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Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

2014 MLB prediction roundup

Went through some prediction archives last week in preparation of rounding up which teams were going to be the favorites heading into the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Well, wouldnít you know...two years ago, no doubt fueled by the presence of his ESPN buddy Bobby Valentine, Baseball Tonightís Karl Ravech, who normally seems of fairly sound mind and body, picked the Red Sox to win the World Series.

Whoops.

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Then again, maybe Ravech wasnít that far off. After all, I can relay to you the time I picked Cliff Lee to win the Cy Young Award in 2007, to a healthy amount of ridicule. The then-Indian had gone 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 2006, and ended up going 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA the next season, one year before his 22-3, 2.54 Cy Young campaign. Told ya.

So, itís with little surprise that many of the folks who predicted the Washington Nationals to win the World Series in 2013 are sticking to that claim one year later. Washington is one of the clear-cut favorites on the prognosticating landscape this spring, along with the Dodgers, Rays, Cardinals, and Tigers.

Missing from the majority of predictions of the World Series participants, of course, would be the Boston Red Sox.

Some like the Sox to win the American League East, many like them to grab one of the leagueís wild cards. Others even see them not making the playoffs, arguing that the East is that much better this season with the pitching-rich Rays, an emerging Orioles team, an improved Yankees staff, and whatever the Blue Jays are, all in the mix.

Only a select few have the defending champs back in the World Series. Itís more difficult to find many that think the team can repeat.

The Yankees, Blue Jays, Reds, and Aís are the only franchises to win back-to-back World Series since 1970. The Red Sox face the same challenges all one-timers have over the past 44 years, resulting in little faith in their ability to do it all again.

2014 Major League Baseball predictions:

Boston.com sports staff: Adam Kaufman has the Sox winning the AL East, losing the ALCS in 6 games to the Tigers, who will beat the Dodgers in the World Series. Zuri Berry has the most faith in the Sox, with them beating the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Bill Speros, aka, Obnoxious Boston Fan, has the Sox losing the AL East on the final day of the season to the Rays, but still hanging on to a wild card spot. The Sox will fall to Tampa in the ALCS, while the Rays will lose to Washington in the World Series. Chad Finn has the Sox second in the East, and losing to the Rays in the ALCS. Cardinals win the Series. Steve Silva likes them to go 93-69 to earn a first-place tie with the Rays. Silva has the Sox losing to Carl Crawford and the Dodgers in the World Series.

Boston Globe staff: All five staff members pick the Rays to win the AL East; all pick the Red Sox to win one of the AL wild cards.

ESPN staff: Thereís a whole lot of love here for the Dodgers, Cardinals, Nationals, and Tigers as a World Series pick, but Peter Pascarelli and Joe McDonald do pick the Sox to repeat as champs. Bill Baer has them losing to the Dodgers in the World Series (ouch), while Marty Bernoski and Mark Simon have them losing to the Nationals in the Fall Classic. Jeff Bennett is on his own island in picking the Cleveland Indians to win it all.

Only 14 of the 44 making picks have the Sox winning the American League East.

SI.com staff: Tom Verducci and Jay Jaffe pick the Sox to win the AL East; Joe Sheehan, Cliff Corcoran, Ben Reiter and Albert Chen all have the Rays taking the division, with the Sox earning one of the wild cards. Four pick the Cardinals to win the World Series, two the Washington Nationals. Jaffe and Verducci both also pick Xander Bogaerts to win AL Rookie of the Year.

Jon Heyman, CBS Sports.com: Picks the Red Sox to finish second in the division....to the Orioles. Heyman also likes the Dodgers to beat the Royals in the World Series.

CBS Sports.com staff: One out of four has the Sox winning the East. Only two of the four have the Sox making the playoffs.

Jesse Spector, The Sporting News: Sox win the AL East, fall to the Rangers in the ALDS. Dodgers beat the Rangers in the World Series.

†USA Today staff: No World Series picks for the Sox. Rays, Rangers, and Cardinals are the darlings of the sports staff.

Peter Gammons, Gammons Daily: Washington over Tampa Bay in the World Series. †ďBut if Kansas City were to win it all, I wouldnít be shocked. Iím not sure this Royals team isnít better than the one that came back from 3-1 deficits to beat the Blue Jays and Cardinals in 1985. This team just doesnít have George Brett.Ē Gammons picks the Red Sox as one of the AL wild cards, with Tampa winning the division. He also likes Xander Bogaerts for AL Rookie of the Year,

Sean McAdam, CSNNE.com: Has the Sox winning the East, Dodgers over Rangers in the World Series.

Baltimore Sun staff: Peter Schmuck and Dean Jones, Jr. have the Red Sox winning the East. Dan Connolly and Eduardo A. Encina have them as one of the AL wild cards.

FanGraphs projected standings: Has the Sox projected to win 88 games, which is good enough to win the AL East. What is this, 1988?

FanGraphs staff: 16 of 31 pick the Sox to win the division; 13 more believe theyíll win one of the wild card spots.

Providence Journal staff: Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton have the Sox winning the division; Britton has them falling to the Nationals in the World Series. Michael McDermott has Boston finishing third, out of the playoffs.

It says here: That little of the above will actually ring true. Remember how folks saw the Red Sox heading into 2013? In any case, if weíre sticking with the one year early theory, last year, I went with Nationals over Angels in the World Series, which seems a fairly good bet. But Iím hopping on the Detroit bandwagon. Tigers over over Pirates in the World Series. Sox lose the division to the Rays, win the wild card and fall to Texas in the ALDS.


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