Monday, April 01, 2013

Baseball Predictions, 2013

Spring has been a long time coming this year, but there is one unmistakable sign - baseball! Somehow last year I did not manage to get a post up at the beginning of the year - I blame Bobby Valentine; at least it saved me the embarrassment of picking the sox for the post-season. Anyway - this year -

AL East:

Toronto - the truth is, I don't think this division can be picked in the least. Toronto seems to be the consensus, having imported a host of top class players - but note that they imported them from the Marlins and Mets - those teams did not win with Reyes and Johnson and Dickey and company, why are the Jays so much better? Now - in fact, I suspect the Jays will have a heck of a team - but... it's a little too easy to pick them. I have Jose Batista in my fantasy league, though, so you can be assured I'll be waving the Canadian flag any time I can.

Boston - Ah, well... I don't know what criteria I have used to pick the order of these teams - but I might as well go with the rooting interest. One game in the book, they sure look capable of winning some games - though I think the real question with this team is going to be the rotation. If Lester and Buckholtz bounce back (as they can - they are young...), if Lackey and Dempster can be effective and stay on the field (I'm more optimistic about Lackey's effectiveness and Dempster's durability than the opposites), if Dubront can be a bit more consistent - there's a lot to like. They won't be hammering the ball, but they ought to be driving line drives and doubles all over the place; they have speed; they have very good defense; they have what looks like a deep and effective bullpen. It's fragile - that rotation, especially, can go to hell in a hurry - but if they hold up, this is a team that can do a lot more damage than anyone outside of Boston thinks...

Baltimore - with all the angst about the Sox and Yankees it is easy to forget the Orioles, who won, a bit earlier than they were supposed to. I don't know if they can sustain it - probably not, a lot of luck went into last year's run - but they got some decent pitching, and at least some of it could get better... No, I don't really believe it... I do think they will continue to hit pretty well - something better from Wieters seems a safe bet, I think Davis and Jones will continue to produce - they have enough core to hang around, but getting into the post-seasomn is going to be a struggle.

Tampa Bay - let's see how far pitching can take a team. Though if Myers is ready or Jennings steps it up, they could be all right. And the pitching can take them quite a ways. But without things working out, they are thin...

New York - this is a rooting interest. But looking at the team they're running out there - holy crap! They are old; they are all hurt - Texeira and A Rod and Jeter, Granderson too. They do have some pretty decent pitchers, and Cano, and financial resources... but the team on the field today is sub-Astros quality - and not going to get better for a while. I don't think they are going to be able to overcome the missing players this year. Maybe enough of them will come back to not embarrass themselves - but I suspect the worst for the Yanks. Heh heh heh.


Detroit - I think they might be the safest pick in baseball - 90 odd wins, and the division. They have a great top of a rotation; they have a great middle of the lineup; they have - well, some talent around that. And they have holes. But they are in a weak division and they are going to get to 90 wins - the post-season seems a safe bet here.

Chicago - They are still around. They never quite seem to make up their minds if they are going to contend. I think they got a bit more last year than they have a reason to expect this year, which means they shouldn't trouble the Cats, but will probably finish second easy enough.

KC - All their good young hitters regressed last year - so - they'll probably come back this year. I don't know if they have enough pitching - though they did load up on Tampa Bay pitchers. Second place is in reach, if things break for them.

Cleveland - probably not for the Indians, though who knows - Tito ought to steady them, they have some interesting players, and brought in a bunch of interesting failures (the likes of Drew Stubbs...) They could be respectable. Or hopeless. Probably a bit better than hopeless. 72 wins, that sort of thing.

Minnesota - there's talent hanging around this roster too, but not enough to trouble anyone. I took three hitters and a closer on my fantasy team, so there is that. Here's hoping for that big Justin Morneau comeback!


Angels - on paper they are a beast, though perhaps thin in the rotation. In fact - I am not sold on them, though they should get past 90 wins easily enough. They might be this year's version of the Yankees - hammer their way to the post-season, then get bumped by the Tigers or Rays or something...

Rangers - they lost a lot of talent this year, but I think they have enough of a team to hang around (though they have to do better than yesterday.) The pitching is still decent, starters and bullpen, they have a strong defense, they have hitters - they don't have the anchor of someone like Hamilton, but they are pretty good. They should hang around the wild card race.

A's - teams that rise too fast do tend to settle a bit, especially young pitchers; but they have real talent - they are certainly capable of hanging around. I hope they do - at least, I hope they stay in contention over the next couple years - I hate seeing good young teams that fall apart. They could be TAmpa west...

Seattle - they don't look nearly as bad as they have in recent years... that's not saying a lot.

Houston - poor bastards.

NL East:

Washington - this might be the best team in baseball. ALl that pitching, starters and relievers; a killer infield; Bryce Harper. I expect they will stay a force for a while. They seem determined to put a team on the field. A good thing.

Atlanta - they seem to have done a neat job of retooling on the fly, without dropping all that far out of contention. Now, they are putting together another good young team - Hayward and all those Uptons, good young pitchers, good young infielders - they should be in the wild card hunt, and in position to take the division if things go wrong in the capitol.

Philly - fading, but still dangerous with all those pitchers - and the ever present possibility that the old hitters will rise up for one last gasp. Everything went wrong last year - if things were to go right this year, they could slither into the post-season and cause trouble. Their problem is that they are in a tough division (well, behind 2 tough teams) - it will be hard to get close enough...

Florida - is Giancarlo Stanton the loneliest man in America? is he checking out houses in Boston and New York as we speak? Will some surprise team pull the trigger for him? (Washington? Detroit? San Francisco?) What odds do you give that he will last the year in Miami?

New York - poor bastards.


Cincinnati - this is another division that is very difficult to predict. The Reds, though, are another contender for the best team, in the game. Pitching - Cueto, Latos, etc. - Chapman, Marshall, Broxton; Votto and Bruce and Phillips and Choo and - they're really good. Deep and talented with a track record, with promise - a good bet, I think...

SL - they have some old timers who could fade, but plenty of solid talent - I don't hate them anymore, so I can take a cooler look at them. They have front line pitching, pitching depth; they do rely on some ancient outfielders and some uninspiring, but useful, ball players - but still seem quite capable of continuing to haunt the post-season...

Pittsburgh - this is being perverse, there are probably no reasons to pick them ahead of Milwaukee, but I am going to do it anyway. I was thinking Andrew McCutcheon might be the loneliest man in America, but in fact, they have some decent players around him. Maybe. Sometimes.

Milwaukee - They are probably better than Pittsburgh - though they weren't all that great with Greinke and Hart and one is gone and one hurt... We will see.

Chicago - hopeless. Some nice players getting developed, but still...


SF - might as well. Part of what gives you pause is that they did what they did without getting the best from a bunch of players - if Pence and Sandoval hit, if Lincecum comes back - this is a team capable of greatness. Though even without that, they should slither into the post-season, and are then more than capable of winning it all, with all that pitching.

LA - on paper, there is a lot to like; in the real world - I don't know. But talent will out, sooner or later - chemistry and the like are not going to win and lose ball games very often. The pitching is impressive - we'll see where it takes them.

Arizona - trading players like Upton for character guys is a good way to finish fourth. Character only really matters when you are finishing fourth and you don't want guys punching each other in the dugout.

Colorado - I believe they are again devoid of pitching. There were a couple years there where Rockies starters were getting drafted in fantasy leagues - not so much anymore. Make what you will of that.

SD - they seem to creep a little closer to not being an embarrassment every year - so who knows. They also seem capable of winning games for no conceivable reason, which is worth something.

So: all right - who will do what? Wild Cards - AL: Boston, Texas. NL: Atlanta - SL. World series? oy - Detroit vs. Washington - though Boston/Washington is the one I want.


MVP - should have been Trout last year - might as well pick him this year.
Cy Young - Verlander, until someone else beats him
Rookie of the Year - wishful thinking, sure, but Jackie Bradley Jr.

MVP - there's a fair amount of competition here. Braun generally puts up the numbers, though it might be a matter of time before he puts up a 50 game suspension. Votto has one and could get another any time. How good will Bryce Harper be? can Hayward step up a notch? could Stanton's team win enough to make anyone remember he exists? can Kemp stay healthy? Ad Gon recover? Will Posey keep playing like he has? I'll say Votto, this year.
Cy Young - Strasbourg is bound to win it sooner or later.
Rookie - I should have an opinion - there seem to be lots of pitchers around this year (the AL has more offense) - I'm going togo with Shelby Miller, though that might be because I have him in three different fantasy leagues. Sad, I know, but hey, you have to root for something!

1 comment:

Sam Juliano said...

Interesting predictions! Well we will see as far as the Yankees go. They seem to be holding their own at this early stage (though the 9-1 loss to the lowly Astros was ugly) but they are doing it with mirrors. Boston has had quite a grteat start I see.