Mark Clark: Houston Astros are the early favorite to win World Series

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Making preseason predictions as to which team is the early favorite to win the World Series in 2019 is quite easy. Getting the prediction correct, well, that is something else all together. It becomes especially difficult to get the prediction correct when teams have not begun to play games in earnest.

Spring training games are about as useful in making predictions as saying the flatulence from one particular cow will destroy the earth’s ozone layer and increase global warming. If spring training wins and losses meant anything, I would pick my favorite team to win the World Series—the Kansas City Royals. As I write this column on Monday afternoon, the Royals are in first place of the Cactus League standings at 18-12. That is one game ahead of the Oakland A’s. I have selected neither of those two teams as even winning their divisions.

When I do make my annual preseason predictions for winning the World Series, I tend to lean towards the winner being from the junior league of Major League Baseball—the American League. I have always been an American League fan. As a kid, I did flirt with being an Atlanta Braves fan, but I quit on them as soon as I saw the uniforms of the Oakland A’s on the cover of the Sporting News. The player wearing the uniform was Felipe Alou—a former Atlanta Braves outfielder. My favorite Oakland player ever? Third baseman Sal Bando. I almost parted with $20 to purchase Bando’s jersey from a minor league player once, but decided $20 was too high of a price back then. Now, boy, do I ever feel so stupid for not making that purchase.

After Sal Bando, I became a George Brett fan and remained one until he ended his career with the only team he ever played for as a professional – the Kansas City Royals. Now, I really do not have a player I can point to as my favorite. I am just committed to being a Royals fan.

But, as I said, I have not selected Kansas City as my preseason favorite to win anything. Any wins the Royals get in 2019, I will consider a bonus.

Here are my predictions for each division of Major League Baseball in 2019:

American League:

East – Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles.

Central – Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers.

West – Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers.

National League:

East – Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Miami Marlins.

Central – Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates.

West – Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants.

American League Playoffs:

Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Oakland A’s. Winner: Houston Astros over New York Yankees in six games.

National League Playoffs: 

Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals. Winner: St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

World Series: 

Houston Astros over St. Louis Cardinals in five games.

And that is how I see things before the season begins. Will it happen? Ask me again in October when the dust settles. One prediction I can make right now that will definitely be a correct prediction – Kansas City will not win the World Series nor will its players be in the running for MVP, Rookie of the Year or Comeback Player of the Year. Oh, none of them will contend past Opening Day for the Cy Young Award either.

Mark Clark is a local sports writer for 

The Citizen of East Alabama.