As of Monday, March 25, Accuweather was reporting that snow was still covering 48% percent of the United States.
Guess what? Baseball’s regular season will start Sunday night regardless. (And then all the cold air will have no choice but to retreat to where it belongs: Canada.)
The larger question is whether the wholesale acquisitions made by the Toronto Blue Jays will result in an American League East championship and possibly a World Series Champion?
Or will the Jays prove to be this year’s version of the Miami Marlins: a hyped-up product that ultimately proved to be nothing but hot air?
With that, I go off on my annual quest to predict the won-loss record of all 30 MLB teams. When doing this, I try my hardest to have the cumulative records add up to 2,430 wins (not accounting for rainouts, of course).
1. Toronto Blue Jays (91 wins)
I’m buying some of the TBJ drink but not going all-in. As long as injuries don’t completely derail the Jays like they did last year, they’ll be very good.
I’m also not completely sold on R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballers are subject to lose their magic potion without notice.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (88 wins/WILD CARD)
It’s not a Yankees/Red Sox world anymore, and no one can win on a tight a budget better than Joe Madden. If David Price can stay at an elite level, and Evan Longoria stays healthy, they’ll be in it.
3. Boston Red Sox (83 wins)
I believe the Red Sox are more capable of bouncing back than the Yankees. If pitchers like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz rebound, they could be in the mix.
Bobby V not being around is an immediate improvement.
4. New York Yankees (81 wins)
Yankees fun fact of the day: the Houston Astros may not win much this year, but at least their team payroll is less than the salary of Alex Rodriguez, who may not see the field this year.
The Yanks are better off being sellers this year and rebuilding, but that strategy doesn’t fly in the New York market.
5. Baltimore Orioles (75 wins)
Hate to call the O’s a one-year wonder, but the off-shore futures tend to agree with me. They have the over-under of Buck Showalter’s club at 76.5.
1. Detroit Tigers (93 wins)
Winning the division is key. If Verlander and Scherzer are healthy for the post-season, the Tigers will be primed for a deep run again.
2. Kansas City Royals (86 wins/WILD CARD)
I’m calling my shot now. After all, who had Baltimore and Oakland last year?
Everything will come together this year in KC, and the Royals will end a quarter century-plus of futility to see October. For that to happen, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have to start living up to their prospect clippings.
3. Chicago White Sox (79 wins)
Sox fan Jerod Morris thought I went way over on my projection last year, but the White Sox actually contended most of the season. They are again an okay team, but I do not see anything really special.
4. Minnesota Twins (72 wins)
Trevor Plouffe is a nice late-round fantasy draft pick (he goes deep a lot more than Joe Mauer), and also take a flier on rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks.
If the Twins finish way out of contention for a third straight year, you have to think Ron Gardenhire will be on the hot seat.
5. Cleveland Indians (69 wins)
There isn’t a lot this team did in the off-season that excites me. Michael Bourn? Washed-up Daisuke Matsuzaka? Not to mention Jason Kipnis fell off a cliff second half of last year.
1. Los Angeles Angels (94 wins)
Mike Scioscia is out of mulligans. He must win, and win big, this year. If the Angels miss the playoffs, or even just get off to a bad start, there could be a change.
2. Texas Rangers (86 wins)
There’s some turbulence in Arlington now, and I believe the Rangers could be on the outside looking in. Piling up some wins over the Astros in division could be their saving grace.
3. Seattle Mariners (79 wins)
The M’s quietly crept towards respectability during the second half of last year, especially after moving on from the Ichiro era. Take a look at pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma in the late rounds of fantasy drafts.
4. Oakland Athletics (78 wins)
Loved them last year. They were a great story. But like the Orioles, I think reality sets in on the East Bay this year.
5. Houston Astros (57 wins)
By last year’s trade deadline, the Astros had jettisoned their entire Opening Day lineup from 2011. Look at the ‘Stros like an expansion team; it will be three years before they even start to get relevant in the AL West.
1. Washington Nationals (96 wins)
I’ve been trying very hard to find a reason not to go all-in with DC this year … and I can’t.
The expectations are now Indiana Hoosiers-like, and I expect the NL pennant to come down to the Nats and Dodgers. (Blue Monday, the re-make, 32 years later?)
2. Atlanta Braves (87 wins/WILD CARD)
The A-T-L has gone from perennially winning their division to being a perennial bubble team.
Definitely draft Julio Teheran in fantasy. As tweeted recently by Braves radio voice Jim Powell – ‘If I was a pundit I’d be putting Teheran on my ROY watch list. He’s at the intersection of talent, experience, and confidence.’
3. Philadelphia Phillies (82 wins)
Do not draft Roy Halladay. I repeat, do not draft Roy Halladay. His stuff during spring has fallen into Shaun Marcum (85 MPH) range.
Do definitely draft Ryan Howard though. He’s a lock for 40+ home runs and National League Comeback Player of the Year.
4. New York Mets (78 wins)
Only the presence of the Marlins in the division boosts the Mets win total. Johan Santana is now expected to miss the entire season, so Twins can now feel good unloading that contract.
5. Miami Marlins (61 wins)
The gutter is the limit for this team.
An even better over-under is the team’s actual home attendance this year — 500,000? The team will surely fudge their gate totals.
1. Cincinnati Reds (93 wins)
The regular season is one thing, but the Reds have to go deep in the NL playoffs for Dusty Baker to stay around. This is his last chance to erase his awful post-season legacy, and wouldn’t it be ironic if he faced the Angels in the World Series again.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (87 wins/WILD CARD)
Another shot I’m calling: OF Starling Marte is one of the fantasy sleepers of 2013.
Avoiding the now-annual late-summer swoon will tell the Pirates final story.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (86 wins)
Mike Matheny has quickly become a quality manager. The Cards will indeed be in the mix, but have them falling just short this year.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (80 wins)
FYI – I nailed the correct W-L records for both the Brewers and Green Bay Packers last year, so I like to think I have a pulse for what goes on around here.
The obvious elephant in the room is whether the hammer comes down on Ryan Braun during the season.
5. Chicago Cubs (74 wins)
Baby steps this year. Grab Kyuji Fujikawa in fantasy, who will be the Cubs’ closer sooner rather than later.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (95 wins)
Don’t worry too much about the health of Zack Greinke right now. Hyun-Jin Ryu and others are more than capable of stepping up in the rotation should Zack need some time off.
Hanley Ramirez is a much more significant injury story at the moment.
2. San Francisco Giants (86 wins)
A see another championship hangover in SF this year. Tim Lincecum is still struggling in Cactus League play.
Perennial March MVP Brandon Belt has been at it again this year, but can he hang when the games count this time?
3. Arizona Diamondbacks (77 wins)
In case you missed it, speedy and promising outfielder Adam Eaton is out 6-8 weeks with an elbow sprain. Look for Geraldo Parra to fill-in in his stead.
4. San Diego Padres (70 wins)
Reigning NL RBI champ Chase Headley is another player who will spend the first month on the DL. Bud Black’s crew never seems like much on paper, but they always wind up somewhat respectable.
5. Colorado Rockies (67 wins)
I continue to wonder about the long-term direction of this franchise. You can’t count on Troy Tulowitzki staying healthy, and Carlos Gonzalez is turning into another player whose road stats don’t measure up to what he does at altitude.
If Tulo stays healthy, don’t be surprised if he is dealt by July 31.
- ALCS – Detroit over LA Angels
- NLCS – Washington over LA Dodgers
- World Series – Washington over Detroit
Okay, don’t be shy. What do you agree/disagree with? What are your postseason picks? Chime in below.