Happy Easter! Easter marks the hope and inauguration of New Creation. One of the finest aspects of the yearly reminder of New Creation is a new baseball season! Here are my (way too early and laughably absurd) projections for the upcoming season. Happy Opening Day!
This is a difficult division to project (except the Astros). The Angels lineup is absurd, and should be a lot of fun to watch. Trout is a monster (should have won the MVP), Hamilton is the best in the game when locked in, and I think Pujols will have a great year this year. But they have ZERO pitching. I still like the Rangers despite losing Hamilton, and I think adding Pierzynski at catcher is a big boost. I’m not sure what to make of Oakland. Was last season lightning in a bottle, or is this young pitching staff really that good? Seattle’s offense is much improved, and could make a run at the wildcard or possibly the division, but they need some of their young talent to really step up. I’m picking Texas to win this division, and could conceivably see three teams from this division make the playoffs, since the Astros are going to be so awful.
Texas Rangers (92 - 70)
Los Angeles Angels (90 - 72)
Oakland Athletics (84 - 78)
Seattle Mariners (83 - 79)
Houston Astros (55 - 107)
The Tigers should win this division in a runaway. They’re offense is better this season than last, adding Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter (who will also help a lot defensively), and their pitching staff is sick. Except their bullpen, which sucks. The Royals could contend this year, but probably only for a wildcard spot. The White Sox and Indians need a lot break their way to contend, though I could see the White Sox playing well this season if Chris Sale and Jake Peavey’s arms don’t fall off and they pitch well. Oh, and the Twins have no chance, but they do have a great farm system, so they’re getting closer to contention again.
Detroit Tigers (95 - 67)
Kansas City Royals (88 - 74)
Chicago White Sox (86 - 76)
Cleveland Indians (80 - 82)
Minnesota Twins (66 - 96)
This is the most difficult division in baseball to pick. I can see any of these teams finishing first, and any finishing last. The Yankees have had about as miserable a spring as any team can have, but they’re the Yankees, right? The Red Sox have had a miserable year and a half, but I think they could be a lot better this year. The Rays always contend, but how much will they miss the new Royal James Shields? I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltimore won anywhere from 75 to 95 games. And then there are the Blue Jays, who overhauled their roster, and look really strong… on paper. We’ll see how well they actually perform. They’re expecting big things with Reyes, Dickey, Josh Johnson, Lawrie, and the rest, but they’re bullpen could blow a ton of games. I’m picking Baltimore because they have a tremendous amount of depth, have major league ready pitchers coming in droves, and their offense should be able to produce. Alas, I have no confidence whatsoever, and could get zero of these projections correct.
Baltimore Orioles (91 - 71)
Tampa Bay Rays (90 - 72)
Toronto Blue Jays (87 - 75)
Boston Red Sox (84 - 78)
New York Yankees (79 - 83)
Conversely, this may be the easiest division to project. The Nationals might be the best team in baseball, especially if Bryce Harper plays at an MVP level some people expect, and if Strasburg wins the Cy Young, which I think he will. The Braves’ offense looks great, though they might strike out a lot. If they get great pitching from Medlen again, and the other guys pitch to potential, their pitching staff could be right up there with the Nationals. The Phillies are old, and need about 90 ace-like starts from their 3 studs, and I don’t see that happening. The Mets are pretty bad, and I hope the Marlins lose every single game, the team gets stripped from their owner, but Giancarlo Stanton still manages to hit 50 home runs.
Washington Nationals (100 – 62)
Atlanta Braves (95 – 67)
Philadelphia Phillies (81 – 81)
New York Mets (70 – 92)
Miami Marlins (63 – 99)
Don’t forget the fact that the Astros have left this division. The other teams could lose an average of 3-5 games more in their absence. The Reds should win this division, unless they get nowhere near the quality of pitching they had last season, and their questionable defense falls apart on them. The Cardinals will be good again, but I hate them. The Brewers need a lot to go well in order to contend, as do the Pirates, who many think are on the cusp of breaking out of their 20-year slump. I am not so sure. For the Cubs, there’s always next year! But this will be a big year for them in terms of player development and seasoning. Their best days are about 2 years away. Reds win, Cardinals miss out on the postseason (that’s my Easter wish).
Cincinnati Reds (94 – 68)
St. Louis Cardinals (88 – 74)
Milwaukee Brewers (82 – 80)
Pittsburgh Pirates (81 – 81)
Chicago Cubs (70 – 92)
Another tough division to project, because the Dodgers, who spent about a billion dollars on contracts other teams didn’t want, still do not have a bullpen. Nor do they have a shortstop or third baseman. Their starting rotation has tremendous potential, but I’m not sold. I don’t think the team, as constructed, will make the playoffs. I think they’ll need to make a trade or two. They could also win 95 games and I wouldn’t be surprised at all. The Giants just keep finding ways to win, and I actually really like the Diamondbacks’ overhauled roster. They’ll score runs and play defense, but it won’t be sexy. The Padres might contend; I wouldn’t be surprised if they make the playoffs even. The Rockies continue their 20-year saga of figuring out how to win at Coors. Perhaps they’ll trade Tulowitzki and/or CarGo. Giants just keep winning, and do it again this year.
San Francisco Giants (92 – 70)
Arizona Diamondbacks (90 – 72)
Los Angeles Dodgers (89 – 73)
San Diego Padres (83 – 79)
Colorado Rockies (72 – 90)
Wildcard Teams AL/NL
Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Angels
Atlanta Braves over Arizona Diamondbacks
Washington Nationals over Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds over San Francisco Giants
Cincinnati Reds over Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers over Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers over Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers over Texas Rangers
Detroit Tigers over Cincinnati Reds
MVP: Joey Votto—Cincinnati Reds
Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg—Washington Nationals
ROY: Julio Teheran—Atlanta Braves
Manager: Bruce Bochy—San Francisco Giants
MVP: Mike Trout—Los Angeles Angels
Cy Young: Justin Verlander—Detroit Tigers
ROY: Jackie Bradley, Jr.—Boston Red Sox
Manager: Buck Showalter—Baltimore Orioles