2013 NL Central Predictions

Here are my predictions for the National League Central Division.

  1. Cincinnati Reds – I will not elaborate too much with the Reds because naturally, I will discuss them quite a bit on this blog.  I will mention their positives though.  They still have a very good pitching staff after one of the best seasons that they have had in a long time.  They also have the best bullpen in the Majors even with the loss of Chapman to the starting rotation.  Their lineup (while possibly a little bit left handed heavy) is still a big power house lineup.  The five hitters that are going to be key to the Reds this year are Choo, Phillips, Votto, Bruce, and Ludwick.  They look to repeat as division champions.
  2. St. Louis Cardinals – They seem to always be in the hunt for this division.  They were very strong last year coming off of their 2011 World Series Championship.  I think that they will be relatively the same as last year however.  They have not made any real additions to their team.  They added Randy Choate to their bullpen, but they lost Kyle Lohse.  I know that I keep hearing that Shelby Miller will probably be in the mix for the 5th spot but he won’t be able to make up for what Kyle Lohse did for them.  They still have a tremendous offense lead by Holliday and Molina in the majors.  I think that they will give the Reds a run for their money in the division but they just don’t have what it takes to surpass them.
  3. Milwaukee Brewers – When you have Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez back to back, you know that you have an offensive juggernaut.  Their team is very good offensively and I think that their defense is fairly good as well with Rickie Weeks and Jean Segura up the middle.  I think that there is only one flaw and it is unfortunately very big.  Their big problem is their pitching.  They have one good starting pitcher in Yovani Gallardo and I think that Fiers will come into his own soon.  But they lost Greinke and Marcum in the rotation and their bullpen was terrible last year.  It is important that John Axford gets back into his 2011 form if they are going to win in this division.  Without a closer, this team will not get the same number of wins.
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – When will their losing season streak come to an end.  The answer: not this year.  Unfortunately, they are not going to win this year and the main reason is just that they don’t have enough of everything.  They have a little bit of hitting, a little bit of pitching, and a little bit of prospects.  Their offense has one great player, two good players, and then it just drops right off the table.  Andrew McCutchen is the great player and then Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones are good players.  That is all of their offense though.  I am not hopping on board the Starling Marte train just yet and have never thought that Russel Martin is the offensive player that people think he is.  Their pitching is alright with Burnett coming back into form and with Wandy Rodriguez as the number two guy.  Other than that, they don’t have much depth.  They let Hanrahan go and that is really going to hurt them.  They are just going to have to wait for their losing season streak to end.
  5. Chicago Cubs – They made their best offseason move in a long time in the offseason between 2011 and 2012.  They got Theo Epstein.  He is really going to help them to rebuild a contender.  They have started to make some good moves but the great move is still waiting to happen.  I truly believe that they need to trade off Alfonso Soriano and they will get a very good package in return for him.  They have made a smart move in choosing to build a team around Starlin Castro who will eventually mature enough to be a great player.  Their pitching and hitting both need a lot of help but they have some prospects coming up soon that really could help them.

2013 NL East Predictions

Here are my predictions for the NL East.

  1. Washington Nationals – This is probably the toughest decision that I am going to make on this list.  Right now the Nationals just seem like they are in the better position.  With probably one of the best rotations in baseball and a very good bullpen, they seem to be in very good shape with regards to pitching.  If there is any question, I say that  it is in their offense and even that is not too much.  Adam LaRoche is 32 going into the season and age could begin to catch up to him.  Werth also might struggle a bit as he has not had a good season yet with Washington.  Other than that, there are really no concerns in their lineup.  Harper is going to have an MVP season, Span is going to be great, Zimmerman will have a good season, and I think that Desmond is going to have another great season.  The Nationals are in a position to really succeed this year and in years to come.
  2. Atlanta Braves – You could pick them to win the division and I wouldn’t argue you at all.  They give a great competition with the Nationals for best pitching staff in baseball.  The best part of the Braves pitching staff is in their bullpen while I think that the best part of the Nationals pitching staff is in their rotation.  Medlen, Beachy, and Hudson are going to be great again with Medlen probably winning the NL Cy Young.  You also cannot argue against the Braves offense, especially in the outfield.  Heyward is a terrific player and both of the Uptons have the potential to be 30-30 players.  They are really going to give the Nats a run for their money.
  3. Philadelphia Phillies – I don’t really know why, but the Phillies are no longer in the running for first place in their team.  They have three Cy Young potential pitchers in their rotation, two of which already have won Cy Youngs.  They even have one of the best closers in baseball.  The biggest problem for them right now has nothing at all to do with pitching.  Their problem is age.  Chase Utley is going to be 34 and believe it or not but Howard is going to be 32.  Howard isn’t in as bad a shape as Utley, but he still is now going on the wrong end of his prime.  Not only that, but now both of them are very injury prone.  They also will be without their catcher for the first month which will really hurt them.
  4. New York Mets – The Mets may not be in first place in this season, but they still made all the right moves in the offseason.  They decided to take youth over the Cy-Young.  The Mets had been debating whether or not to lock up R.A. Dickey or David Wright long term and then trade the other and they made the right move in my opinion.  No matter what, R.A. Dickey’s value will never by higher than it was right after he one the Cy Young.  David Wright is still in his prime and is a good player to build a team around.  They have probably one of the best prospect system in all of baseball with Wheeler, D’Arnaud, and Syndergaard.  They have the potential to be in contention for another title, its just not this year.
  5. Miami Marlins – In all my years, I have never seen a team stock up on all the best free agents in one offseason and then trade them all away in the next.  That is what the Marlins did.  They signed Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buerhle, and were fortunate enough to have an ace come back to them.  One miserable season and the next thing you know, everyone is gone.  Even the manager is gone.  If I was a fan of this team, I might start to think twice about their commitment to winning.  I am expecting them to get a very small attendance most likely less than 1 million in attendance.

2013 AL West Predictions

Now, I am giving my predictions for the AL West.

  1. Oakland Athletics – I have no clue why people are just writing off the Oakland Athletics.  Need I remind anyone that they did in fact win the AL West last season.  It was not the Texas Rangers, it was not the Los Angeles Angels, and it was not the Seattle Mariners (that is to say that anyone thought they would be successful anyway).  No, it was the Oakland Athletics.  They have an elite pitching staff of young arms with Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, Bartolo Colon, Dan Strailly, and many prospects to choose from and despite losing Brandon McCarthy still have one of the best rotations in the AL.  They also have a potent lineup led by Yoenis Cespedes (future 30-30 guy), Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, a brand new .300 hitting shortstop from Japan, and just enough other hitters to really make their lineup a threat.  Please, don’t write off Oakland.  They are still looking very strong going into this season.
  2. Los Angeles Angels – Anything new?  For the second consecutive offseason, the Angels made a big bang.  This time, it was by signing Josh Hamilton.  I think that this will help them but not in the way that a lot of people think.  I doubt that Hamilton will help their lineup as much as a lot of people think, but what it does is it takes out the only left-handed power bat in the Rangers lineup.  Their lineup is going to be one of the best in the AL of which I have no doubt.  The only thing that kept me from putting that at number 1 was their pitching staff.  Jered Weaver is terrific, C.J. Wilson is decent (not worth the money that they wasted on him but decent none the less), Jason Vargas who will eat up innings, and that’s it.  Tommy Hanson was a trade of mediocre pitcher for mediocre pitcher.  They did not lose anything by giving up Jordan Walden and they did not gain anything by acquiring Tommy Hanson.  Blanton won’t walk anyone and he will eat up innings.  That may sound like a plus, but then you look at everything else about him, and you find that he is fairly awful.  My point is, the Angels will beat the Rangers this year but miss the playoffs again.
  3. Texas Rangers – I am not going to expect much from the Rangers to be honest.  Their rotation is mediocre at best.  Yu Darvish turned out to be good, Derek Holland struggled, Matt Harrison proved to be decent, and Neftali Feliz proved why you don’t turn a closer into a starter.  They are losing two big power bats in their lineup in Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli.  What’s worse is that now they are without a power lefty and their rivals (the Angels) got him.  I really cannot see any possible way for the Rangers to be higher than third place in their division.
  4. Seattle Mariners – They are improving.  Pretty soon, the Mariners are going to be a great team.  They may not know it now, but they should be sending thank you cards by the dozen to Justin Upton for negating that trade.  They would have given up too much talent.  A team has to build around something and it seems that they are going to build around their pitching.  With Felix Hernandez leading the pack, Taijuan Walker coming up soon, and a solid bullpen, they look to be a strong team in the future.  If there is any concern, it is in their offense which was NOT improved by Raul Ibanez and was slightly improved by Kendrys Morales.  Age will finally catch up to Raul Ibanez this season and the Mariners will see why they should not have signed a 40 year old and expect him to produce like he did last season.
  5. Houston Astros – I would point out the positives on the Astros team, but it would be a very short list.   A non-existant list.  They have absolutely nothing to convince me of a turn-around anytime soon.  They have two decent players in Lucas Harrell and Jose Altuve but two players don’t make a team.  They have made fairly poor draft choices and have been relatively unlucky with what they have gotten back in their big time trades (except I think Singleton has a chance to be good).  I think that the next time that we see them in any place higher than last in any division will be in 2015.  I am predicting that in 2015, they will be fourth. . . . . . maybe.

2013 AL Central Predictions

Now, I am going to give my predictions for the AL Central in 2013.

  1. Detroit Tigers – It is going to be very difficult for any team to de-throne the Detroit Tigers.  As if they weren’t good enough going into 2012, they look to blow away any team that takes the field against them.  Everyone is talking about how much the Angels have improved by adding Josh Hamilton and how now they are going to win it all.  The Tigers have made three additions to their team that is major.  They signed Torii Hunter, are getting back Victor Martinez, and are also getting Bruce Rondon as their closer.  Just by getting rid of Valverde they have made their team better.  Let’s also not forget that they still have the best rotation in the AL with Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Fister, and Smyly.  If they made it to the World Series last year, expect them to win it all this year.
  2. Kansas City Royals – I am going out on a limb and saying that the Kansas City Royals are going to make the big leap into second place in their division during this season.  They only had one weak spot in their entire team and they seem to have fixed it, for the most part.  They have had for the past couple of seasons one of the best offenses in the American League but they have also had one of the worst pitching staffs in the game.  A team can score 10 runs but if their pitching gives up 11, then you are not going to win.  Their pitching staff is improved now with the acquisition of James Shields, Ervin Santana, and having the full season of Jeremy Guthrie.  I will not go so far as to say that they have a good rotation, but they have an average rotation to go along with a tremendous offense.
  3. Chicago White Sox – I can’t believe that I am actually going to say that a team as good as the White Sox is going to come in third in their division, but I feel that I have to.  They have a very good rotation with Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana, and most likely John Danks.  Their offense is decent enough with big bats such as Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and Dayan Viciedo.  I am not expecting Alex Rios to produce quite as much as he did last year and I think that even Konerko’s numbers will dip a bit.  The loss of Pierzynski hurt them quite a bit and the fact that they did not replace him with anyone is a sure fire sign that their offense will be much weaker than it was last season.  My only other concern is their bullpen.  Their rotation can be as good as it gets but if the bullpen blows the game in the ninth, the game is a lost cause.
  4. Cleveland Indians – The Indians are going to put together a very good season.  Just not this upcoming season.  They have a lot of talent in their minor leauges and they have some players that really are just waiting to break out.  If Trevor Bauer can finally learn that sometimes you don’t have to have the most unique warmups to be successful, then he may find success.  My concern with Bauer is that with that insane warmup routine, he is going to hurt himself.  There is also a ton of upside with Drew Stubbs.  They may have lost a tremendous bat in Choo, but Stubbs could be even better than Choo.  The speed and defense is there, Stubbs just needs to cut down on the strikeouts.  Their offense is not the concern for the Indians however.  The concern is the rotation.  They do not have  a real ace just yet.  If Jimenez can figure out how to pitch to the AL and if Masterson can have a breakout season, then their rotation will be good enough for them to win.  Their bullpen is already the best bullpen in their division and it looks to stay that way for quite a while.
  5. Minnesota Twins – What happened?  That is a question that Minnesota Twins fans have been asking themselves from 2011 to now.  They were on top of their division in 2010 and 2009 and then just dropped off the table.  Their offense is good enough right now to win, its just that same problem that has haunted two other teams in this division.  Starting pitching.  Scott Diamond is a terrific pitcher but without anyone else to pitch behind him, they are going to run into some trouble.  With Willingham, Mauer, Morneau, and Trevor Plouffe, they look to have a strong offense.  But without that starting pitching, they are going no where in this division.

2013 AL East Predictions

To begin, I just wanted to say that I am sorry for not posting in a while.  It has been a very long time since I have posted but recently I have felt like blogging again.

In today’s post, I am going to give my predictions for the 2013 MLB season and a brief description of each teams things that will defines why they are in the position that I put them in.  I am starting today with the AL East and will move on to do the AL Central, the AL West, and then proceed to the NL.

AL East:

  1. Tampa Bay Rays – A terrific pitching staff goes a long way.  Even with the loss of James Shields and Wade Davis, they got back a very good bundle of prospects.  Expect Chris Archer to make the rotation out of Spring Training and Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery to compete for that fifth spot.  I am also expecting Wil Myers to make a Bryce Harper/Mike Trout appearance coming in late in April and contributing in a big way.
  2. Toronto Blue Jays –  The only thing that prevented me from putting them in first was the fact that I have never seen them play with all of the new players.  Jose Reyes and Rajai Davis will tear up the bases while Bautista and Encarnacion will put up more ridiculous power numbers.  Combine their unbelieveable offense with their new found pitching staff, I expect them to make a run for the AL East Title.
  3. Baltimore Orioles – I can’t give enough credit to Buck Showalter for turning that team into contenders.  He did a tremendous job with a last place team and got them to play like winners.  Still, I say with no pitching staff comes no postseason and that is exactly the issue with the Orioles.  Unless they do end up signing Kyle Lohse, they have a pitching staff consisting of Wei-Yin Chen and that does not produce a winner.
  4. New York Yankees – Some say that with youth, you have inconsistency.  Well, I say that with age you have injury and that is exactly what is going on in the Bronx.  Their ace is 33 years old and is unfortunately at the wrong end of the prime of his career, their best right handed hitter is 39 and is coming off of an ankle injury, they chose to sign a 42 year old closer instead of a 33 year old closer, and not to mention they have a virtually entire left handed hitting lineup.  If they knock around the starter, all the opposing manager has to do is bring in a lefty and the runs will cease.
  5. Boston Red Sox – Removing Bobby V. was a start and signing a couple of veterans was nice, but it is not bring more than 75 wins into Boston.  I think that they are heading in the right track, but they still have a year or two of rebuilding before you can expect them to win.  My biggest issue with them is their pitching.  When their team leader in ERA has an ERA of 4.56, you know there is a serious issue.  If Bucholz and Lester can begin to comeback and be ready for a good season, then they may begin the trek back to the top of the deadly AL East.

Spring Training Right Around the Corner

It is that time of year again.  The time when the bags get packed and all 30 teams gather up in their own buses on their way to Arizona or Florida to begin training for the season.  This is the thing that any big baseball fan should be looking forward to.  I know I am.  This I believe will be one of the most intriguing seasons in a while.  In order for me to fully describe how next year will be, I will give a quick review of what happened last season.

Obviously, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year.  That was one of the big upsets of last year seeing as how the World Series was planned out to be Philadelphia against Boston with Philadelphia coming out victorious.  The reason behind the logic of Philadelphia was the fact that they had 4 pitchers that had been aces of a team before and had all come very close to, if not winning, a Cy Young award.  The logic behind Boston is something that I am still trying to figure out.  They did not make any big offseason moves between 2010 and 2011.  Maybe the reason was that Dice-K would be out for the season and that would help them.  Let’s face it, he is not anything like what he was hyped out to be.  The other thing that was expected was that the Reds would give Milwaukee the biggest run for their money but that turned out to be false.  It turned out that it was St. Louis.  I bet no one else predicted that Atlanta would not win the Wild Card either.  I think that what made last year so special was the fact that on two very important 162nd games of the year turned out to be so critical for the postseason.

Next year will be very important because of the offseason moves.  Instead of only one big free agent like Cliff Lee of last year, there were many this year.  Unquestionably the biggest signing will be the Angels signing both Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson on the same day.  This shows that they are ready to respond to Texas’s new found winning team.  The biggest trade of this offseason will be debated and will only be decided by how the season goes.  Two big trades were made.  One, Mat Latos for all of those prospects of the Cincinnati Reds was a huge move.  Another was that of Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals for a few prospects.  Both moves seem to be good to have two good #2 starters for each team.  For the Reds, Cueto has obviously stepped up to claim the role of Ace.  For the Nationals, a healthy Stephen Strasburg is the ace of the National League.  I would say the Majors but no one can compare to Justin Verlander.  That is another interesting thing about next year.  Now that Verlander has one MVP, lets see how he comes back.  He will not repeat, that is about assured.  I’m not saying that he won’t ever, but he won’t next year.  Seasons like that are too hard to repeat.  I think that one thing that a lot of people are thinking is that Cincinnati will claim the NL Central this year.  I am not just saying that because I am a Reds fan but the odds are highly stacked in their favor.  Walt Jocketty has decided that this year is this year to make a run.  With Pujols leaving St. Louis, weakening their whole lineup; with Fielder leaving to go to Detroit; and Braun waiting to be sentenced to miss 50 games it is unlikely that either of those two teams will be the big contenders.

My 2012 predictions:

AL East: New York Yankees

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Los Angeles Angels

AL Wild Card: Texas Rangers


NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central: Cincinnati reds

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card: Washington Nationals


NLDS: Philadelphia vs. Cincinnati- Cincinnati 3-2

NLDS: Arizona vs. Washington- Washington 3-1

ALDS: New York vs. Detroit- Detroit 3-0

ALDS: Los Angeles vs. Texas- Los Angeles 3-2


NLCS: Cincinnati vs. Washington- Cincinnati 4-2

ALCS: Detroit vs. Los Angeles- Detroit 4-3


WS: Cincinnati vs. Detroit- Cincinnati 4-3

It may look biased towards the Cincinnati Reds but if you look at the odds, it seems very likely that Cincinnati will come out on top.  St. Louis beat Philadelphia last year and Cincinnati beat St. Louis the majority of the games.  That goes the same for Washington, Cincinnati beat them the majority of times and will probably do the same in the postseason.  Against Detroit, I am saying that because Cincinnati does have a lot of depth in their starting rotation now.  If Cueto and Bailey can stay healthy, you may be talking about the second best pitching staff in the Majors.  The problem with Detroit is that they have 2 good starters and 1 phenomenal starter.  Verlander will beat Cincinnati when he pitches against them but Scherzer and Porcello may experience different odds.  And after those 3, what other pitchers does Detroit have to start that is really notable.  None.  With regards to the hitting, I really believe that with the loss of Victor Martinez, Detroit will experience some major difficulty even with the pickup of Fielder.  With Cincinnati, they have Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Cozart, Stubbs, and Rolen.  Those hitters are all very good and will help to protect each other.

The reason that I said that L.A. would beat Texas is because L.A. now has the team to beat.  They have a lineup with the most dangerous hitter in baseball and many other really good bats.  Not only that, but they have a rotation with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and now CJ Wilson who was the ace of the Texas Rangers for awhile.  No matter what people tell me, I am not completely sold on Yu Darvish.  I think that he is good but he will not replace CJ Wilson by any means and is not quite as good as they say that he is.  Texas has lost the All-Star team that they had hoped to have for so long.



Reds finish deal with Ludwick and Francis

Okay.  So now they finally complete that deal with Ludwick.  This will prove to be a very good deal for the Reds.  He is a right handed power bat that will fill the whole in left field that Gomes left.  He will be sharing that with Heisey often but he might occupy the most time.  I am really kind of tired of looking under comments involving Ludwick and seeing people saying that he is not a good hitter, that he lost his power bat, and that his batting average is incredibly low.  The reason for this is because for a long time he played in the biggest ballpark in baseball at San Diego and he has never been a batting average hitter.  But the fact that he spent a while in Petco and only got 13 homers does seem like he might be losing his power because it is not a lot.  I think that he will really enjoy his time in Cincinnati.  In his 2008 season he hit 37 home runs and the Great American Ballpark is significantly smaller than that.  He will provide good protection for Bruce who will be providing protection for Votto.

Now to talk about Jeff Francis.  If he signed this deal with Cincinnati because he believes that he will have time to start, then he will be very disappointed come the start of the season.  He would be lucky to start even one game in the majors until the Reds lose some other pitchers.  The truth is that he is not anywhere near as good as he was when he was in Colorado.  The Reds made a good move signing him to a minor league deal.  He won’t be very effective in the majors.  I think that if he ever pitches in the majors again it will be as a relief pitcher or as a replacement for a pitcher for one start.