2018 Season Preview: World Series Predictions

Opening Day is knocking on the door, and we at M-SABR are ready for baseball’s return! Having previewed all 30 teams, it is time for some predictions. Today, we’ve got some staff picks for the playoffs and most importantly World Series Champs!


Max Smith

Wild Card

NL: Cubs over Diamondbacks

AL: Angels over Red Sox

Division Series

NL: Dodgers over Cubs, Nationals over Brewers

AL: Astros over Angels, Indians over Yankees

Championship Series

NL: Nationals over Dodgers

AL: Astros over Indians

World Series

Nationals over Astros

With Bryce Harper potentially on his way out the Nationals finally put it all together, riding a dominant offense—Trea Turner finally joins the 20/60 club and Harper clubs 43 HR—and a Cy Young winning Stephen Strasburg-led rotation to their first ever World Series. On their path there, they take care of a dangerous but not quite ready Brewers team that featured one of the best outfields in the majors with MVP-runner up Christian Yelich leading the way. In the NLCS, playoff demons of old are avenged as they stave off the mighty Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw does more damage to his playoff reputation.

In the AL, the Astros are simply too good, though the Angels make some noise. Trout and AL Rookie of the Year Ohtani make for a formidable one-two punch that knocks out Boston and pushes Cleveland to its limits. The Yankees outhomer every team in the league by a mile all season long, but fail to come through in October as Judge goes cold.


Zane Harding

Wild Card

NL: Rockies over Giants

AL: Red Sox over Angels

Division Series

NL: Nationals over Rockies, Cubs over Dodgers

AL: Astros over Red Sox, Yankees over Indians

Championship Series

NL: Cubs over Nationals

AL: Yankees over Astros

World Series

Yankees over Cubs

Look. The Yankees are too good. Judge and Stanton are projected by Rotochamp to combine for 94 home runs. The Judge, Jury, Executioner 2-3-4 of Judge-Stanton-Sanchez is projected to knock in 316 runs by Rotochamp. A playoff rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and CC Sabathia, paired with the scariest bullpen in baseball, is capable of shutting down the Astros—even if Justin Verlander wins three out of seven games in the ALCS. This team is going to dominate the season and the postseason. Rookie manager? No problem. No Greg Bird for two months? No problem. This team is too good, and the Cubs will not have the firepower to take them down in the Fall Classic. Also look out for another exciting, if short-lived, edition of Rocktober, and the Nationals winning their first ever Playoff series!


Cam Cain

Wild Card

NL: Brewers over Cardinals

AL: Red Sox over Twins

Division Series

NL: Dodgers over Brewers, Cubs over Nationals

AL: Indians over Red Sox, Astros over Yankees

Championship Series

NL: Dodgers over Cubs

AL: Indians over Astros

World Series

Dodgers over Indians

I know it’s boring to pick the same 5 teams in the AL to make the playoffs as last year, but I just don’t see any other team getting in. I do believe that the Twins are a worse team than the Angels and maybe even the Blue Jays, but having nearly 60 games against the Tigers, White Sox, and Royals is too big of an advantage to be ignored. The defending champion Astros come back as loaded as ever, but it is incredibly difficult to win the World Series in back to back years. With Jason Kipnis hopefully healthy for the full season, the Indians can take down the Astros and make it back to the World Series.

In the NL, the Dodgers come into the season as heavy favorites, and for good reason. There is no team in the majors with more depth. Corey Seager is a bonafide superstar, and Justin Turner should be a huge contributor once he returns from injury. If Clayton Kershaw can stay on the field and avoid his usual playoff struggles, this team will not only be hard to beat this October, but avenge its crushing Game 7 loss from last year in style.


Matthew Kikkert

Wild Card

NL: Giants over Rockies

AL: Red Sox over Twins

Divisional Series

NL: Nationals over Giants, Cubs over Dodgers

AL: Red Sox over Astros, Yankees over Indians

Championship Series

NL: Cubs over Nationals

AL: Yankees over Red Sox

World Series

Yankees over Cubs

While many of the division races appear to clear cut choices (Indians, Astros, Nationals, Cubs), the Yankees and Red Sox, as well as the Dodgers and Rockies will battle for their respective crowns with the Yankees and Dodgers coming out on top due to tremendous lineups. However, both of those runner-up team will clinch wild-card births, along with the Twins in the AL and the Giants in the NL. The Astros and the Nationals appear to be the most balanced and geared for a long season, so I will give them the 1-seeds. They will play the Red Sox and Giants respectively in the division series, as both those teams are led by fantastic starting pitching in the wild-card game (Sale and Bumgarner).

In the American League, the Red Sox pull off the upset of the Astros, and the Yankees roll through the Indians, which sets up a Yankees/Red Sox battle, ultimately won by the Yankees due to their pitching depth. In the National League, the Nationals finally get past the division series against the Giants, and the Cubs defeat the Dodgers in a tough five game series. Here, the magic runs out for the Nationals as the Cubs experience pays off and they advance to their second World Series in three seasons, setting up the classic World Series we all know we want to see. Two of the most storied franchises in all of baseball meeting in the World Series for the first time since 1938.

First, it seems as if the Cubs have been largely forgotten about since their curse-breaking season just two years ago. They still boast young players across the lineup in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Wilson Contreras, and Kyle Schwarber. Adding Yu Darvish to the rotation is a good move, but they just lack the pitching strength needed to win it all against the Yankees. The Murderer’s Row is back for the Yankees with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez in the middle, and a strong bullpen at the back end of the game seals the deal. I think both of these teams will add another starting pitcher over the season, and it will be an amazing series, with the Yankees ultimately taking it in Game 6.


Theo Mackie

Wild Card

NL: Brewers over Cardinals

AL: Red Sox over Angels

Divisional Series

NL: Brewers over Nationals, Dodgers over Cubs

AL: Astros over Red Sox, Yankees over Indians

Championship Series

NL: Dodgers over Brewers

AL: Yankees over Astros

World Series

Dodgers over Yankees

Seriously bold picks here, I know, I know. I just can’t see any of these teams relinquishing their division crowns. Each of these division winners are part of baseball’s tier of super teams with elite offenses and rotations. The one surprising part is that the Nats are my pick to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which for them means for the NLDS. I have the Brewers getting the first wild card spot behind their outfield which should be among the best in baseball, as well as solid production out of Travis Shaw and Orlando Arcia in the infield to make up for Eric Thames’ expected regression. The Cardinals should be able to hold off the NL West trio of competitors with full seasons from Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty on the mound a sneaky good offense that’s bolstered by the addition of Marcell Ozuna.

My AL picks are almost as bold as my NL picks, with two of last year’s division winners repeating with the Yankees overtaking the Red Sox thanks to the addition of Giancarlo Stanton. The Angels flirted with postseason contention last year but should actually make it this year with Shohei Otani added to their rotation but more importantly, Zack Cozart added to the infield and a full season of Justin Upton in the lineup.

Ultimately, everybody’s favorite teams will duel it out for the 2018 World Series and in the end, the best pitcher of our generation will finally get his ring. Once again, the Dodgers’ pitching staff should be able to carry it through the NL playoffs. Kershaw, Hill, Wood, and Maeda is a ridiculous top four that could be made even better with a breakout rookie season from a pitcher like Walker Buehler or Brock Stewart. On the AL side, I see the Yankees winning one more game than they did in 2017 and overtaking the Astros for the pennant. The rotation is the only area that might draw concerns but Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Masahiro Tanaka are perfectly capable of limiting damage for five innings before handing it over to maybe the best bullpen ever assembled. With Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez in the middle of their order, that’ll be enough to get past an incredible Astros team.

In the World Series, the Dodgers lineup may not be able to keep up with the Yankees’ but its pitching staff is the one of few (maybe the Nats but the Yankees are ineligible for the NLDS) that can silence the Yankees’ bats. Despite the hatred most fans harbor for these teams, watching Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen battle Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will be a treat and my money is on the Dodgers containing them just enough to allow the likes of Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager to do their damage.


Sahil Shah

Wild Card

NL: Brewers over Diamondbacks

AL: Angels over Yankees

Divisional Series

NL: Dodgers over Nationals, Cubs over Brewers

AL: Astros over Angels, Indians over Red Sox

Championship Series

NL: Dodgers over Cubs

AL: Astros over Indians

World Series

Astros over Dodgers

I know, I know. Real original, right?

Many fans and pundits alike are getting caught up in all the hype about the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs after they reeled in an impressive collection of players during the offseason. While they all boast solid young players, and do feature in my playoff picture, no team boasts a better core than the Houston Astros. Fresh off signing a 5 year/$150 million extension, 2017 AL MVP 2B Jose Altuve will combine with 2018 AL MVP George Springer to lead the best offense in the Major Leagues (sorry, Yankees). Combined with a deep rotation, with a full year of workhorse Justin Verlander, Dallas Kuechel, and Gerrit Cole, the Astros are poised for another World Series run. Concerned about Clayton Kershaw in a do-or-die Game 7? The Astros won’t be, as breakout star and World Series MVP Lance McCullers pitches 7 shutout innings, outduels the star lefty, and brings another World Series title to the city of Houston.


Share your World Series predictions with us in the comments below!



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