The 2021 baseball season begins April 1, and a full 162-game season is planned after an abbreviated 2020 season. Here is how the Globe’s baseball writers and columnists see things unfolding.
AL EAST: Yankees – Tougher for the Steinbrenner AC now that there are two Tampas in the division, but they will slug their way to the top.
AL CENTRAL: White Sox – Sunshine Boys Reinsdorf and La Russa rule.
AL WEST: Astros – They got away with it; nobody talks about cheating anymore.
AL WILD CARDS: Jays, Athletics – Denying the Twins a chance to lose a 19th consecutive postseason game.
ALCS: White Sox over Yankees – Drought continues in the Bronx
NL EAST: Mets – Even if Mr. Met goes gender neutral.
NL CENTRAL: Brewers – JBJ Magic.
NL WEST: Dodgers – Tom Werner makes fun of them again for committing all that money to Mookie.
NL WILD CARDS: Padres, Braves – The National League is stacked this year.
NLCS: Dodgers over Padres – Freeway Series featuring the two best teams in baseball.
WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over White Sox – David Price wins Series MVP and says, “I should have gotten this in 2018 instead of Steve Pearce.”
AL EAST: Yankees – One of these years, the Yankees are going to finally make another deep playoff run. Is this the one?
AL CENTRAL: Twins – Defending division champs hang on in one of the closest divisions in baseball.
AL WEST: Angels – Let the baseball world share once again in the greatness of Mike Trout, future MVP (again).
AL WILD CARDS: Astros, White Sox – If karma gets its way, Astros will be gone here.
ALCS: Yankees over Angels – Court is in session and the Judge rules for New York.
NL EAST: Mets – DeGromination for the Mets and their new free-spending owner Steve Cohen.
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals – Cards seem poised and positioned to pick up from what they accomplished in the COVID-shortened season.
NL WEST: Dodgers – David Price wants to share in his buddy Mookie’s fun; he’s back to help the title defense.
NL WILD CARDS: Braves, Nationals – NL Least no more, with division rivals battling it out.
NLCS: Mets over Dodgers – It’s 2015 again and the Mets are legit, climbing past the Dodgers on their way to the World Series.
WORLD SERIES: Mets over Yankees – Subway Series redux, but this time, 21 years after the last one, the Mets get their New York revenge.
AL EAST: Rays – Tampa Bay traded Blake Snell and couldn’t afford to keep Charlie Morton. But the pitching is so deep it doesn’t matter.
AL CENTRAL: Twins – Rocco Baldelli is preaching process this spring. But this talented team needs to see postseason results.
AL WEST: Astros – The Angels are better than people think, but it usually pays to have faith in Dusty Baker.
AL WILD CARDS: Yankees, White Sox – The Yankees haven’t been to the World Series since 2009. That’s two years before Tony La Russa’s last time.
ALCS: Twins over Rays – Minnesota last won a playoff series in 2002, when David Ortiz was on the team. They’re overdue for a long October run.
NL EAST: Mets – An appreciative Steve Cohen buys every player a Bentley as a bonus.
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals – Jack Flaherty and Nolan Arenado will be a tough tandem to beat in a sleepy division.
NL WEST: Dodgers – They’re even better than they were last season, given the rotation depth. Not even Trevor Bauer can spoil their vibe.
NL WILD CARDS: Braves, Padres – It’s going to be fun seeing what Ronald Acuña Jr. and Fernando Tatís Jr. do this season.
NLCS: Dodgers over Braves – An epic seven-game series closes with Mookie Betts making a spectacular catch as Red Sox fans groan.
WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Twins – It’ll be a mismatch no matter who wins the American League pennant. The Dodgers are building a dynasty.
AL EAST: Yankees – It’s a tossup between the Yankees and Rays, but over the course of a 162-game season, New York has more talent.
AL CENTRAL: White Sox – They got a taste of the playoffs last season. It’s fitting to think they will make more noise this season.
AL WEST: Astros – They aren’t the Astros of old but still have the talent and experience to take this division.
AL WILD CARDS: Athletics, Rays – The battle between small payrolls will meet again, just as in 2019.
ALCS: Yankees over Rays – The Yankees will get their revenge from 2020.
NL EAST: Mets – New ownership and added talent. It’s their time.
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals – Anything can happen in this division, but the Cardinals are a safe bet.
NL WEST: Dodgers – This team will own the division again.
NL WILD CARDS: Padres, Nationals – Padres have offense and pitching firepower. Nationals’ Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are proven Series winners.
NLCS: Dodgers over Padres – San Diego will be little brother once more.
WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Yankees – The Dodgers just have too much. They will be the first team to repeat since the 2000 Yankees.
AL EAST: Yankees – Arguably the biggest talent gap at the top of the division in years.
AL CENTRAL: White Sox – Neck and neck with the Twins, but the upside of the White Sox is immense.
AL WEST: Astros – In a division where the race feels like it’s one to avoid falling before the finish line.
AL WILD CARDS: Twins, Angels – Mike Trout has to get back to the playoffs again sometime. Right? Right?
ALCS: Yankees over White Sox – If Cole and Kluber are healthy in October, the Yankees are the clear class of the AL.
NL EAST: Braves – They’ll have to fend off a ferocious challenge in a division race that should be immensely entertaining.
NL CENTRAL: Brewers – Jackie Bradley Jr. will catch a ball while leaping onto Bernie Brewer’s slide to clinch.
NL WEST: Padres – Because A.J. Preller will make 12 trades at the deadline to make it so.
NL WILD CARDS: Dodgers, Mets – It would be sporting of the Dodgers to give up the division stranglehold, but they’re too good not to reach the playoffs.
NLCS: Padres over Braves – Jayce Tingler earns universal praise for pulling Blake Snell after two times through the order in the clincher.
WORLD SERIES: Padres over Yankees – A 23-year-old injustice is addressed, as Tino Martinez is retroactively called out on strikes against Mark Langston for the final out of Game 7.
AL EAST: Yankees – Give me Gerrit Cole in the AL Cy Young race, and you can have the rest of the field.
AL CENTRAL: White Sox – Imagine how stacked their lineup would be if they hadn’t traded Fernando Tatís Jr. for James Shields in 2016.
AL WEST: Angels – Mike Trout has 15 postseason plate appearances in 10 seasons. That injustice will be remedied this season.
AL WILD CARDS: Twins, Rays – Call it the Rocco Baldelli Bowl.
ALCS: White Sox over Yankees – The Yankees have one trip to the World Series since 2004 — fewer than, among others, the Royals, Phillies, and Rangers.
NL EAST: Braves – Nats and Mets have higher-end pitching but 40/40 candidate Ronald Acuña and reigning MVP Freddie Freeman will mash.
NL CENTRAL: Cardinals – Offseason acquisition Nolan Arenado should look familiar to St. Louis fans. Top career comp from ages 25-28: Scott Rolen.
NL WEST: Dodgers – Start bracing yourselves for Mookie Betts to wear a Dodgers cap on his Hall of Fame plaque when he’s inducted in 2038.
NL WILD CARDS: Padres, Mets – The two NL wild cards might be better than any of the division winners in the AL.
NLCS: Dodgers over Padres – In a battle of 100-win teams from the same division, defending champs prevail in the first chapter of riveting new rivalry.
WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over White Sox – Winning back-to-back World Series is a heck of a feat, but Dave Roberts’s greatest achievement will always be The Steal.
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