Friday, March 23, 2012
2012 MLB Predictions
The NL East looks to be a strong division this year with the Marlins and Nats improving. The Phillies won 102 games last year only to lose in the Division Series to the Cardinals. Key players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will miss the start of the season and this is a team getting older. However, they still have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels; which will keep them in the race. I do think it will be a closer race for the Phils than in past years. The Braves collapsed last year and it will be interesting to see how they respond to that this year. I think they contend again, especially since this is Chipper Jones last season. Jose Reyes left the Mets for the Marlins this offseason, which is the biggest shakeup in the division. Its hard to envision a scenario where the Mets don't finish in last place, they look like the worst team in the division.
The defending World Champion Cardinals enter a new era this season without Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa, but still have a strong ballclub. The Reds made big improvements to their pitching and are a dangerous team this year. Prince Fielder left Milwaukee for Detroit last year, but the defending division champions should still be pretty good as well. After these three teams, there is a dropoff. The Pirates are improving, but still a year or two away from serious contention. Theo Epstein is trying to work his Boston mojo on the North Side, but they are in a rebuilding year. The Astros lost over 100 games last year, and could be just as bad this season.
The DBacks surprisingly won the division last year, and should make a run at it again this year. After winning the World Series in 2010 the Giants missed the playoffs last season. I would expect them to be motivated to return to the postseason this year, but they need to hit better. The Rockies have a couple of elite players in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but they are surrounded by fading veterans and youngsters. The Padres and Dodgers both have ownership issues that need to be resolved, and I doubt if either team contends this year. The Dodgers are kind of setup like the Rockies, a couple of great players(Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw) surrounded by castoffs.
3) Red Sox
4) Blue Jays
The Yankees beefed up their pitching in the offseason adding Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, and a surprising unretirement of Andy Pettitte. The Rays have even better pitching than the Yankees, but a weaker offense. They have the prospects to make a move to improve their club midseason though. The Red Sox faded down the stretch last year, and after a beer and chicken controversy blew up their club. Bobby Valentine takes over as manager from Terry Francona and Theo Epstein went to the Cubs. The Blue Jays have got to be the team thats most excited about a second wild card. They have an improving young team but are in a beast of a division. The Orioles will likely be in the cellar again this year.
5) White Sox
I'd be shocked to see any team but the Tigers win this division. The Tigers might be the only team to finish over .500 in this mediocre division. The Indians put on a surprise run for the first half of the year, but the Tigers overtook them in the second half and ran away with the division. The Royals have alot of good young players coming up, and they may break the .500 barrier if things go right. The Twins have too many holes to contend and the White Sox are in rebuilding mode with first year manager Robin Ventura.
The Rangers are aiming to be the first team to lose two World Series in a row to make a third since the 1923 Yankees. The Yankees won the 23 World Series after losing two in a row. They added Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish but lost CJ Wilson to the rival Angels. The Angels also signed 3 time NL MVP Albert Pujols in the offseason. It looks like it will be a race between these two clubs. The Mariners and Athletics both have very weak offenses. The A's also traded Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, and a couple of relievers so their pitching won't be as good this year.
Wild Card Play In Game
Reds over Braves
Rays over Angels
Cardinals over Giants 3-1
Phillies over Reds 3-2
Rays over Yankees 3-1
Rangers over Tigers 3-2
Cardinals over Phillies 4-3
Rays over Rangers 4-2
Rays over Cardinals 4-2
Being a Cardinals fan its tough to pick against them, but only two teams in the last 30 years have repeated as champion. Those two teams are the 92-93 Blue Jays and the 98-00 Yankees. Still, I think the Cardinals are out to prove they can win without Pujols and will make a strong push for another championship. The Rays have all kinds of great young pitching and I think they will go on a run this October. David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, and Matt Moore is a pretty formidable playoff rotation. They also have Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Alex Cobb as rotation candidates giving them the most pitching depth in the league.
NL MVP AL MVP
1) Joey Votto, Cin Robinson Cano, NYY
2) Troy Tulowitzki, Col Evan Longoria, TB
3) Justin Upton, Arz Miguel Cabrera, Det
4) Matt Holliday, StL Albert Pujols, LAA
5) Giancarlo Stanton, Fla Adrian Gonzalez, Bos
6) Brandon Phillips, Cin Jose Bautista, Tor
7) Matt Kemp, LAD Justin Verlander, Det
8) Cole Hamels, Phi Josh Hamilton, Tex
9) Pablo Sandoval, SF Prince Fielder, Det
10) Tim Lincecum, SF Adrian Beltre, Tex
NL CYA AL CYA
1) Cole Hamels, Phi Justin Verlader, Det
2) Tim Lincecum, SF David Price, TB
3) Clayton Kershaw, LAD Jered Weaver, LAA
4) Yovani Gallardo, Mil Felix Hernandez, Sea
5) Roy Halladay, Phi CC Sabathia, NYY
NL ROY AL ROY
1) Yonder Alonso, SD Matt Moore, TB
2) Drew Pomeranz, Col Yu Darvish, Tex
3) Devin Mesoraco, Cin Jesus Montero, Sea