Three games down, 2,427 to go.
Which means it must be time for Midwest Sports Fans’ second annual MLB prediction special!
This comes off last year’s dazzling performance in which I went with a Red Sox/Braves World Series, and we know how that went last September.
Here are my 2011 win predictions. I was at least on target with the AL East and NL East, but for the second year in a row I completely missed it with the NL West. In all I was within ten games with 21 of the 30 teams.
How do I follow that this year? Well, I came up with the numbers and made sure that the totals all added up to 2,430 wins, putting the win numbers on each team before last week’s A’s/Mariners two-game series and last night’s Cards/Marlins game. I can’t prove it; I’ll just have to try to convince you like Ryan Braun.
On to the 2012 predictions…
AL East Predictions
Yankees – 95 wins (AL East Champion)
The new Wild Card playoff game makes the regular season more meaningful than years past in the Bronx. Look for the Yanks to win the division. They still have the best offense and have the bankroll to make adjustments during the season if needed.
Red Sox – 90 wins (Wild Card)
I was quickly reminded why I hate fantasy baseball and why I hate Bobby Valentine. Would-be closer Andrew Bailey goes down with significant thumb injury (don’t be surprised if he misses season) so I immediately target Mark Melancon for saves. Sure enough, Alfredo Acevedes is pulled from the rotation to become the closer. At least it was announced just before my waiver wire deadline.
Blue Jays – 86 wins
I have to make one bold prediction, so I have the Jays jumping over one of the Big Three in the AL East. Brett Lawrie is worth the hype and the Milwaukee Brewers will soon REALLY regret dealing him during the 2010-11 off-season.
Rays – 85 wins
It’s almost all-in this year for the Rays. While the Red Sox and Yanks continue to re-load, the costs of Evan Longoria, James Shields, and David Price will go up in years to come. Take a look at Joel Peralta in fantasy, as he looks like best option to close (out of the so-called committee) with Kyle Farnsworth out.
Orioles – 67 wins
Well, I got their win total right last year, and the O’s might be stepping it down yet another level this year. They closed out their spring schedule losing to a community college squad followed up by losing to their AAA affiliate.
AL Central Predictions
Tigers – 94 wins (AL Central Champion)
Jerod Morris and Ari Kaufman had a podcast guest on late last year who thought someone in the Central would go on a late run and surpass 90 wins. Jerod and Ari were left wondering what the guest was smoking. Well, the Tigers wound up 95-67 and in the ALCS, then broke bank for Prince Fielder. Defense and the late innings will be an issue this year though. Joe Valverde WILL NOT go 49-49 in save chances again.
Twins – 82 wins
They can’t possibly go 63-99 again. And if you got Justin Morenau in the late rounds in fantasy like I did over the weekend, he’s worth the roll of the dice.
White Sox – 80 wins
Hopefully Jerod can stay somewhat in control at Rangers ballpark this weekend. The South Siders are neither good or bad, just not enough to be a factor.
Royals – 75 wins
One of these years enough of that young talent will develop and the Royals will end up as a darkhorse. The problem is I keep calling that shot every year.
Indians – 70 wins
For all I know he may not have even been calling the game, but I wonder what radio PBP voice Tom Hamilton would say if Ubaldo Jimenez was pitching for another team and drilled a Cleveland batter with alleged intent. It would probably be similar to his feelings for Josh Beckett.
AL West Predictions
Angels – 93 wins (AL West Champion)
Maybe Albert Pujols will have some ‘difficulty’ switching leagues and have a ‘down year’. Beware though; he just got done hitting .400 with 7 HR/18 RBI during the exhibition schedule.
Rangers – 89 wins (Wild Card)
I was glad to get Yu Darvish on my final fantasy team. Look for him to make a bid for 20 wins and beat the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game. The biggest concern is the potential Josh Hamilton time bomb. Tick, tick, tick…
Mariners – 77 wins
Are you going to doubt Ichiro now, after getting four hits Opening Night? He Is only 568 knocks away from 3,000, which is just three more solid years. The smart money says he gets it. Also Felix Hernandez was very solid in first start, complete with his usual hard-luck (actually more a case of non-support) no decision.
A’s – 68 wins
Cuban rookie Yoenis Cespedes is already most relevant player in Oakland. His first MLB homer in Tokyo was impressive, but also K’d three times in 6 AB’s.
NL East Predictions
Phillies – 92 wins (NL East Champion)
Ari Kaufman missed chance of a lifetime: he had the opportunity to face Ryan Howard at a ticket window and personally tell him how overrated and declining he has been the past five seasons.
Marlins – 89 wins (Wild Card)
Yes, I drank the Kool-aid and made this win total before Miami was shut down by Kyle Lohse on Opening night. Miami would have to improve 17 games from last year to get to this mark, and Accu-Score only had the Marlins for 74 wins, as opposed to 82 by the Vegas line.
Braves – 84 wins
Bobby Cox returned to the dugout the other day to manage the organization’s top prospects against the big club. My bold prediction is Bobby does a Jack McKeon and takes over for Fredi Gonzalez at some point this season.
Nationals – 82 wins
How much has the Nats rotation improved? So much that two-time Opening Day starter John Lannan and his $5 million salary just got optioned to AAA. Yes, the Nats move into contention this year if everyone stays healthy.
Mets – 63 wins
Yes, the bottom falls completely out on the bankrupt Mets this year, and it will be even worse than possibly expected.
NL Central Predictions
Reds – 88 wins (NL Central)
$251 million to Joey Votto sends a huge message that Cincinnati expects to be contenders in the division now and in the future; just don’t expect Dusty Baker to be part of it, because he still doesn’t know what to do with Aroldis Chapman.
Cardinals – 87 wins
St. Louis picked up right where they left off 5+ months ago with their win in Miami, but how far can they get without Pujols? I say the Cards end up with a small case of the championship hangover.
Brewers – 83 wins
Would you trade Prince Fielder/Yuni-B/and .220 hitting Casey McGehee for Alex Gonzalez/Mat Gamel/Aramis Ramirez? That’s most of the changeover from last year’s roster. Also, just when is Ryan Braun going to get some balls and either (a) confess, or (b) prove that he’s innocent? Local writers are now even starting to call him out.
Cubs – 77 wins
Without a dominant team, the North Siders could make some strides in the division and stay in the mix. It’s going to take a couple years though for the Theo Epstein factor to have a chance at taking any effect.
Pirates – 69 wins
They had their window of opportunity for four months last year before a bad call in extra innings in Atlanta ruined their season – but if it wasn’t that it would had been something else. It is back to regularly scheduled programming this season. Andrew McCutchen does have 30-30 potential though.
Astros – 61 wins
Do Brewers fans still gripe over losing Carlos Lee and his declining skills? El Cabello bargained away his 5-10 rights and can only block trades to 14 teams this year.
NL West Predictions
Giants – 93 wins (NL West Champs)
Matt Cain’s 5-year/$112 million contract is a record for a right-hander, and it is good news for Zack Greinke and other RHP’s of similar talent seeking nine-figure numbers. SF wanted to take it slow with Brandon Belt this time around, but was so hot during March that they couldn’t possibly keep him off the Major League roster.
Rockies – 91 wins (Wild Card)
My Marlins/Rockies Wild Card prediction might look pretty silly come August, but I’m going off the board here. Throw out last year’s bad record, and look for Jamie Moyer to make baseball history when he beats the Astros this weekend to become the first pitcher to win at age 49.
Dodgers – 81 wins
Frank McCourt finally is shown the door…with a tidy profit as a parting gift. Now LA can move forward with a stable ownership group. Potential MVP Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and a nice bullpen are a good start. I only have them .500 for now, but don’t be surprised to see Dodgers contend.
D-Backs – 74 wins
After getting to extra innings in Game 5 of the NLDS last year, Arizona will be hard-pressed to duplicate the feat this time around. Paul Goldschmidt lasted WAY too long in fantasy drafts this spring.
Padres – 63 wins
Challenge of the day: name five players on San Diego’s current 25-man MLB roster. Remember, Heath Bell is gone. The line out of the 6-1-9 is that this year is more about 2013 than 2012. And 2013 will be more about ’14 or ’15, and so on…
World Series Prediction
DETROIT OVER MIAMI
What ya got?
Comment below with your predictions, or whichever predictions above you agree or disagree with.