2018 Draft is set; Playoff Predictions Doug Gray October 2, 2017 13 Comments The Cincinnati Reds 2017 season came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. The win by the Reds combined with a loss by the Chicago White Sox leaves Cincinnati with the #5 spot in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. The Reds finished at 68-94 on the season, which is the exact same record that they had in 2016. Deck McGuire, in just his second start in the Major Leagues, finished the year on a high night. He picked up his first career win by tossing 5.0 shutout innings, allowing just two hits. The right hander threw 66 pitches and struck out two batters – lowering his ERA to 2.63 on the year in 13.2 innings split between starting and relieving. It completes a dream season for McGuire, who signed as a minor league free agent in April to simply fill out the rotation in Double-A, but he took the opportunity given to him and ran with it and never let up. The MLB Playoffs are set In the National League the same three teams that won their divisions in 2016 repeated in 2017. The Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers took their respective divisions. This season two new wild card teams will appear. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies will play on Wednesday in Arizona at 8pm ET on TBS. The winner will move on to take on to take on the Dodgers. In the American League the Minnesota Twins will take on the New York Yankees on Tuesday night on ESPN at 8pm ET. The winner of that game will take on the Cleveland Indians, who are repeating as Central Division champions. The Red Sox will travel to Houston to take on the Astros. Boston is repeating as division winners, but Houston will be coming back after missing the playoffs in 2016. My Playoff Predictions American League In the wildcard game, anything can happen. It’s just one game. With that said, the Yankees are the better team, they are the home team and they’ve got the better bullpen. That would push them to Cleveland, though it wouldn’t matter which team won as I’m going with Cleveland. They’ve arguably got the best pitching staff in the history of baseball compared to the league this season. Their ERA+ of 139 as a team is off-the-charts kind of good. That means that their team ERA, adjusted for the league and parks that they pitched in was 39% better than the league average. Their pitching will carry them to a win in the first round. The Houston Astros tout what is easily the best offense in the league, but will be taking on the Boston Red Sox pitching staff, which was the second best in the American League. It’s a good match up there, but where the difference comes for me is that the Red Sox offense is actually quite poor – it was the third worst in the league. That gives the edge to the Astros for me. 101 wins. 100 wins. That’s the Indians and Astros win totals for 2017. They were outstanding teams. Easily the two best records in the league. Despite similar records, though, on paper the Indians are simply better. They had, as noted above, arguably the best pitching staff ever. Their offense was also the second best in the American League. I’ll take Cleveland in six games to advanced to the World Series. National League In the National League wildcard game the Diamondbacks and Rockies will play in Arizona. Neither team is particularly good on offense – both were actually below-average. Both were strong on the mound, but Arizona has a rather big advantage there. However, in one game the entire staff doesn’t matter. It could come down to the starters, which puts up Jon Gray versus Zach Greinke. For the season it was Greinke who had the better year, but Jon Gray was incredible down the stretch for the Rockies, posting a 2.64 ERA over his final 13 starts. I’ll give the edge to the Rockies due to this factor. That would push them into the next round to take on the Dodgers. Los Angeles was very well rounded, featuring the second best offense and the second best pitching staff in the National League. That combination makes them an easy choice in this match up. On the other side you’ve got the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals. The defending World Series Champions will take on the Dusty Baker led Nationals. These two teams were close in terms of offense and pitching, but the Nationals had the edge on the pitching side of things. The Nationals also have the advantage, at least on paper, in difference makers in their lineup. Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman are about as strong as you can possibly get. I’ll take the Nationals here to move on. The Dodgers were the best team in baseball throughout 2017, even with their struggles down the stretch. With that said, the Nationals match up quite well. Washington has the best offensive player with Bryce Harper, but the Dodgers have that Clayton Kershaw guy on the mound. The big difference between the two teams, though, is the bullpen. The Dodgers have multiple elite level relievers and the Nationals only have one. Advantage and series to the Dodgers. The World Series The Dodgers and the Indians is my pick for the World Series. I’ve covered why I like both teams above, so I’ll keep it simple: The Indians have the best pitching staff ever and the offense has enough to overcome the strong Dodgers pitching. Cleveland in seven games. 13 Responses Hoyce October 2, 2017 Was not a good win today by the Reds. Prediction: yanks over twins Cleve over yanks Astros over sox Cleveland over Houston Arizona over rox Arizona over LA Wash over Cubs Wash over Arizona Cleve over wash in 5 Josh October 2, 2017 I agree one hundred percent with hoyce Hoyce October 2, 2017 Josh- if only everyone did that- the world would be a better place. HA Cguy October 2, 2017 McGuire may not have much of a chance to secure an sp slot with the Reds next spring, but I believe he’s earned a spot on the 40 man & perhaps a starting job with Louisville next year. He’s definitely got to be considered a valuable added piece in trade talks Shamrock October 2, 2017 Deck isn’t even guaranteed another major league appearance after everyone comes back nice and healthy next year……. With that said, if this was the end for him, he did a great job and (even with the sacrifice of 1 draft spot) I’m damn glad and proud of this young fella going out on top as a winner. Noone can ever take this experience away from him. God speed MK October 2, 2017 Over last 5 drafts no huge advantage between picks 4 and 5 2013: pick 4-K.Stewart pick 5-C.Frazier 2014: pick 4-K. Schwarber pick 5-N.Gordon 2015: pick 4-D. Tate pick 5-K.Tucker 2016 pick 4-R.Pint pick 5-C.Ray 2017 pick 4-B. McKay pick 5-K Wright For me in ’13 I would rather have Frazier, in ’14 Schwarber. Jury still out on other years. wes October 2, 2017 McGuire has earned a chance to compete next season. Reds need to go for it next season and they need to start Homer and best four guys that give them that chance. So if McGuire carries his sub 3 ERA through the preseason next year- how do you leave him out of the rotation? Especially if other guys are showing inconsistency or rust due to injury. Just keep the door open, wide open, is all I’m saying…. wes October 2, 2017 I’ll take Dodgers over Astros Brad October 2, 2017 Way, way, way too early. But my 2018 draft board for top 5 would be: 1. HS SS Brice Turang (sounds like a Phillie at #3) 2. College RHSP Brady Singer (screams San Francisco at #1) 3. HS RHSP Kumar Rocker (screams Detroit at #2) 4. HS OF Jerred Kelenic 5. HS RHSP Ethan Hankins College 2B Nick Madrigal is the epitome of a Chris Buckley selection. Gritty middle infielder. Less measurables, more intangibles. I enjoy watching him play, just dont see him as a top-5 pick. I fully expect the White Sox to do something odd at #4. Brad October 2, 2017 Correction: Chris Buckley Guy has done a great job. I should at least be able to credit his correct name! I wish the “edit comments” option for the site didn’t cause it to slow down so much…. I fixed your post. David October 2, 2017 Twins get past the Yanks. Indians put them out of their misery. Astros slap the Botox. Astros then eek by the Indians. Arizona boots the Rockies. The Snakes then slither past the Dodgers. The Nats put the Cubbies to sleep, and then skin the Snakes. Another close but no cigar for Dusty. Astros win in 6 games, and Mattress Mack is out a whole bunch of mattresses. Arnold Ziffle October 2, 2017 Reds lost 2 of 3 to the Cubs. DG’s beloved UC Bearcats got a thumping this weekend. They will have to lick their rear ends all week to get the taste of that defeat out of their mouths. An AAC university schooled by a C-USA university. That UC offense was rather neighborly with all the gifts they gave the opposing team’s defense. Many thought UC was Big-12 material. Hardly. Tough weekend. Sandheel October 2, 2017 I’m predicting Finnegan and McGuire will anchor the top of the bullpen next year with Peralta and Iglesias at the bottom. There will be a battle royal for the 3/4 spots in the middle. I’m just hoping Adleman is not one of the winners.