Cubs: Predicting the MLB standings heading into the regular season

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

MLB standings: Can Mike Trout finally get back to the postseason?

First Place: Hoston Astros (88-92)

While likely not as strong as seasons past, the Astros should still be favorites to win the division. Justin Verlander will be recovering from Tommy John, but they still have Zack Greinke and brought in Jake Odorizzi. The lineup did lose George Springer but still boasts Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Dusty Baker brought them to the playoffs last year and looks to do it again, even with a team that’s not quite as strong.

Second Place: Oakland A’s (85-90) 

I wanted to put them behind the Angels because of on-paper talent, but Billy Bean’s “Moneyball” team keeps finding ways to win every season. They have lost closer Liam Hendriks and Marcus Semien, but have added Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland and fireballer Trevor Rosenthal. The A’s core still is built around one of the most underrated ballplayers in Matt Chapman. Like years past the rotation does not look very strong on paper, but again they always find ways to win games and be successful Until they show otherwise, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Third Place: Los Angeles Angels (84-88)

There are so many exciting things about the Angels. Mike Trout continues to be the best overall baseball player on the planet, with Shohei Ohtani being a duel threat with the bat and arm and former Nationals star Anthony Rendon manning thirdbase. They added outfielder Dexter Fowler to the mix via trade and signed former Cub starter Jose Quintana to add to the rotation. Joe Maddon’s squad has a lot of talent but this team can just never put together a full season that’s up to snuff. Pitching has always been suspect and something that has hurt them in the past. For baseball’s sake, the Angels need to contend and not totally waste Trout’s career.

Fourth Place: Seattle Mariners (70-72) 

A two-decade playoff drought is likely going to continue in Seattle. Notable veterans include James Paxton and Kyle Seager. The biggest thing Mariners fans will be following is the development of top prospect Jarred Kelenic. At 21 years old, Kelenic is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and hopefully the next face of the Mariners. Sad to say it is going to be another long season in Seattle.

Fifth Place: Texas Rangers (64-67)

They will be batting the Orioles for worst team in the American League in 2021. Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor and David Dahl still remain but not much else is there. The Rangers brought in former Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz to try to give the rotation some depth. They also added former A’s slugger Khris Davis, but he will miss the start of the season due to a quad injury. Gallo can hit some mammoth shots and they have a nice new stadium, but the odds of them contending are literally zero according to some projections.