I don’t know about you, but I always tell myself I’m going to write down my picks every year so that I can remember exactly who I picked for what before my brain gets all muddled up mid-season. Well I never have. But, seeing as I’m becoming a famous sports writer (keep saying it and it’ll come true, right?), I figured I should publish these picks so that when they go terribly wrong I can have them shoved back in my face. It’ll be fun for everyone involved. That’s why Alex and I picked all the division winners, wild card teams, award winners, world series winner and a dark horse team for the 2013 MLB season. Without further ado…here are the 2013 MLB predictions.
|NL West||San Francisco Giants||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|NL Central||Cincinnati Reds||Cincinnati Reds|
|NL East||Washington Nationals||Atlanta Braves|
|NL Wild Card 1||Los Angeles Dodgers||Washington Nationals|
|NL Wild Card 2||Atlanta Braves||San Francisco Giants|
|AL West||Oakland Athletics||Los Angeles Angels|
|AL Central||Detroit Tigers||Chicago White Sox|
|AL East||Tampa Bay Rays||Toronto Blue Jays|
|AL Wild Card 1||Los Angeles Angels||Texas Rangers|
|AL Wild Card 2||Toronto Blue Jays||Baltimore Orioles|
|NL MVP||Joey Votto – CIN||Justin Upton – ATL|
|NL Cy Young||Stephen Strasburg – WAS||Craig Kimbrel – ATL|
|NL Rookie of the Year||Shelby Miller – STL||Jedd Gyorko – SD|
|AL MVP||Evan Longoria – TB||Mike Trout – LAA|
|AL Cy Young||Yu Darvish – TEX||Mark Buehrle – TOR|
|AL Rookie of the Year||Wil Myers – TB||Jackie Bradley Jr. – BOS|
|NL Champion||Washington Nationals||Atlanta Braves|
|AL Champion||Tampa Bay Rays||Los Angeles Angels|
|WS Champion||Washington Nationals||Los Angeles Angels|
|Dark Horse Pick||Kansas City Royals||Pittsburgh Pirates|
Let’s do a “quick” rundown of each pick for the two of us…
NL Playoff Teams
Colby – It looks like Alex and I have the same playoff teams for the NL, just in a slightly different order. I’m going to clear this up before I even get started, you all know I’m a sucker for a good GM that makes nice trades, but I’m also a prospect junkie. Having said that I just couldn’t pick against the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. Their lineup just looks a lot more balanced with better defense and good pitching compared to my first Wild Card team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The spending spree should net them a playoff berth, but they have ugly looking defense on the left side of the infield with Hanley Ramirez now sidelined. The NL Central and East were much MUCH easier divisions for me to pick a winner. The Central shouldn’t be all that competitive, I know the St. Louis Cardinals usually find a way but I don’t see it this year. The Cincinnati Reds should run away with this division to the tune of 92+ wins. Their talent level is too far ahead of the division. The Washington Nationals may be the most talented team in the majors and Strasburg will have the reins pulled off. On top of all that, they have ANOTHER top hitting prospect in Anthony Rendon waiting in the minors if 3B Ryan Zimmerman gets injured again. That doesn’t mean that the Atlanta Braves will have nothing to say in the NL East. I think they have made amazing moves, bringing in potential MVP candidate Justin Upton chief among them. Their young rotation will have to stay healthy and consistent to compete for the NL East crown though. It is much more likely that they will be in the Wild Card race again.
Alex – Atlanta is my team to beat in the national league. Kimbrel was robbed by not being awarded the Cy Young last season, and I don’t see any slowing out of him. Combine the excellent pitching staff with one of the greatest outfields we’ve ever seen, and this should be a memorable season in Atlanta. The Nationals may be the most talented team in the National League, or even the entire MLB, but there is just too much uncertainty around this team for them to overtake the Braves. Youth equals energy, but I’m going to take the Braves’ experience, and also predict a less than stellar season for Harper. They won’t slip far though, making it as a Wild Card. The talent on the Cincinnati Reds is absurd. The bullpen will dominate and the rotation is more than capable. Throw in Joey Votto challenging for a triple crown and a great season from Todd Frazier and this team will be tough to beat. For as tough of a season as this one will be for fans in NYC, fans on the West coast are going to have a dream year. Adrian Gonzalez is going to have a career year and Hanley Ramirez is going to bounce back to where he should be. The rotation is absolutely dirty, and both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will have a 20+ win season. (Editor’s Note – QUITE the sensationalist isn’t he folks?!) Finally, the Giants will be good this year, but not nearly as good as last season. Their defense is weak, and Hunter Pence is majorly on the decline. The team paid Angel Pagan far too much, and he’s going to prove that from the start of the season. Lincecum is done at this point, but the team still has too much talent to be bad. They’ll back into a Wild Card spot.
AL Playoff Teams
Colby – I mentioned my GM bias right? Because starting with the AL West, it comes out in spades. Billy Beane has put together another young team with few major stars but found a way to win the division in 2012. You have to count on a mid-season fleecing of another GM to bring in the necessary talent to make another run at the AL West crown. Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes should help put a charge into this offense and make for a surprise repeat over the Los Angeles Angels. On paper, there is no team more exciting than the Angels though. I fell in love with Mike Trout last season and can’t wait to see if he can do it again (I almost picked him as my AL MVP). However, Pujols has been on a constant regression the last few years and it is becoming a trend. He is on the downside and will be joined by a distracted Josh Hamilton and a declining fastball Jered Weaver. I think they have enough to take the Wild Card convincingly, but I don’t see them winning the division. There isn’t much to say about the AL Central. Just like the NL Central, the top team in the Detroit Tigers has so much more talent than the rest of the division that it is just absurd. They will run away with this division despite a terrible bullpen that will get immensely better when they finally decide to bring in help from outside. (Billy Beane anyone? I could see him fleecing the Tigers for 3B/OF prospect Nick Castellanos) Now for the most exciting division for 2013, the AL East. The Yankees are dead and I couldn’t be happier. The deep pitching of the Tampa Bay Rays along with an MVP season from 3B Evan Longoria and an early call up for Wil Myers, resulting in a Rookie of the Year award, will propel this team to a division title in a tight race. The Blue Jays do not need to fret. Their surprising moves will not go unheralded as they will win the final AL Wild Card spot on the strength of their lineup and starting pitching. They will be extremely susceptible to injuries though and could easily drop out and let the Baltimore Orioles sneak in. I love that I just made an AL playoff prediction without picking the Red Sox, Yankees or Rangers.
Alex – The Blue Jays really ought to change their name to the Pirates, or perhaps Daniel Oceans, because they absolutely stole their team. Bringing in all the phenomenal players they did, there’s no way this team isn’t going to be great. This isn’t the NBA where it takes a while for a team to mesh, talent rises to the top in the MLB. Bautista will run away with the AL RBI title, knocking in Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie every at bat. The rotation added a CY Young winner, and I don’t even think he’s their best addition. That title goes to Buehrle, who has double-digit wins in the last 12 years. The Orioles seemed to come out of know where last year, but this really is a quality team. Manny Machado is one of the best young players in the league, and Dylan Bundy is one of the best young pitchers in the league. Showalter is a miracle worker, and he’s going to make those two guys a force to be reckoned with for many, many years. They’ll take a Wild Card spot. Manager Robin Ventura has a lot to work with on the south side. Chris Sale is the best young pitcher in the MLB (sorry Stephen Strasburg) and the offense has some major pop. The key to this team is catcher Tyler Flowers, and I see him living up to what the team needs him to do and more. It’ll be close, but the Sox will take the division. Just thinking about watching the Angels play this year is enough to get me giddy with excitement. This team will win 100 games, there’s absolutely no question. The only question is whether they can get over 110. Mike Trout is a year older, and that means a possible 50/50 season. Yes. 50/50. Josh Hamilton will have 40+ homers and Pujols will bounce back to his typical form. Who cares about the rotation? This team has arguably the best 3 hitters in baseball. (Editor’s Note – SENSATION!!) The Rangers are going to be relying a lot on aging players to carry the weight. Fortunately for them, Lance Berkman will be able to shoulder the load and produce his first 100-RBI season since 08. The rotation will be greatly improved, and the Rangers will sneak into a wild card spot, despite finishing about 20 games back of the Angels.
Colby – The man that should annually win the “batting title”, which should really just be changed to OBP, is Joey Votto. He will come back with a vengeance after his injury plagued year in 2012. The man is a hitting savant and we will see his power climb back up so that he can win his second NL MVP. The NL Cy Young will be won by none other than the already immortal Stephen Strasburg. I kid, sort of, he obviously has a ways to go, but even being shut down early he was one of the highest in strikeouts with an absurd 197 in 159 innings. Finally, as much as this pains me as a Cubs fan, the NL Rookie of the Year will be rookie Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller. He won a spot in the starting rotation and will get to tear through the NL Central (except of course for Cincinnati). This won’t be the type of prospect year that last year was, but Shelby Miller will be a diamond in the rough on the NL side for prospects, just beating out Oscar Taveras. Even if he will be playing for a team that has a shortstop to trade to the Cardinals, a Profar for Taveras trade makes too much sense to happen.
Alex* – (Editor’s Note – I wrote this as Alex) ATLANTA. ATLANTA. CHOP CHOP CHOP. GO BRAVES! But seriously, the Braves are going to have quite the year led by new acquisition Justin Upton. Jason Heyward will take a backseat for Atlanta and Justin Upton will return to form and win the NL MVP. Adding to the season will be an NL Cy Young for closer Craig Kimbrel. He will be the first relief pitcher to win it since Eric Gagne had 55 saves in 2003. Oh, and some guy named Jedd Gyorko who plays in San Diego will win Rookie of the Year. (You’re right, that sounded SO much like Alex.)
Colby – Ok, I’m not even a Tampa Bay homer, but here you go. They will have players that win both the AL MVP and AL Rookie of the Year. Evan Longoria will return and break the idea that he is injury prone. His injuries have been fluke broken bones and accidents during one of his usual single digit steal attempts. The man can absolutely rake and will do just that in 2013. The outfield in Tampa could use some work though. They have Wil Myers in the minors to start the season but will need him after a possible slow start. When he comes up he will have a great rookie year, even if people will unnecessarily compare him to Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Finally, the AL Cy Young will go to the Japanese sensation, Yu Darvish. Another strikeout machine, putting up 221 in 191 innings. He has been rumored to have more than 7 pitches and will continue to get comfortable in Texas. The fact that a pitcher in a park like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will win the Cy Young is no small feat, there is a reason the hitters are always good in Texas.
Alex* – (Editor’s Note – It’s me, Colby, again…just saying) I won’t be nearly as mean this time, but I already professed my love, in my ACTUAL words, for the Angels lineup and they won’t disappoint. I know a lot of people are projecting regression for Trout. But I am projecting 50/50 power/speed. Obvious AL MVP with his stellar defense if that happens. Could be the highest WAR season since Bonds too. Buehrle couldn’t have picked a better time to move to the AL East. It is a harder league than the NL, but the hitters are down and out right now on the east coast. He will turn back the clock and win the AL Cy Young. Finally, the Boston spring training phenom will win the AL Rookie of the Year. Everyone in Boston is already buying their Jackie Bradley Jr. jerseys and they will be well worth it.
Colby – I didn’t want to do it, I really didn’t. I knew I would be drawn to a Washington Nationals World Series and I wasn’t going to let myself pick it. But I did. The Nationals will not let another playoff run slip through their fingers after last year’s Strasburg-gate. He might start games 1-4 just to be safe. They’ll be going up against the surprising Rays and their dominant rotation. I’ve apparently shown my love for the Tampa Bay in this post, and if my MVP and ROY predictions (they’re just guesses let’s be honest here) come true, then they will have a chance to make that deep playoff run. That rotation is disgusting and when they put Alex Cobb into the bullpen for the playoffs he will take full advantage of his strikeout abilities. David Price could tear through any team and Longoria/Myers could give them the offense they need to compete. BUT, it just won’t be enough and the Nationals will pull it out in close games 4-2.
Alex – (Editor’s Note – It’s really Alex again, don’t worry fans) The Braves dominant pitching will relatively shut down the Angels, but it won’t be enough to overtake them as the Angels’ staff will give up even less runs. It’ll be an exciting series, but the Angels take it in 6, despite a Reggie Jackson-esq performance by Jason Heyward. Short, sweet and to the point.
Dark Horse Team
Colby – Kansas City Royals. Yes, those Royals who wear the powder blue and can’t even perform like the NFL’s powder blue brigade and fail at the end. (Cue Arnold’s voice “Go Charge-ah’s Go”) This team can’t even get off the ground most years. The trade of Wil Myers was much needed to provide an ace to a team that was sorely lacking in the pitching department. They aren’t lacking that now, however they are lacking depth. This lineup has great potential as most of the players are young and project for power and speed, making a slump less likely because they won’t be relying on power or speed from just one hitter. Hosmer/Gordon/Butler and the surprising Salvador Perez must produce and the front office must make smart moves to snag a number 2 before the deadline. Garza, Gallardo or Cliff Lee would be the type of move they would need to jump into contention. Dark horse to say the least.
Alex – The Pirates showed moments of brilliance last season, but unfortunately, they were unable to get that to last for any significant amount of time. However, the team has added Liriano and Starling Marte will do as well at the plate as expected. If A.J. Burnett is the ace this team needs, the Pirates could go deep into October.
That’s all folks, it is a bit long and a bit cumbersome, but I hope you enjoyed it! Leave your own picks in the comments below and be ready to throw this in my face on twitter or Facebook when it all goes downhill. Here’s to a terrible first game tonight with the Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros. It’s going to be a bloodbath, but it doesn’t feel like it is getting warm until opening day. Thanks and enjoy the season.