MLB 2018 Predictions: American League

Major League Baseball, easily the slowest-moving professional sport ever invented, has announced one simple step created to speed up the time it takes to complete a nine-inning game. They have one of the best baseball players in the world in Mike Trout. With injuries to other starters, Blach will start on opening day. Hey, giving players more time to rest and recuperate is great. It's the first opener between the clubs since 2013. Their offence, led by reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve, should again terrorise. They took the World Series two years back, but didn't manage to repeat - and neither did the Giants back then. The names are different than the ones who finished last season but Bryan Shaw, who will fill the Pat Neshek role, is in purple for a full season, not a half-season.

Boston Red Sox would win the AL East, but it would come down to the wire between them and Tampa Bay.

David Price will have his best, and last, season with the Boston Red Sox.

The team to beat for Astros this season, according to the simulations is New York Yankees.

Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics, Thursday, March 29, 4:05 p.m.

A record 6,105 home runs were hit last season, topping the 5,963 in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. Note that broadcast times start a little earlier than the first pitch.

On the West Coast, the San Francisco Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7:08 p.m. ET, and the Seattle Mariners host the Cleveland Indians starting at 10:10 p.m ET. For six decades the President nearly annually tossed the first pitch of the American League season in Washington but that ended in 1969 with Richard Nixon's toss, two years prior to the Washington Senators relocation to Arlington, Texas. St. Louis traded for outfielder Marcell Ozuna in December and is hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Royals, White Sox and Tigers could all conceivably finish in last place with the Twins being Cleveland's only real competition. In fact for much of the way, it appeared the East would produce both wild cards.

When WFAN's Chris Carlin noted that the number of teams with payrolls under $100 million has doubled from four to eight over the past two years, Manfred said that's a byproduct of teams shifting toward younger players and making more sophisticated projections for players. They've been the NL West champions in each of the last five years, and after they led Major League Baseball with 104 wins in 2017, it's safe to say they'll have another first-place finish in 2018. NY has the talent to get back to the postseason, but will they put it together and can they stay healthy?

The 23-year-old was named the best pitcher and best designated hitter (DH) in Japan's Pacific League in 2016, so he's already proved his versatility at a high level.

One significant change will be enforcing a 30-second limit for managers to decide whether to challenge a call (a rule now necessary because of the previous addition of a rule allowing managers to use replay).

There's a lot to sink your teeth into, so let's dive in and take a look at three narratives to keep an eye on this season.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals may lose Bryce Harper following the season so the time to win is now!

  • Julie Sanders