Predictions for 2013

Tigers Royals Baseball

It’s that time of year where I make predictions. I will start in the AL.

AL East
1. Tampa Bay. I think the Rays win the East. The sexy pick is to take the Blue Jays, because of all that they added. I believe you can buy players, but you can’t buy a team. For example, two of the past three World Series were won by the Giants, a team that — on paper — shouldn’t have won.
2. Toronto/Boston. A dogfight between the Jays and Red Sox. John Farrell coming back will help the Sox staff and take the attention off the manager, putting it back on the players and what they do on the field. Way fewer distractions.
4. Baltimore. It will be hard for them to repeat their record in one-run and extra-inning games this year.
5. New York. Yes, I’m picking the Yankees. This team is so beat up — no A-Rod, no Teixeira, no Granderson, and no Jeter to start the season. They are simply too hurt to compete in this division this year. Without all the injuries, they would be right at the top.

AL Central
1. Detroit. The Tigers should run away with this division. Getting Victor Martinez back to hit behind Fielder will only help Prince do more damage!
2. Kansas City. The additions of Shields, Davis, and Santana to the Royals’ rotation will take pressure off a young lineup and allow it to realize it can win games while scoring four runs. KC also has one of the best bullpens in the game.
3. Cleveland. The Indians have added some offense with Swisher and Bourn, but their rotation is a little light.
4. Chicago. This team has a couple of very good starters in Peavy and Sale. I don’t know if they have enough offense .
5. Minnesota. It is going to be a long year for the Twins. They have a pretty solid lineup. Mauer and Morneau are back and Willingham made Target Field look small last season with 36 home runs and 110 RBI, but when your Opening Day starter is Vance Worley, that tells you all you need to know about your rotation.

AL West
1. Los Angeles. The Angels will win this division. By adding Hamilton to hit between Pujols and Trumbo and a leadoff guy in Trout, they will score a ton of runs.
2. Texas. The Rangers lost Hamilton, Young, and Napoli, but I think they have enough pitching and offense to stay close.
3. Seattle. The Mariners added some pop to their lineup by bringing Mike Morse back, and made some other moves that have made them a better team.
4. Oakland. This team shocked everyone last year when they won the West. They reminded me of our ’93 Phillies team, where they had some guys have career years and never quit. But it is hard to get those players to repeat those career years.
5. Houston. The Astros are in a complete tear-down-and-rebuild process.

NL East
1. Washington. The Nats are the best and most balanced team maybe in all of baseball. They have the top rotation, a deep bullpen, and very strong lineup.
2. Atlanta/Philadelphia. The Braves and Phillies will battle for this spot. I’m not very high on the Braves’ starters, and the Phillies have issues at the corner outfield spots.
4. New York. The Mets are trying to build a team that can compete and have some standout guys. Matt Harvey is one of the best young right-handed starters in the league and David Wright will do his thing. But I don’t think they have enough to compete with the top three teams.
5. Miami. The Marlins are going to have to fight and claw to not lose 100 games this year. They are young, and Giancarlo Stanton wouldn’t see a pitch he could reach if I were pitching to him. He is the strongest player with the most power in the game today.

NL Central
1. Cincinnati. The Reds should win this division going away. The decision to keep Chapman as the closer was a no-brainier for me.
2. St. Louis. This team has offense and some good young arms, with a staff ace in Wainwright. But there is a learning curve with young starters. These guys will have to adjust on the fly at the big league level.
3. Milwaukee. The Brewers have a potent lineup , but Corey Hart is on the DL to start the year. Adding Kyle Lohse will help, and John Axford will get back to where he was in 2011, closing games.
4. Pittsburgh. The Pirates will finish fourth, and I don’t see them being above .500 again this year. They traded away a closer in Joel Hanrahan who made the games they should win stand up.
5. Chicago. The Cubs are rebuilding and it will take Theo a couple more years to get this club competitive.

NL West
1. San Francisco. ‘Cause they have a great team!
2. Los Angeles. The Dodgers spent a ton of money. But again, you can’t buy a team. Hanley’s injury will hurt this team as far as getting off to a fast start.
3. Arizona. The D-backs have some solid starters and a good bullpen. Can the lineup score enough runs to take pressure off the rotation? That is the big question.
4. San Diego. This Padres team has gotten better but I don’t think can compete with the dodgers or giants.
5. Colorado. Starting pitching wins. And the Rockies just don’t have enough of it to get them out of the cellar.

AL MVP: Prince Fielder
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL MVP: Joey Votto
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg
World Series: Tigers vs. Nats; Tigers win in six

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