Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 MLB Standings Predictions

AL East

Toronto Blue Jays: 91-71
New York Yankees: 85-77
Tampa Bay Rays: 84-78
Boston Red Sox: 80-82
Baltimore Orioles: 76-86

The AL East will be the most competitive and hardest division to predict. The Toronto Blue Jays made the most noise this off-season bringing in Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera who will hit 1 & 2 in the lineup and brought in NL Cy Young winner RA Dickey as well as Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to solidify their pitching rotation which already has power pitcher Brandon Morrow.   Toronto will have a healthy Jose Bautista this year and he will provide a great deal of power to go along with Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia, and Colby Rasmus. So from top to bottom the Blue Jays will have a good mix of power and speed which will make it tough for any pitchers to shut them down.

If the Yankees weren't hit with the injury bug, then I would have to pick them as the favorite for the AL East.  However losing Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to start the year and they all could miss a big chunk of the season is just too much to lose. The rotation will be solid with CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and with Mariano Rivera back he should continue to close out games. With the offense they have to start the year, they will really struggle to score runs as that 3-run home run will not be there to get them back into games anymore. They'll have to play small ball and that's not something the team is used to doing.

David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Roberto Hernandez, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb is as solid as a starting rotation gets and we all know the Rays bullpen is dominant with Fernando Rodney closing out the 9th so the Rays will competitive in 2013.  However looking at their projected lineup, I just do not see how they will score enough runs to compete with the powerhouse teams on the AL.

The Orioles and Red Sox in my opinion have decent starting pitching but their lacking depth and quality in their bullpens. In these AL East match ups if you don't have a deep bullpen then you'll get burned in the late innings and they just don't match up well with the Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays this year.

AL Central

Detroit Tigers: 93-69
Chicago White Sox: 83-79
Cleveland Indians: 82-80
Kansas City Royals: 77-85
Minnesota Twins: 64-98

The Detroit Tigers probably have the least amount of competetion to deal with in thier division. I believe the White Sox are the second best team in the AL Central and they will barely finish above .500. The Tigers who made it to the World Series last year are of course led by Justin Verlander in their pitching staff and their stacked lineup with Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. They should have no problem running away with this division.

In Chicago, the White Sox have a well balanced offense with speed, contact and power. Alejandro De Aza, Jeff Keppinger, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Dayan Viciedo, and Alexei Ramirez make for a very good 1-7 but it's their pitching that will give them problems. Aside from Chris Sale every starter is a huge question mark. Jake Peavy is great when healthy, but will he be able to stay healthy in 2013? Then finishing out the rotation are Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod. Not sure what they'll get out of them if anything so it should be interested to see how long the organization sticks with them if they struggle early.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: 92-70
Texas Rangers: 88-74
Oakland Athletics: 83-79
Seattle Mariners 74-88
Houston Astros: 63-99

A full season of Mike Trout alone makes the Angels the favorite to win the AL West. Now add Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mark Trumbo and you now have one of the most dynamic lineups in all of baseball. The Angels are solid 1-5 in their rotation with Jered Weaver, C.J Wilson, Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson. Ernesto Frieri will close out games for LA until Ryan Madson comes back and once he does this bullpen gets even better than it already is. The Angels will be a scary team in 2013.

Luckily the Rangers play in a weak division as they get to beat up on the Astros, Mariners and I believe they will beat up on the Athletics as well. Losing Josh Hamilton, and Mike Napoli will be a huge blow to their lineup but they'll still have plenty of power with Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz. They should get decent pitching, led by Yu Darvish but their bullpen is suspect with Joe Nathan being the only real household name.

NL East

Washington Nationals: 91-71
Philadelphia Phillies: 86-76
Atlanta Braves: 84-78
New York Mets: 76-86
Miami Marlins: 67-95

When you have arguably the best young hitter Bryce Harper and pitcher Stephen Strasburg in the game, it's almost hard to fail. Put them on a team with Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Laroche, Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren, and Rafael Soriano then your going to win your division. This team will shut opposing lineups down with their starting pitching and their bullpen is deep and will close out games effectively. The starters will get plenty of run support for a explosive offense and there no longer is a innings limit for Strasburg.

Too many people are doubting the Phillies this year and they'll quickly realize why they dominated the NL East for so long. Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back and healthy and they'll be the catalyst of this offense. Jimmy Rollins is an ideal leadoff hitter and the addition of Michael Young was huge. Playing in their little ballpark the Phillies will hit plenty of home runs and Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee will be the best trio of starting pitchers this year.  The Phillies will grab a wild card spot and threaten the rest of the NL.

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds: 94-68
St. Louis Cardinals: 85-77
Milwaukee Brewers: 82-82
Pittsburgh Pirates: 77-87
Chicago Cubs: 71-91

The Cincinnati Reds are the most complete team in the MLB. They have an impossible lineup to pitch against as they have a healthy lefty-righty mix starting from the top with Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, and Todd Fraizer. There will be no scoring droughts for the Reds this year. They have the most complete rotation in the MLB with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake and their bullpen is as solid as it gets with Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman closing out the late innings.  The Reds should finish the 2013 regular season with the best record in the MLB.

If the Cardinals want to get back to the postseason in 2013 then they'll need to stay healthy. They are not off to a good start as they'll begin the year with third basemen David Freese, and closer Jason Motte on the DL. Not to mention they will be without Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal for the entire season. However I love the top of the Cardinals lineup with Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina. If they all can stay healthy then the Cards will be a tough team to pitch against. Their pitching is led by Adam Wainwright as Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook, and Shelby Miller all follow and should be solid enough for the Cards to win around 85 games this year. Mitchell Boggs will take over as the 9th inning man until Jason Motte is healthy enough to come back as the team's closer.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: 89-73
San Francisco Giants: 87-75
Arizona Diamondbacks: 84-78
Colorado Rockies: 74-88
San Diego Padres: 70-92

The new owners of the Dodgers are serious about going after a World Series and they are the modern day New York Yankees. Spending a ton of money, trying to buy themselves a trip to the World Series. When you have Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Andre Ethier, you'll never be struggling to score runs. When 40% of your starts are from Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke your going to get very good pitching. All of that is a reciepe for success and I expect the Dodgers to win the NL West this year.

Although the Dodgers are very very very good on paper, I expect the Giants to compete for that NL West title. The pitching is always great with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong and their bullpen is nearly untouchable as Sergio Romo will take over the closer duties. The Giants should have no problem giving their pitchers run support with Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence being one of the best 3-4-5's in the league. San Francisco might fall a little short of the NL West title but believe me they'll be playing postseason baseball.
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