It’s rare gift to be able to predict the future. Many people claim to be able to do it and several people make money by claiming to do it. I am here to tell you that I possess this rare gift of predicting the future. The unfortunate truth however, is that the gift only applies to Major League Baseball.
All right so I didn’t predict that the Blue Jays would be in last place in the AL East in mid-May but I did expect the Houston Astros to bring up the rear in the AL West (along with every other baseball fan on Earth). I also predicted that the Minnesota Twins would not be as bad as several ‘experts’ said they would be and would likely finish the season near .500. Low and behold look where they are now, one game under .500.
Now that you are convinced of my gift of psychic abilities I present to you the winners of the World Series from 2013-2017:
2013 World Series Champion: Detroit Tigers
As much as it pains me to do this I have to give the 2013 trophy to the Detroit Tigers. Victor Martinez has looked like a shadow of his former self at the plate this year posting a pathetic .215/.272/.306 clip. Martinez, however, is in his first year back from a torn ACL and is generally considered to be a slow starter. Despite the Tigers’ $50 million dollar man hitting slightly better than a National League pitcher they still rank 1st in both batting average and on-base percentage and 5th in slugging percentage. These stats are good enough to give the Tigers a league best 206 runs scored. While Cabrera is destroying the ball so far this year and we would expect his numbers to drop a little bit we can reasonably expect Victor Martinez to post numbers at least a little closer to his career line of .300/.367/.464. Needless to say this team will put enough runs on the board to win it all. This brings us to the rotation, which possesses arguably the best 1-2-3 lineup in the majors with Verlander-Scherzer-Sanchez all pitching lights out so far this year. Even Doug Fister is getting in on the action. Fister, a control master, has only eight walks this year and posts a respectable 9 hits per 9 innings. Verlander’s strike out numbers have dipped slightly this year and his WHIP has increased but he has maintained a 1.93 ERA so far this season. As long as the other members of the rotation continue to produce decent numbers the offense will be able to carry this team through October and into November.
2014 World Series Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
So here’s the deal, Clayton Kershaw is THE BEST PITCHER IN THE MLB and you cannot even have a rational argument about it. Chad Billingsley had season ending surgery this year but should be ready to go in time for the 2014 season. Billingsley had a rather successful 2012 campaign with a 10-9 record and a 3.55 ERA. Add that with Zack Greinke, who was inked to a six year deal for the 2013 season, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who both have been lights out in their first seasons with the Dodgers this year, and you have the makings of one of the best pitching staffs the MLB has seen in quite some time. As if the pitching isn’t enough to win them the World Series their lineup will include; Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier. That equates to roughly 120 homeruns and arguably the best 2-5 hitters in the National League. In 2014 we should also expect the speedy Dee Gordon, who is tearing up AAA Albuquerque this year, and possibly Yasiel Puig who is expected to hit somewhere between 40-50 million homeruns in his career.
2015 World Series Champion: Washington Nationals
We all knew they would appear somewhere on this list. After coming close in 2013 and 2014, 2015 will prove to be their year. Ryan Zimmerman has been dealing with injury issues recently but assuming he can stay healthy for the 2015 season he will play a key role in the Nationals’ October run. We all know Bryce Harper is an absolute stud, and will be a large reason for the Nats success. Inking Denard Span to a long-term deal will also be important, as good leadoff hitters are not as prevalent in the league as they once were. Washington will have to had some free-agent hitters though, as they do not possess many solid bats in the minor leagues aside from third-baseman Anthony Rendon. After trading Alex Meyer in the Denard Span deal during the offseason the Nats have also depleted the arms down on the farm. Nathan Karns looks to be a solid pitching prospect who projects as a 3-4 starter. Other than that the Nationals will have to rely on Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren, and Stephen Strasburg. Yeah, I think I’d be okay relying on those guys too.
2016 World Series Champion: Baltimore Orioles
A current roster that is brimming with young talent anchored by superstar sluggers Manny Machado and Adam Jones the future looks bright in Baltimore and they may put it together as early as 2014. Jones has improved his stat lines nearly every year and there is no reason to think that the now 27 year old will stop anytime soon. After clubbing 34 dingers in 2012, Jones could easily match these totals for years to come. Along with Adam Jones in the lineup are Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. Machado is an absolute beast on the defensive side of the ball and nearly unmatchable in offense. After hitting 7 homeruns in 191 at-bats last year Machado has nearly matched that total in 20 less at-bats in 2013. This kid has all the makings of a bonafide superstar at third base. As we know hitting isn’t everything in baseball and holy hell have the O’s put together a fearsome pitching staff. Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen, the 1-2 starters for Baltimore, are two young pitchers who so far in 2013 have posted WHIPs below 1.3 and a K/9 ratio over 5. The funny thing is these two guys may only be the 3-4 starters in 2016 as Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are both fantastic pitching prospects expected to make an immediate impact in 2014 and beyond.
2017 World Series Champion: Minnesota Twins
Before I get called out for riding the bias bus let me just say this; The Twins outfield in 2017 will consist of Aaron Hicks, Byron Buxton, and Oswaldo Arcia. Hicks has struggled at times this year but has also showed flashes of promise as epitomized by his two-homer game in which he made a Torii Hunteresque catch to rob Adam Dunn of a homerun. Buxton has reached safely in every game he’s played in with Class A Cedar Rapids and Arcia has shown at 22 what the Twins should expect posting a .286/.318/.476 in 23 games at the big league level. Not only that but the Twins will also have Dominican Slugger Miguel Sano who, in all likelihood, will end up at first base with Travis Harrison or Trevor Plouffe anchoring third base. Lest I forget the other portion of the Twins offense Joe Mauer, this team will not have a problem with run support. But with the pitching prospects the Twins have they may not need much run support. Alex Meyer, who came over from Washington in the Denard Span deal is an absolute dominating force on the mound. J.O. Berrios who has posted a fantastic K/BB ratio of 5.4 so far in Class A may challenge Meyer for the title of staff ace. Finally Trevor May projects as an easy 2-3 starter for this staff and assuming some decent free-agent pickups this team could be scary good in 2017.
– Tony Gaspar