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Game on! Roto Arcade’s official MLB predictions for 2014

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Welcome, friends, to the third opening day of the 2014 season. Very soon, we'll all have a few stats to enjoy. And some of us will soon have a few beverages to enjoy, while watching Monday's epic Nolasco-Sale tilt at historic U.S. Cellular Field. This day is pretty much the greatest.

In keeping with Roto Arcade tradition, today we unveil the official staff predictions for 2014. Accept no substitutes. This right here is the gold standard for prognostication. In fact, you should probably print out this feature right now and take it to Vegas, because our experts are known to be deadly accurate.

[Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

Below, you'll find a few dart-throws from Dalton Del Don, Scott Pianowski and myself. Feel free to add your own projections in comments. Let's get started with best guesses regarding the 5x5 leaderboard...

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You probably didn't need an expert to tell you that Miguel Cabrera is highly skilled, but there it is. Same goes for Mike Trout, Joe Mauer, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt.

If Del Don nails Hamilton's stolen base total, we're about to see the 16th greatest base-stealing campaign in major league history. So that's exciting. Incredibly, 103 steals would not be enough to set the all-time rookie record (Vince Coleman swiped 110 in '85), nor would it be enough to establish a new single-season high for a dude named Billy Hamilton. This guy would still hold the mark (111).

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We're basically all forecasting another huge season from Justin Verlander, with a spike in Ws. No expert seems too troubled by Yu Darvish's achy neck or Clayton Kershaw's mild back issues. And at least one of us is expecting a dominant season from this lefty...

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Chris Sale, fantasy/real-life ace (USAT)

If you're looking for postseason predictions and individual award-winners, we've got you covered there, too.

Dalton Del Don

ALCS: Rays over Tigers, 4-2
NLCS: Cardinals over Nationals, 4-3
World Series: Cardinals over Rays, 4-3

The Rays will use their loaded starting rotation combined with good defense to emerge from the American League, but they will ultimately fall short of the World Series title, losing a closely fought seven-game series to St. Louis. The Cardinals' depth and young talent prove to be the best team in baseball in 2014.

AL ROY: Jose Abreu
NL ROY: Billy Hamilton

I'd probably switch the AL to Masahiro Tanaka if I had to do it over, but I'm sticking with my original pick, which was Abreu, who should threaten 30 homers. I'm on record many times stating my Hamilton love, as he might win this award if he meets just half of my expectations.

AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

Darvish is the pitcher most likely to approach 300 Ks, although his neck injury needs to prove minor. Strasburg could be a monster if he's finally 100 percent, something he's rarely been over the last few years. Clayton Kershaw's injury helps his case as well.

AL MVP: Mike Trout
NL MVP: Bryce Harper

Trout is going to win one of these years, and Harper is primed for a big season if he can stay healthy. The Nats should win 90+ games and their division, and Harper will be the team's clear best hitter. -DDD

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Mike Tout, already receiving MVP votes (USAT)

Scott Pianowski

ALCS — Tigers over Rays, 4-3
NLCS — Cardinals over Braves, 4-2
World Series — Cardinals over Tigers, 4-2

It's ridiculous how deep the Cardinals organization is, from A to Z. Look at some of the talented players who have to wait their turn. The Tigers have been making odd decisions most of the offseason, but that rotation will offset a lot of problems.

AL ROY — Jose Abreu
NL ROY — Billy Hamilton

I'm not really in love with either player, and Hamilton's range of outcomes is ridiculously wide.

AL Cy Young — Chris Sale (Alex Cobb dark horse)
NL Cy Young — Adam Wainwright (Julio Teheran dark horse)

It's nice of Clayton Kershaw to spot everyone a head start.

AL MVP — Mike Trout
NL MVP — Paul Goldschmidt

Because Trout can't finish second every year, right? -Pianow

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All stolen base records are at risk, if this kid can hit even a little (USAT)

Andy Behrens

NLCS — Nationals over Cardinals, 4-2
ALCS — Tigers over Rays, 4-3
World Series — Nationals over Tigers, 4-2

The Nats are a team without obvious weaknesses, a clear favorite in the N.L. East. The rotation is loaded, the 'pen is deep and the lineup is stacked. If Harper makes a third-year leap, this group could be unfair.

AL ROY — Jose Abreu
NL ROY — Billy Hamilton

It's conceivable that Javier Baez might make a run in the NL if called up in June. But if I'm projecting an enormous stolen base total from Billy (see below), then I can't deny him this trophy. He's your winner. Let's hope the big spring carries over.

AL Cy Young — Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young — Stephen Strasburg

I'm thinking maybe Clayton Kershaw's early-season back issue will allow others into the Cy conversation. If Strasburg can finally top 200 innings, the numbers should be silly.

AL MVP — Mike Trout
NL MVP — Freddie Freeman

Freddie has a shot in two of the three triple-crown categories, plus he'll do his hitting for a playoff contender. And there's no way anyone is giving the award to Ryan Braun, no matter what he does, so he's out of the mix. -Behrens

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