MLB

2024 MLB Predictions: Division Winners and a World Series Surprise

Picks for winners in each division, pennant winners, and a World Series champ you may not expect.

March 26, 2024

The MLB season has begun, and it’s glorious to know that we will have baseball played nearly every night until early November.

Tipico offers a number of ways to get involved in the season. For now, we’ll survey each division and make picks all the way through to the World Series, highlighting some best bets along the way.

Division Winners

NL East

Some divisions will be tight, with several teams in contention — but the East looks to be pretty straightforward. Atlanta and Philadelphia are the class of the division, with the Braves the significant favorite to take home the title. Ronald Acuna, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Michael Harris form an elite lineup from top to bottom.

The Phillies have a comparable lineup, but they lack the quality pitching depth of Atlanta, which will ultimately be the difference.

Division winner: Atlanta
Other playoff teams: Philadelphia

NL Central

In contrast to the East, the Central is wide open. There is no standout team, and there likely isn’t a bottom feeder either. The Reds are the buzziest team with young, high-profile prospects littered throughout the roster. Injuries and a suspension have changed the outlook of the team, however, as they are set to be without Noelvi Marte for 81 games due to a PED suspension, while T.J. Friedl and Matt McLain have suffered relatively serious injuries. They are both likely to be out for at least a month, potentially longer. Their pitching staff is filled with question marks as well, which could open the door for St. Louis and Chicago.

The Cubs in particular have a strong case after the signing of Cody Bellinger, who supplements the likes of Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ, and Dansby Swanson. Chicago has also improved the depth of their bullpen with the additions of Hector Neris and Yency Almonte. Those transactions aren’t flashy front-page news, but Neris gives them another high-leverage arm to trust.

Division winner: Chicago
Other playoff teams: None

NL West

The Dodgers should run away with this division — this is arguably the easiest call of any division in the league. Even with a rotating door in the rotation and some question marks about the availability of Shohei Ohtani, they still have an incredible amount of talent that makes them the frontrunners. Things get a little more interesting below them.

The Diamondbacks deserve respect as the reigning National League champions. Their rotation is arguably an issue, as they’ll be relying on a lot of youngsters that weren’t all that impressive in their first stint in the majors. While they lack the star power of the Dodgers and Padres in particular, they’ve won together as a group and have a well-rounded young core.

Speaking of San Diego, they are coming off of a disappointing 2023 season but still have the core of Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and the recent addition of Dylan Cease. A team that has emerged in recent weeks is the Giants, who have added Blake Snell and Matt Chapman since Spring Training started. That puts them in the postseason conversation as well.

Division winner: Los Angeles
Other playoff teams: Arizona and San Francisco

AL East

There’s a case to be made for four teams in this division, with the primary showdown looking to be between the young and upstart Orioles against the veteran New York Yankees. The Orioles are comparable to the Reds in terms of their depth of talent in the lineup, and they also have an established ace in Corbin Burnes. If the Yankees stay healthy, they’ll be formidable. However, now that they’ll already be without Gerrit Cole (elbow) for a significant portion of the regular season, they can’t afford anymore holes in the rotation. They have a capable trio of Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, and Nestor Cortes, but each missed a significant portion of the 2023 season.

We shouldn’t dismiss the Rays or Blue Jays, either. The Rays have the rotation depth to stand up to a full season, but their ability to score runs consistently will be a question. The Blue Jays have the star power with Vladimir Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and George Springer, but they’ll all need to deliver at peak levels to keep pace in this stacked division.

Division winner: Baltimore
Other playoff teams: New York

AL Central

Much like their counterpart division in the National League, the AL Central is overrun with mediocrity. The Twins won the division last year and lack any obvious weaknesses on paper. The back half of the rotation could create problems, as could injury-prone players in the lineup such as Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton.

If the Twins open the door, Cleveland would be the next team in line to take advantage. They manufacture pitching like few other teams in the league and have a new crop of young arms ready to make an impact, such as Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen, and eventually Gavin Williams. The lineup leaves plenty to be desired, however. That will likely leave them behind Minnesota’s pace.

The Tigers are also a darkhorse that has gotten a lot of buzz. Their pitching staff may have the ability to carry them, but ultimately there are too many holes remaining in the lineup. If they can get a few more bats in place, Detroit looks ready to contend in 2025.

Division winner: Minnesota
Other playoff teams: None

AL West

Houston and Texas have been the powers in the division lately, but there’s an opening for a changing of the guard in 2024. Both the Rangers and Astros have a depleted rotation, with the Astros missing Justin Verlander (shoulder) and Jose Urquidy (forearm), and the Rangers without the likes of Max Scherzer (back) and Jacob deGrom (elbow).

That opens the door for the Mariners, who boast a ridiculous pitching staff of George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Luis Castillo, and Bryce Miller. The bullpen is dealing with injuries to key high-leverage players, and getting the likes of Gregory Santos (lat) and Matt Brash (elbow) back will be key. Seattle’s lineup doesn’t measure up to the Astros or Rangers, but it should be good enough to help them surprise their division foes.

Division winner: Seattle
Other playoff teams: Houston and Texas

WHICH TEAM HAS THE MOST WINS IN A SINGLE MLB SEASON?

AND WHICH TEAMS HAVE THE LONGEST WINNING STREAKS EVER?

Postseason Predictions 

National League

On paper, Atlanta and Los Angeles are on a collision course for the NLCS. But we often see outcomes in the postseason which don’t match the perceived talent levels of respective teams, so let’s predict some upsets. The Giants have the makings of playing Cinderella, with a top three in the rotation consisting of Logan Webb, Snell, and potentially the emergence of top prospect Kyle Harrison. If they can get some timely hitting, they’re capable of winning in a small sample series and knocking off the big boys.

Winner: Giants

American League

Minnesota is really the only team I’d count out immediately from the projected playoff field, but both the Astros and Rangers seem to have too many questions from a pitching perspective for things to come together in the postseason. That leaves the Orioles, Yankees, and Mariners as the top contenders, with the two teams from the East looking like the strongest options. Give me the depth and young talent.

Winner: Orioles

World Series Winner: Orioles

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.
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