2019 MLB Predictions: AL/NLCS & World Series
Who will win it all?
The 2019 MLB season is finally here! And even though we're still a couple days out from Opening Day, we can't help but try to predict who the winners of the league's top awards will be. Baseball experts from across NBC Sports weighed in on who they think is most likely to win the ALCS, NLCS & World Series months from now, and, of course, Nationals' ace Max Scherzer is a preseason favorite to win for the fourth time in his career.
Here are the insiders from around the country who made their picks.
NBC Sports Washington: Todd Dybas (Nationals)
NBC Sports Bay Area: Alex Pavlovic (Giants)
NBC Sports Bay Area: Ben Ross (Athletics)
NBC Sports Boston: Lou Merloni (Red Sox)
NBC Sports Chicago: Tony Andracki (Cubs)
NBC Sports Chicago: Vinnie Duber (White Sox)
NBC Sports Philadelphia: Corey Seidman (Phillies)
NBC Sports Washington- Todd Dybas (Nationals)
ALCS teams and winner: Astros over Yankees
NLCS teams and winner: Dodgers over Washington
WS teams and winner: Dodgers over Astros
Houston's balance overcomes the Bombers and their bullpen.
In the NL, the Nationals finally advance, but not to the final round.
Ultimately, the Dodgers get it done for first time since 1988.
NBC Sports Bay Area/California - Alex Pavlovic (Giants)
ALCS: Astros over Yankees
NLCS: Nationals over Phillies
World Series: Astros over Nationals
Yes, I have the Nationals edging the Phillies in the Bryce Harper Bowl.
They've had the talent to do this for years and perhaps the pressure will now be off with Harper in Philadelphia.
This may be the last run for the Astros, who have Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander hitting free agency, so expect them to continue to add before the deadline.
We'll give the edge to the team with pitching built for a postseason series and a lineup that includes Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa.
NBC Sports Bay Area/California - Ben Ross (Athletics)
ALCS: Yankees over Astros
NLCS: Nationals over Dodgers
World Series: Yankees over Nationals
After watching their hated rivals win the World Series last season, the Yankees will return to the top of the baseball world for the first time since 2009.
Led by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees' lineup is a force to be reckoned with.
New York improved its starting pitching with the addition of left-hander James Paxton, while also returning Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and CC Sabathia.
Most importantly, Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottovino anchor the best bullpen in baseball.
NBC Sports Boston - Lou Merloni (Red Sox)
ALCS winner: Yankees over Astros
NLCS winner: Cardinals over Phillies
World Series winner: Yankees beat the Cardinals
Yankees win the World Series.
They still have a loaded farm system as well as young talent on the big club to go out and make a mid-season trade to put them over the top.
NBC Sports Chicago - Vinnie Duber (White Sox)
ALCS winner: Houston Astros over New York Yankees
NLCS winner: Washington Nationals over Chicago Cubs
World Series winner: Houston Astros over Washington Nationals
The Yanks are set up for years of success with their young lineup, but the Astros have a starting-pitching edge with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
The last time the Cubs and Nationals squared off in October, it was a classic series.
It could be again, though this time with the Nats finally chasing away their postseason demons.
I cannot wait for Verlander vs. Scherzer in Game 1 of the World Series.
Give it to us, 2019. Two strong lineups with young studs.
Two pitching staffs featuring future Hall of Famers.
Bring. It. On.
In the end, I’ll give the MVP-packed top of the Astros’ lineup the edge in a seven-game series, even if the Nats’ rotation is a tad deeper (and they probably have a better bullpen, too.)
NBC Sports Chicago - Tony Andracki (Cubs)
ALCS winner: New York Yankees over Houston Astros
NLCS winner: Washington Nationals over Chicago Cubs
World Series winner: New York Yankees over Washington Nationals
The Yankees' combination of elite relievers, a relentless lineup and a top-heavy rotation will be too much for the rest of the AL to handle in October.
On the other side, a rematch of that wild 2017 NLDS, the Nats come out on top this time around as their speed and youth in the lineup will be hard to stop in October.
Assuming Luis Severino can come back healthy, no team would want to face a combination of Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka in October ... especially when the Yankees could shorten the game by such a drastic measure thanks to a daunting bullpen.
Barring drastic injury, the Yanks look primed to end their decade-long championship drought.
NBC Sports Philadelphia - Corey Seidman (Phillies)
ALCS winner: Astros over Yankees
NLCS winner: Rockies over Nationals
World Series winner: Astros over Rockies
Houston has so much more starting pitching, it's not even close.
An ALCS like this could be competitive, though, given the firepower the Yankees have at the back end of the bullpen.
In the NL, I'm really feeling the Rockies this season. While the Phillies should be very good in 2019, I don't think they put it all together in Bryce Harper's first year.
This Fall Classic would be one heck of a series.
Both teams have great offenses, strong defenses, a lot of starting pitching and parks that are hitter-friendly.
Houston wins it all for the second time in three years.