Livescore Thursday, April 25
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Can anyone ever really predict baseball? 

It sure seemed like the National League was going to come down to a battle of the Braves and Dodgers in 2024. Instead, the NL East and West were represented in the DLCS, with the Phillies taking on the Diamondbacks. And many likely expected an AL West team from Texas to reach the Fall Classic. Just not the Rangers.

It’s not easy to predict how the season is going to shape up. But Sporting News’ experts are going to try and do it anyway. We’re sending off our predictions on who we see making the postseason, winning the major awards and ultimately claiming the Commissioner’s Trophy.

MORE: SN’s model projections for 2024 season

Here’s a look at our picks for how we see the 2024 season unfolding.

Jacob Camenker, senior content producer

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Twins
West: Astros
Wild cards: Rangers, Mariners, Blue Jays
MVP: Adley Rutschman, Orioles
Cy Young: Cole Ragans, Royals
Rookie of the Year: Wyatt Langford, Rangers

National League

East: Phillies
Central: Reds
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Braves, Diamondbacks, Cubs
MVP: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Cy Young: Aaron Nola, Phillies
Rookie of the Year: Jackson Chourio, Brewers

Postseason

AL champ: Orioles
NL champ: Diamondbacks

World Series champ: Orioles over Diamondbacks

Thoughts: The Dodgers seem ready to be the MLB equivalent of a soap opera this season with every week bringing a new storyline. Whether it’s Mookie Betts playing shortstop full-time for the first time in his major-league career, Yoshinobu Yamamoto getting rocked in his debut overseas or Los Angeles having to fire Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter amid an illegal gambling scandal, this team has a lot going on.

The Dodgers will either overcome these obstacles or flame out spectacularly like the “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles of 2011. Baseball fans will be tuned in to their every move on and off the field, regardless of the season’s outcome.

Chris Cwik, deputy editor

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Twins
West: Astros 
Wild cards: Mariners, Rangers, Rays
MVP: Juan Soto, Yankees
Cy Young: Framber Valdez, Astros
Rookie of the Year: Wyatt Langford, Rangers

National League

East: Braves
Central: Cubs
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Cardinals, Giants, Phillies
MVP: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Cy Young: Spencer Strider, Braves
Rookie of the Year: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers

Postseason

AL champ: Orioles
NL champ: Dodgers

World Series champ: Orioles

Thoughts: The Cardinals are favored to take the NL Central after an offseason spending spree, but the Cubs have quietly built a strong club. Shota Imanaga dazzled at the World Baseball Classic last season, and could prove to be a strong addition. The team’s willingness to pay Cody Bellinger signals the Cubs will invest in the team if it’s competitive at the trade deadline. That gives them an edge in the division over the improved, but old, Cardinals. 

Kyle Irving, content producer

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Twins
West: Astros
Wild cards: Rangers, Mariners, Blue Jays
MVP: Kyle Tucker Astros
Cy Young: George Kirby, Mariners
Rookie of the Year: Evan Carter, Rangers

National League

East: Braves
Central: Cardinals
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Diamondbacks, Phillies, Giants
MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
Cy Young: Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks
Rookie of the Year: Jackson Chourio, Brewers

Postseason

AL champ: Orioles
NL champ: Dodgers

World Series champ: Dodgers

Thoughts: Appreciate Mookie Betts — the Dodgers’ starting shortstop

Prior to last season, Betts had made all but 25 of his 1,076 major league defensive starts in the outfield. In 2023, he started 62 games at second base and 12 at shortstop for Los Angeles. Now, the six-time Gold Glove outfielder will show off his superutility to fill a gap in the Dodgers’ infield, taking on the everyday shortstop role.

There is only one other player in MLB history who has a Gold Glove in the outfield and started 100 games at shortstop in a single season — Tom Tresh of the New York Yankees in 1968, over half a century ago.

Do not take Mookie Betts’ versatility for granted. He’s one of the most talented players the game has ever seen.

Bryan Murphy, content producer

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Guardians
West: Rangers
Wild cards: Astros, Twins, Mariners
MVP: Adley Rutschman
Cy Young: Luis Castillo
Rookie of the Year: Wyatt Langford

National League

East: Braves
Central: Cubs
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Diamondbacks, Giants, Phillies
MVP: Matt Olson
Cy Young: Logan Webb
Rookie of the Year: Jackson Chourio

Postseason

AL champ: Rangers
NL champ: Braves

World Series champ: Braves

Thoughts: The last two seasons, baseball fans were treated to a taste of the future, with two loaded rookie classes in 2022 (Julio Rodriguez, Adley Ritschmann, Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Strider, George Kirby) and 2023 (Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll, Triston Casas, Josh Jung, Nolan Jones). 

The youth movement continues on in 2024, as viewers should be excited to watch another crop of talented young players that include Jackson Chourio, Wyatt Langford, Kyle Harrison and Evan Carter, along with the potential of seeing Jackson Holliday and Paul Skenes called up to the big leagues. The future is in good hands in the MLB. 

Brendan O’Sullivan, editorial intern

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Guardians
West: Rangers
Wild cards: Blue Jays, Astros, Rays
MVP: Juan Soto, Yankees
Cy Young: Corbin Burnes, Orioles
Rookie of the Year: Junior Caminero, Rays

National League

East: Braves
Central: Reds
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Diamondbacks, Phillies, Padres
MVP: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks
Cy Young: Freddy Peralta
Rookie of the Year: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers

Postseason

AL champ: Astros
NL champ: Dodgers

World Series champ: Dodgers

Thoughts: I love seeing young teams thrive. The Cincinnati Reds were one of the most fun teams in baseball last season, and I expect them to take the next step and win the NL Central. Likewise, the Orioles have been incredibly fun. Seeing new, energetic players on the diamond excites me every season.

Still, I want to see the titans clash. Young teams are only fun if they’re winning a decent amount of games. Who wants to watch a young A’s team win 50 games? Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Braves and Astros are just a handful of teams with a lot of star power. Those playoff games are often the best, and I’m hopeful to see plenty of old and new stars in October.

Dan Treacy, content producer

American League

East: Orioles
Central: Guardians
West: Astros
Wild cards: Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays
MVP: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners
Cy Young: George Kirby, Mariners
Rookie of the Year: Evan Carter, Rangers

National League

East: Braves
Central: Reds
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Phillies, Diamondbacks, Giants
MVP: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
Cy Young: Zack Wheeler, Phillies
Rookie of the Year: Jung-Hoo Lee, Giants

Postseason

AL champ: Orioles 
NL champ: Phillies

World Series champ: Phillies

Thoughts: The highlight of each MLB season is the unexpected. That doesn’t just include teams with low expectations who surprise us all — and 2023 certainly brought that, with the Rangers and Diamondbacks going from afterthoughts to World Series opponents. 

Each team is going to have a player or, more likely, multiple players who come out of nowhere and cement themselves as legitimate MLB contributors. Last year, Kyle Bradish, Nolan Jones, Tanner Bibee, Matt McLain, Yennier Cano, and Lane Thomas were among players who broke through in one form or another. Some, such as Jones and Cano, weren’t even viewed as likely MLB contributors at this time a year ago.

A new set of stars will emerge this season, whether on contenders or non-contenders, and it’s that element of unpredictability that separates baseball from the rest.

Edward Sutelan, content producer

American League races

East: Orioles
Central: Tigers
West: Astros
Wild cards: Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays
MVP: Kyle Tucker, Astros
Cy Young: Luis Castillo, Mariners
Rookie of the Year: Wyatt Langford, Rangers

National League races

East: Braves
Central: Reds
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cubs
MVP: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks
Cy Young: Bobby Miller, Dodgers
Rookie of the Year: Jackson Chourio, Brewers

Postseason

AL champ: Mariners
NL champ: Braves

World Series champ: Braves over Mariners

Thoughts: It feels like we’ve reached a point where there is more parity in baseball than ever in recent years. Would any team be a surprise to win either of the Central divisions or the AL East? OK, well maybe the White Sox would be a surprise. Then there’s three teams that feel like they could win the AL West. And you don’t have to squint all that hard to see just about anyone claim a wild card in either league.

And yet, one of the most interesting parts of the 2024 season will undoubtedly come down to the top dogs in the National League. The Dodgers have assembled an ensemble cast that rivals the star power of any Hollywood film. But the Braves’ depth across the board still might be enough to keep them from winning the National League. Or who knows, maybe the Phillies and Diamondbacks will wind up knocking both out before the NLCS again.

Kate Yanchulis, senior editor

American League

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild cards: Astros, Orioles, Rangers
MVP: Juan Soto, Yankees
Cy Young: Luis Castillo, Mariners
Rookie of the Year: Wyatt Langford, Rangers

National League

East: Braves
Central: Reds
West: Dodgers
Wild cards: Cubs, Diamondbacks, Padres
MVP: Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Cy Young: Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks
Rookie of the Year: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers

Postseason

AL champ: Yankees
NL champ: Dodgers

World Series champ: Yankees

Thoughts: When looking ahead to the 2024 MLB season, I could tell you about my affinity for Juan Soto, who I expect to have his best season yet. Or I could ponder on my puzzlement over the National League, where neither the Dodgers nor the Braves have me convinced they are juggernauts.

Instead, though, I want to talk about uniforms. Spring training started with a furor over the see-through pants and “cheap” jerseys, but the heated discussion cooled to a simmer as games got underway. Yet I’m not sure we should give Fanatics and MLB and Fanatics an easy pass.

Sure, there are plenty of more important issues within the world of sports in general and baseball in particular (see: gambling). But baseball is a game built on details. Each little flick of a pitcher’s finger and twitch of a batter’s wrist can change the outcome of a game. And so the stitching of the uniforms and the size of the players’ nameplates can — and should — matter too. Players and fans alike shouldn’t have to accept an inferior product to feed the billion-dollar baseball industry.

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