Faceoff: Who will be the MLB division winners?

Jacob Oberdorf:

With Opening Day only a handful of days away, I have pur together my predictions for each division winning in the MLB.

My division winners are as followed; Dodgers, Pirates, Nationals, Mariners, White Sox and the Orioles.

Let us start with the National League West Division.

This division is headlined by the Dodgers and the defending world champion San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers have the gigantic payroll and a plethora of the stars on the team.

Headlined by the pitching staff.

The starter rotation of the Dodgers is unmatched in the league besides maybe the Nationals.

On the other hand, the Giants do not win in odd-numbered years.

Look at the last five years.

The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

The team missed the playoffs in 2011, 2013.

The loss of Pablo Sandoval and the injury to Hunter Pence to start the season will hurt them.

The National League Central division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball.

Headlined by the Cardinals, Pirates and the up-and-coming Cubs, all things point to this division coming down to the end of September.

This Pirates team is the deepest team that the organization has had since hiring Clint Hurdle as manager.

With the outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polonco, there will be no shortage of speed and power.

Another factor is second baseman and hometown kid, Neil Walker playing in a contract year.

Look for him to have a big season to prove to other teams that he deserves to be paid.

The National League East division is made up of the Nationals and, dare I say it, the Marlins.

The Nationals are the obvious pick for this division considering their pitching staff.

They also have one of the best lineups in the league.

The American League West Division is a division that is up for grabs year in and year out.

It looks as if the Oakland Athletics are going into a rebuilding stage and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are still waiting for all the spending they did to pan out.

The Mariners have been on the cusp the past couple years only waiting for their offense to come around.

With the addition of Nelson Cruz to go along side Robinson Cano, look for the Mariners offense to be sufficient enough to win the division.

The American League Central division is my surprise pick.

The Chicago White Sox spent a lot of money this off season, and I think it will all pay off.

With the additions of Jeff Samardzija, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, along with a hopefully healthy Chris Sale, look for the White Sox to make some noise.

Finally, the American League East.

I see this as one of the best divisions along with the National League Central.

I feel like the defending division champion Orioles will come out with tremendous offense and take the division crown.

Usually I’m one that says pitching over offense, but I think this year’s Orioles team has too many good bats to keep them from the division crown.

Andrew McDermott:

Opening Day is less than a week away, and most teams have almost assembled their roster to head into the season with.

With a crazy offseason in terms of free agency and trades, what team has put the pieces together to make a run at the division?

Here are my predictions preseason predictions for each NL and AL division winners.

AL East: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have assembled a rotation that can get it done in 2015.

Clay Buchholz returns, and in the offseason they added Justin Masterson, Wade Miley, and Rick Porcello. They also have one of the most stacked outfields in baseball; Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, and Hanley Ramirez are all going to compete for at-bats.

The Red Sox also made one of the biggest offseason signings this year, signing former Giant Pablo Sandoval.

AL Central: Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals were the surprise team of the MLB playoffs last year, and then didn’t lose much in the offseason.

In fact, they bolstered their rotation by signing Edinson Volquez.

Catcher Salvador Perez is primed for a big season, and Eric Hosmer is also looking to pick up where he left off in last year’s playoffs.

AL West: Seattle Mariners

I believe that the Mariner’s rotation will be key in their success this year.

Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Taijuan Walker will all have strong seasons this year.

Combine that rotation with a lineup that includes Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Nelson Cruz, and you have a dangerous team out in the AL West.

NL East: Washington Nationals

I’m going to have to go with the obvious favorite here.

Any rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Max Scherzer is my favorite to win the division.

Offensively, you throw in Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman, and you have a great lineup.

That’s not even mentioning Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon.

The Washington Nationals are not only my favorite to win the division, but the World Series as well.

NL Central: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have one of the best, if not the best, outfield in baseball.

Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco are all primed to have great seasons.

Losing Russell Martin in the offseason hurt, but the addition of Francisco Cervelli should help ease the blow.

If Pedro Alvarez can transition to first base and regain his confidence, I can see the Pirates unseating the Cardinals for the division title.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

I think that the Padres can be a surprise team this year and challenge the Dodgers.

However, I’ll go with the Dodgers prevailing out west.

Clayton Kershaw is a force on the mound, and is going to continue to mow down batters out west.

Throw Zack Greinke and a healthy Hyun-Jin Ryu into the mix, and you have a strong top three in the rotation.

The outfield trio of Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier can provide the needed offense for the Dodgers.

Look for rookie Joc Pederson to contribute in the outfield this year too.

He could push for Ethier’s job later in the year.

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