Somehow, some way, it's baseball season again. Yes, already. Last year's abbreviated run saw the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to win their first World Series title in 32 years, something that Ben Gibbard predicted in our 2020 preview. As you can imagine, Dodgers fans — especially the ones below — are in great spirits heading into the 2021 season. So what does that mean about this year? Absolutely nothing. As COVID restrictions start to loosen and with more fans allowed back into stadiums, excitement is beginning to buzz, especially with our group of experts. Like last time, many are hopeful that this will be their team's year. We searched far and wide to get predictions for the upcoming Major League Baseball season, creating a proper barometer of what these superfans think is on the horizon. Will it be weird? Probably. But aren't they all? Here are your favorite musicians predicting the 2021 MLB season. Batter up. Julian Casablancas, The Strokes New York Mets Courtesy of Julian Casablancas What's your prognosis for the season? With Lindor, it seems like they're absolutely loading if not for that pesky bullpen... In my opinion, the bullpen is the most important thing actually, if I ran a team that would be where I would start. trust is the hugest part of any type of "team" situation. Good baseball teams always seem to have a symbiotic understanding between pitchers and hitters ... a team might understand a certain pitcher tends to give up five runs but the hitters will score six or seven - or if an ace is on the mound the team knows they only need two or three runs etc... but regardless of what the situation is, maybe the most important psychological edge is TRUST that the work they do will be protected. So not focusing on a bullpen is unwise in my opinion, but maybe they'll be good! Who knows. Ding dong the Wilpons are gone, but it seems like the bad juju remains. Will the Mets ever get out of their own way? Yeah, THANK GOD. Sorry. But yeah. However, I'm still weary of all remnants of Wilpon era... so perhaps after full regime change things will be in the clear. the problems were mainly with employees from the past as I understand, I don't think there are any problems with any new staff...and not to say all old staff is no good! I'm sure there's a lot of great people, but hopefully, they can get rid of any bad apples if any remain. What are your reasonable hopes? Uhh wow. I mean - none? my dream is that Harold Reynolds would consider being the coach, but that seems unlikely at the moment. deGrom and Syndergaard throwing back-to-back no-hitters? Way quicker replay? Robo-challenges for balls and strikes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I really have no idea, seems like a weird time of flux, they could start strong and be not so great, or start badly and grow chemistry... seems like a building time. Figure out the lay of the land after 50 games and then assess even. Who is your player to watch this year? I wish Cespedes was back, him and Syndergaard. Freaks. Lords of the seventh realm. Hulking warrior men of the sports arena... entertaining and clutch. (and cool style.) They're the kind of players that make it fun to watch, and sports is entertainment after all... Will they make the playoffs? My guess is heLL no, but I hope I'm wrong. would be a nice shock. Good for the manager. What's your record prediction? Hmm, not good? 86-76 something like that? (watch them be No. 1 ha). I don't know, the Mets have a certain character - a scrappy, underdog, lovable bad news bears, fun-loving, swashbuckling thing... an attitude and an edge. Typically Yankees are the clean-cut almost Nazi-like overlords. High school jock bullies future cops... that "we're No. 1 - we're the best" condescending vibe. (It's OK for me to say that 'cause they've won 700 championships and all my friends are Yankee fans, they're fine.) And the Mets are supposed to be the rebellion... to me at least. But I'm not sure if they quite have that vibe at the moment yet. Once they find that, then I think they'll be good What’s your World Series matchup? Angels - Dodgers would be fun. but maybe cause I'm a bi-coastal elitist. Fun storylines make sports a fun analogy for how we process life sometimes, so that's all I'd hope for baseball, a fun and interesting storyline that draws you in... I haven't been fully drawn in for a while If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Sure! Tom DeLonge, Angels & Airwaves San Diego Padres Courtesy of Tom DeLonge What's your prognosis for the season? I think baseball is coming back in a very large way right now, as we start to leave the pandemic behind, people are so excited to see sports again. Baseball offers something that goes on throughout the entirety of summer, allowing friends and families to be social while watching the greatest game invented. We call it America’s favorite pastime for this reason, it’s a social event as well as a sporting event. The Padres had a huge offseason, but will it be enough to dethrone the Dodgers? The Dodgers have many issues this year. They have been (unfortunately) forced to come to terms and deal with their being sex addicts. And again, this has gotten in the way of their skill. They need therapy, and I wish them the willpower they will need amongst each other. Go Padres. Thoughts on Tatis? That's a monster contract for a guy for one season of work. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an athlete or anyone for that matter get such a large contract at such a young age. It blows my mind. But honestly, he’s not only extremely talented, but he’s bringing flair and youth to the game in the same way that NBA basketball players do. He’s got swagger, confidence, and honestly- he’s more of a rockstar but in the land of baseball. But, are you happy with Darvish and the other moves the team has made? I am so excited, as is everyone in San Diego. Our team has spent many years building an incredible farm system, which gave us leverage and capital to go out and get people like Darvish. This is so exciting that we now have a ball club that will be on par with the great clubs. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My hope is that we see the Dodgers in the postseason, and that will be the real World Series. Two rivals, and having the underdogs conquer. That’s my hope. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? I think people need to watch CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore. CJ is a top 10 prospect that just started his debut in spring training, and he crushed it. There’s a very good chance he will be as good as Tatis. Gore is a No. 1 draft pick and possibly the greatest pitcher to show up to baseball since that one guy who shall not be named on the Dodgers. Will they make the playoffs? That’s a nasty and hurtful question. What's your record prediction? My prediction is the postseason will be the Padres and the Dodgers. That’s the real World Series. What’s your World Series matchup? Padres and the White Sox. Don’t know why, but it seems like they have done similar moves as we have. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I have season tickets! I’m going to as many games as possible. That’s my goal at least! And I just learned a few days ago that I am allowed to go to every single game. They are starting with 20% capacity and moving up every month to more and expect full stadiums by July. Mike McCready, Pearl Jam Seattle Mariners Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for them at all this year? This is a really hard season to predict with any certainty. The rebuild process that GM Jerry DiPoto started several years ago is finally starting to show signs of a youth movement. Young guys like Kyle Lewis, Evan White and JP Crawford have already made an impact at the big-league level. And future stars like Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez could debut with the Mariners sometime this season. The team should take a step forward over the past couple of seasons, but I think they’re still a year away from being a legitimate playoff contender. Does anyone on the team excite you? Kelenic? Absolutely Jarred Kelenic. Not only does he have all the tools, he brings a swagger Seattle hasn’t seen since Griffey Jr. He lives and breathes baseball. I’m also excited to see what Julio Rodriguez does in the coming seasons. Both are potential perennial All-Stars. Sheffield? Some of the other young guys? Sure, Justus Sheffield, along with Justin Dunn are exciting young pitchers that I’m looking forward to seeing develop into quality big league starters. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? If the young guys develop as everyone here in Seattle hoops, it’s not unreasonable to think they could flirt with contending for a Wild-Card spot. But more reasonably, I think 78-82 wins is possible. Who is your player to watch this year? I’m eager to see how 2020 AL ROY Kyle Lewis progresses as a major leaguer. I see a great career out of him. Also excited to see the debut of Kelenic, whenever that may be. Will they make the playoffs? Don’t think the playoffs are in their future this year. But I expect them to be a contender for several years starting in 2022. But then again, anything is possible! What’s your World Series matchup? I really like what the Padres did this off-season. They committed a ton of money, but are primed to take over the Dodgers as favorites in the NL. I also expect good things from the White Sox this year. So I guess Padres over White Sox is my prediction! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Everyone in Seattle is very excited that fans will be allowed at games this year at T-Mobile Park. Seems like they’ve taken all the measures to keep both fans and staff safe. I’ll probably see how it goes before committing to attending any games, but it’s nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel! Alice Cooper Detroit Tigers Leon Halip/Getty Images What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the team? Anybody that's going to go to the World Series has to have two great starting pitchers. That just has to be there, and I don't know if Detroit has those two pitchers. Pitching wins World Series. How will Cabrera do? Cabrera, there's a guy that's got all kinds of potential. You never know what you're going to get and there's a guy that could light it up. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I don't think they built the team enough to hope to win this year. But it would be great. Every once in a while a team jumps up and doesn't have a bunch of superstars on it. They just play well together. And if that's the situation with Detroit, then you're not going to stop that team. If a team plays well together, they're going to beat you. Will they make the playoffs? I don't know if they'll make the playoffs. If they're if they start clicking with each other, I think that's really the main thing. If If a team clicks and they start winning games, and they get into the habit of winning games — I think Detroit has had the habit of losing close games. So you have to get into the habit of winning those games playing all nine innings. What's your record prediction? The Tigers finish third in their division. What’s your World Series matchup? It's so early in the season, you never know who's gonna be hot. Every once in a while a team that you're not expecting, something like the Baltimore Orioles will step up and all of a sudden just be unbeatable. Or the Minnesota Twins or somebody like that. I'm hoping it's the Tigers and it can happen. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I would definitely go to a game. I've already had two shots and I've already had COVID so I'm so full of antibodies. I would go to anything right now, I'd go to the opening of an envelope. Patrick Carney, The Black Keys Cleveland Indians Alisa Capistrano What's your prognosis for the season? As a Cleveland sports fan, you learn to have faith. Blind faith sometimes. I hope we make the playoffs. Is the team's window completely shut with Lindor gone? I don’t think so. Teams like Cleveland have to have great farm systems because they know they can’t afford the talent once the rookie contract is up. It’s the part of baseball I hate the most, losing players that feel like they are the team. Do you have confidence in the team building moving forward? Also, what are your thoughts on the team changing its name? I’m perpetually optimistic for Cleveland. I was a fan in the late '80s so I believe I’ve been through the worst era as a fan and watched them turn it around a few times. I’m always rooting for the underdog. I am cool with the name change. I hope they don’t pick the Cleveland rockers or something like that. I think the Cleveland Fellers would be a cool name... What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My hope is 90 wins and a Wild Card slot. Who is your player to watch this year? Triston McKenzie. Will they make the playoffs? Hopefully! What’s your World Series matchup? Anyone but the Dodgers and Yankees is cool with me. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes! Kim Thayil, Soundgarden Seattle Mariners https://twitter.com/thenudedragons/status/1286859355833294853?s20 What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for them at all this year? I don't think it will bear fruit in terms of a championship or playoff appearance, maybe they have an outside chance at getting a Wild Card. I think it will bear fruit in showcasing some brilliant young talent. That's what I'm looking forward to. Does anyone on the team excite you? Kelenic? Sheffield? Some of the other young guys? Well, more than that. We've got two standing Gold Glove winners with JP Crawford at short and Evan White at first, and those guys are young! And Kyle Lewis, we got the reigning Rookie of the Year. That's three young guys, who in their first (I know it was a truncated season), the three of them really, really performed well knowing that knowing that this year, at some point, that Kelenic would be coming up. Then next year, Julio Rodriguez. We got Mitch Haniger. Back, which this is a great problem to have. We're pretty loaded in in the outfield, though I think Haniger will be traded by August. Plus we got Taylor Trammell in left field. By next year, we're gonna have five guys in the outfield with speed and power. So what are we going to do? What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Last year, there are the pace to win about 73 games and that was without Haniger. And now we have some young talent coming up. We got Haniger back and we got Paxton back but I don't know if he's going to last the whole season. But the pitching staff, I feel good about that with Marco Gonzalez being the ace and Paxton. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Will they make the playoffs? Don't see it. Maybe they're on the outside they can get into the get a second wild card. What's your record prediction? 77 and 85, that's improvement. I think, because of the talent, I expect them maybe to be 500. But because of the inexperience, I don't expect that they'll be competitive collectively. If they were .500, that'd be spectacular. I think the youth and team building, in terms of team identity and morale that might take another season or two to coalesce and gel. What’s your World Series matchup? Yankees and Dodgers. The Dodgers are loaded. From top to bottom their lineup is great and then they have guys in the bench who can come out and hit 20 home runs. It's incredible and almost not fair. It's the kind of complaint that you generally have about the Yankees, the best team money can buy. The Dodgers have great scouting, great development. I'd love to see the Dodgers and Blue Jays but think more realistically because of the experience If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yeah, totally. I mean, I was willing to go to Opening Day (I know someone with season tickets) but apparently, they're not honoring season ticket for the first month because they've spaced out the seats for social distancing for the first month. I'm just gonna wait and see how things play out and how the Mariners and T-Mobile do with that. I feel like I'll definitely to a few games and will be a little bit more comfortable once I see how how they manage that program. Steve Sladkowski, PUP Toronto Blue Jays Courtesy of Steve Sladkowski What's your prognosis for the season? Seems like the Jays are trending up! I think the Jays are gonna be really fun to watch in the twisted reality of this ongoing Dystopian Hellscape!! How will Springer do? Seems like the new management is putting their stamp on the team. All acknowledgment of the ugly state of the world aside, I think the addition of George Springer is really going to have an impact on both sides of the diamond. He’s a proven talent and will bring the kind of veteran leadership that the young core — my many handsome baseball sons — will need moving forward. Despite the tough division, do you think the Jays have the talent to compete? Absolutely! The Red Sox and Orioles are trash and I am contractually obligated to slander the Yankees so as to annoy my friend John DeDomenici (of Death Rosenstock). And the best Tampa teams currently in the city are from Toronto anyway (don’t look that up). So of course the Jays are going to compete. Win the division? Why not!? What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I think reasonable hope is a return to the playoffs. Ideally, that comes with a division crown but the rotation still feels a little shaky in the back end. Who is your player to watch this year? Obviously, the addition of George Springer is huge here; but for me, I’m really excited to see how Teoscar Hernández builds off of his Silver Slugger 2020. Will they make the playoffs? I think so! What's your record prediction? 88-74. I think they could lose some winnable games due to inconsistent pitching and will be right around where they need to be for the playoff cutoff. Hopefully, that’s on the right side of it! What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers-Yankees. Lame but probable! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? (are they playing in Buffalo again?) I would love to see the Jays if they’re playing in Toronto. I hold no hope for that because the thing that matters ahead of any baseball is a just rollout of vaccines and a reckoning with capitalist countries’ response to a pandemic that has further-exposed the fundamental inequality upon which these societies, and the sports we enjoy, are based. Until then, I am not thinking too much about where the Jays are playing. Greg Dulli, Afghan Whigs Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Greg Dulli What's your prognosis for the season? The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? It was the opposite of cheap. Last year was the most important baseball season I've experienced. It brought a sense of comfort and familiarity to a culture imprisoned by a pandemic. I watched every game the Dodgers played and probably 30 Reds games. It kept me sane. It was a monumental season, the most dramatic of our time. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? The Padres raised the stakes, so I was psyched they got him. He's a beast and wants to win. The Dodgers are defending champs. I imagine Mookie Betts and Justin Turner run that clubhouse well and can keep dude in check. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? It's hard to repeat, bottom line. But I would not bet against the Dodgers this year. Ceiling, they win it all. Floor, they come in second. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? It's Gavin Lux time. Tons of promise and time to show it. Will they make the playoffs? Signs point to yes. What's your record prediction? Why? 109-53. They play the Padres 19 times otherwise they'd make a run at the Mariners' record. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. White Sox. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. Steve Earle New York Yankees Courtesy of Steve Earle What's your prognosis for the season? Will the World Series-less streak end? I'm the wrong guy to ask. I'm always like - Hey, we're going to the series. We're gonna win. Every year. That's just who I am as a fan. I'm not the heckle-your-own-player armchair manager type. Maybe it's because I'm not a jock. Never played above sandlot level. It's all magic to me. Last year was pretty wacky, but do you think the pre-2020 expectations will snap into place? Yankees seem pretty loaded... It's all about the rotation. If everybody we have stays healthy - it's ring 28. What are your reasonable hopes? What's the ceiling/floor? Ring 28. Told ya. Wrong guy. Who is your player to watch this year? Clint Frazier. What's your record prediction? We'll win 97, 98. What's your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Yanks. Yanks in 7. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absofuckinglutely. Dicky Barrett, Mighty Mighty Bosstones Boston Red Sox Courtesy of Dicky Barrett What's your prognosis for the season? What happened to the mighty Sox? Not good. Apparently, management decided they wanted to go in a different direction than fielding a winning team. Will they be able to recapture the success of the past two decades? Do you have hope that despite dumping their best players, that someone can step up? No. Is Chris Sale done? No, I’m quite sure he will pitch efficiently until he goes on the IL. What are your reasonable hopes? To not get embroiled in a cheating scandal. What’s the ceiling/floor? The ceiling is what I’m looking up at as I drink to mask the pain of the Sox failure and the floor is where I end up sleeping. Who is your player to watch this year? Mookie Betts. Because I’m a sadist. Will they make the playoffs? As I see it, no! What's your record prediction? They will lose more games than they win and they will score fewer runs than the opposing teams more times than the opposite. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I’ve been going to Fenway Park since the 1970s the absence of safety has always been my favorite part. Greg Graffin, Bad Religion Milwaukee Brewers Courtesy of Greg Graffin What's your prognosis for the season? So much hope last year, but can they bounce back with a more "normal" season? If you believe Brewers' play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson, we can expect 99% certainty that Ryan Braun will not play baseball with the Brewers any longer. If you listen to the radio, however, WTMJ stalwart Bob Uecker, as I do, you will notice a lack of prognostication and a more light-hearted approach to the current roster. I'll miss Brauny, but more hopeful about the return of Lorenzo Cain who was missed last season. If Yelich remembers how to hit again, that would be great. Keston Hiura might live up to his hype of two years ago. That would be great. Basically, with their excellent pitching on tap, they need to recapture their hitting of two and three years ago which instilled fear into all opponents. Then they will win the pennant. Isn't that a simple plan? Do you think they can fix the kinks that derailed them last year? Hitting order 1 - 5 all have to be threats as potential long-ballers and high "OPS" averages. That's really the only thing that lacked last year. And it showed in their low win percentage. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Reasonable: win the pennant (define reason). Floor: same as last year, just double the pain (longer season). Who is your player to watch this year? Lo Lo Cain - did sitting out the season last year help his game or put him beyond hope of regaining his former greatness? Yelly - just make contact again (yes, I realize they will pitch junk, but make them pay for it!). Will they make the playoffs? Yes. What's your record prediction? Let's say 96 wins, just like in 2018 when they were firing on all cylinders. What’s your World Series matchup? Brew Crew and the Yankees, just for kicks. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Of course, I'd go if it was safe. But hopefully, that would mean it's safe for concerts too! Brian Baker, Bad Religion New York Mets Courtesy of Brian Baker What's your prognosis for the season? With Lindor, it seems like they're absolutely loading if not for that pesky bullpen... And Blevins is back! I love that guy. Go Jerry! Ding dong the Wilpons are gone, but it seems like the bad juju remains. Will the Mets ever get out of their own way? I am certainly aware of the Mets’ tendency to self-immolate but I disagree with your juju assessment. I’m only seeing positive moves and intelligent problem-solving from the front office, and I think Rojas is doing a great job. Morale is high, people. #LFGM What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Barring multiple injuries or unforeseeable “Mets gonna Met” setbacks, I say playoffs. Absolutely .500 ball at the minimum. Who is your player to watch this year? I love Dom Smith. He’s just getting better and better. I’m also very into Guillorme - he excels at every task he’s given. Plus they are both funny, which is important. What's your record prediction? The Mets will win 90 games because I am a positive person with a positive attitude and believe it to be so. Buzz Osborne, The Melvins Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Buzz Osborne What's your prognosis for the season? The Dodgers will win their division. They have a strong team with possible injuries being the only thing standing in their way. It’s a long season and injuries are always a factor for every team. The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? COVID cheapened everything for everyone however the shorter season actually made every team stronger. They could all go for it full tilt almost from the beginning. I’d say a World Series win with only 60 games is a pretty strong accomplishment. It’s especially sweet after they got screwed out of winning the Series by the cheating Astros. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? Bauer is a monster. This Dodger pitching lineup should be terrifying to any team in the league. Good pitching beats good hitting every time. You can pitch around good hitting but you can’t hit around good pitching. Bauer can only help the Dodgers. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I expect another World Series win, in fact, I DEMAND it. I think they can have over 100 wins easily. Like I said the only thing in their way could be injuries. Who is your player to watch this year? I like Walker Buehler, Dustin May and Julio Urias for pitching and Mookie Betts and Corey Seager in the field. Those pitchers are the future of the franchise and I always love big-hitting second base and shortstops. Big-hitting second basemen are as rare as the Dodo bird. Will they make the playoffs? Of course they will. What's your record prediction? Why? Over 100 wins easy. They’re a great team. The only weakness could be the closer Jansen but none of that will matter with big enough leads. I’d rather win by five runs than worry about fucking saves. I hate saves. What’s your World Series matchup? I want a Dodgers-Yankees series. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes. If things are safe. Murs Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Murs What's your prognosis for the season? The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? I believe we can go back-to-back. And no way last season is an asterisk or whatever. We were robbed by the Astros. Karma. If we’re gonna talk about exceptions. It’s only right they take the asterisk. The only thing that felt wrong was not being able to celebrate with my Dodger family. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? I think he’s just what we need to liven up the clubhouse. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Reasonable is another pennant. Floor is getting sent out of the playoffs by the Padres on a fluke. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Walker Buehler. He’s HOF material. He has A LOT more to do. Will they make the playoffs? No question. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Without a doubt. It’s one of the top 3 things about living in Los Angeles. Disneyland, Dodger Games and Fatburger. Aidan Devaney, Nation of Language/Aidan Noell Kansas City Royals Courtesy of Aidan Devaney What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? There is a lot to look forward to this season! New ownership (including Kansas City hero and icon Patrick Mahomes) is very motivated to put a great team on the field. Great young talent including Adalberto Mondesi, Bobby Witt Jr. and Brady Singer mixed in with great experienced players like Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier, to name a few. Royals are on the up and up and people should be getting excited for them. Who is your player to watch this year? Player to watch is Adalberto Mondesi. Primarily because he is so extremely fast. 30.3 feet per second is his max sprinting speed. Superhuman! What's your record prediction? A safe guess on record.... 88 wins and 74 losses. I might flip those (74 wins 88 losses), it’s a toss-up, but anything less than 70 wins would be a disappointment. They may squeak in as a wild card (fingers crossed!) but I’d say they’re not likely to win the central division. (After this year’s Super Bowl, I’m tempering all hopes as a KC sports fan). If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? If it was safe and I was in Kansas City, I would consider going to a game. I miss those nachos, god how I miss them... and there’s something so special about watching the players run around the field, looking ant-sized, from those deep outfield seats surrounded by your loved ones. George Thorogood New York Mets Jeff Golden/Getty Images What’s your prognosis for the season? With Lindor, it seems like they’re absolutely loading if not for that pesky bullpen. My prognosis? If the Mets stay healthy, they’ll do well. Ding dong the Wilpons are gone, but it seems like the bad juju remains. Will the Mets ever get out of their own way? Probably not. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My reasonable hope is that we will actually have a season. A season in the ballpark. I think everyone is ready. Who is your player to watch this year? Jake! Jacob deGrom…he’s the best! Will they make the playoffs? Oh man, the second Wild Card was made for them. What’s your record prediction?? The next Thorogood record should be a smash hit What’s your World Series matchup? Mets and the Yankees If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes, but it really depends on if I can get IN the game itself! Put me in! Riley Breckenridge, Thrice Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Courtesy of Riley Breckenridge What’s your prognosis for the season? The lineup should be killer again...but the pitching? Same story as last year, really. They’ve done very little (or, at most, middling work) to improve a rotation that has been a glaring weak spot for years. I’m not sure how adding Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana makes them much better, aside from buying them mostly average innings from starting pitchers. In all honesty, I think they’re pretty content with being mediocre again this season, using the payroll flexibility they’ll have next offseason to “improve” and see what happens then. But with a looming work stoppage, that plan will probably end poorly. Thoughts on the ownership? Do you think they have what it takes to rebuild the minor league system and get the Angels back to where they were a decade or so ago? I’ve essentially written them off and ceased my fandom for all intents and purposes. Arte Moreno was supporting Trump at political rallies last year, the organization was one of the first to start shitcanning jobs once COVID took hold, and they hired a pitching coach who’s widely regarded to be a creep towards women and they’ve done nothing to fix any of that. Some people can look past all that and just root for laundry. I can’t. Go Padres. On the system building tip, I don’t think laying off a bunch of your scouts bodes very well for that. They don’t draft or develop talent particularly well, and 2002 was pretty flukey. I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were a Halos stan. Are they wasting Mike Trout (who may, somehow, be underpaid still)? In a word, yes. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Maybe they’ll sneak into a wild card spot, but the AL East is stacked, the Central is revitalized, and the A’s and Astros will always find a way to be better than them. The ceiling is a Wild Card spot. The floor is … I dunno, injuries to key players and finishing fourth in the West? Who is your player to watch this year? Why? I’d love to see Griffin Canning bloom into the solid middle of the rotation or (on this team) ace starter he could be. It’d also be great to see Jo Adell figure stuff out and be an everyday player at the big league level. I’m not gonna hold my breath though. Will they make the playoffs? No. What's your record prediction? 81-81, because that’s their goal apparently, and by God, they’ve lived that for the better part of a decade. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers and Yankees. They’re both beyond stacked. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Eh. I dunno. Maybe a Padres game? I think I’m done going to Angels games unless I luck into free tickets because, I don’t want to support something that doesn’t sit well with me, and beyond that, the safety risks aren’t something I can really wrap my head around at this point in time. We’ll have to see where we’re at with COVID in late-summer. Joey Santiago, Pixies Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Joey Santiago What's your prognosis for the season? Twopeat. The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? Everyone else played 60 games. The postseason was expanded therefore more demanding than the regular format. 16 teams were in the postseason as opposed to 10 teams. Now, would I have said it was a cheap win had another team won. Yes. Thoughts on Bauer? I think he should wear an eyepatch. Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? A Cy Young-winner and pitches with one eye closed. I don’t see a problem with that. Blindfolded will be subject to scrutiny. What are your reasonable hopes? It’s safe to say they will win the pennant. What’s the ceiling/floor? Best case scenario World Champions. Worst case, losing the championship in Game 6. Who is your player to watch this year? Aside from Bauer, it would have to be Mookie. I guess I named two. Why? Mookie! Happens to be the name of my kitten. I was a Mets fan too but between my son loving the Dodgers and living in L.A. for more than half my life, I became a Dodgers fan. Mookie is named after Betts and Wilson. What I’m saying is that I’ve turned into the person I never thought I’d be. A cat lover. Meow. Will they make the playoffs? How else are they going to win the World Series? What's your record prediction? They’ll win close to 70% of their games. I’d say 111 games. Why? They have the best arms and bats. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. who cares. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. One of the best sports to watch live. Rhett Miller, Old 97s Texas Rangers Courtesy of Rhett Miller What's your prognosis for the season? We all know that this will be a rebuilding year. But it’s going to be exciting to see how the team comes together. Any hopes for the team? I am hoping the Rangers might surprise some people. Chris Woodward is such a great dude and seems to be a fantastic manager. And bringing in Chris Young as the GM is a wonderful move. I feel like the Rangers are an organization on their way up. How quickly they will become good is the biggest question. Does it seem like the end of an era for them? Can Gallo bring them back? I prefer to think of it as the beginning of a new era - young leadership and a young team. And I’m holding out hope that Gallo turns into the superstar we’ve all been waiting for. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? The floor is about as low as it can be. We may be looking at a last place team. But I don’t think they’re going into full-on blow-it-up mode. So I think we will see a team that will go through stretches of being pretty competitive. Who is your player to watch this year? Kyle Gibson. Why? He added a cutter to his arsenal. I’m holding out hope for a decent Rangers rotation! Will they make the playoffs? Maaaaaaybe? What's your record prediction? 77-85. Outside of maybe three positions, I have no idea what the opening day roster is even going to look like. I’m trying to keep my expectations low so that I don’t get a broken heart. But hope springs eternal. What’s your World Series matchup? Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I’m dying to see the new Globe Life Field. And IF it’s safe I’ll definitely see a game this year. Kevin Morby Kansas City Royals Courtesy of Kevin Morby What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? My prognosis is that Kansas City goes all the way. World Series Baby. 2014/15 all over again. (But if I had to put money on who I actually think will win the WS this year it's the Padres who I love and have been following ever since Hosmer left us for them a few years back. Once a Royal, always a Royal). 2015 seems like forever ago, what's there to look forward to? I think the lesson to be learned from the '14/'15 season is that in baseball the underdog can always prevail - one run at a time. So there's always the element of surprise with the Royals, and in all of baseball, to look forward to. Also our new pitcher Brady Singer. He's definitely something I've been looking forward to. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My somewhat reasonable hope is we make the playoffs. Just want to get to the playoffs. Nothing is better than the playoffs, and if we can get there, I truly believe we can pull off some magic. With Gordon gone, we've lost almost all of our championship team but we still got Salvy baby. Salvy can light the way for his young team. Who is your player to watch this year? On the Royals - Brady Singer. Last year he held a no-hitter against the Indians into the eighth inning and I think 2021 will be his first year to pitch a shutout. So I'm looking forward to watching him pitch. He's young, handsome and stoic - and I think getting some fans in the audience will help him be on his way to being a true force for Kansas City. Beyond that - I'm excited about Tatis. I love Tatis. I can't believe what a Padres fan I've become. Will they make the playoffs? The Royals? Duh. What's your record prediction? Well, right now the Royals have a projected 1% chance of winning their division but I believe in miracles. I think they'll surprise us all, come up big in a wildcard game, and it'll be just like the good old days. I'm saying 84-78. What’s your World Series matchup? If I were living in a fairy tale my world series matchup would be Royals vs. Diamondbacks and Salvy would hit a two-run walk-off in Game 7 bottom of the ninth off of Bumgarner to win the championship and gain sweet, sweet revenge. But my actual hope is that it ends up being the A's vs. Padres. The great underdogs of California going head to head. But very likely it will be Yankees vs. Dodgers, which I'm totally down for. As long as the Dodgers win. Love me some Dodgers. Hate me some Yankees. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I already went to see Dodgers vs. White Sox at spring training, so, yes! Lydia Loveless Chicago Cubs Courtesy of Lydia Loveless What are your reasonable hopes? Honestly, I just enjoy watching. It’s not fun to see anyone get stomped, but I will be happy to be out and about with my family—if it’s possible—or chilling on the couch with my cat and taking my mind off things with a game. Will they make the playoffs? Doubtful, in my mind, but I truly believe anything can happen. What’s your World Series matchup? The pipedream in this household is Cubs vs. Orioles. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes. It’s one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most, going to some places I’ve never been to to watch a game. Tim McIlrath, Rise Against Chicago White Sox Courtesy of Tim McIlrath What's your prognosis for the season? It seems like the Sox are trending in the right direction? Last year was an exciting year to be a Sox fan. Watching this team and all its hard work come to fruition is pretty special. I felt really bad that one of the best years the team has had in over a decade took place under such dire conditions. Lucas Giolito pitching a no-hitter should have been a party. Jose Abreu’s MVP year needed to be seen. The Sox put in the work and they deserved the screaming crowds that were absent last summer because of the pandemic. They deserved all the merch sales and beer money that go with it too! I actually stopped by the empty park in the middle of last summer to buy a shirt from the street-side store. I just felt like I needed to be there. After years of running to a standstill, the Sox have a solid young core in place. Are you excited about them actually making noise? Absolutely! This team reminds me of a band in its prime. When things are firing on all pistons, good things happen. There seems to be a lot of good, positive vibes and harmony happening. In my experience, that is the most important recipe for success. Those guys look like they are having fun and enjoying the game and being around each other. It’s been great to see these guys speak out about politics and issues of the day also. I’m no fan of the “shut up and play” mentality in music and I feel the same way about sports. I’m excited to see players creating much-needed friction and it’s great to see the organization stand behind them when they do. Athletes are humans with opinions and they don’t have to check them at the door, no matter who gets their feathers all ruffled. Tony LaRussa? What year is this? When I saw that news, I thought maybe it was a joke! I was as shocked as the rest of the world. Tony La Russa was the first MLB coach on my radar as a kid. Growing up in Chicago, La Russa coached the Sox from 1979-1986, or up until I was about eight years old. I remember having his 1986 Topps baseball card. Being around that long comes with a lot of experience that can be helpful for a team primed for a big season. The Sox front office is smart and the players seem to really back the move, so I guess that’s all that matters. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Last year was our first winning season since 2012 and our first visit to the playoffs since 2008. Getting shut down by the A’s was pretty heartbreaking. But this team is even better now, so we’re going back to the playoffs and we’re going to make it past the first round this time. I think the only thing stopping us would be injuries. Who is your player to watch this year? Tim Anderson is the most fun to watch, he seems to balance the pressure really well. Lance Lynn is an exciting addition. Yoan Moncada making music videos is keeping me entertained I also keep wondering if Kopech will step out one of these days and show us what he’s got? We’ve proven that we can win without him, but his firepower is something I’m sure we can benefit from. Will they make the playoffs? Absolutely. This team is a product of a lot of homegrown talent and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be a World Series contender. What's your record prediction? 84-78 is my prediction. We were over .500 last year (the shortened season) for the first time in a long time. I think we’re going to do it again. What’s your World Series matchup? Like every Chicagoan, I’d love to be alive to see the Sox and the Cubs go head to head and last year was one of the closer times we came to that reality. The Cubs won the NL Central last year, maybe they can hang on to their glory for another run. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I’ve gone to a Sox game almost every year of my life. I’ve sung the National Anthem on opening day and they are still the only team I’ve sung for. If it’s safe and I’m already vaccinated, I’ll be there with a mask on doing what I always do: searching for which stand has the veggie dogs. DJ Bonebrake, X Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of DJ Bonebrake and Xene Cervenka What's your prognosis for the season? The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? It will be a full season. Winning the World Series during a pandemic, even with a truncated schedule, doesn’t cheapen it. All the teams played by the same rules. Considering the hardships the players faced, isolation, fear of COVID, no live fans (maybe no fans was a relief!), etc., the achievement was more praiseworthy. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? Bauer is an eccentric. He’s a good pitcher. He could be a real asset to the Dodgers if he gets along with other players. If he doesn’t the Dodgers are good at making players disappear. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My reasonable hope is to be entertained, eat some hot dogs and drink some beer. If we make it to World Series, all the better! Who is your player to watch this year? Watching some of the pre-season games, I liked what I saw from Garrett Cleavinger. He’s one of our new relief pitchers. I also think Corey Seager is going to have a stellar season. Will they make the playoffs? Playoffs? Yes. What's your record prediction? 102 wins. 60 losses. I may be under-shooting. They won 106 games in 2019. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Yankees. They’re both good teams. I picked the Yankees because my friend Ara, from New Jersey, is a Yankee fan and it would make him happy. That’s my logic. Don’t bet money on a team because I said they would win! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I probably would. I got my first vaccination this week. I would still wear a mask for now. Serengeti Chicago White Sox Courtesy of Serengeti What's your prognosis for the season? It seems like the Sox are trending in the right direction? Absolutely the right direction. The most up incoming team of 2020 will be the most exciting team of 2021. Still have the best uniform in baseball, aesthetics matter. Good teams need a good look. After years of running to a standstill, the Sox have a solid young core in place. Are you excited about them actually making noise? They made noise last year, and only improved for 2021. The sox have top 15 level players at nearly every position. Tony La Russa?! Really?! What year is this? 2021. La Russa learns to embrace the youth. Listens to Bad Bunny all day. Gets a neck tattoo between a doubleheader. Celebrity bench coaches to keep the team loose. Goes live on IG during games causing MLB to try to reign him in. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Ceiling: World Series champs in 4 games. Floor: World Series champs in 5 games. Who is your player to watch this year? The only player any person should ever watch is Luis Robert. He is like if Bo Jackson, Roman Reigns and RoboCop collabed to be a superhuman. Frank Thomas said he is a 6 tool player. What is the 6th tool? Nobody knows. It doesn’t matter. Luis Robert is great. Will they make the playoffs? No doubt. Barring terrible injuries, the Sox will be in the playoffs. What's your record prediction? 91 wins. The 2021 Sox are the 1991 Bulls. Central time is a 30-year flat circle. What’s your World Series matchup? Chicago vs. L.A. Like the 1991 Bulls. Pippen throws out every opening pitch. Tim Anderson wins MVP. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes. Plan on being in the stands, in the dugout, and on the field. Dave Hause Philadelphia Phillies Courtesy of Dave Hause What's your prognosis for the season? Can the endless rebuild ever end? Will the bullpen actually improve from the worst thing ever to below average? You hit the nail on the head, that’s the big question. If the bullpen is even halfway good, we could go on a run and contend with the best teams in the league. Thoughts on Bryce Harper? Is he worth the money or will he be forever a disappointment? There’s no salary cap in baseball, so I don’t care what he costs and frankly, in any sport, I want the players to make as much money as is humanly possible. I mean who are we rooting for, the owners?! I love that he chose to play in Philly, and I’m always entertained when he steps up to the plate. The Philadelphia disappointment and waste of money you may be thinking of is Carson Wentz, who is basically the inverse of Bryce. He’s a bum, and I knew that dopey deer hunter was an overpaid under-performer from the start. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My reasonable hope is that we go deep into the playoffs. The sky is the limit when it comes to the ceiling, the very disappointing floor would be to land around .500. Who is your player to watch this year? Alec Bohm. He was exciting at the end of last season and is lighting it up in spring training. He could be the next great Philadelphia 3rd baseman. Will they make the playoffs? Yep. What's your record prediction? I think we can get hot and win 80-85 games. My hope is the bullpen starts to perform, or that enough changes are made that we have a bullpen that can carry us. What’s your World Series matchup? Let's hope it is the Philadelphia Phillies versus the Indianapolis Colts, so we can watch Carson Wentz get his ass handed to him by a team that truly wants to be in Philadelphia. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Hell yeah! I got the vaccine and I’m itching to go to a game! Jim Suptic, The Get Up Kids Kansas City Royals Courtesy of Jim Suptic What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? If the 2014/2015 Royals have taught us anything, it’s to trust in our general manager Dayton Moore. He understands small market baseball better than anyone. I believe he is on pace to bring the Royals back into the limelight, and hopefully, it’s this season! Bobby Witt Jr. has so far lived up to the hype in spring training. He will be giving the Royals a very hard decision to make on whether to add him to the roster or give him some time in the minors. 2015 seems like forever ago, what's there to look forward to? Watching baseball in person this year is the biggest thing to look forward to. Walking into Kauffman Stadium for my first game this season is going to be a very emotional experience. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? The Royals have been to the highest of highs, and lowest of lows, but Kansas City loves them just the same. Honestly, most fans would be happy with .500 baseball. I think that is a very reasonable goal this year. The ceiling would be that they are in the hunt for a wildcard spot in September, and maybe even being the last team in. The floor is probably 4th in the AL Central. I honestly don’t see that happening. Realistically they finish in 3rd just missing the wildcard. Who is your player to watch this year? Bobby Witt Jr. no question. He has been the most talked-about prospect for the Royals in many, many years. Some people are worried about rushing him into the big leagues too fast. I say if you are good enough, and your head is on straight, then let the games begin! Will they make the playoffs? My heart says yes but my brain says no. I think next year is the year they make it back but if they snuck in this year I wouldn’t be shocked. What's your record prediction? 81-81. Vegas has them at 72.5. I’d take the over on that bet all day! If the Royals only win 72 games this year I would be stunned. This team is on the right track. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes! I should be fully vaccinated by May and as long as MLB is taking the right precautions I'm ready. I think it should be a slow rollout but by the end of summer, I would hope stadiums can be at full capacity. Ryan Hater, White Reaper Cincinnati Reds Courtesy of Ryan Hater What's your prognosis for this season? At least they made the playoffs last year, right? Ya know, I think this season could go either way. I’ll be interested to see how having limited fans is going to impact the team. I don’t think making the wild card game again is an unrealistic expectation. Are you going to miss Bauer at all? Do you think they regret having Votto around still? I always worry about our pitching and I’m skeptical about how strong the bullpen is gonna be, but we still have some strong pieces and honestly, I think we will do fine without Bauer. As for Votto, I don’t know if they regret still having him around, but I certainly do. We’ve had so many strong players come and go in the time he’s stuck around, and I just don’t see him being the tool we need. And now his trade value has withered down, so I think we’re really stuck now. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I think it would perfectly reasonable to expect another over .500 season and even a trip to the Wild Card game. I think if the team can get good momentum and the fans can get excited, I really think anything is possible. Who is your player to watch this year? I would really like to see Mike Moustakas have a big year hitting. I think having him show up as a big power hitter would be big for the team. Will they make the playoffs? I think it could happen. I hope it could happen. What's your record prediction? I’m gonna say just above 500. What’s your World Series matchup? Hmm, I haven’t really thought about it. I think it would be cool if the Braves made it. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely!! Pete Yorn New York Yankees Courtesy of Pete Yorn What's your prognosis for the season? Will the World Series-less streak end? Yanks run away with it...They win 100 plus games. Cole will get his CY Young. Who is your player to watch this year? DJ LeMahieu is the player to watch. I know it sounds crazy but he has a shot to have a better season this year after his brilliant one last season. Could be flirting with a .400 batting average? With the lineup... he can. What’s your World Series matchup? Yanks will beat the Padres like they did in 98. No brooms this time — it goes to 7 games (I'll be there). and Cole is the MVP- he wins 3 games in the WS. Matt Muse Chicago White Sox Courtesy of Matt Muse What's your prognosis for the season? It seems like the Sox are trending in the right direction? They’re definitely trending in the right direction. I think it’s going to be a fun season to watch. I feel like they improved just enough in the off-season to go from playoff team to championship contender. After years of running to a standstill, the Sox have a solid young core in place. Are you excited about them actually making noise? Certainly! I get a little superstitious when it comes to the Sox. They’ve gotten a lot of hype in the media after making the playoffs last year, and I’m scared all that attention will jinx their season. But I’m still very sure they’re going to make a lot of noise. This is the most confidence I’ve had in a Sox team going into the season since they won their last World Series. Tony La Russa? What year is this?? Lol yea that hiring definitely threw me off. I will say that I watched the 2011 World Series where he led the Cardinals to a championship over a Rangers team that they weren’t supposed to beat on paper (or after being down 3-2) and the man knows how to manage baseball. I believe in his baseball IQ enough, and ever since Tim Anderson made it clear he wasn’t changing for the coach and La Russa made it clear he had no plans of changing anybody, I’ve been on board with it. I watched almost every game last season and Rick Renteria wasn’t the answer for what this team needs moving forward. There’s a strong chance La Russa’s experience and IQ will be the perfect ingredient to make the Sox reach their full potential. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? REASONABLE hopes, hmmmm...AL Central title, make it at least to the ALCS. MVP season for Tim Anderson and Cy Young contention for Lucas Giolito. The ceiling is a World Series appearance, baseball is too unpredictable for me to say they will win, but making it there and making the series competitive is the ceiling and seems extremely possible. The floor is another first-round exit in the playoffs. They seemingly fixed the backend of the order and fixed the bullpen in the offseason, which were their two biggest issues last year. We still have to see those new guys perform though. Lastly, Eloy has to stay healthy and Luis Robert MUST cut down on the strikeouts for them to not end up where they were last year again. Consistency through the order all season is key. Who is your player to watch this year? I have two: Eloy Jimenez and Liam Hendriks. Eloy is in for a big season, 40+ homers & 100+ RBI big. He seems to get better every time he steps to the plate, and I think that will continue in a big way this year. Hendriks completely dominated the White Sox in the playoffs last year, something our bullpen has struggled with the last few years. To have a shutdown closer like this is such a huge upgrade and I’m so geeked to feel that confidence that every lead is secure going into the 9th. Will they make the playoffs? Absolutely. What's your record prediction? 100-62. Those pitching upgrades they made are going to change the outlook of every game compared to last year plus Tony La Russa is going to make the right decisions in critical moments, and both of these things will make the difference in them winning close games and games where the offense is a little quiet. They lost so many games due to poor decision-making by coaches last year, and I don’t think that will happen this season. The Sox have a powerhouse roster and I think they will breeze through the season and crack 100 games. What’s your World Series matchup? White Sox vs. Dodgers. I think the Cardinals are gonna be sneaky good this year, but the Dodgers are still the best team in baseball, and I believe the White Sox will be the best team in the AL. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Most definitely. The mayor just announced that they’re gonna allow 8,000 fans into home games this season so I’m trying to figure out how to cop some tickets right now. Parker Gispert, The Whigs Atlanta Braves Courtesy of Parker Gispert What's your prognosis for the season? Will the way last year ended hurt or help them? Will it propel them over the top? My prognosis is The Braves are going all the way in 2021. This is the most exciting Braves team of my lifetime and we’re the second-best team in the National League behind the 239 million dollar Dodgers. I think last year’s finish will motivate us. It looked like the gravity of the moment caught up to our young squad in last year’s series vs. the Dodgers. I can’t recall us making many baserunning errors the entire season yet we made three crucial ones in the NLCS that probably cost us a trip to the World Series. I think we’ll be better suited to handle the pressure this year. With all of the young, superstar talent, is this going to be the Braves' year or will it be the '90s/'00s revisited? This is going to be the Braves' year, but this Atlanta team isn’t too comparable to the '90s teams who were baseball’s best team on paper but underachieved in the post-season. This is an overachieving Braves squad who plays with a lot of emotion and is absolutely capable of getting hot at the right time and going all the way. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My reasonable hope is that we make the NLCS and enjoy a competitive series with the Dodgers. I’d be disappointed with anything less, but I definitely think we’re capable of going to the World Series and winning. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Sorry Mookie Betts and Fernando Tatis, but Ronald Acuña Jr. is the most exciting player in MLB and I can’t wait to see him play a larger percentage of games in 2021. I’d also like to see him steal more bases and strike out less this season. He spent time on the DL last year and I can’t wait to see what kind of numbers he can put up if he’s playing more. His rapport with Marcell Ozuna and Ozzie Albies is so much fun to watch. Will they make the playoffs? Definitely, yes. What's your record prediction? Why? 95-67 which is almost equidistant between where we were in 2019 and 2020 winning percentage-wise. Manager Brian Snitker isn’t afraid to sit guys during the regular season in hopes of grooming our squad for peak performance during the postseason. I don’t think this team is quite a 100 game-winner yet. What’s your World Series matchup? Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees. Last year’s Yankees finish was a fluke and I think they’re definitely the best team in the AL. Look for the Braves to upset the Dodgers in the NLCS and take down the Yankees in six games. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. Would love to spend a few hours eating peanuts and enjoying America’s pastime in person this season. James Bowman, Against Me!, Bowman Audio Endeavors Tampa Bay Rays Courtesy of James Bowman What's your prognosis for the season? Proud of last year or a shitty taste of what could have been? I'm so stoked about what the Rays accomplished last year, being the constant underdog, small-market team, taking down The Yankees and Astros. The World Series against the Dodgers was as good as any World Series in the past 10 years! And who knows what would've happened if they let Snell stay in! I think they had a really good shot at taking that seventh game if it would've happened. But hey, It was better than the lackluster, rain-delayed series finale of 2008. Trading Snell had to hurt, but it seems like an endless cycle for the Rays. How hard is it to be a fan of theirs knowing you develop talent then ship em off? I don't think anyone saw that coming. But being a Rays fan, you have to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. I believe there is a little more to the story than has been told. We watched Game 6; Snell wasn't happy with being pulled (after 5.1 innings!?!? WTF!), and the move arguably cost them the title. But that's how it goes being a Rays fan. They do have a pretty good track record for getting the best performances out of pitchers, then moving them before they seemingly regress. They did get quite a haul of prospects in the deal and have plenty of depth in the rotation. What are your reasonable hopes? What's the ceiling/floor? It depends on the health of their Pitching Staff. I figure Glasnow and Yarbrough to slot in at 1&2, and if the added arms of Archer, Wacha, and Hill can return to their former selves, that makes a pretty solid starting rotation. Just need to score runs! The Rays are notorious for losing one-run games. If the bats come alive and give run support, they should have no problem keeping pace with the Yankees. Who is your player to watch this year? Randy Arozarena. Did you see what he did last year?! I think he's going to pick up right where he left off. He is a monster! Will they make the playoffs? Yes, I think they win the AL East. What's your record prediction? 93-69. They have their core Offensive players returning, a healthy pitching staff, a Bullpen full of nasty stuff. It shouldn't be too far off the mark from the past few full seasons. What's your World Series matchup? I picked the Rays to win last year but had them playing the Braves. So I was almost right! I'm going to say a 2020 rematch. Dodgers vs. Rays. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes. Later in the year, after vaccinations roll out. Safety precautions in place, properly spaced out seating, masks worn. I'd probably feel comfortable enough to go. Joe Casey, Protomartyr Detroit Tigers Doug Coombe What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the team? Prognosis: Terminal. The hope is that this'll be a "rebuilding year" I suppose. I sure do miss "built" years. How will Cabera do? Seems like they regret that deal in the midst of a massive rebuild? Cabrera will be 38 this year. When I was 38, I was in my prime! Then 39 hit and I immediately became elderly and useless. I think most people believe he will benefit the clubhouse by moving into wise teacher mode. He's a treasure trove of baseball knowledge and maybe he can impart some of that on the younger guys. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I always hope for the best, but I turn to my more educated friends for a clearer picture. My own baseball guru, Claire D'Aoust, thinks the ceiling is a miraculous wildcard run and the floor is we suck (again) with an imploded pitching rotation and bullpen. Who is your player to watch this year? Akil Baddoo. I like the name and he is new to the Tigers this year. I tend to gravitate towards center fielders to obsess over and having a memorable name helps. Also, his batting average is pretty good? Will they make the playoffs? Both Claire and I think no, so you can take that to the newly legalized Michigan sports books as a sure thing! What's your record prediction? Okay, well I'm back to being a pessimist. Those high hopes have been dashed against the rocks of solid baseball metrics. Claire says "70 wins max" and I have to agree. What’s your World Series matchup? For my pals in The Gotobeds I'll stupidly say the Pittsburgh Pirates. And opposing them, I dunno, The Stanky Yankees? If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Things are never safe ever, really. I do miss catching a random game in some far-flung stadium during a tour. I hope to do that again someday. Alex Maas, The Black Angels Houston Astros Courtesy of Alex Maas What's your prognosis for the season? Are you all going to miss Springer? Who replaces him? Well, Springer is such a hard person to replace. Nearly impossible if you think how well-rounded he is. He hits for power batting average, has good speed and is a great outfielder. I can't imagine the 'Stros without him but they are going to have to figure that out. With Springer gone, there is a huge question mark over their season. If they want to replace the power he took with him, I like Joc Pederson but Jackie Bradley Jr. is my number one choice as he is a free agent with a Gold Glove. Obviously Myles Straw can cover the speed but if we want to look inside the team's current roster and not go after free agents Kyle Tucker my number one pick to replace Springer. He sure as hell proved himself as being a very well-rounded player with a great season last year and can hit with power. Did the team miss their shot at sustained glory? Are they still the bad guys around the league due to the scandal? I know 100% that all teams have their own way of getting information to the hitters that aren't exactly legal. I've spoken to a few players in the bigs and it seems like it's just something that lots of teams don't talk about. Jack McDowell outed Tony La Russa for using a camera in the outfield. From the Red Sox to Dbacks, they all do it and someone had to be made an example of the Stros were just very obvious about it and hence the hand slap. If the Stros are bad guys then the whole league are bad guys. I personally think performance-enhancing drugs made baseball more interesting and I don't think these people are bad guys, but it points more at what people will do for money and success. Maybe that makes US the bad guys for going to the games and paying $20 for a pint of Coors Light to enable the money flow. Also if you change one molecule in the illegal substance becomes legal and with similar results, so nothing has changed there. People will continue to do what What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? World Series is the ceiling and the floor is barely making playoffs and not advancing. But I do see them in the playoffs even if poo-poo hits the fan. Who is your player to watch this year? Kyle Tucker. He just has that look in his eye and he came off a killer year last year and he can do it all and play anywhere. Will they make the playoffs? Yes absolutely if the pitching holds up and they stay healthy, but I see them in the playoff even if pitching is mediocre because they have golden bats. What's your record prediction? I think if they can stay healthy and pitching holds up they the Astros will win around 90 games and probably win the division putting them in the playoffs with another shot at a ring. If they don't re-sign Brantley, and if Alvarez or Correa get hurt, I'm not as hopeful and could be like a 50-60 win year. What’s your World Series matchup? I see Dodgers like in the World Series again with either the Yankees or 'Stros. But I could it could be fun to see a Mets vs. Yankees series! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I don't think I will go, not only because I won't be able to afford it but that is a lot of bodies in one place. Seems too risky to me personally unless we are like 90% vaccinated which seems impossible given the fact that lots of people don't believe in vaccines. Benny Horowitz, The Gaslight Anthem New York Yankees Courtesy of Benny Horowitz What's your prognosis for the season? Will the World Series-less streak end? My steadfast belief in the mystical side of baseball prevents me from predicting a Yankees World Series win...but that is the hope. Around the league I think a number of new superstars truly start to take over the league and create a new balance of power, and, I’m up for it. Bring on Tatis Jr. and Soto and Bieber with MVP level campaigns, and most importantly, more bat flipping, please! Last year was pretty wacky, but do you think the pre-2020 expectations will snap into place? Yankees seem pretty loaded... If the last year of historical precedence has taught us anything...who knows? I don’t think it will affect an MLB roster as much as other leagues, but what happens if 3 starters all go into a protocol? Things could get hairy quickly. As with the other leagues, depth and the ability to adapt could be the crucial piece for WS teams. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Ceiling is a World Series win, a Gerrit Cole Cy Young and a Gleyber Torres batting title...and, that’s reasonable. Hard to see this group, even in negative circumstances, coming in under 80 wins. Who is your player to watch this year? I like Clint Frazier to break out. Going into his age 26 season, he brought up his walk rate significantly last season and looks sharp in Spring. Expecting 25+ homers with .370+ OBP. Will they make the playoffs? Yes. What's your record prediction? 92-70. Improving division with Toronto and Tampa Bay, don’t think they’ll run away with it. What’s your World Series matchup? Yankees vs. Mets...Subway Series 2021. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? The garlic, cheese fries are tempting, but...will probably sit this summer out and give it one more spin around the sun. Robert Ortiz, Escape the Fate Atlanta Braves Courtesy of Robert Ortiz What's your prognosis for the season? Will the way last year ended hurt or help them? Will it propel them over the top? Easy, going to destroy every other team and have a perfect record en route to a World Series title. Anything less would be a failure. I expect this of all the teams I follow. Needless to say, I’m a pretty bitter sports fan. With that said, there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic. The team has a lot of young, legit superstar talent. Coming up short last year, in an asterisk season, should only propel the team to feel like there's unfinished business. Similar to the way the Chiefs fell just short a few seasons ago and came back to finish the job the following season. With all of the young, superstar talent, is this going to be the Braves' year or will it be the '90s/'00s revisited? I don't think this quite compares to the '90s Braves, who would have been the clear team of the decade if it weren’t for an unfairly stacked Yankees team, but I think they’ll be a perennial playoff team for the foreseeable future. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I don’t think a World Series title is out of the question, but they will at least make a deep playoff run. Who is your player to watch this year? I'm going to quote my lifelong friend Ricky, who has a Braves tattoo: "The player to watch this year is Austin Riley. He needs to catch fire or else Lamb will take over 3rd." Will they make the playoffs? Without question. What's your record prediction? What will their record be? 162-0. Why? 'Cause all work is easy work, that’s why. What’s your World Series matchup? Easy. After shitting on the piece of shit Dodgers, the Braves will obliterate the New York piece of shit Yankees. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I generally love sports. When I’m on the road, I catch every possible live sporting event. If things are safe, I would love to go to a game. However, this all depends on whether or not it is safe for my band to tour. I can’t say that I see myself traveling for the sole purpose of seeing a game. I’m from Las Vegas, so we don’t have a baseball team here. If I’m going to travel, it’ll be to visit my family. I also played T-ball when I was a kid. We were called the Braves. All of the kids were from my tribe, except one of my cousins. As a Native American, I always had a connection to the Braves. Justin Furstenfeld, Blue October Chicago Cubs Courtesy of Justin Furstenfeld What's your prognosis for the season? Things are certainly a lot grimmer since 2016. The Cubs are playing in the right division. There’s not a super team in the division. It will be a dog fight between the Cubs, the Cards and the Brewers with no clear front runner. Can you believe it's all fallen so fast? What are your feelings on the Darvish trade and management doing almost nothing to improve the team? I’ve been a Darvish fan since he was in Texas. He’s amazing. Fallen so fast? The Cubs have made the playoffs five out of the last six years. Even with a short season, they won the division last year. Look at all the players they have that are World Series champions, players that have won gold gloves and silver sluggers. Don't underestimate their potential. They can easily go off against any team they face. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Win the division and go on a run from there. Who is your player to watch this year? I hope that Kris Bryant grabs a hot bat this year. Will they make the playoffs? Absolutely!!! What's your record prediction? I think they get close to winning 90 games this season. I’ll go with 88 wins. What’s your World Series matchup? The Houston Astros (my hometown) vs. the Cubs, of course. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I can’t wait to visit Minute Maid Park and Wrigley Field when we get back on tour. Bear Rinehart, needtobreathe Atlanta Braves Courtesy of needtobreathe What's your prognosis for the season? Will the way last year ended hurt or help them? Will it propel them over the top? I feel like the Braves are in a really good spot this season. I think not having the DH this year may because the defense to struggle a bit because of Ozuna's limited range, but I think our youthful pitching should be able to overcome that. They gained a lot of confidence last year and had the Dodgers on the ropes in the NLCS. That experience should be huge down the stretch this year. With all of the young, superstar talent, is this going to be the Braves' year or will it be the '90s/'00s revisited? I think what differentiates the team now from the Bobby Cox-led teams is offensive production. Those teams were built mainly on defense and pitching with the exception of Chipper Jones, obviously. Who is your player to watch this year? I think this year's player to watch is Dansby Swanson. You have to feel good about Acuña, Freeman, and Ozuna, but the back end of the lineup producing makes for a long night for opposing pitchers. Will they make the playoffs? What's your record prediction? I can see them winning 95 games or so and making the playoffs. What’s your World Series matchup? I like the Yankees and Braves in the series. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I’ll definitely try to make it out to a game this year at some point. It’s been too long. Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides Cincinnati Reds Courtesy of Andy Biersack What's your prognosis for this season? At least they made the playoffs last year, right? I would say that the strangest thing is that so we went through this four-year rebuild that didn't work, and then decided to become buyers and took on a whole bunch of huge contracts for players in the last two years. Whether that's Puig or any other guys and then realized that that wasn't working and sold off everything they could. then kind of the scrappy team that they had left ended up getting to the playoffs at a nice push at the end of the season last year. And that was a lot of fun. In this offseason, I think the general consensus with Reds fans is we don't really know what the hell they're doing. There's a lot of question marks. They weren't very active in the offseason, obviously, we knew that Bauer wasn't going to stay. That was pretty clearly telegraphed from the beginning, the team just couldn't afford to keep him. My expectations heading into the season are the most unknown that they've been in a long time. The last couple of years, I felt certain that they would be terrible. And I was rewarded with that certainty by them being terrible. And then I felt last year, maybe the year before that, there was maybe a shot. And we got to the playoffs. So this year, having been to the playoffs last year and failing, I'm still excited. Do you think they regret having Votto around still? It is cool in some respects because there's really nobody who was represented the franchise better in the last 15 years. And he's such an entertaining person and, and in such an important and integral part to having some continuity with the team. But on the other hand, you do have a guy who's going to be playing seemingly to his twilight years on this team. Although I will say that, in the last few years, the complaint that everybody had with him was that he was all about the on-base percentage and trying to walk, but he's been more aggressive. Having a great first baseman, adding somebody who is a good person for the city isn't the worst thing in the world. And I think, you know, we're all Joey Votto fans, it would be sad to see him go elsewhere, especially since we have as far as Reds fans, we have this long-standing relationship of wanting our hometown guys to work out. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Wild Card and the play-in game seem like the ceiling. I've been watching a little bit of Spring Training and just seeing the continuity from the team last year. I think that the that's the ceiling is a sneaky playoff team. I think that the floor is they go on a late summer kind of sad streak and miss out. I think that they'll start decent, I think that they tend to be a team that picks up over the first couple weeks of the season. And I think that it's really going to depend on when you get into those dog days of summer how the team looks to see kind of where we're going. Who is your player to watch this year? Luis Castillo. He's the Opening Day starter, and I think it's his time. If he turns out to be the star that they are hoping he will be, that will be a big game-changer for us moving forward. Will they make the playoffs? I would say I'm optimistic. I think I think it's a distinct possibility. What's your record prediction? They'll win 80 games. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers and Tampa Bay again. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes. If I was in a position where I was vaccinated then, you know what I mean? Like there's a lot of extenuating circumstances but if everything lined up and there were proper protocols, I would go. Thad Cockrell Kansas City Royals Jeremy Cowart What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? 'Respectable' seems possible. They won't be amazing, they probably won't be terrible. Respectable is better than the teams which aren't even really trying. The Royals are trying to win, which counts for something. 2015 seems like forever ago, what's there to look forward to? Maybe 2023/2024? But 2015 is still a lot closer than most other teams' last title. The Yankees have only won once in the past 20 years! So let's keep enjoying 2015. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Going .500 in a tough division would be the ceiling. Baseball now has a big middle class and KC clawing its way into it this year, within shouting distance of .500, would be a reasonable hope. The floor is... Sorry, what was the question? Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Rumor has it that Bobby Witt Jr. looks like the next KC superstar. If he makes it to the bigs this year and looks like he belongs, we'll be a lot more excited this time next year than we are now. Will they make the playoffs? In the words of the great Tom T Hall “old enough to no better, fool enough to try.” Heart says yes. Head knows they're chasing Minnesota, Cleveland and now Chicago... so... What's your record prediction? Why? 77-85. It may not sound like that much, but in 2019 they won 59 games. It would be good. What’s your World Series matchup? Boring and likely: Dodgers vs. Yankees. A fun alternative: Mets vs. Twins. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Sure! Send the tickets! Emily Armstrong, Dead Sara Los Angeles Dodgers Laura Hanson Sims What's your prognosis for the season? The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? Back-to-back champs no question. Anything less than a championship with this team would be a letdown. It doesn’t feel cheap at all. It was a challenging year for every team and regardless, we were the best. They could’ve played 12 games for all I care and if we would’ve ended on top, that’s all that matters. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like... a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? Bauer’s a character… but I like characters. I think Bauer came to the Dodgers to win and I hope that overrides his antics. I think he’ll be a great addition to a LOADED Dodger rotation. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I think we’re the best Dodger’s team ever assembled. We lost some plug-in guys but retained our core and our rotation is six deep this year! Who else has that? Lots of rest for Kershaw. Our ceiling is another championship. I’m hard-pressed to find a team that can truly challenge us this year. San Diego is exciting, and I like the moves they’ve made, but they don’t have the depth and the experience we do (Sorry Tom DeLonge). Championship or bust! Who is your player to watch this year? Why? I’d like to see Bellinger turn back into the MVP candidate he is, and I’m interested to watch and see what they do with May. And of course, Mookie, he’s just the best. Will they make the playoffs? Dumb question. Next. What's your record prediction? Why? I’d like to see them compete for the best record of all time. However, San Diego is going to make that tough so I’m predicting over 100 wins. Let’s go with 105. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Yankees. PLEASE!!! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? If things are safe, absolutely! Nothing better than a live show 😎 Josh Klinghoffer, Pluralone New York Yankees Courtesy of Josh Klinghoffer What's your prognosis for the season? Will the World Series-less streak end? Well, I’ve become accustomed to expecting a season full of injuries and getting close but quite there. We’re close! I watched the other day and the lineup is strong! I think the rotation is good. I think we’re in good shape! Last year was pretty wacky, but do you think the pre-2020 expectations will snap into place? Yankees seem pretty loaded... Yes, I’m really hoping this team is just gelling more and more and getting closer and closer. I was so disappointed when the Lakers changed their squad so much after last year's run, I think a team being close and having time under their belts and a bond is something you can’t duplicate. Of course, this perspective comes from someone on the passive end of the television set. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Well, as usual, or a least for the past few years, the ceiling is chip No. 28. The floor is missing the playoffs by a game behind Tampa and Toronto. Heaven forbid it’s Boston. I don’t know what they look like this year. I’m sure I will soon enough. I know their cheating-ass manager is back, right? I’d say it’s worse to miss the playoffs by a game than just be in last place all year. If injuries strike as they have tended to for the Yanks in the past several seasons, and we’re at the bottom of the AL East, I’d say that’s more acceptable than missing the playoffs or Wild Card by a hair, so yeah, that’s the floor. I hope to avoid that. Who is your player to watch this year? Well, obviously the big arms, Cole, Kluber, and of course Luis Severino. I just really hope for him to fulfill that promise someday. Also, I’d love, for more than a few weeks, to have Judge and Stanton healthy and smashing HRs constantly. Also, may I just take this opportunity to thank Brian Cashman for finally sorting out the DJ LeMahieu situation. That was painful to imagine such a gifted ballplayer leaving. I can see his number in Monument Park! Actually, I can see several of the current Yankees in Monument Park, so let’s go. Let’s do this. Will they make the playoffs? If they don’t, something is incredibly wrong. What's your record prediction? 103-59. That was their record in 2019 and a totally respectable record to shoot for. Also, 10/3 is my birthday, the last day of the season and I like guitars from 1959. Those are sensible reasons, right? What’s your World Series matchup? New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. I can’t wait!!! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I suppose so, but I did learn how much I don’t miss being around loads of other people this past year so, perhaps I’ll go, but I’m in no rush. David Cook Kansas City Royals Bill Althaus/The Examiner What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? After the offseason moves that they made, I'm excited for this season. The Benintendi trade felt a little like the James Shields trade that KC made back in 2012, in that it has the potential to be a culture-shifting move. I think just watching the spring training games so far, you can see that the young arms we have, as well as position players like Witt, Isbel, Pratto, etc, are making the kind of noise where they could force their way to the big league squad in the next couple seasons. So, I'm bullish on the next few seasons for KC. 2015 seems like forever ago, what's there to look forward to? If Dayton Moore does as well as he did starting back in 2012, there's a lot to look forward to. And 2015 isn't that far back to this Royals fan, considering the 30-year gap between that title and the one from 1985. There are some "ifs" there, but what team doesn't have those? I'm looking forward to watching the young arms like Singer and Staumont continue to progress, and for this team to be, hopefully, more in the conversation come July, August, and September. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I look at the AL Central right now, and I don't know that I see KC running it this year. Again, I see them making noise for the next few seasons. But for 2021, I think the floor is finishing fourth in the division, with somewhere around 70 wins. The ceiling, though? Second in the division, hovering just north of .500 Who is your player to watch this year? For the major league squad? I'm watching a few guys, but Andrew Benintendi is one I think most will watch fairly closely. He was a big trade for KC, and he's taking over Alex Gordon's old spot in left field. I think his slow start in spring training at the plate course-corrects, but I'm anxious to see his defense, coming from the short porch in Boston to the Kauffman Stadium corner. As for the whole organization, how can anyone say a name other than Bobby Witt Jr.? The dude is not-quite-yet-21, and through the first week and change of spring training, is batting .333 with 6 RBIs and 2 HRs. (one inside-the-park and a 484-ft launch) Will they make the playoffs? For all my excitement about the 2021 Royals, I'm more excited for 2022 and beyond. I think they miss out this season, but I'd be happily wrong on that. What's your record prediction? I'm a little more optimistic than PECOTA, so I'll go 76-86. I think with the rotation where it's at (not to mention the guys lining up to challenge for the back end throughout the season), they'll do a good job setting the table and keeping them in more games. I think the Mike Minor signing will end up being a better move than maybe it was perceived at the time. Duffy is in a contract year, and assuming he still wants to be "buried a Royal", I think he'll have that chip on his shoulder. The bullpen is trending towards the 2014-2015 vibe, especially since the Royals brought back Wade Davis, who I think will help re-establish that type of environment for the bullpen. And the lineup. They have Jorge Soler in a contract year (Please re-sign him). Merrifield is gonna do Merrifield things. Salvador Perez is a known commodity. I think the season is going to live or die by how the Benintendi, Carlos Santana, and Michael Taylor signings shake out. (I also, just as an aside, was a huge fan of the Hanser Alberto pickup. Just wanted to put that in writing.) What’s your World Series matchup? I'm gonna go with Toronto out of the AL and Atlanta from the NL If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? If things are safe, sure. Not sure what all "safe" entails, but I know I'm looking forward to seeing some in-person baseball as soon as it makes sense to do so. Richard On, O.A.R. Washington Nationals Courtesy of Richard Oh What's your prognosis for the season? Disappointing World Series defense, but how much of that was due to the weird season? Despite the naysayers, I think the Nats are going to have a strong 2021 season. To judge them based off their 2020 World Series defense season just doesn’t make sense. They were down veteran cornerstone Ryan Zimmerman along with starting pitcher Joe Ross. I mean, besides Dodger fans, does anyone else consider 2020 a real season? Do you think this team has another run in them? Seems like outside of Soto and the pitching, the team is shifting. Us Nats fans have been sitting on a rollercoaster for the past three years. Their 2018 season ended in the regular season, 2019 they won the flippin’ World Series and last year they finished last in their division behind the Mets! So what do the Nats do after they have a shitty season? They win another World Series. Yes, I said it. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Floor: Make the playoffs Ceiling: 2021 World Series Champions Who is your player to watch this year? Of course, there’s Soto. That guy swings dynamite whenever he’s up to bat, but I think the dark horse here is Zim. He took a year off to be safe around his family and has stated how much he’s missed the game. He’s healthy, hungry and has prepared well for the upcoming season. Look out southpaws. Will they make the playoffs? Did the Astros cheat? What's your record prediction? 93-63. I don’t know why, just a feeling. What’s your World Series matchups? Washington Nationals vs. New York Yankees If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. I miss going to games and have yet to take my kids. Can’t wait to share a ballgame with them. Zack Merrick, All Time Low Baltimore Orioles Courtesy of All Time Low What's your prognosis for the season? Is there any hope? Well, we're already well into Spring Training, so fingers crossed! Do you think being an Orioles fan, in terms of suffering, is underrated? Is there any chance they don't lose 100 games? When it comes to the Orioles, just like the people of Baltimore, you just never know! We are a city, a team, a legion of fans that believe. We believe that anything is possible. And any year, including this year, could always be our year, our chance, our moment to go the distance! What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? Since we had a shortened season last year, I think getting closer to .500 baseball, or 70 to 80 games, is a reasonable hope. The ceiling would be to make a playoff run, while the floor would be regressing to only 50 wins. Who is your player to watch this year? My player to watch this year is Trey Mancini. Amazingly, Trey is coming back after beating cancer and is already showing flashes in spring training similar to his 2019 campaign. Will they make the playoffs? If I were a betting man, I would say probably not - but stranger things have happened before in baseball. What's your record prediction? 73 wins and 89 losses. The Orioles are currently in a rebuild with GM Michael Elias and are showing growth each year, making me think 73 wins isn't that far out of reach. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Yankees If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? As an avid baseball fan, I would love to go to a game in person this year as long as safety protocols and good practices are in place. JB Brubaker, August Burns Red Philadelphia Phillies Courtesy of JB Brubaker What's your prognosis for the season? Can the endless rebuild ever end? Will the bullpen actually improve from the worst thing ever to below average? While I’m very excited for the return of baseball and hopeful the Phillies will improve, I’m not feeling great about their chances in 2021. I think at best they finish third in the NL East (behind the Braves and Mets). Yeah, they’re going to score runs, but I don’t think they did very much to prevent their pitching from giving up a lot. Signing J.T. Realmuto to a long-term deal was exciting for the fans, but I feel like long-term expensive catcher contracts aren’t a great place to spend team money. I would’ve rather seen them spend that money on a starting pitcher, or to solidify the bullpen. Archie Bradley is not going to fix that bullpen. I think Phillies fans are in for more frustration with regards to closing out games. Thoughts on Bryce Harper? Is he worth the money or will he be forever a disappointment? I’m not down on Bryce Harper. I still think that was a great signing, even if the deal was way too expensive. There’s so much value in bringing a player like Harper in, and locking him up for the long term. You have a guy who’s going to generate so much revenue for the team by himself because fans will want to come to see him play. (At least, when they’re allowed to again.) He really is a great hitter and if he can lock down his plate discipline a little more, I think he could hit the MVP upside he showed in 2015. I also like that you can tell he really gives a shit. He plays with emotion and he plays hard. That attitude goes a long way in Philly. I’m still riding the Bryce Harper bus and have faith he’ll deliver. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My reasonable hopes are that the Phillies finish a little over .500. I think they’ll put together a few exciting stretches where they rattle off a bunch of wins in a row throughout the season. Maybe they get lucky and limp into the playoffs as a wild card team. It would be fun to see some playoff baseball in Philly again. I think my hopes represent their ceiling. The floor is the bullpen does that same thing they did last year. They blow an early lead after an early lead. If Aaron Nola or Zack Wheeler miss a lot of time with injuries, I think they’re really going to struggle. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? I’m looking forward to seeing Rhys Hoskins back in action. He had Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow and I feel like he’s been forgotten about by a lot of people. We’ve seen his downside and know he can slump, but he can get red hot as well. He’s 27 and coming into the prime of his career. I am excited to see how he bounces back, and I think he could surprise some people this year. Will they make the playoffs? Nah. What's your record prediction? Why? 81-81. It’s hard to think they’ll be better than a .500 team after changing so little about the roster in the offseason. Yes, signing Realmuto was a big deal, but he was there already. I don’t think they improved the roster enough to take a big step forward. What’s your World Series matchup? Padres vs. Yankees If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Yes, I’d love to. In fact, at the start of the new year, my wife and I wrote out some goals for the year and going to baseball games was one of mine. Once I’m vaccinated, I’d love to go see games in person. I miss it! Josh Kolenik, Small Black New York Mets Courtesy of Josh Kolenik What's your prognosis for the season? With Lindor, it seems like they're absolutely loaded if not for that pesky bullpen... I've been a Mets fan my whole life and have ridden through all these eras from the 80s, including the Anthony Young 24 loss season and Rickey Henderson forgetting who John Olerud was. So my instinct is always to keep my expectations real low. But it's hard not to be optimistic about the team. My first job out of college was working for MLB, running the video library and cutting the blooper reel for This Week in Baseball. And this is the most hope I've had since those early David Wright days. The bullpen worries me, but there's always a move to be made midyear and in general, it's so unpredictable season to season - but Betances does give me heart palpitations often. Ding dong the Wilpons are gone, but it seems like the bad juju remains. Will the Mets ever get out of their own way? Hopefully, now that they've gotten rid of a derelict owner and sleazy management, the Mets vibe will be a more positive one. I do wish we could get Mookie Wilson back in a leadership role and get some of that 1986 magic back in the clubhouse. But in general, Sandy Alderson has the farm system humming and the big league roster stacked. But the pressure is huge on this team to perform, luckily they have deGrom ready to cook. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I think the floor should at least be the playoffs. The rotation is just so deep now with Taijuan Walker. And adding a top 10 hitter in the league in Lindor - it's just pure excitement. The playoffs are such a crapshoot, but I think they've got the arms to possibly win it if they are in the dance. But the Dodgers obviously stand right there blocking the path. Though I did see a clip of the Mets doing a mock World Series celebration in training camp today - so it seems they feel like they have a chance. That's not my favorite look though! The Karma Gods don't like that sort of behavior. Who is your player to watch this year? I love this Pete Crow-Armstrong guy! He's like out of a simulation. His mother, Ashley Crow, is the actual actor who played the Mom character in Little Big League! He's 18 years old and seems about 100x smarter than I was at that age based on his Twitter game. He hopefully will get up in the big leagues at some point this. Will they make the playoffs? I'm going to say yes! I think they can withstand injuries to the pitching staff and still get good starts most nights. What's your record prediction? Let's go 92-70... That should be good enough to get em in the playoffs. Might not be enough for the division, but just need to get in the derby. What’s your World Series matchup? Mets vs. Blue Jays - The Olerud Bowl! Jays are scary now with Springer. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? For sure. Once I get the vaccine, I'll be happy to do any outdoor activity! I hope this will mean that we get to play some damn shows as well. Kay Hanley, Letters to Cleo Boston Red Sox Angie Shaw/@DJAngieC What's your prognosis for the season? Given last season’s flaming jalopy pileup into last place, Red Sox 2021will probably be better without even trying. So there’s that. Positives: Alex Cora is back and with a lot to prove, will be looking to re-establish his reputation and muzzle some fools. Pitching staff is improving top to bottom, which I admit isn’t saying much, but having Eduardo Rodriguez and (hopefully) Chris Sale back plus a couple of interesting bullpen additions like Hirokazu Sawamura makes me feel like we’re heading in the right direction. If Devers, Dalbac and Verdugo bats light up like we know they can, if JD Martinez can get his head on straight, If Eovaldi can stay healthy, If the weak outfield can be like, not a sieve. That’s a lot of ifs. This is an IF season. What happened to the mighty Sox? The 2004 Red Sox, also known as The Idiots, played their last gig together on October 27, 2004. Will they be able to recapture the success of the past two decades? In terms of winning? No. There are other ways to measure success when you rip the house down to the studs. Chaim Bloom’s focus on fortifying the foundation through the minor league is great but I don’t really think the “rebuilding phase" (a term of art that Red Sox are very used to hearing) had to be as fucking painful as this is and will continue to be for the next few years. Who is your player to watch this year? Kiké Hernandez. The chemistry plus history between Cora plus Kiké is intriguing. Dying to see what happens there. Will they make the playoffs? Ever the optimist, I’ll approximate my (comically wrong) quick and dirty prediction from last year: they could be a Wild Card and if by some act of god made it to the ALDS, be eliminated with the quickness. So no, they will not make the playoffs. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers and some team like the Twins or Yankees, who will lose. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I can’t wait! Dan Gleason, Grouplove Detroit Tigers Courtesy of Dan Gleason What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the team? Honestly, as with most Detroit sports right now, just hoping to see some of the young players develop and inspire people. Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning are exciting. Casey Mize and Isaac Paredes have clear potential. Mostly, I just wanna see the team show it’s got that Detroit fight in ‘em. Wanna see the spirit of the city How will Cabrera do? Seems like they regret that deal in the midst of a massive rebuild? I think they'd have to be lying if they said they didn’t. That’s a lot of money to give to someone going into their 40s. I'm just hoping he gets to 400 at-bats, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting money on that. Love Miggy and the beautiful moments he's given the city, and always will. Generational talent What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I'm hoping we get over 70 wins. I want to see progression. I want to see pride in who they play for. The young pitchers have a ton of promise and it'd light up the fanbase to see some of that realized. Realistic ceiling if everything goes right? 80 wins. The floor I'm not even sure I can talk about haha. Keep in mind I lived through 2003... Who is your player to watch this year? Why? To be honest, with the release of our new record, This Is This, I haven’t been able to follow this spring as much as I'd like, but Tarik Skubal is my guy right now. He showed signs of figuring it out his last few starts of 2020. That 96 mph cutter is surgical when he's on. Will they make the playoffs? If you know someone who says yes, please send over some of whatever it is they're smoking. What's your record prediction? 70 wins, 92 losses. Seems optimistic but realistic. Two things I've been accused of. What’s your World Series matchup? As a longtime Atlantan, I'd love to see the Braves get back and beat the Yankees. This city deserves it, and selfishly, I'd like to see it in person. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. Aside from playing songs from our new record live or going to see a movie with my wife, it’s one of the things I'm looking forward to most. Wanna hit Comerica with my family, and Truist park with my friends. Can’t wait to fill out my scorecard, have a hotdog and a beer with everyone. Letssss goooo. Chris Forsyth New York Mets Courtesy of Chris Forsyth What's your prognosis for the season? With Lindor, it seems like they're absolutely loading if not for that pesky bullpen… It’s great to see the improvement up the middle with Lindor and McCann and Carrasco, though I would have liked to see them upgrade their outfield defense, too. I think a big failure the last few years has been weak fundamentals - defense, base running, mental stuff. Still, there’s a lot of talent there, but as with music, there’s lots of talent everywhere and talent alone doesn’t win championships or make great music. I’m not entirely convinced that Rojas can really inspire the kind of focus and unity of purpose that they’ll need. Maybe I’m wrong - I hope I am. Ding dong the Wilpons are gone, but it seems like the bad juju remains. Will the Mets ever get out of their own way? Cohen’s whole spiel about being a down-to-earth guy from Long Island that just wants to win is nice, but I’m wary that it’s more a PR campaign than it is a real culture shift. He's has been under investigation for shady business dealings for most of his adult life, right? Is it even possible to trust the motives of anyone with that kind of money? The GM debacle was sadly predictable and I think Alderson’s response to it only proves that he (and by exemption, I presume, Cohen) don’t really get it. Again, I hope I’m wrong. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I think it’s entirely likely that they will contend for the NL East, but also that they’ll end up in third or fourth place. It’s obviously a pivotal year, what with the change in ownership and the Lindor trade, but I’ve been following this team since 1978 or so and there’s been a lot of pivotal years that end up more pitiful than pivotal. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Always deGrom. He’s the best pitcher in the game right now and one of the very best I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. I think it’s absolutely fair to compare him to Seaver, Maddux, or Pedro in their prime. Or Hendrix. The guy is an absolute master, an artist. He’s simply on another level. I watch most games, but I’m sure to never miss his starts. My other players to watch are Keith Hernandez and Ronnie Darling (along with Gary Cohen) - the best booth in baseball! Will they make the playoffs? Maybe if they find a center fielder somewhere. What's your record prediction? Oh, this is a complete fishing expedition. Optimistically let’s say they win 90 games. I still think the Braves have the edge in the division, though. What’s your World Series matchup? I dunno, I don’t really follow the American League until the playoffs, but the Dodgers are looking pretty damn bulletproof. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. I will be trekking down to Citizens Bank Park - a great park to see a game by the way - whenever the Mets come to town and my Philly-born-and-bred son will surely take great joy in donning his Bryce Harper jersey and headband and loudly outing me as a Mets fan to whoever is within earshot. I have an irrational loyalty to the Mets, even though I’ve lived behind the lines in Philly for 12 years now, but we’ll go to as many games as possible. Despite being a Mets die hard, it also hardly matters to me who’s playing. I will watch and I will even root for the Phils (….except when they play the Mets!) Pokey Lafarge Chicago Cubs Courtesy of Pokey LaFarge What's your prognosis for the season? Things are certainly a lot grimmer since 2016... As a Cubs fan things are definitely not as hopeful as they were in 2016 but that shows just how special the 2016 season was. I actually think this team could surprise some people. We'll see. Either way, I'm going to enjoy it because it's most likely the last year with the core of Rizzo, Bryant, and Baez. Can you believe it's all fallen so fast? What are your feelings on the Darvish trade and management doing almost nothing to improve the team? If by fallen apart you mean they've underperformed since the 2016 championship season, then, no, it's hard to believe. That being said I think about anyone outside of say the Spankees and the Dodgers would be over the moon about the success the Cubs had from 2015 - to the present. Up there for the most wins in the league during that span. I'm not sure I know what the mentality was with not improving the team this year. Ricketts got into some bad business deals? Pandemic loss of revenue? I'm sure the Cubs have made them a lot of money. I do know that they've not fared well in the FA market the last couple of years. We got some decent prospects in that Darvish deal that a lot of people are sleeping on. But overall it was definitely a salary dump. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? My hope is of course they win the World Series but that's very doubtful. I have their ceiling at winning the NL Central and losing in the NLDS and the floor is finishing fourth in the division. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? Good question! So many proven players with something to prove. Baez and Bryant were both bums last year. Them along with Rizzo are on walk years. A prime Kimbrel would be lovely. I say Baez just because he's such a blast to watch. Guys who play like him are hopefully the future of baseball. Will they make the playoffs? I'm going to say yes! I think they'll at least be a Wild Card. What's your record prediction? They'll finish with 85 wins. That actually could win the central division because the Central is arguably the weakest in baseball. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Yankees but I want it to be the White Sox. That's a fun team to watch. The future of the AL is there. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I'd go to a game tomorrow if I could. I may even drive to Mesa to see the Cubs Spring Training. Joe Firstman, Cordovas Atlanta Braves Courtesy of Joe Firstman What's your prognosis for the season? Will the way last year ended hurt or help them? Will it propel them over the top? The Braves' young talent is untouchable. they have no problems in that area. They scout really well those young pitchers that they have been drafting. They get smart guys. As an ex-pitcher, I understand now that pitching is 80% mind. Inside/outside change speeds. Anderson, Soroka, Freed - it’s on. The issue is with the ornament stitched across their chest. That’s the curse of the tomahawk. Remember the '90s - all those wins. All those excellent teams and only one World Series. Who was that against? The only team with a more racist name. With all of the young, superstar talent, is this going to be the Braves' year or will it be the '90s/'00s revisited? The '90s were glorious. The pitching was my favorite of course, but oh gosh I loved Ron Gant. All my dudes. I love them so unconditionally that I don’t care. It’s always their year. We don’t have television at Cordovas’ house so we listen to nearly every game on the radio there or while we’re on the road. I’m old-school. It’s nice if they win but I’m just as excited about the rebuilding seasons. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? It’s totally reasonable to imagine them world champions. They were very close last year. They shit their pants, and they know that. That won’t happen. Who is your player to watch this year? Let’s see what Pache does, all those young pictures, they still have some out on the farm. Gonna be interesting to see if Soroka and them each win at least 15 games. I bet maybe 18. Will they make the playoffs? Yes. What's your record prediction? They’re gonna win 99 games. What’s your World Series matchup? Braves vs. Yanks. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Probably not. Maybe if we were performing and I had the ability to move about the place freely without restrictions. Lining people up, forcing you into this stall or that stall. Sitting next to people or near them. Still a little crazy. I love going to the baseball game. Picking out the details. One time we stopped off at Wrigley when we were on the road and caught Hamels throwing a no-hitter – got tickets right outside the gate. Been to the Braves games many times over the years. Can’t wait to go and have a burger at Murphs. Riley Downing, The Deslondes Kansas City Royals Joshua Black Wilkins What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the young talent to develop into the next great Royals team? The prognosis for the season is hopeful. Hopeful we can have a full 162 game season. Hopeful we can attend games at 100% capacity before the season's end. 2015 seems like forever ago, what's there to look forward to? There is a lot to look forward to. I'm rooting for Seuly Matias. Anybody that can hit a palm tree is a Surprise to me! Also Bobby Witt Jr. — Mr. Inside/Outside the Park Home Run Machine! What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? The ceiling is that we knock it out of the park and the floor is for us to slide into home. Who is your player to watch this year? Why? There is a lot. Jake Brentz 101 mph leftie! That’s a valuable asset to the bullpen for sure! Have to mention Hunter Dozier, Nicky Lopez, or Witt Merrifield. But this is our first year without a mainstay for years. Alex Gordon, left field Gold Glove winner. We still have Holland, Davis, Dyson, and Perez though who were part of our World Series team. What's your record prediction? I think we’ll have a record just good enough to get us into the playoffs. Then...who knows? What’s your World Series matchup? My World Series matchup would be to have another I-70 World Series with the Royals vs. the Cardinals. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I would love to go to a game this year, but I honestly haven’t been to the K since I was a kid. I have a lot of great memories there. Same as watching at home with family with the TV volume down and the radio volume up. Kenny Hensley, The Head and the Heart Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Kenny Hensley What's your prognosis for the season? Since my Dodgers finally took home World Series I’m more excited than ever! Knowing I’ll be able to attend some summer games is something integer thought I’d be so pumped for! As much as I always love being at Dodger Stadium. The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? Nahh... I feel like the playoff series were cut short you couldn’t argue it but they were gonna win the division and feels just as deserved as ever. Got through some tough teams to make it there and feels totally valid to me. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? I think it’ll help! We’ve needed some pitching help and couldn’t be more excited to add him to the rotation. Not only is our offense stacked? Now pitching is probably the most threatening, especially if Kershaw can show up and have another great year. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? To be honest the ceiling is another World Series and possibly get close to the all-time wins record. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. Floor would be some guys get hurt and we struggle to keep up with some other touch divisional teams and fail to make playoffs, but that ain’t happening. Who is your player to watch this year? I’d say Corey Seager. Potential MVP caliber year I’d say. He had his injury and was slow to come back but was lights out the second half of last season and in playoffs/World Series. Will they make the playoffs? YES. What's your record prediction? Realistically I’d say they win 106 games. Not putting away the chance they make a run and get close to the 116 Mariners record. What’s your World Series matchup? I’m going Dodgers vs. Yankees again! Just cause I wanna see it so bad. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I definitely would with low-capacity games. Looking forward to it! JR Wasilewski, Less Than Jake New York Yankees Courtesy of JR Wasilewski What's your prognosis for the season? Will the World Series-less streak end? 50/50 chance. Lots of talented teams in the AL. Last year was pretty wacky, but do you think the pre-2020 expectations will snap into place? Yankees seem pretty loaded... Again hard to say. If guys stay healthy then the sky's the limit. However, they certainly like to strike out a lot. So if they stay healthy AND hit? They got a shot! What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? The ceiling is the World Series. The floor is where Red Sox fans are gonna be from drinking to numb the pain so often. Probably. Who is your player to watch this year? Gleyber Torres. I think he can be great. Will they make the playoffs? Making bold predictions is always the kiss of death but I think they will be there. What's your record prediction? I say they will win at least 90 games. What’s your World Series matchup? Yankees vs. Dodgers If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? You bet your ass. The Bronx is the safest place on earth, anyways. Paul Delisle, Smash Mouth San Francisco Giants What's your prognosis for the season? Are you happy with how the rebuild is going? The Giants haven't made any high-caliber additions and we fully expected them not to. They had a much-better-than-expected mini-season last year and they will build from that. Is the team headed in the right direction? Are you frustrated with the team -- especially based on the Dodgers and Padres? They're heading in the direction of how the Oakland A's model their team. All analytics now and ZERO high-paid superstars. Instead of relying on guru minds like Bruce Bochy they have gone with the notion numbers don't lie. What we're frustrated about is that baseball is also entertainment and the Giants do NOT currently have one hitter you'd stop what you're doing to watch. For the San Francisco Bay Area, it's simply not tolerable to not have household name stars besides the ever declining, NO POWER Buster Posey. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? We're not expecting anything but if they can grow from what looked like some magic last season we may have a contender. But nothing will be easy, no blowouts and they'll have to fight for everything they get. Don't see a lot of three-run home runs for this team. Who is your player to watch this year? Mike Yastrzemski because if he continues his upside we could be looking at a 300 hitter with 25 home runs and the same goes with Donovan Solano who keeps getting better. Will they make the playoffs? They could but on paper, it certainly doesn't look like it but if guys like Alex Dickerson and Brandon Belt can stay healthy who knows. What's your record prediction? 81-81 because we just don't know. They seem like a classic 500 team but that might be good enough. What’s your World Series matchup? Astros vs. Dodgers with the Astros winning it all. You simply can't keep Dusty Baker down! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Sure we will be vaccinated by then so all good. Can't wait to take a deep breath of Major League Baseball. Jon Snodgrass Colorado Rockies Courtesy of Jon Snodgrass What's your prognosis for the season? How bad was the Arenado trade for morale? Well, it’s beyond ugly over here. We have a lot of rightfully angry & discouraged fans. They are threatening to boycott Coors Field, demanding the firing of Jeff Bridich, and to “SELL THE TEAM!” I puked. It’s true. It’s my opinion that something happened, that we don’t know about. And we probably shouldn’t...until the movie. Do you have any faith in the team's leadership? Do you think the Rockies can build a sustainable winner with their current minor league system/players? I support the troops, not the administration. I’ve seen a lot of questionable things since 2017 when I became a fan. I want to see the team pull a Major League because I’m positive, I know the lads wanna prove it and I love movies and the band X. “Wild Thing!” (Seriously, I have a whole three-part movie storyline. I’ve attached a screenshot of my notes that only I’ll understand. But attached so you can see it’s really on my mind, hah) What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I won’t be shocked if we’re No. 3 in the NL West. We might be second to last in our division. but we won’t be last in the league. I hope we get a wild card! Who is your player to watch this year? Why? I’m backing Gomber! I heard he said, “he didn’t want to be known as the guy who Nolan was traded for” (I’m paraphrasing). That broke my heart. He wasn’t. We got a lot of new talent! We need to support them & the guys we already have. I’m watching Spring Training & I’m stoked. Will they make the playoffs? Yes! Maybe. Anything is possible. It’s baseball! The whole thing is quite humbling & unpredictable, right?! Always keep the glass half full. What's your record prediction? 94 wins! because that was last year’s prediction and I hope we get that movie ending. “WILD THING!” I also think Jon Gray needs to show up w/ no beard and a classic FUGAZI haircut. He’ll feel great and pitch great. Beards & Long Hair are for the winter, in my opinion. What’s your World Series matchup? Twins vs. Brewers. because those are my two No. 2 teams. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? I book a lot of my gigs around Rockies away games. I’ll be supporting the team on the road if it’s safe. I can’t wait! But, I will. John Splithoff Chicago Cubs Courtesy of John Splithoff What's your prognosis for the season? Things are certainly a lot grimmer since 2016. This is an interesting season for the Cubs. Are they serious contenders or are we looking at a fire sale at the trade deadline? Will they make the playoffs? I think the Cubs will compete in a weak NL Central, but Jed is ready and willing to sell off his high-end talent for future draft stock and we may be entering a bit of a rebuild on the North Side the next couple of years. As much as it pains me to say, the boys on the South Side have a much more promising future in 2021. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? That being said, I can’t wait to get back to Wrigley as soon as possible to catch a game. Jesse Dayton Houston Astros Courtesy of Jesse Dayton What’s your prognosis for the season? I think without Verlander and Springer we’re still in good shape relying on Bregman, Altuve and Correa. Are the Astros still the bad guys this year? Yes. It was heartbreaking, but we gotta move on. And let’s be honest, baseball has a lot of haters who can’t wait to get bak in the stands and talk trash. Gonna miss Springer? Absolutely. He was important to us, the guy was tied for 4th in career home runs, but after the 150 million offer from the Blue Jays, poof, gone! Who replaces him and do you think they have another Series run in them? No one can truly replace Springer, but if the entire team hustles, they can still go all the way to the Series. We have lots of talent left. What are your reasonable hopes this year? I hope we win another Series this year because some of our great players are up to be free agents at the end of the season. What’s the ceiling/floor? Again, we can still win the Series with our team, but my floor would be to make it to the American League Championship Series. My player to watch this year? Correa 'cause I know he’s gonna bust his ass to get his stats up before he’s a free agent in 2022. And of course Altuve at-bat for the sheer joy of seeing that little man crush it! Will they make the playoffs? Can’t say yes, but I think they’re definitely capable...hope so. What's your record prediction? Altuve hits .320. Correa will lead 'Stros in RBI. Kyle Tucker may bust higher than 30 home runs. McCullers finds his footing and dominates and Verlander comes back in September. What’s your World Series match-up? To beat the shittalkers fair and square in the Series. They know who they are. When things are safe would you go to a game in-person this year? When things are safe I’ll be in the stands, spitting sunflower seeds into an empty Lone Star beer cup, watching my life-long fav team win. Lucas Hoge Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Lucas Hoge What's your prognosis for the season? I think it will be a great season with fans coming back into the stands and more games being played, everyone is ready to advance back into some sort of normal life again, and I feel baseball games are going to help with that. The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? No, I'm proud of the Dodgers for the WIN, I was actually with the team last year when Coach Roberts came into the locker room and said they had to call spring training due to COVID. I'm hoping for a repeat World Series Win. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? I think Bauer will be a great addition to the Dodger franchise, with his social media presence I think he can bring a new group of fans to the team as well as bringing his talent to the field. What are your reasonable hopes? My hope is the Dodgers win the Series again! What’s the ceiling/floor? I think Bauer's ceiling is helping lead the Dodgers to another World Series, The floor would be that his hype doesn't stand up and it's a rough road for him and the ball team, I believe it will be a great year. Who is your player to watch this year? I'm still watching Mookie Betts, he's a great player and he's a Nashville guy like me. Will they make the playoffs? YES. What's your record prediction? I feel it's way too early to tell, let's get the season underway and see who starts to shine. What’s your World Series matchup? Still going to favor the Dodgers, and I have no idea right now who they will be battling against. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely, as many as I can get to! Sam Anderson, Quaker City Hawk Nights Texas Rangers Courtesy of Sam Anderson What's your prognosis for the season? Any hopes for the team? After asking Arlington taxpayers to take it in the shorts twice on new stadiums you would figure the Rangers front office would try to at least roll out an entertaining product. That does not appear to be the case this year. Does it seem like the end of an era for them? Can Gallo bring them back? Unfortunately, I believe the brief sniffs of post-season success are all but memories now. Gallo's power is exciting but carrying this team into a winning season would be a large task for any slugger. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? With a bottom-five offense and an ace with an ERA of well over five, I believe we're looking at competing for a top pick in the '22 draft. Who is your player to watch this year? I'm interested to see how Nick Solak looks this year. He bounced around a lot of different positions last season so maybe he finds somewhere comfortable in '21. Will they make the playoffs? Absolutely not. But hey we're Rangers fans so not at all an unfamiliar feeling. What's your record prediction? This front office has made all the moves you make before you sell a franchise. I think eclipsing 70 wins this year would be a tall order. Hard to dig into the win column with that low of offensive production. Like I said hopefully we get a good draft pick out of this season. What’s your World Series matchup? Dodgers vs. Astros seems like a safe bet this season. And since there's not a bone in my body that could root for the 'Stros let's go Dodgers! If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Absolutely. Haven't had a chance to safely make it out to the new stadium yet and currently my best option is to sign up for the vaccine there and hope my number gets called. Old Sea Brigade Atlanta Braves Courtesy of Old Sea Brigade What's your prognosis for the season? Will the way last year ended hurt or help them? Will it propel them over the top? Last year was a huge step forward for the team. In the NLCS, going seven against the Dodgers, we showed the world we can go and compete with anyone. In contrast, in 2018-19, it seemed like we were just happy to make the playoffs. But now, I think we've got some confidence and we know what we are capable of. I think this could be the year they push through to the top. With all of the young, superstar talent, is this going to be the Braves' year or will it be the '90s/'00s revisited? There's definitely some similarities to the '90s/'00s teams with all the young talent. And sure, maybe those teams didn't achieve as many rings or pennants as they should have. But if today's young core is also on track to win 14 consecutive division titles, you won't hear me complaining. The way I see baseball, what happens after the regular season is a lot of chance. The real skill is in getting the team into the playoffs. I think the talent on this team should definitely get us to postseason: beyond that, who knows. What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? I legitimately think a World Series banner is in play, but I'd expect them at least to win a fourth consecutive division title. Who is your player to watch this year? Mike Soroka. His absence was felt last year, and I think he's going to come back with something to prove. Will they make the playoffs? Yes. What's your record prediction? I'll say 102 - 60. This is the same high-powered offense we've seen the last few seasons, and the pitching has improved significantly with Soroka coming back and the additions of Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly. What’s your World Series matchup? Braves vs. Yankees. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Definitely. Mark Giuliana (David Bowie, Meshell Ndegeocello) Los Angeles Dodgers Courtesy of Mark Guiliana What's your prognosis for the season? I have high hopes for the Dodgers this season. Last year’s high-powered offense is still mostly intact and the pitching staff of Kershaw/Buehler/Bauer/Price looks rather daunting on paper, not to mention a handful of serious arms in relief situations too. The long-overdue championship has arrived, but does it feel cheap since it was only 60 games? It was very fulfilling to see them win the championship last year and I don’t think its value was at all diminished by the shortened season. To play at the level that they did from start to finish, under the compromised conditions, was impressive. Thoughts on Bauer? Seems like an un-Dodgers signing and seems like...a personality. Will that help or hurt the team? I do agree that his personality is a bit un-Dodger-like, but as long as he continues to pitch the way he has in the last couple of years I don’t think any of his off-field antics will negatively affect the other guys. (I imagine that playing in Los Angeles forces these guys to build a rather high tolerance for distractions.) What are your reasonable hopes? What’s the ceiling/floor? If everybody stays healthy, particularly the pitching staff, I can definitely see them back in the World Series. Repeating is no easy task, but they have a shot. Who is your player to watch this year? Last year my player to watch was Corey Seager and man did he show up. His last month or so was possibly as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. An obvious choice would be Mookie, but my under-the-radar pick would be Gavin Lux. I’m hoping he gets more playing opportunities this year. Will they make the playoffs? Yes. What’s your record prediction? 102-60. What’s your World Series matchup? The same matchup I hoped for last year, Dodgers vs. Yankees. If things are safe, would you go to a game in-person this year? Assuming things are safe, absolutely!