Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Baseball Predictions

It has been a while since I have done a blog entry here but of course I can't go not writing forever especially with baseball season just around the corner. I am looking forward to the 2012 season as it has definitely been a busy offseason for many teams. Commissioner Bud Selig also moved forward with his plan to add a second Wild Card team in 2012. The first place Wild Card leader will face the second place Wild Card leader in each league and will have a 1 game do-or-die playoff game. The team that wins then proceeds as the Wild Card winner. While I am not too crazy about the extra wild card team, it does add an extra game to the season and I can't complain about more baseball. Here are my predictions for the 2012 Major League Baseball Season (* - denotes Wild-Card team):
1. Texas Rangers (92-70)
2. Los Angeles Angels* (90-72)
3. Seattle Mariners (77-85)
4. Oakland A's (75-87)

 The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim spent a lot of money during the offseason to bring in First Baseman, Albert Pujols (on left) and Starting Pitcher,
CJ Wilson. Pujols will likely continue hitting the same way he did when he was with St. Louis, but I don't think CJ Wilson will have as great a year as people expect. The Rangers are the defending AL West champs and are still the team to beat and still have a lineup just as good if not better than the Angels. The Rangers added on Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish to help ease the pain of losing CJ Wilson. While the Rangers and Angels will be battling it out for first place, Oakland and Seattle will battle it out for last place. Even though I'm an A's fan, I'm giving Seattle the edge for third place. Both Seattle and Oakland have second basemen who could make the All-Star team this year in Dustin Ackley and Jemile Weeks respectively.

1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
2. Minnesota Twins (84-78)
3. Kansas City Royals (82-80)
4. Cleveland Indians (76-86)
5. Chicago White Sox (72-90)

The Detroit Tigers are the team to beat in the AL Central this year as their rotation with Justin Verlander leading the way looks to be in even better shape with the additional offense they acquired in the offseason in the form of Prince Fielder. With Fielder hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, runs should be scored plenty. The only question mark for Detroit is their fielding as Miguel Cabrera moves to third base, where he hasn't played since 2008. The Minnesota Twins season will rely strongly on the bats of the M&M boys again, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Will Morneau finally be able to recover from his concussion suffered in 2010 and regain his form? Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals will find more reasons to smile in 2012 but lack enough quality pitching to make the playoffs. The trade for Starting Pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez. didn't work out as planned for the Cleveland Indians in 2011 and they gave up a lot to acquire him. The Indians will be lucky if star Grady Sizemore can recover from injuries and play in more than 100 games. The Chicago White Sox appeared to be waving the white towel during the offseason. They enter 2012 with a manager who has never managed at any level in former White Sox 3rd baseman, Robin Ventura. It'll be interesting to see if Adam Dunn can rebound from his horrific 2011 campaign.


1. New York Yankees (96-66)
2. Tampa Bay Rays* (92-70)
3. Toronto Blue Jays (85-77)
4. Boston Red Sox (83-79)
5. Baltimore Orioles (73-89)

 I hate seeing the New York Yankees win all the time but expect to see them winning the division yet again in 2012. The Yankees have definitely added depth to their starting pitching staff with the addition of Hiroki Kuroda the trade to acquire Michael Pineda. The Tampa Bay Rays welcomed back power hitting first baseman, Carlos Pena, after he spent last season with the Chicago Cubs. Starting Pitcher, Matt Moore, looked calm and unbeatable while finishing the end of 2011 season with the Rays and many predict he will be Rookie of Year in 2012. Jose Bautista's name will still be near the top of the list of home run leaders but even with an extra Wild-Card spot, the Toronto Blue Jays don't quite make the playoffs. Boston went through a lot of changes over the offseason. They no longer have their GM, Theo Epstein, who left for the Chicago Cubs. Also gone is their manager, Terry Francona, who was replaced by Bobby Valentine. Andrew Bailey is the Red Sox new closer who will likely become a bigger name now that he is out of Oakland and on the East Coast. Baltimore has a new GM as well in Dan Duquette but still have plenty room for improvement. Their starting pitching is very young and needs starting pitcher Brian Matusz to rebound from a horrendous 2011 to have any chance at competing.

1. Arizona Diamondbacks (89-73)
2. San Francisco Giants (85-77)
3. Colorado Rockies (81-81)
4. San Diego Padres (74-87)
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (72-89)

The San Francisco Giants half a strong pitching rotation without a doubt but needed to add offense to their lineup to help their stud pitchers. The Giants added Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in trades. They also have Buster Posey returning after being injured most of last season. Will these additions be enough to overtake power hitting Justin Upton and the Arizona Diamondbacks and burst their bubble? Colorado is relying on Rafael Betancourt to be their new closer which means their games may require more than a day to finish. Betancourt takes more time in between pitches than any pitcher in baseball. Todd Helton is still manning first base for the Rockies but how much does he have left in the tank? San Diego will squeak into fourth place and their new closer, Huston Street, should exceed in the pitcher friendly ballpark. The Los Angeles Dodgers' success will depend highly on the support that James Loney and Andre Ethier can provide to Matt Kemp. Coming off a CY Young award in 2011, Clayton Kershaw
should have another good season but the rotation that follows him is questionable. They'll need Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly to have good years too.


1. St. Louis Cardinals (91-71)
2. Cincinnatti Reds* (89-73)
3. Milwaukee Brewers (84-78)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (80-82)
5. Chicago Cubs (76-86)
6. Houston Astros (62-100)

The St. Louis Cardinals may have lost their power hitting first baseman but they still have a roster full of talent. The Cardinals will need Lance Berkman to pick up where he left off last season as he now becomes their first baseman. Adam Wainwright also returns to the St. Louis rotation which should be a huge dividend for the Cardinals to repeat as Division champs. The Reds acquired starting pitcher, Mat Latos, from the San Diego Padres in a trade. Latos could wind up struggling though as he goes from pitcher-friendly Petco Park to hitter friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnatti. Aramis Ramirez was a great pickup for the Milwaukee Brewers to add at third base but he is not nearly the same threat as Prince Fielder. The Pittsburgh Pirates will likely be floating around the .500 mark most of the season as they look to finish over .500 for first time since 1992. The Pirates made a great move by extending center fielder Andrew McCutchen. New GM Theo Epstein still has a long way to go to make the Cubs winners the same way he made the Boston Red Sox winners. It will be interesting to see if Alfonso Soriano ends up staying in the windy city for the entire season. It'll be a surprise if the Houston Astros don't finish in last place. The Astros biggest threat remains at first base in Carlos Lee.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (96-66)
2. Washington Nationals* (89-73)
 3. Miami Marlins (88-74)
4. Atlanta Braves (84-78)
5. New York Mets

 It would be no surprise to see the Phillies repeat as NL East Champs as they should be able to overcome not having the injured Ryan Howard in their lineup for the first month or two. I see a close battle for second place this year. The Marlins will fall to the pressure much like Atlanta did last year and the Nationals will take second place behind the pitching strengths of Stephen Stasburg and offseason trade acquisition Gio Gonzalez. Phenom Bryce Harper will also likely get his turn in the Majors this year for the Nationals. The Marlins need Josh Johnson to be healthy or the Marlins will be left fishing for other answers. Giancarlo Stanton may not want to be called "Mike" anymore but that shouldn't affect his hitting. The Braves will be without pitcher Tim Hudson until May 1st and third baseman Chipper Jones is not the intimidating factor that he used to be. The Mets outlook isn't bleak but if Johan Santana makes it through the entire season healthy then he will likely be comeback player of the year. AWARD WINNERS - American League - MVP - Robinson Cano, New York Yankees CY YOUNG - David Price, Tampa Bay Rays ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays National League - MVP - Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks CY YOUNG - Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - Drew Pomeranz, Colorado Rockies COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Johan Santana, New York Mets MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: Reds vs. Tigers - Reds win in 6 games.