White Sox will all be bad this year. The Royals and Tigers could be fire selling at the trade deadline and the White Sox will be experimenting with all their young talent. The schedule will be the difference to get the Twins the privilege of losing the Wild Card game for the second consecutive year.

The National League WIld Card picture is much more unpredictable. I’m going with the Brewers because they’re fun, and the Diamondbacks because of their new ball humidor voodoo.

3. Who plays in the World Series and who wins?

With so many teams tanking, there’s a massive discrepancy in quality amongst the MLB franchises. While this makes for a fairly bland regular season, it hypes the hell out of the playoffs. The top teams in both leagues are so good, that after the Wild Card rounds, the matchups will be incredibly intense. I’m going with a rematch of the 2016 World Series. I think the Indians’ pitching carries them through the AL, and the comprehensive balance of the Cubs’ roster carries them through the National League. Give me the Indians in the rematch.

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4. Who are your League MVP’s?

Giancarlo Stanton in the Yankees lineup is terrifying. If he even comes close to matching his second half numbers from last season, the flashy numbers will skyrocket due to playing with a much better lineup in New York. I think he dominates the AL voting. The only other interesting name to watch, in my opinion, is Mike Trout. I regard Trout as the best all around player in the league and he has been for a while. With Shohei Ohtani, Kinzler, Cozart and Upton all in the lineup, it’ll be interesting to see if he generates numbers more comparable to his talent level and enough to compete with Stanton.

I’m going with Bryce Harper in the National League, solely because I think Bryant and Rizzo split votes amongst voters wanting to vote for a Cub. The same logic could be applied to the Kershaw, Bellinger and Seager among Dodgers. Sure you could make an argument for Anthony Rendon taking votes from Harper, but Rendon has been excellent the last couple of years, and is still undervalued nationally because Harper is THE guy in DC.

5. Who are your League Cy Young winners?

I’m not going to be the guy that predicts anyone other than Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. If they both are healthy for the entire season, they should clearly be the front runners. If they’re not healthy…nope, not going to do it, can’t pick against these two.

6. If you could put any fictional baseball player on your favorite team, who would it be and why?

Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh from Bull Durham would be a perfect fit with the Twins. They could use the help in their rotation and their system is filled with a bunch of mediocre pitchers that just don’t have the sauce. While Nuke is generally not a good teammate and clashed with Crash, I think Jason Castro could finish the transformation that Crash aspired to.

7. Give me three bold predictions.

  1. Byron Buxton goes for .270/80R/80RBI while retaining his status as the best defensive center fielder in baseball.
  2. The Brewers lead the NL in runs scored.
  3. Shohei Ohtani has a positive WAR as both a pitcher and a hitter.

8. What are your top three baseball movies and one you dislike the most?

  1. The Sandlot
  2. Field of Dreams
  3. Bull Durham

I wouldn’t say dislike the most, but I think Rookie of the Year is consistently overrated.

9, Baseball has decided to honor Latin American players by wearing special hats and jerseys in the minor leagues this season. which of the new team logos and hats are your favorite?

I’m buying the Lehigh Valley Tocino for a wide variety of reasons.

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society
Tom Danielson 69 Articles
Managing Editor

Every family needs an adult figure. That's Tom's job on this ship. After graduating from Iowa State University, Tom headed down the ‘failed professional golfer' career path before heading back to his calling as an engineer in the great white north (Minnesota). He got his start in blogging at the critically acclaimed site, Wide Right & Natty Lite.  A student of the ‘you can't fail if you don't try' philosophy, there's no better way to describe Tom than a 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

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