Here are my predictions for the 2012 MLB Season. I have broken them up into two segments because they are lengthy. What can I say? I am verbose. I’m not sorry.
By the way, shouldn’t we keep track of these and see who gets the most right by the end of the season? Loser buys a round or two of yeasts at a local establishment? I love throwing myself into researching a sporting event and meticulously planning my predictions, only to never win the contest…you know, like my March Madness pool every year.
1. Boston Red Sox – In comes Bobby V into the clubhouse and out goes the fried chicken and beer. Pundits have spent so much time squabbling about SS (it was Marco Scutaro people!! Mar-co Scu-tar-o! We didn’t trade away Barry Larkin!) and the 4/5 pitchers this spring they forgot the 1-5 spots in this order are the best in baseball, and the Sox have amassed some good pitching depth.
2. New York Yankees – Getting older, but not getting gone. A lack of superstars on this team, but they have quality guys at most positions who know how to get it done. Granderson regresses to his norm, Pettite is better than expected, Pineda is solid despite his horrible start, and I am sad I no longer have Jorge’s name or Matsui’s earlobes to make fun of.
3. Toronto Blue Jays – Young hitters continue to mature (Rasmus and Lawrie rake), Romero and Morrow anchor an above-average rotation, Farrell pulls the right strings, and they deal for one more impact pitcher at the deadline. Second year in a row I predict they make the playoffs. You heard me.
4. Tampa Bay Rays – Price is legit. Shields is inconsistent. Moore is wildly unproven. Hellickson is loved by some sabermetricians and derided by some scouts. Niemann and Davis are replacement level. Longoria is their only scary hitter. Their manager wears silly glasses daily. Wait, why am I supposed to be afraid of these guys again? Second straight year I predict a fourth place finish for this club. You heard me.
5. Baltimore Orioles – any time you can hire a control freak who hadn’t managed in four years and a failed GM who had been out of baseball for nine years, you have to do it.
1. Cleveland Indians – The Indians have a rare collection of ground ball pitchers and the infield defense to back them up. Carlos Santana emerges as an MVP candidate. The Tribe win a close division race.
2. Detroit Tigers – A lot of things went very well for them last year. Verlander regresses a little, Fister regresses a lot, their defense is putrid, and they have no table-setters…well, unless you include the guys who set up the clubhouse spread before Cabrera and Fielder go to work on it.
3. Kansas City Royals – The Royalty is ahead in the division while they host the All-Star Game, but they fade due to lack of arms. Pitchers, actually.
4. Chicago White Sox – A roster full of underachievers (Dunn, Beckham, Rios, Peavy, Danks, etc.) puts first-year manager Robin Ventura in a headlock and lands a few haymakers on his dome. Too easy?
5. Minnesota Twins – Twinkies won division 6 out of 9 times from ’02-’10, they moved into a nice new park last season, and have promptly fallen into the toilet. Not to mention Carl Pavano is being extorted by a man he supposedly had a romantic relationship with for three years and might be forced to come out as the first openly gay major league baseball player. Other than that the Twins ace should be pitching with a clear mind this season.
1. Anaheim Angels – The AL’s best starting rotation with Pujols, Morales, and Trout (at some point) added to a lineup that badly needed some pop. Scioscia is one of baseball’s best managers.
2. Texas Rangers – Essentially the same team who has been to two straight World Series, but making the playoffs three years in a row is very difficult. Injuries stack up on them, Darvish fades in the second half, and they regret putting Feliz in the rotation.
3. Oakland A’s – Am I crazy, or can the A’s be a little better than everybody expects this year? No? Ok, maybe I’m just crazy. I like Weeks and Cespedes. I like a 1-2 of McCarthy and Colon. Balfour can be a good closer. They have Manny after 50 games (I know, but still). They have young pitching ready to contribute. They want to do well to sell a move to San Jose. Who’s with me? WHO’S WITH ME???? (fine.)
4. Seattle Mariners – Montero, Ackley, and Smoak are legit up-and-comers. Ichrio still has something left. Add them to King Felix and….wait….their #2 pitcher is Jason Vargas? Their #3 is Kevin Millwood? I’ll say that again….their #3 is Kevin Millwood?!?!?! Last place.
AL MVP – Adrian Gonzalez
AL Cy Young – Felix Hernandez
AL Rookie of the Year – Yoenis Cespedes
AL Manager of the Year – John Farrell
Toronto over New York in wildcard round
Boston over Cleveland in 5
Anaheim over Toronto in 5
Boston over Anaheim in 7