Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 MLB Predictions

Tonight is opening night for Major League baseball.  Thus begins another season of ninth inning rallies, no hitter chases, and other memorable moments.  Here are my predictions (* = wild card).

American League

1 – Blue Jays
2 – Rays*
3 – Orioles
4 – Yankees
5 – Red Sox

I see this as the toughest division to predict this year.  Toronto went out and made the big moves and now have a deep, playoff caliber roster.  Tampa Bay will again rely heavily on their rotation and may still have one the best 1-4 starters even with Shields being dealt to KC.  Baltimore was 29-9 in one run games last year, so I’ve got to think the law of numbers will hold them back a bit this season.  New York and Boston are headed in the wrong direction.  New York is old, experiencing one injury after another, and has no pitching depth.     Boston’s hopes hinge on healthy and dominant Ellsubry and Pedroia and for a consistent Jon Lester.  Not high odds. 

1 – Tigers
2 – Royals
3 – Indians
4 – White Sox
5 – Twins

Last year’s World Series runner up looks even better on paper this year.  Adding Torii Hunter and a healthy Victor Martinez to a lineup that was basically just MVP and Triple Crown stud Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder should mean even more wins.  Is this finally Kansas City’s year?  They’ve been on fire this spring, and I really like Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas.  Their pitching will be the key.  In Cleveland, I like Nick Swisher, but I don’t think they’re a lot better losing Shin-Soo Choo.  Their pitching worries me.  I think the White Sox take a tumble this year.  They’re going to be bad at best behind Chris Sale in the rotation, and I’m not a fan of that lineup.  Losing Denard Span and Ben Revere makes Minnesota worse, and saying that they’re #1 Scott Diamond would be a good #2 is being generous. 

1 – Angels
2 – A’s*
3 – Rangers
4 – Mariners
5 – Astros

Los Angeles is the clear favorite out west after again stealing from the Rangers.  Josh Hamilton slides into the cleanup spot behind Albert Pujols, and Jered Weaver should be a Cy Young finalist.  I worry a bit about Mark Trumbo protecting Hamilton in the lineup and how shaky Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas, and Joe Blanton can be.  I don’t think last year’s success was a fluke and that Oakland will be in the race again.  I like Yoenis Cespedes to have a big year.  The Rangers will struggle without Hamilton and may be in big trouble if Nelson Cruz is suspended for his role in the steroid case.  I don’t see them slugging their way to as many wins this season.  Seattle has a chance to be this year’s Oakland.  I really like Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales in the middle of that lineup, especially with the fences moved in a bit.  Start getting ready for Cowboys training camp if you’re a Houston fan.  This team looks destined to set records for futility with an anemic roster in a tough division.


MVP – Mike Trout
Runners up – Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Albert Pujols

Cy Young – Justin Verlander
Runners up – Jered Weaver, David Price, Felix Hernandez

Rookie of the Year – Wil Myers

Manager of the Year – Joe Maddon

National League

1 – Nationals
2 – Braves*
3 – Phillies
4 – Mets
5 – Marlins

Washington should be even better this year than last.  They’ve added leadoff hitter Denard Span, veteran starter Dan Haren, cloer Rafael Soriano, and won’t have any restrictions on Cy Young candidate Stephen Strasburg.  I like what Atlanta did in adding the Upton brothers to a lineup bolstered by Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Philadelphia has lineup questions, and Roy Halladay is struggling.  Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee may need to carry this team more than they anticipated.  New York should regress this year.  David Wright and Daniel Murphy are the only hitters I trust, and while like Matt Harvey, adding Shaun Marcum doesn’t make up for losing R.A. Dickey.  To hell with the Marlins.  Their owner doesn’t care about them, so why should I?

1 – Reds
2 – Cardinals
3 – Pirates
4 – Brewers
5 – Cubs

I like Cincinnati to win this one rather handily.  Choo is a massive offensive upgrade over Drew Stubbs, but there are questions as to how well he’ll do in CF.  Aroldis Chapman will stay at closer, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities with a lineup led by a healthy Joey Votto.  Rafael Furcal is a big loss for St. Louis, and I worry about their ability to consistently manufacture runs.  Their starters are more questions than certainties which isn’t common with this club.  Milwaukee has the biggest question of all – will Ryan Braun avoid a lengthy suspension for a second time?  They’re hopeless without him, and Yovani Gallardo doesn’t have much behind him in the rotation.  Will Pittsburgh again flop after the All Star break?  Andrew McCutchen is one of the game’s top talents, but he must get more support.  Anthony Rizzo, and Jeff Samardzija are two of the shrinking reasons to watch Chicago.  This team is a long way from contending and will likely get more press for players they trade away than their on-field play. 

1 – Dodgers
2 – Giants*
3 – Diamondbacks
4 – Padres
5 – Rockies

Will this finally be the year?  Will the deep pocket Dodgers finally return to postseason relevance?  Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp may be the best pitcher and offensive player in baseball, but as a fan, I’m skeptical about how well this rock star lineup will gel.  Hanley Ramirez is already out with a thumb injury, and Zack Greinke was limited this spring with an elbow issue.  Good thing they’re deep.  They run eight deep at starter and have phenom Yasiel Puig waiting in the wings should Carl Crawford not hold up.  Even at full strength the Dodgers will have their hands full with the defending champs (it really hurts to type that).  San Francisco is just as tough this season as last.  Former Nole Buster Posey is the unquestioned leader of the team and was handsomely rewarded with a large extension this spring.  I like Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt to have strong seasons and for the rotation to once again be one of the game’s best.  Arizona will head into the season under the radar, but they need to be monitored, even without Justin Upton.  Not having Adam Eaton to start the season may slow them early on, but I think there’s enough quality in the lineup and the rotation to make some noise in a division expected to be dominated by the Dodgers and Giants.  San Diego was thought to be a surprise team in ’13 at the end of their ’12 step forward season.  That may be stifled with team MVP Chase Headley’s broken thumb and a very shaky rotation.  Third place may be a victory for the Padres.  I’m a huge fan of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but there’s just not much behind them.  Their pitching was pathetic last year, and they need to be dramatically better for the Rockies to be mildly relevant this season. 


MVP – Bryce Harper
Runners up – Matt Kemp, Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey

Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw
Runners up – Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels

Rookie of the Year – Adam Eaton

Manager of the Year – Bruce Bochy


Wild Card Games
Braves @ Giants – Giants
Rays @ A’s – Rays

Division Series
Tigers v. Rays – Tigers
Angels v. Blue Jays – Angels
Nationals v. Giants – Nationals
Dodgers v. Reds – Dodgers

League Championship Series
Tigers v. Angels – Angels
Nationals v. Dodgers – Nationals

World Series
Angels v. Nationals – Angels

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