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2014 MLB Opening DayAlthough the first day of Spring was officially on March 20th, we think Spring really starts the same day as the Major League Baseball season- opening day.  With opening day happening tomorrow (Monday March 31st), we thought it would be fitting to make our predictions for the upcoming season.  As a Chicago Cubs fan, spring is the time for optimism.  A time where every team still has a chance to reach the post season no matter how big or how small the payroll.  While, over the last several years, parity has increased across the MLB landscape – most experts still pick the big spending teams like the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The bigger and more interesting question is who will become this year’s Pittsburgh Pirates?  With that in mind, here are my picks for the 2014 MLB Season.

National League

NL East – Washington Nationals:  The Nationals were a big disappointment last year but they will be ready to rebound.  Bryce Harper will be ready to compete for a MVP crown this year.

NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals:  Hard to pick against St. Louis here… They made it all the way to the World Series last season only to lose to the Braves.  This Cardinals team is loaded with young talent that should only be better this year.  As much as I hate to admit it, unless they implode, expect them to cruise to another NL Central Title.

NL West –  Los Angeles Dodgers:  Again not a surprising pick here but the L.A. Dodgers are absolutely loaded with talent.  The got off to a slow start last season only to come on strong at the end – that could happen again this year but I just can’t see the Giants or Diamondbacks running away with the division early.

NL Wildcard Teams: Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies

American League

AL East – Tampa Bay Rays:  While most are picking the Red Sox or Yankees here, I just can’t pick against a team with an abundance of young talent and the best manager in the game (Joe Maddon).  Watch out for Desmond Jennings and Chris Archer this year!

AL Central – Kansas City Royals: Ok, here is my out-on-a-limb pick.  Every year I think the KC Royals will be much better than they turn out to be.  Maybe it is my inner Cub fan coming out but I really think this will be the year the Royals put it all together.  Watch out for Yordano Ventura!

AL West – Oakland A’s:  On paper the A’s look like nothing all that special.  However, they never look all that special on paper but Billy Beane always seems to find a way to keep the Athletics competitive.  With not a whole lot of dominant teams in the AL West you have to go with the team that will likely be the most consistent.

AL Wildcard Teams:  Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers