As pitchers and catchers report for spring training, there are still plenty of questions surrounding each team. Will the Braves and the A’s repeat their Cinderella performances? Do the Red Sox have another World Series run in them? Who will finally claim Manny Machado and Bryce Harper?
Find out how your team could exceed expectations—and how it could fall short—as the season starts to take shape, with insights by Forbes.com’s SportsMoney contributors.
Best-case scenario: The Orioles stop the hemorrhaging and push their win total above 62. Worst-case: a season once again in range of the loss record—and not even a top draft pick to show for it. Read more from Jeff Seidel.
Best-case scenario: another year, another World Series run. Worst-case: Injuries and contract distractions sink the Sox. Read more from Matt Kalman.
Best-case scenario: The return of 2017 Gary Sanchez leads to an AL East crown. Worst-case: Injuries and underwhelming play leave the Yankees out of the wild card. Read more from Larry Fleisher.
Best-case scenario: The Rays’ top three pitchers lead a push to a wild-card berth. Worst-case: A lackluster offense becomes even more inefficient as the team’s pitching gets off to an inconsistent start. Read more from Scott Orgera.
Best-case scenario: The offense takes flight with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delivering on the hype, landing the Jays in third place in the AL East. Worst-case: Not only does Guerrero struggle, but the pitching continues to underwhelm in a battle to stay out of the basement. Read more from Curtis Rush.
Best-case scenario: Machado madness makes the Sox September’s surprise contender for a playoff spot. Worst-case: Machado and Harper stay away, Eloy Jimenez struggles, and fans begin to question the team’s management. Read more from Phil Rogers.
Best-case scenario: The starting rotation complements a dangerous offense, giving the Indians another shot at the World Series. Worst-case: Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer are traded amid a rash of injuries. Read more from Jim Ingraham.
Best-case scenario: The club’s young sluggers show potential for the future. Worst-case: Detroit drops 100 games for the first time since 2003. Read more from John Perrotto.
Best-case scenario: With an improved ERA and impressive play from their youngsters, the Royals capture a wide-open division. Worst-case: The end of 2018 misrepresented how well Kansas City can play, and the Royals end up in the division’s basement. Read more from Jack Magruder.
Best-case scenario: The Twins capitalize on a down year from the Indians. Worst-case: The White Sox emerge as the Indians’ true challenger. Read more from Steve Silverman.
Best-case scenario: Carlos Correa is back with a vengeance after his back injury. Worst-case: Free agency claims Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, leaving the Astros without a path to another division title. Read more from MoiseKapenda Bower.
Best-case scenario: The Angels claim a wild-card spot. Worst-case: Cody Allen has an even worse year than 2018, and Albert Pujols’ career comes to a quiet end. Read more from Barry M. Bloom.
Best-case scenario: The A’s reclaim the division title with an explosive offense as the Astros falter. Worst-case: The pitching staff comes apart, and the young offense loses confidence, leading to a fourth-place finish. Read more from Owen Poindexter.
Best-case scenario: Seattle’s young players surprise everybody and contend for the division. Worst-case: The youth movement disappoints, leaving the Mariners miserable. Read more from Jay Paris.
Best-case scenario: A one-year free agent steps up and signs on for the long term to quicken the rebuild. Worst-case: Prospects and draft picks both disappoint, extending the timeline. Read more from Ari Kaplan.
Best-case scenario: The Braves improve on last year’s playoff appearance with a deeper run. Worst-case: Last year was a fluke, and the Braves slide back to .500. Read more from Dan Schlossberg.
Best-case scenario: The young players give fans something to cheer for and win 70 games. Worst-case: Miami goes from bad to worse, losing 100 games for the third time in franchise history. Read more from Wayne G. McDonnell Jr.
Best-case scenario: Robinson Cano and the rotation both excel, making New York a division champion. Worst-case: Injuries ruin the Mets’ pitching staff, leading the team to entertain offers for its starters over the summer. Read more from Jerry Beach.
Best-case scenario: Harper signs, and the pitching carries an otherwise-average defense. Worst-case: Neither Machado nor Harper sign, and the players who actually are on the roster underperform. Read more from Tony Blengino.
Best-case scenario: Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon lead the way to an NL East title. Worst-case: Harper heads to Philly. Read more from Scott Orgera.
Best-case scenario: The bullpen melds together, and Yu Darvish and Kris Bryant get the team back to the World Series. Worst-case: Both the offense and the bullpen struggle, leading to a third-place finish. Read more from Ryan Davis.
Best-case scenario: Newcomers impress as the division’s other teams fall off. Worst-case: Newcomers disappoint and end up being shopped around by July. Read more from John Perrotto.
Best-case scenario: Last year’s playoff loss is enough motivation to spur a World Series run. Worst-case: Christian Yelich regresses as the Cubs rise. Read more from Andrew Wagner.
Best-case scenario: Rick Eckstein proves a fruitful hire, coaching the Pirates back to the postseason. Worst-case: The pitching disappoints, exposing Pittsburgh’s thin depth as the team falls to the bottom of the division. Read more from John Perrotto.
Best-case scenario: New arrival Paul Goldschmidt leads the Cardinals to a division title. Worst-case: A tough division and injuries to key players doom St. Louis to a fourth straight season without a playoff appearance. Read more from Ari Kaplan.
Best-case scenario: The defense holds steady, and the starting rotation remains strong. Worst-case: The offense continues its downward spiral. Read more from Jack Magruder.
Best-case scenario: The Dodgers reel from their World Series defeat as the Rockies’ offense improves. Worst-case: Second base remains a problem while injuries hamper the core of the pitching staff. Read more from Jack Etkin.
Best-case scenario: Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler become the best pitching duo in baseball. Worst-case: The catchers can’t hit, leading to an eventual loss in the NLDS. Read more from Howard Cole.
Best-case scenario: A combination of Harper, Machado and impressive prospects transform the Padres into a real contender. Worst-case: Harper and Machado reject the Padres, who are left in 70-win limbo. Read more from Jared Wyllys.
Best-case scenario: With Harper in the mix, the team’s veterans produce one last hurrah, which makes them attractive to suitors willing to take on their large salaries. Worst-case: It’s a swing-and-a-miss on Harper, and Madison Bumgarner gets hurt, leading to a last-place finish. Read more from Anthony Witrado.
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