Well, I literally haven’t posted since the end of the last season. What has kept me away? For one, posting consistently is one of the struggles of blogging. That’s especially true when you are still establishing any readership. For me in particular, I struggled because I was also trying to get back into school–again, this time to do a PhD program in history. So I choose for months to focus on that–and now that the process is more or less over, I’m going to try to go at it again. And this is always one of the more enjoyable posts to write, so why not start here?
I’m going to try a different format/approach then I’ve used in the past. I’m going to post all my predictions for each division followed by a comment rather than breaking down each team individually and I’ll do the same for the awards. Let’s start with the AL, shall we?
1. Toronto Blue Jays, 92-70
2. Tampa Bay Rays, 90-72
3. New York Yankees, 83-79
4. Boston Red Sox, 78-84
5. Baltimore Orioles, 74-88
The Toronto Blue Jays are possibly the biggest story of the offseason. The made two huge trades that significantly altered the look of their squad, acquiring R.A. Dickey from the Mets and seemingly every major league talent not named Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. What stands out most about those moves is the depth it gives the Blue Jays. A healthy lineup now will include Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, and Melky Cabrera with a rotation of Dickey, Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow, and Mark Buehrle leading. They aren’t without holes, but the AL East is not even the strongest division these days in the AL. The Rays are right there with the Jays and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the East with their rotation and defense. Besides 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price (I didn’t post on this, but I would have rewarded the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, who basically repeated his amazing 2011 season, but Price still had a worthy season), the Rays can call on Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, and Jeff Niemann with prospects like Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi waiting in the wings. I suspect they’ll be hurt, though, by having to start massive line-up holes like James Loney, Luke Scott, and Sean Rodriguez.
If you are like me, you are ready to see both “empires” in the East take a fall. The Yankees are, of course, good for baseball, but a down season isn’t going to cause them to stop bringing in fans and cash for the sport. It will just mean that we won’t have to hear about Derek Jeter’s clutch genes during the playoffs for once. I’ll take that reprieve. The Yankees have three things: pitching, money and age. Yes, the rotation (C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettite) is pretty good and they have Mariano back, but outside of Robinson Cano, the lineup is ugly. A-Rod is out and seriously regressing, Jeter is 39 and coming back from a serious ankle issue, Teixiera and Curtis Granderson are out for weeks, and guys like Travis Hafner and Brennan Boesch aren’t making up for it.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, already were down last year and while I don’t think they’ll be as bad, they won’t be much more than mediocre. Dustin Pedroia is still a potential Hall of Famer at second and David Ortiz is the same at DH, but the team has far too many question marks. Will Jacoby Ellsbury be hurt and just above replacement level or MVP material? How bad has Shane Victorino regressed and how bad is his contract going to look within the first month? Was Johnny Gomes signed purely for his unsightly facial hair?
Like so many others, I don’t really buy what the Orioles did last year. Going 29-9 in one-run games is pretty obviously lucky and not the kind of thing that is likely to avoid regression. The thing is not just that they’ll be less lucky, it is also that they basically did nothing to improve their squad over the offseason. It just isn’t a very impressive group, though some of the pitching (Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, and uber-prospect Dylan Bundy) could impress. I just don’t think that will overcome their OBP issues.
1. Detroit Tigers, 91-71
2. Cleveland Indians, 82-80
3. Kansas City Royals, 78-84
4. Chicago White Sox, 73-89
5. Minnesota Twins, 67-95
The Central will remain the weakest division in the AL. The Tigers should have no issues repeating as champions of the central. They made only one significant addition (Torii Hunter), but they also kept Anibal Sanchez and have another year with a core of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister and they even have Victor Martinez returning from injury. Pretty good. I think Scherzer is a dark horse candidate for Cy Young, as he was close to the conversation last year with his amazing strikeout numbers. I’ll admit that after a year, Fielder’s contract doesn’t look quite as bad for two reasons. One is that contracts will only continue to go up and make this one look less onerous. The other is that even if Fielder’s deal is an albatross in the final years, it isn’t as sure a thing as I once thought because I underrated Fielder’s ability to play 162 games.
The Indians also made a flurry of moves, though I’m not sure all will pay off this season. I’m jealous that for a 31-year old Shin-Soo Choo, who was surely not resigning there as a Boras client, they managed to get Trevor Bauer and a useful player in Drew Stubbs. Stubbs’ bat ensures he isn’t much better than someone like Darin Mastrionni, but his defense has value. Bauer has real control issues with regards to his ability to stay in the zone, so he isn’t without question marks, but he certainly has ace potential and could make a mark this season. Michael Bourn, a big signing for the Indians along with Nick Swisher, should combine with Michael Brantley and Stubbs to make up a standout outfield defense. Swisher will improve the lineup as well, but I don’t really trust a rotation built around Ubaldo Jiminez, Justin Masterson and Brett Myers.
The Royals were a team I thought would surprise last year. They did, but not by winning games. No, it was mostly players like Eric Hosmer falling off a cliff. So did Jeff Francoeur, but that’s to be expected and what the Royals get for deciding to employ and regularly play him. The Royals made one of the biggest moves of the offseason, stirring up a late of debate in the process, when they traded for James Shields, giving up top minor league hitter Wil Myers along with three pitching prospects. Shields is a very good starting pitcher, but as many analysts have pointed out, he benefited over the years from the Tampa Bay defense and home park and while he won’t turn into a pumpkin, he may be more a solid starter than All-Star. After Shields, it gets ugly, with the likes of Bruce Chen, Erwin Santana, and Jeremy Guthrie. But hey, Kelvin Herrera will be fun to watch on the radar gun and the improvements of players like Hosmer, Salvador Perez and others will make them watchable if nothing else.
Perhaps I’m underestimating the White Sox. Chris Sale and Jake Peavy are a fine 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation and Gavin Floyd and John Danks have the potential to give them a very good rotation. But I’m not really impressed by their lineup. Paul Konerko is going to be 37 and there are indications that his decline is already here. Adam Dunn was a comeback story, but in truth, he hit .204/.333/.468 with 222 strikeouts and his decline into overpaid irrelevance continues. So, yes, the rotation could be good, but I doubt they hit much.
As for our Twins, I’ll make a whole separate post for them, but let’s just say that while there are plenty of reasons to watch (Mauer, Aaron Hicks, Glen Perkins), they still have what is likely the worst rotation in baseball (the Astros are the only competition) and the lineup is not even close to good enough to make up for it. The good news is that in a year or two, they’ll have a ton of young talent ready to carry to competition. The bad news is that we have to wait.
1. Los Angeles Angels, 94-68
2. Oakland As, 91-71
3. Texas Rangers, 85-77
4. Seattle Mariners, 72-90
5. Houston Astros, 60-102
I don’t think that Tommy Hanson is going to do very well as an Angel and I think that Mark Trumbo is closer to Mark Reynolds than some want to admit. I also think that Albert Pujols is in decline and that the impossibly great player he was is now gone for good. I even think that Mike Trout can’t be quite as good as he was last year, when he had one of the greatest seasons of all time and somehow didn’t win the MVP. And, yes, new signing Josh Hamilton probably won’t hit 43 homers in that ballpark. Still, it’s a formidable team and even lesser versions of Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton make up the core of a standout lineup. Plus, they’ll be good defensively with Trout and Peter Bourjos in the outfield. Plus, staff leader Jered Weaver remains a Cy Young-caliber arm and CJ Wilson may now be underrated.
I admit that I have the As in the playoffs for personal reasons as much as anything else. I want them to win because I love what Billy Beane has done with the team and former Twin Pat Neshek deserves it after the horrible year he’s had in his family life. And I can find more rational reasons as well. The rotation, led by Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker, is young and talented. Besides Neshek, with Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook, they’ve got good relievers. The lineup isn’t great, but it has upside and I love the moves the As made for John Jaso (high OBP catcher) and Chris Young (power, speed, good centerfield defense) in the offseason. Many also think Yoenis Cespedes is a superstar in the making who has 40/40 potential. I even like Scott Sizemore and Jed Lowrie in the infield if they can stay healthy (big if) and Josh Reddick did well enough last year to get himself notice with a Gold Glove. I’m nominating them to be the 2012 Orioles of 2013.
The Rangers also have some big upside players in Yu Darvish, who could win the Cy Young, and Jurickson Profar, who could win the Rookie of the Year, but they also have some big holes. Some of their everyday players are too old to trust (A.J. Pierzynski, even in that park, isn’t hitting 27 homers again, and Adrian Beltre could start his decline at 34) and I believe losing Josh Hamilton will hurt them more than some imagine. They’ll be a good team, but not good enough. The Mariners had quite an active offseason, but I don’t know that they improved much. Moving Jaso for a low OBP slugger with recent injury woes who’s 31 in Michael Morse was questionable. That’s representative for the Mariners’ issues–between Morse, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Brendan Ryan, Jesus Montero, and yes, Jason Bay, who exactly is going to give them even an average OBP? I think this lineup has more power, but with such subpar on-base ability, they won’t score many runs. Pitching-wise, I love Felix Hernandez and their future arms are going to be good, but I doubt this year is the year.
The Astros are on the road down one of the most blatant rebuilding prospects we’ve seen before. Best I can say is that Jose Altuve could compete for a batting crown sooner than later and Chris Carter might pull off a young Adam Dunn kind of season–the three true outcomes player. Otherwise, the Astros know they are going to be bad. Thanks to Ed Wade and previous ownership, it will still be a while, but at least the new regime and sabermetric-friendly front office seems on the right path.
1. Washington Nationals, 98-64
2. Atlanta Braves, 95-67
3. New York Mets, 81-81
4. Philadelphia Phillies, 75-87
5. Miami Marlins, 59-103
I am still living in the Washington area, so maybe I’m influenced by Nats-mania here, but I think they are more or less the consensus pick here. I’d love to make all my picks against the grain, but there is a reason they are a consensus pick. They have it all. Starting pitching? Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler. Yeah, that’s deep. Dan Haren is their 4th starter. Bullpen? They signed Rafael Soriano to join Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Lineup? Bryce Harper just had one of the greatest 19-year old seasons ever (maybe the best) and that tends to bode well for the future. Harper could have one of the greatest 20-year old seasons ever just after Mike Trout did. A 40/30 season is a real possibility. Ryan Zimmerman struggled with injuries early last season, but ended on a tear and remains a top tier third baseman. Jayson Werth, Denard Span, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond aren’t stars, but add OBP skills (Werth, Span), power (LaRoche, Desmond) and speed (Span, Werth) to the lineup. And former Twin Wilson Ramos will be back from injury and he still has plentiful potential behind the plate.
As good as the Nats are, the Braves are right behind them among the best teams in baseball. Their rotation isn’t quite as good, but Tim Hudson remains a very good starter even if he’ll turn 37 this summer while Kris Medlen seemed to quietly have an incredible season last year that he could build on as the next potential Roy Halladay (seriously). The rotation is rounded out by Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Paul Maholm, with Brandon Beachy returning from Tommy John eventually. Minor was a much better pitcher after the break last year and could be a breakout star himself. Their bullpen is even better, with Craig Kimbrel leading the charge (he of the record 16.6 K/9 last year) supported by Jonny Venters, Jordan Walden, and Eric O’Flaherty. Line-up wise, losing Chipper Jones and Martin Prado hurts, but Jason Heyward should continue to grew into a MVP candidate and Justin Upton is potentially one himself. B.J. Upton had a sub .300 OBP last year, but he has speed and power at center field while Andrelton Simmons is a potential star at shortstop. These two teams should make for some great competition over the season.
From there, the rest of the division isn’t very good. Many will believe that the Phillies will compete, but I think they are the Yankees of the NL–old with a good rotation but so desperate they signed Delmon Young to start for them (the NL equivalent of the Yankees’ trade for Vernon Wells). I believe Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are still aces, but I do think that Roy Halladay is no longer the same pitcher and the lineup that was once great is now filled with question marks. How bad does the Ryan Howard contract look right now?
The Mets on the other hand have a solid future, especially with starters Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler and top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, but even with David Wright’s production, they aren’t likely to contend this season, but I do think they’ll be better than many do. Ike Davis could hit 30 homers with solid OBP skills, Shaun Marcum will be a good starter when he can make starts, and Jonathon Niese is a underrated starter himself.
The Marlins, meanwhile, are an absolute embarrassment. I almost don’t want to make any baseball analysis here because I mostly just despise Jeffrey Loria, like most baseball fans do, especially after he tricked Miami-Dade county into funding his new ballpark. I don’t know what’s more offensive–his lying, his firesale, or the massive fish in the outfield that celebrates home runs. For now, at least they’ve got Stanton. I think he hits 50 home runs this year. Whoever is still a Marlins fan will enjoy that–but that will probably seal his fate too, as I predict doing so well will only ensure he’s traded.
1. St. Louis Cardinals, 93-69
2. Cincinnati Reds, 90-72
3. Chicago Cubs, 84-78
4. Pittsburgh Pirates, 77-85
5. Milwaukee Brewers, 73-89
The consensus pick here has been the Reds and while I have them making the playoffs, I think the Cardinals will be slightly better. David Freese’s injury hurts and Pete Kozma might be one of the worst everyday players in the big leagues, but the lineup is very good otherwise between Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holiday, Allen Craig and Jon Jay, with uber-prospect Oscar Tavares waiting in the wings. Their pitching is quite good too. Adam Wainwright should compete for the Cy Young this year. Chris Carpenter is out for the year, yes, but youngsters Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn should be solid with upside and Jamie Garcia is a injury risk but with plenty of upside himself. The bullpen will remain a strength, with Trevor Rosenthal getting a full year to showcase his blazing fastball in front of Jason Motte.
The Reds will be great, though perhaps I’m punishing them because I, like so many, am disappointed that we’ll never get to figure out if Aroldis Chapman is the second coming of Randy Johnson. The best we get now is the second coming of Billy Wagner perhaps, but that isn’t such a bad thing. I loved “Billy the Kid.” The Reds may not win the division, but they’ll make the playoffs. Joey Votto is the best hitter in baseball. I know most pundits like to say Miguel Cabrera is (or they use some vague wording like best “pure” hitter, whatever that means–as opposed to a “unpure” hitter? Are we discussing eugenics here?) the best hitter in the big leagues, but given that avoiding making outs is the single most important element to creating runs and thus winning games, Votto outpaces his competition by a notable margin. His .474 OBP last year in an injury-shortened season was the highest OBP of any hitter not named Barry Bonds in the last decade. Joe Mauer was next in the majors with a .416 OBP. That’s a wide gap. And he wasn’t exactly missing power. His .567 slugging percentage was behind only Giancarlo Stanton, Cabrera, Ryan Braun, and Josh Hamilton. Not surprisingly, the best single rate stats for offense (wOBA, wRC+, TAv) reflect this. Votto’s .438 wOBA bests Cabrera’s .417, his 177 wRC+ bests Cabrera’s 166 and his .347 TAv bested only by NL MVP Buster Posey’s .350 and should-have-been MVP Mike Trout’s .357. (Cabrera, if you are curious, chalks in at .332–great, but not as great)
So yes, I like the Reds and I like Votto. I think he’ll deserve the MVP this next year. The Reds lineup will improve with Shin-Soo Choo’s OBP skills at the top of the order (replacing a ghastly .254 leadoff OBP last year) even if he gives some back on defense. Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce are good, albeit overrated, players who will help the cause with power, speed and defense while the underrated Ryan Hanigan will remain behind the plate (with his defensive and OBP skills). With the rotation, I don’t entirely buy Johnny Cueto’s success and I don’t know how much Bronson Arroyo has left, but I think Mat Latos is a potential Cy Young contender and Homer Bailey has quietly started to live up to his top prospect status from years ago.
The Cubs have already had their issues (Scott Baker is already hurt and Matt Garza remains so), but I still like them to improve this season. Two younger players stand out. Jeff Samardzija and Anthony Rizzo. Former Notre Dame star Samardzija struck out 180 in 174 2/3 innings last year and I feel like he has the same tantalizing prospects Max Scherzer has for the Tigers–enough consistency and control that he could be dominate. Rizzo should some good hitting ability last year (.285/.342/.463 in 337 at-bats) after destroying AAA pitching again. I believe Rizzo is a star in the making and he will break out this year. Edwin Jackson was a underrated signing, as he’s not a great pitcher, but he’s never hurt and he’s now a reliable above-average contributor. This is by no means a playoff contender, but they could surprise.
On the other hand, I don’t believe the Pirates or Brewers will continue to surprise or contend. I love Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen and believe he’s a MVP candidate for years to come. Signing him to a extension last year was a great move by the organization. Many believe top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole is a Rookie of the Year candidate, with fellow prospect Jameson Taillon right behind him. I still think their ability to help the team is at least a year away. A.J. Burnett will regress from last year, Starling Marte will struggle to walk 10 times, James McDonald will continue to frustrate (as will Jose Tabata), Clint Barmes will continue to be one of the worst everyday players around and while Pedro Alvarez will hit 30 home runs, he’ll do so with the limited effectiveness, as he’ll maintain a low OBP with bad defense. This will mean another year of mediocrity, but with a light at the end of the tunnel.
With the Brewers, I see no depth, lots of injuries, a bad minor league system and dark prospects ahead. I could see the MLB going hard after Ryan Braun in the Biogenesis investigation and suspending him this season. Without Braun, the Brewers have serious issues. Alex Gonzalez starts the season as their first baseman–36 and with a .292 lifetime OBP. Yuck. Corey Hart is hurt. Carlos Gomez is showing good power, but the OBP remains very weak. Rickie Weeks improved in the second half, but I simply don’t trust him to produce that well. Aramis Ramirez had a great 2012 (.540 slugging) but I am expecting the other shoe to drop soon. Kyle Lohse arrives to help a solid but unspectacular rotation with little help from the bullpen.
1. San Francisco Giants, 91-71
2. Arizona Diamondbacks, 89-73
3. Los Angeles Dodgers, 85-77
4. San Diego Padres, 74-88
5. Colorado Rockies, 64-98
Obviously, I think the NL West will be close. Like so many, I questioned the moves the Diamondbacks made in trading Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer, but they remain a good club. The Giants are coming off of winning the World Series and the Dodgers spent what seemed like the economy of a small European country this last year in trading for contracts and signing free agents. So why am I going with the Giants? I like their balance. They have two top starters (Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner), a good bullpen (led by Sergio Romo’s beard and fantastically moving pitches), and a lineup led by last year’s MVP (Posey) along with Pablo Sandavol and breakout candidate Brandon Belt. They even have a wild card in Tim Lincecum, whose past greatness suggests he could bounce-back or his continued struggles in the spring could signal the early coming of the end. How sad would that be? Ryan Vogelsong might be a special weapon too, as he, like Cain, seems to have skills that befuddle the BABIP equation over the years–his skill being pitching with men on base.
The Dodgers have added a lot, but they’ve also added age and injury questions. Zack Greinke, of the 6-year, $147 offseason deal, already has elbow woes. Clayton Kershaw may have hip issues–a potentially serious problem. Carl Crawford is still coming back from his Boston-era injuries–even if he’s around, does anyone want an aging corner outfielder with a sub .300 OBP and suddenly poor defense? Hanley Ramirez is out for at least 8 weeks after a serious thumb injury. The Dodgers have depth with all they’ve spent, but I don’t think it is going to be enough to get to the postseason. It won’t be a Yankees-esque let down, but I would caution Dodgers fans’ expectations–I expect the Diamondbacks to be better.
Again, the Diamondbacks made some confusing and likely harmful offseason moves, but they have a skilled roster still. Martin Prado, whom they got for Upton, is a very good hitter and a solid defender at multiple positions. When Adam Eaton returns from injury, he’s a Rookie of the Year candidate with standout OBP skills. Paul Goldschmidt has breakout potential at first with speed and power, Miguel Montero is one of the best catchers in the game, Aaron Hill is hopefully more Jekyll than Hyde, and the rotation has plenty of talent between Ian Kennedy, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado and Wade Miley, with top prospect Tyler Skaggs not far behind. They have holes–they overpaid Cody Ross, who should be used against only lefties, and still have Jason Kubel as a starter, despite his platoon issues and subpar defense. They also still employ Willie Bloomquist–that’s disheartening in and of itself.
The Padres have a exciting system, but I don’t see them contending this year. Andrew Cashner, Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, and Josh Luebke are a talented bunch, but there are a lot of injury issues in that mix as well. At least I think they’ll have the Rookie of the Year in Jedd Gyorko, who hit 30 home runs between AA and AAA last year. The Rockies, on the other hand, don’t have much light at the end of the tunnel. It is a quagmire at Coors Field that doesn’t seem like it will clear up anytime soon–it isn’t even clear who’s in charge. The Rockies still have great players like Troy Tulowitzski, still the best shortstop in the game, but they have very little pitching and the system, while not entirely barren, isn’t offering a lot of fruits.
AL MVP: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Maybe I’m going with the consensus because like so many, I believe he more than deserved it last year. I’m not going to rehash those arguments, because they’ve been more than played out at this point. Let’s just say that even if he takes a step back, he’s still the best player in the game. Great defender? Check. Speed? Perhaps the best around. Power? Plenty of that. Yeah, Trout is basically our generation’s Rickey Henderson. Which is to say he may end up one at Top 20 player all-time. He’s that good. My projection? .305/.390/.550, 35 HRs, 55 SBs.
AL Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
As I just suggested in my assessment of Samardjiza for the Cubs, I believe Scherzer is ready to take the league by storm. Scherzer is 28, so he isn’t young per se, but with 231 Ks last year (11.1 K/9), he’s already shown what he can do. After the All-Star break last year, in 90 1/3 innings, he had 110 Ks and a 2.69 ERA. This is definitely a dark horse pick, but I like his chances.
NL MVP: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
I think Votto is the best hitter in the league, so it follows that I think he’ll be the MVP.
NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
I’m not sure if everyone noticed, but Wainwright had a great season last year returning from Tommy John surgery. His 3.94 ERA didn’t look great, but his 184/52 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings was very good, as reflected by his 3.10 FIP/3.23 xFIP. Wainwright encountered some bad luck last year (67.8% strand rate, .315 BABIP vs. a career .293 BABIP) that I’m guessing will revert this year. Looking past the ERA, his K rate (8.3) and walk rates are right there with his great 2009/2010 seasons. He’ll be great again this season.
AL Rookie of the Year: Aaron Hicks, CF, Twins
Because this is what I’ll be cheering for this season. Hicks is perhaps the most exciting story for Twins fans to follow this season and there are good reasons for that. He’s a promising package of speed, OBP skills, power and defense who’s likely to get a wealth of chances over the season. Playing-time can be a significant factor in these races, as is a worthy narrative, something I think Hicks can establish with a hot start, even if the league adjusts to him and causes him to drop later in the year.
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko, IF, Padres
He’s got power and again, opportunity, on a team that isn’t likely to contend. That usually is a good mix for these races. Sure, Petco has often hurt power hitters, but they moved the fences in and scouts seem to think that Gyorko’s power won’t be so easily contained. It is true that Chase Headley blocks Gyorko at third for now, but Gyorko is playing some second and Headley, who’s 29 in May and has never shown the kind of power consistently he showed in the second half of last year, could be moved from a non-contender to give Gyorko his chance. I think he’ll get it.
AL Divisional Round:
As over Tampa Bay in Wild Card Game
Detroit Over As
Toronto over Angels
AL Championship: Detroit over Toronto
NL Divisional Round:
Atlanta over Reds in Wild Card Game
Atlanta over Giants
Nats over Cardinals
NL Championship: Nats over Atlanta
World Series Winner: Washington Nationals in 7
I have the two most complete teams in my opinion from each league slugging it out over seven games, with the Nats inching out the win. I think the truth is that the baseball fan in me really just wants to see a Game 7 matchup of Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg. How amazing would that be?
With that, I’ll be coming up next tomorrow with a preview of the Twins season. I’ll start off on a good note–Joe Mauer will be hitting #2, which is a surprising and heart-warming development–before getting into all the reasons the Twins won’t contend then.