It's that time of year again. The time when fans of every team (well except Houston, sorry Sam) feels their team has a chance to win the World Series. It's also the time of the year when idiots in the media put on their prognostication caps and tell us what is going to happen before it happens. I guess technically since I have been publishing this blog, I am an idiot in the media. So, let's get started with what I think will happen with the baseball season.
NL East - predicted
2. Miami (WC1)
3. Atlanta (WC2)
5. New York
I think this will be a very tough division for Philly to win especially without Ryan Howard, but ultimately I think they will be a little bit stronger than the rest of the division. I am also picking both wild cards to come out of this division. Does anyone know if the wild card winner still won't be able to play their division winner now? It won't matter if the WCs are from the same division, but if they are different which should happen most of the time it may get a bit trickier.
NL Central - predicted
1. St. Louis
This division is hard to pick for the exact opposite reason as the East. To me, every team has major flaws. I went with the Cardinals to repeat without Pujols just because of the Reds losing their closer for the year. I could see first place in this division with 84 wins, so maybe Pittsburgh could put it all together this year. I think the Astros will be better than last year, but still may get the #1 pick (I think #3 though) two years in a row.
NL West - predicted
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. San Diego
Here is my home division. Every year since 1992 that the NCAA bracket was put out and Kentucky was higher than a 6 seed, I picked them to win it all. I pick my favorite and then fill in the blanks with the rest. I have always picked baseball the same way, primarily because I don't want to root against my team. I will pick the Rockies to win the West every single year whether it makes sense or not for that reason. This year it might not be THAT farfetched though. Much like the Central there is no runaway great team in the West, because each of the five teams have flaws. If the division ended up with San Diego winning and Colorado in 5th, it wouldn't be that surprising and vice versa because all 5 teams are fairly close.
NL AWARD WINNERS - predicted
MVP - Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
Cy Young - Cole Hamels, Philadelphia
ROY - Drew Pomeranz, Colorado
Comeback Player - Adam Wainwright, St. Louis
Biggest Disappointment (tie) - Gio Gonzalez, Washington; Trevor Cahill, Arizona
I was close to picking Tulo for MVP and I do think he will win at least one before it's over with, but McCutchen is the biggest star in Pittsburgh since Bonds and Bonilla. I picked Hamels last year also, and since he was the closest I got to getting one right, I figured I would try again. Rookie of the Year is always the toughest award to predict because you never know how potential will translate to the majors. I picked Pomeranz, but Yonder Alonso in San Diego and Anthony Rizzo in Chicago could win as well. If Wainwright pitches all year injury-free he is practically guaranteed the Comeback Player of the Year award. Former Oakland pitchers seldom show it elsewhere. Only Tim Hudson has done anything since leaving the pitcher's Mecca. I think both big trade acquisitions will be big disappointments particularly Gonzalez.
AL East - predicted
1. Tampa Bay
3. New York
This is probably the toughest division to pick because of the three usual powers plus a strong up-and-coming team in Toronto. I think any of the top 3 could win the division, but Boston will probably have a bit of a fall off from last year, probably around 84 wins or so. But in this stacked division 84 wins equals 4th place. Tampa is my pick for best record in the league. Baltimore in 5th is arguably the most confident pick I have from any division with maybe one exception.
AL Central - predicted
2. Kansas City (WC2)
This division should also prove to be a three horse race but Detroit is just too talented to not win this division. The Royals might be a year away, but I said last year I would pick them this year and I am a man of my word (unfortunately that word is usually wrong). Minnesota should have a nice bounce back year if Morneau and Mauer can stay healthy. Cleveland is fairly unpredictable, but I don't see them with more than 72 wins or so. The White Sox are in complete rebuild mode and should be very, very bad. I think they will be the 2nd worst team in the majors an thus the #2 pick.
AL West - predicted
1. Los Angeles
2. Texas (WC1)
The Angels really spent the money, didn't they? It should pay off, for now, with a division title but I think they will be very bad in five years. I see the Rangers challenging all year before coming up a bit short in the end. The bottom two teams I am fairly confident with. Seattle is young and improving, but I think they are still a year or two away from seriously competing for the division title. I mentioned the one exception earlier...this is it. Oakland will be last in this division and have the worst record in the majors. Heck, they already do have the worst record in the bigs at 0-1. It's going to get much worse for the Moneyball team.
AL Award Winners - predicted
MVP - Albert Pujols, Los Angeles
Cy Young - David Price, Tampa Bay
ROY - Matt Moore, Tampa Bay
Comeback Player - Adam Dunn, Chicago
Biggest Disappointment - Bobby Valentine, Boston
Admittedly the Pujols pick is not really going out on a limb like with the NL, but I think he will win it. David Price is due for a Cy Young and will probably win more than just one in his career. There are a few good challengers in the AL for ROY including Yu Darvish, Jarrod Parker, and Jesus Montero. But I'm going with the odds on favorite in Matt Moore. After a historically awful season last year for Chicago, Dunn could hit .220/25/85 and still win this award in a walk. Bobby Valentine is possibly one of the most overrated managers in the history of baseball and I don't see him lasting long in Boston.
Playoffs - predicted
Texas over KC
Atlanta over Miami
Colorado over Atlanta
Philly over St. Louis
Tampa Bay over Texas
Detroit over LA
Philly over Colorado
Detroit over Tampa Bay
Detroit over Philly
WS MVP - Justin Verlander, Detroit
I think this is the year where it will not pay to be the wild cards. The extra game will force WC teams to use their #1 starters in the one game playoff and they won't be ready for the DS. I thought I was going to pick the Rockies to win it all, but even I don't think that will happen this year. I do believe that this will be the year that the American League takes back the title whether it be the Tigers or whomever. In a way, I kind of hope Detroit does win because that city needs a bit of a boost and there's no way in hell I will ever pick the Lions to win over my Bears.
Will I do as well as last year? Much like Adam Dunn, it can't get much worse for me. I picked Joe Mauer as MVP and he only hit 3 more home runs than me last year. I am just excited that we finally get baseball back after a long winter lay off.