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Baseball 2021 | The predictions

Who will win it all in 2021? Here are the Globe staff predictions for the new baseball season

Can Mookie Betts and the Dodgers repeat?Tom Pennington/Getty

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.

Dan Shaughnessy

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.”

The Dodgers celebrate their 2020 World Series title.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Tara Sullivan

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.

The Mets acquired star shortstop Francisco Lindor in a trade with the Indians.Lynne Sladky

Peter Abraham

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.

Can Fernando Tatis lead the Padres to a wild-card berth?Tom Pennington/Getty

Julian McWilliams

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.

Mookie Betts used to play for the Red Sox.Christian Petersen/Getty

Alex Speier

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.

Gleyber Torres and the Yankees to the World Series? Why not?Christian Petersen/Getty

Chad Finn

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.

Dave Roberts's most memorable play as a member of the Red Sox was a steal of second base in the 2004 ALCS.Grossfeld, Stan Globe Staff

Red Sox season preview