American League East
Koster: Boston Red Sox. Okay, so David Ortiz retired. So what? The Red Sox lineup is still fierce from top to bottom, teeming with speed and power. Chris Sale joins reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello in a playoff-tailored rotation. This is a team capable of winning 100 games and running away with the division.
Phillips: Boston Red Sox. The rotation alone makes them the easy favorite. The reigning AL Cy Young winner might be the team’s third-best starter behind Chris Sale and David Price. If Price is healthy Boston should outpace Toronto and Baltimore to win the division.
Lisk: Boston Red Sox. Unless they make Chris Sale wear throwbacks every week, Boston should roll to the playoffs.
Duffy: Boston Red Sox. Credit to Bill Simmons for being older than me and, thus, coming up with the idea to root for the Red Sox before I did.
American League Central
Koster: Cleveland Indians. Michael Brantley should be back and be productive. Edwin Encarnacion is ready to provided extra pop. It’s remarkable what this team was able to accomplish despite injuries last year. If they stay healthy, this year should be equally successful.
Phillips: Cleveland Indians. You best bet the Tribe will be on a mission this season after losing Game 7 of the World Series in extra innings. Michael Brantley is back and Francisco Lindor is poised to become a household name.
Lisk: Cleveland Indians. Things finally came together for Cleveland last year after a couple of seasons where the high expectations ended up in disappointment. I’m not expecting this team to be a one-year wonder.
Duffy: Cleveland Indians. Not sure I see a challenger emerging. LeBron is also on the bandwagon now, which can’t be discounted.
American League West
Koster: Texas Rangers. This is the hardest division to predict. The Rangers posted a +8 run differential in 2016 and benefited from several players having career years. I’ll take a flier on Yu Darvish taking the next step and the regression to be mild.
Phillips: Houston Astros. Yep, the ‘Stros are finally going to put it all together and win their division. Any infield that features Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman is getting my vote. Houston will be tremendously fun to watch.
Lisk: Houston Astros. This might be the most competitive division, and I could make an argument for any of Seattle, Texas, or Houston. (The Angels would need to clone Mike Trout and give him some help). The Astros had a down year last year after their breakthrough, and I think we get a third-year bounce back with the young stars on this team.
Duffy: Houston Astros. In Pecota I trust.
Koster: Toronto over Seattle
Phillips: Texas over Toronto
Lisk: Seattle over Toronto
Duffy: Seattle over New York
Koster: Boston over Toronto; Cleveland over Texas
Phillips: Boston over Texas, Cleveland over Houston
Lisk: Boston over Seattle, Houston over Cleveland
Duffy: Boston over Seattle, Cleveland over Houston
Koster: Boston over Cleveland in 6
Phillips: Cleveland over Boston in 7
Lisk: Houston over Boston in 6
Duffy: Boston over Cleveland in 7
National League East
Koster: Washington Nationals. This is the year, guys. This is the year the Nationals win a playoff series. Keep an eye on the Trea Turner for MVP campaign. It’s going to be a thing.
Phillips: Washington Nationals. If the Nats stay healthy this race should be over by early August.
Lisk: New York Mets. Everyone is on the Nationals. I’ll take the pot odds here on the Mets, who are equal betting favorites. The starting pitching will be there, and I think some of the young guys on offense will come through, and pip the Nationals in a close race.
Duffy: Washington Nationals. They will win the East in a brilliant fashion that only writers following the team on a daily basis from within the DC Metro area can even begin to appreciate.
National League Central
Koster: Chicago Cubs. It has been zero years since the last Cubs’ World Series. What a weird sentence. Good chance it will be factually accurate a year from now as well.
Phillips: Chicago Cubs. This is the best team in baseball and it may have gotten better over the winter. Kyle Schwarber is back and the young guys are all a year more mature. The Cubs should backstroke to the playoffs.
Lisk: Chicago Cubs. I am not going against the best team in baseball.
Duffy: St. Louis Cardinals. Guardians of the unwritten rules. Best fans in America.
National League West
Koster: Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t love their lineup, but refuse to bet against Clayton Kershaw. Look for Julio Urias to have a breakout year.
Phillips: Los Angeles Dodgers. I hate typing that (and agreeing with Kyle) but there is no way the Dodgers don’t win the West if everyone is healthy.
Lisk: San Francisco Giants. It’s an odd-numbered year, but hey, I’ll roll with the Giants putting together. They had only two position players play in more than 150 games last year (Belt and Crawford) and have the potential to have one of the best rotations in the National League.
Duffy: San Francisco Giants. Magic too distracted by Lakers duties to impart much leadership and positive energy.
Koster: Colorado over New York
Phillips: St. Louis over New York
Lisk: Los Angeles over Washington
Duffy: Chicago over Los Angeles
Koster: Chicago over Colorado; Washington over Los Angeles
Phillips: Chicago over St. Louis; Los Angeles over Washington
Lisk: Chicago over Los Angeles; San Francisco over New York Mets
Duffy: San Francisco over Chicago; Washington over St. Louis
Koster: Chicago over Washington in 5
Phillips: Chicago over Los Angeles in 6
Lisk: Chicago over San Francisco in 6
Duffy: Washington over San Francisco in 6
Koster: Boston over Chicago in 7
Phillips: Cleveland over Chicago in 7
Lisk: Chicago over Houston in 6
Duffy: Boston over Washington in 4
Koster: Mookie Betts and Trea Turner
Phillips: Francisco Lindor and Bryce Harper
Lisk: Mike Trout and Kris Bryant
Duffy: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper
Koster: Aaron Sanchez and Clayton Kershaw
Phillips: Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw
Lisk: Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard
Duffy: Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw
Rookies of the Year
Koster: Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson
Phillips: Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson
Lisk: Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson
Duffy: Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson, didn’t want to ruin the symmetry
Koster: No player hits 40 homers
Phillips: Pablo Sandoval is finally serviceable in Boston
Lisk: Tim Tebow will stop playing professional baseball by July 1st.
Duffy: I hit the over 2.5 on games attended.