We have reached opening night of the 2012 season! Cardinals vs Marlins at new Marlins Ballpark tonight. While every other team will open the season tomorrow and Friday. In my last series of posts, I went over each division. This entry is about other 2012 predictions- including my world series prediction!
Cy Young: Justin Verlander Runner-up: Felix Hernandez
MVP: Miguel Cabrera Runner-up: Robinson Cano
ROTY: Matt Moore (TB)
MOTY: Joe Maddon
AL Champs: Detroit Tigers
Cy Young: Cliff Lee Runner-up: Matt Cain
NL MVP: Joey Votto Runner-up: Jason Heyward
NL Roty: Bryce Harper
NL MOTY: Mike Matheny
NL CHamps: Phillies
WS Prediction: Tigers over Phillies- This may be Phillies last chance of making the world series as the Marlins and Nationals are on the upcoing rise in the next couple of years. With the 3 ace in their rotation they did not get the job done, as they were eliminated by eventual champs St Louis in the first round. Kind of a risky pick with injuries of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Detroit I think wins the AL pennant due to Justin Verlander and the rest of the solid staff. Plus they got Prince Fielder and Miggy Cabrera and other rising stars. I give the advantage to the AL in the world series this year.
As two AL West foes- Mariners and A’s soon to play the first regular season game of the 2012 season in Japan- I am here writing my final divisional preview and prediction, this one will be the AL West Preview. Was won by Texas Rangers and advanced to the world series for 2nd season in a row…eventually to lose two world series in a row. So what will 2012 be like in the AL West division?
2011 AL West final standings:
- Texas Rangers (96-66)
- LA Angels : (86-76)
- Oakland A’s: (74-88)
- Seattle Mariners: (67-95)
2012 AL West Predictions:
- Texas Rangers (95-67)
- LA Angels (91-71)
- Oakland A’s (70-92)
- Seattle Mariners (66-96)
Rangers analyst: Texas Rangers has represented the AL in the world series the last two seasons but failed to win it all both times. As the previous few seasons, Texas poised with a powerful lineup and ready to go at it again in 2012. They will be returning alot of their 2011 starters. They got Mike Napoli without a doubt top 2, or the best catcer in the MLB- hit 30 homers. Ian Kinsler a great contact hitter, also smashed 32 HR’s. Adrian Beltre still hits for decent power- though starting to age and injuries. Elvis Andrus (still maturing, getting better at shortstop), also have always MVP candidate Michael Young as their DH. Outfield made up of David Murphy, Josh Hamilton, and Nelson Cruz- one of the better outfields in MLB. Hamilton of course having the drug/alchol addiction problems (and the relapse in the winter). Even with a injury-played season he was able to put up solid numbers offensively. Rangers pitching staff a little different at the top- their “ace” CJ Wilson has moved on to play for the Rangers top foe- the Angels. Their rotation will look like: Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Feliez, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison. Pen features set-up man Koji Uehara (acquired at last years deadline) and Joe Nathan will take the Rangers starting role, of course his last few seasons have been plagued with injuries. I think the Rangers will have a small edge over LA Angels- but it could go either way.
Angels Analyst: Huge offseason for the halos. They signed arguably the best hitter in baseball to date in Albert Pujols. Then even added to a already strong rotation, by gasping their rivals former ace CJ Wilson. CJ will join Ace Jered Weaver coming off his best season- 18-8 record, and Dan Haren, making the Angels the best 1-2-3 punch. No slouch at #4 slot either- they have Mr. No Hitter Ervin Santana and another youngster yet to be known will round out the halos rather strong rotation. Angels huge splash of signing Albert Pujols will beef up their lineup. A good combo of good veterans of Bobby Abreu (still hits for good BA), Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter, along with up-rising stars of Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Peter Borjous. They even get Kendry Morales back after out all last season. Thats a good line-up for any team and with that solidly good 1-2-3-4 punch, Angels should be a fun squad to watch and watch out because they are ready to prove that they want to win itall this season. Again I pick the Rangers, but I would not be surprised at all if Angels end up winning the West.
A’s Analyst: Tough pick between Athletics and Mariners for the race to 3rd place. I chose the A’s- a coin-toss hunch type prediction. A’s are indeed in full-blown rebuilding mode and should be for the next 2-3 seasons, if not a little more. They traded away Gio Gonzalez (to the Nationals) in effort to rebuild for the future. No more AS pitcher Trevor Cahill either. However A’s also made some head lines by signing Yoenis Cespedes ( 6 year deal). Also head-scratcher the A’s signed Manny Ramirez to a minor-league deal and had him working out this spring training. Ramirez will have to serve his 50 game suspension first- before he can comeback in the very last day of May. I don’t see Ramirez being much of a big threat- after seeing him struggle majorly before he retired early last season. Definitely a rebuilding year for Oakland, hopefully they’ll be back to win for the 2015-2016 season.
Mariners Analyst: Another wofeful season in 2011 for the M’s. They had little in the way of offense (averaging less than 3.5 runs a game). Highlight of the season was a bad highlight- losing 17 games in a row at one point, tying the 1962 Mets team for most losses in a row. Offensive power outage was the theme for the M’s in 2011. Led by Ichiro who for the first time in his MLB career that he did not hit for a .300+ batting average- he also failed to pick up over 200 hits for the first time in MLB career. He is not the only one that strugged, Chone Figgins hit a whoppering .188 average. Though they did acquire Jesus Montero in the Montero-Pineda swap in the offseason. Montero ranked #3 prospect in MLB. Montero came up for the Yanks in the 2nd half and showed teams what he is made of. King Felix still the leader in Seattle, along with Jason Vargas, Charlie Furbush, and Blake Beaven. So should be a 2 team race between Rangers/Angels and A’s/M’s pretty far behind them.
In review for each division:
NL East: Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Mets
NL Central: Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs, Astros
NL West: Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, Pads
AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Soxs, Blue Jays, Orioles
AL Central: Tigers, Indians, Twins, White Sox, Royals
AL West: Rangers, Angels, A’s, Mariners
5th of 6 division review as the first regular season games will be played in Japan on Wednesday and Thursday. Today post will focus on the AL Central. Tigers won the division commandingly finishing 15 games over second place Cleveland Indians.
2011 Final AL Central standings:
- Detroit Tigers: (95-67)
- Cleveland Indians: (80-82)
- Chicago White Sox: (79-83)
- Kansas City Royals: (71-91)
- Minnesota Twins: (63-99)
2012 ALC Predictions:
- Detroit Tigers (96-66)
- Cleveland Indians (83-79)
- Minnesota Twins(79-83)
- Chicago White Sox (77-85)
- KC Royals (76-86)
Tigers Analyst: Tigers won the AL Central last season by a landslide- 15 games over the Indians. They may be even better this season as they went out and made a helluva big impact signing Prince Fielder- switching leagues should NOT be a problem for the big man. Miggy Cabrera banged up at the moment but he should be fine- moving to third base after the Tigers signed Prince. He does have past experience at third base playing for the Marlins but his defense is average or possibly less. After that the Tigers don’t really have anymore superstar power in the starting nine but they do have good players. Austin Jackson makes the opposing infielders sweat even a rouetine groundball with his speed, Brandon Boesch, Johnny Peralata and Ryan Raburn. Of course the Tigers also have Justin Verlander- coming off not only a CY Young but also a MVP award season which he won 21 games and also had a no-hitter to his credit vs Toronto. He is followed in the staff by Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello. Tigers will also have a threat in the ‘pen with Joaquin Benoit setting up and Jose Valverde shutting the door.
Indians analyst: In a cointoss for 2nd place, I’ll go with the Indians. They continue to take baby steps back to try to take over on top of the division. They have some pieces to the puzzle- Carlos Santana, Astrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore, Shin-soo-Choo, and Travis Hafner. Though it has been very difficult to keep Sizemore, Hafner off the DL in past few years- add Choo to the list after a season-shortening injury last year. They do have potential, but will need to keep those guys healthy- which will be key for the Tribe’s playoff chances. Pitching rotation seeks to be of Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, veteran Derek Lowe and “Fausto Carmona” or whatever his real name is.
Twins Analyst: Was a very dissapointing 2011 season for the Twinkies. Combination of on-the-field struggles and major injuries to their team proved to be the twin killer on the season. Finishing last in the AL Central and winning only 66 ball games. I pick the Twins 3rd but only under one condition- if they can stay healthy, they should be fine. If not they will fall to 4th if not last place again. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau the two M&M boys went down with injuries being the final huge blow to their team. If they can be healthy all season long- they could pay huge dividents. With Target Field being the way it is, Justin Morneau should hit more than his 2011 HR total which was 4 because the injury, I doubt he hits more than 25. Pitching looks blah….the ‘stache Carl Pavano has always seemed to be injury-prone but hes the leader of the staff. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, and Nick Blackburn closes out the starting pitchers- average at best.
White Sox analyst: Chi sox roster not clearly not full of any big names. Adam Dunn probably the biggest name on the team and he has struggled producing runs and slugging out big numbers. One guy I do like watching play is Alexei Ramirez. Paul Konerko is still going strong and is 4 homers away to joining the 400 home run club. Other than that the White Sox don’t have much to jump up and down about. I have Chi Sox over Royals for 4th mostly due to the strength of the rotation. I think they are better than the Royals starting five- John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Philp Humber and Chris Sale. Though don’t expect anything great to come from the south side of Chicago this year. Nor the north side.
Royals Analyst: Royals and Kauffman stadium will host the all star game this season, which has spiked up the number of tickets sold due to the first come first serve tickets for the ASG via ticket plan. Royals have a botload of major league ready players about to explode onto the scene but probably not this year. Eric Hosmer will be making his first full season looking to improve on a decent half of year, Jeff Francouer, Billy Butler some boppers. Main concern for the Royals is its pitching. Luke Hochevar likely the leader, Bruce Chen, Jonathan Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy. No big names making pitching a real concern, which is why I have them finishing 5th although they can switch with Chicago at the end.
Reviewing the post: Tigers (1st) Tribe (2nd) Twinkies(3rd) Chi Sox (4th) Royals (5th)
Now for the American League predictions. First up the AL East. New York Yankees won the division last season, Tampa Bay Rays won the 2nd place posistion and wild card spot after a debacle breakdown in August/Septmber by Boston. What will see this season?
2011 AL East Final Standings:
- NY Yankees (97-65)
- Tampa Bay Rays (91-71)
- Boston Red Sox (90-72)
- Toronto Blue Jays (81-81)
- Baltimore Orioles (69-93)
2012 ALE Predictions:
- Yankees (98-64)
- Tampa Bay (93-69)
- Red Soxs (91-71)
- Toronto Jays (82-80)
- Baltimore Orioles (68-94)
Yankees Analyst: Big offseason trade between the Yanks and Mariners when the Yankees traded away one of their top prospects Jesus Montero to the M’s for Michael Pineda, who is likely to be the Bronx Bombers 2nd starter behind the big horse CC Sabathia. Also just lat week they re-signed long time former Yankee Andy Pettitte to a 1 year deal coming out of a short retirement- shooting for a May return. Yankees pitching staff- 7 potential starting pitchers of Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Hughes, Kuroda, Garcia, and Andy Pettitte. Bullpen may be a strong moot point for the Yankees- Soriano, David Robertson and the great closer of Mariano Rivera still pitching lights out at 42 years old. He indciates 2012 may be his final season. Yankees offense looks strong as always. Russel Martin better defensive catcher with decent occasional power, Mark Teixeria BA struggling to get real high, but still hits 25+ homers, Robinson Cano still likely to win a batting title in my book, Alex Rodriguez had a good 2011 season (despite injury), Curtis Granderson (over 40 homers in 2011) Nick Swisher also can knock 20-25 homers out of the ballpark as well. Not to mention Derek Jeter still going strong who had incredible 2nd half of the season after he picked up hit #3000 in early July. Im picking the Yankees to win the division again.
Rays Analyst: The rays took advantage of the Red Sox historic collapse by having a great September. Led by their solidly good pitching rotation of David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson (entering his 2nd full season), Matt Moore and Wade Davis. Pitching is what gives the Rays the boost over Boston in my opinion. Their line-up is not full of superstars- Evan Longoria the most productive hitter in the starting 9- BJ Upton will play a huge role- he needs to have a breakout season for the Rays. They re-acquired Carlos Pena from the Cubs, he still can put up 25 homers or more, so the Rays have some pop but probably not as much as the Yankees and Sox do. Tampa Bay Rays always appear to get really hot in the last two months and find a miracle to always reach the postseason. They should get in here in one of the wildcard spots.
Boston Analyst: Boston Redsox’s look to rebound from their debacle meltdown to miss the postseason to win the AL East here in 2012. They got rid of Terry Francona and brought in Bobby Valentine which means new manager and probably a new attitude to Boston. Boston still possess of a very good offense- Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and of course “big papi” David Ortiz is still in Boston. Carl Crawford will be a big part of Boston’s fate- he will need to be way better than what he produced in 2011 his first year in Boston he only hit BA of .255- 11 homers- 56 RBI’s. I have a feeling those numbers will improve this season. The Sawx pitching staff is decent but not as good as Tampa’s and even the Yanks. They do have Jon Lester, Josh Beckett who had good first halves of the season- but went downhill big time like the rest of the team. Clay Bucholtz, Alfredo Aceves, and Daniel Bard will likely move from Setup spot to the starting rotation in 2012. Don’t forget some of the pitching staff was under fire from the beer drinking during games incident. Jonathan Papelbon has moved to the Phillies, replacing him as the closer is Andrew Bailey- while he is decent, he is not Jonathan Papelbon. I think Boston just misses the playoffs yet again by a hair.
Blue Jays Analyst: Jays put up a .500 final win-lost record in 2011. All of course a powerful lineup- 6 of the 9 20+ potential home run hitters. Jose Bautista one of the best players in the last two years. After being traded for the Pirates to the Blue Jays his home runs has increased dramatically. He went from hitting average of 13-16 home runs a year to hitting 54 and 43 in the last two seasons. If all goes right I expect the Jays to be up to the top 3 teams of total home runs. Bautista, Adam Lind, Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion all have the power to hit 20 or more bombs. Not much to say about their pitching. Ricky Romero their ace is slightly above average, Brandon Morrow is a flame-thrower, Brett Cecil average southpaw, Dustin McGowan and Henderson Alvarez. Gotta watch out for the Jays, sleeper team. I don’t think this year but over the next couple of years watch them make it back to postseason contention.
Orioles Analyst: Another frustrating season in 2011 for the O’s. Make it 14 seasons without a winning record in the charm city. I think its pretty bold to mark it up as another lousy season for the birds in 2012. Don’t get me wrong they have good ball players like Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold but they also got Mark Reynolds (hits 25+ homers but strikes out way too much, BA always an issue) Brian Roberts (good player but injuries have caught up to him), JJ Hardy (Had very good 2011 season, don’t think he’ll repeat that). Sloppy pitching rotation for the birds- Jake Arrietta, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and two other unnamed starters at this time.
In review I got: Yankees (1st) Rays (2nd) Sox (3rd) Jays in 4th and O’s in last.
Final NL preview…the NL West division which was won by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 over the San Francisco Giants.
2011 Final NL West Standings:
- Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68)
- San Francisco Giants (86-76)
- L.A. Dodgers (82-79)
- Colorado Rockies (73-89)
- San Diego Padres (71-91)
2012 NLW Predictions:
- Arizona Diamondbacks (89-73)
- San Francisco Giants (87-75)
- Colorado Rockies (78-84)
- L.A. Dodgers (74-88)
- San Diego Padres (70-92)
Diamondbacks Analyst: The D-Backs without a doubt was that biggest surprise in the 2011 baseball season. The team went from winning 65 games in 2010, to 94 wins and a playoff birth in 2011. They return most of their players who were on the team last season. First-basemen Paul Goldschmidt got called up and started jacking the ball, he will be the starter at 1st base. Miguel Montero young catcher (good power, good defense); Outfield of the Dbacks got some serious pop. Justin Upton at Left; he jacked 31 homers last season. Chris Young patrolling centerfield, he hit 20 homeruns last season. And newly acquired Jason Kubel will play RF he has some pop hitting atlease 20 homeruns in his previous 3 of 4 seasons with the Twins as mostly a DH. He will have to play the field in AZ. The snakes pitching rotation led by young ace Ian Kennedy. Kennedy had a spectacular 2011′ season producing a record of 21 wins and 4 losses, mostly a big reason why they won the division. I doubt he picks up 20 wins again, but if he wins 15-18, Dbacks have a good shot. Daniel Hudson 2nd in the rotation, hurrled his way to 16 wins in ’11. They got Trevor Cahill who had up and down season from the A’s and Collmenter as the 4th place starter. JJ Putz had 45 saves and an era of only 2.17, so give him the lead in the 9th to shut the door! The NLW should go down to the wire between AZ/SF, but I give Arizona slight edge with a better offense.
San Francisco Analyst: Giants won the world series in 2010 and failed to make the postseason in 2011. Big reason why is because the lack of offense once Buster Posey went down for most of the season after a big collision at home plate. Well Buster will be back in the lineup in hopes of igniting the rather below average lineup the Giants put out. Look for him to put up solid numbers this season. Around the giants IF they have Aubrey Huff who is aging and only knocked 12 homers last season. Freddy Sanchez has been producing good offense numbers but hes been dealing with some injury-riddled seasons as of late. At shortstop Brandon Crawford should get the nod- classified as a average hitter. And lastly Kung fu Panda at 3b- puts up good average, clutch hitter, down a bit in the 2011. Giants outfield is nothing special. Melky Cabrera has been trade bait more then anything the last few years but hes coming off his best year hitting over .300 for most of the season with the Royals. Hes accompanied by Angel Pagan and Nate Schierholtz- both average players. Giants will have to rely on their strong focal point- the starting pitching. Tim Lincecum two time CY-Young, signed a long contract for the Giants has been a very good pitcher for them but he came down to earth a bit in 2011- Giants need him to come back stronger for 2012 if they want to win. #2 AND #3 starters Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner both had good seasons. Vogelsong #4 starter a 34 year old pitcher-came back big after rebuilding his baseball career- posting a good 2.34 era during the season. Barry zito rounds out the rotation and you can call it a big BUST. As he continues to put up sub-winning records. Of course Brian Wilson and his beard will be back in action closing the games for SF.
Rockies Analyst: Couple years of down seasons in Denver the Rockies are back to challenge in 2012. They are putting together a solid lineup. Ramon Hernandez added to the team- has pop. Tom Helton not hitting the 20+ homers each season anymore but constantly still hitting .280 BA and 10-19 homers a season. Michael Cuddyer acquired off free agency is a solid player- hits the longball and clutch with RISP. Troy Tulowitzki probably most efficient offensively- great power and hits 30 homers, 95-100 rbis as a SS. Outfield has good potential- Dexter Fowler in center, former 2011 MLB MVP canidate Carlos Gonzalez who slugged 26 bombs last season. I am excited to see this lineup as Coors Field and the airmass there favors the long ball, should be fun to watch. Rockies dealth their “ace” Ublado Jimenez near the deadline last season and now they don’t have a true ace but their pitching staff contains Jorge De La Rosa, Youngsters Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio who pitched well in 2011 and Tyler Chatwood and Esmil Rogers- mostly a young staff, and not everyone knows those names. The wildcard of the Rockies season will be the pitching- because they have enough to win offensively in my opinion.
Dodgers analyst: Rocky season for the Dodgers mered by the budget issues. They wound up with 80 wins but it could have been well worse without the value of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp had a mvp-type monster season. He predicts another big season- stating that he will have a 50-50 homerun/steal season. He better back it up, or the Dodgers will be in serious trouble. Not much intruging stats to provide on the Dodgers for the upcoming season. They have players with potential (Kemp, Loney, Ethier, Kershaw, Billingsley) but not getting it done on the diamond. James Loney had one good season- .331 BA/15 HR season back in 07′, Mark Ellis at second base numbers have gone well down, Dee Gordon has speed but not much more and Juan Uribe numbers took a slide downward only hitting a inch over the mendoza line- .204 batting average. Outfield contains Matt Kemp (best player on the team), Andre Ethier has struggled lately, Juan Rivera (decent contact/occasional power hitter) Pitching staff led by Clayton Kershaw as mentioned above, Chad Billingsley who had his best season number-wise in 07-08, Ted Lilly who is an offspeed pitcher (kinda like Jamie Moyer) always seems to win those 3-2, 2-1 type ballgames, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano wraps up the probable rotation, classified as average at best.
Padres Analyst: Last but not lease the Padres. Um bottom-dwellers last season and looking likely again this season. Most of their possible power source should come from the outfield- Carlos Quentin (hits 20+ HRs previous seasons), Cameron Maybin hasn’t been the top prospect that we thought, but could find his idenity in SD, and top-prospect Kyle Banks tall Right-handed batter, could be a 25+ HR guy in his prime. Not much power wise looking around the rest of the team. There is Nick Hundley behind the plate, Chase Headley, and Orlando Hudson. Orlando Hudson’s offense numbers have been good but only hit .246 last season. Though his defense still gets a grade A. Pitching looks to be average at best. Edison Volquez acquired in the Volquez/Latos swap. Then Tim Stauffer, Clayton Richard, Cory Luebke, and Dustin Moseley. Should be another down season as the Pads are rebuilding for the future.
There you have it. Entire NL 2012 predictions done…I will begin posting my AL predictions on Friday and the weekend.
Next division preview will be the NL Central. Probably the toughest division to predict in this upcoming season- with the world series champs Cardinals and Brewers losing top key players. Reds should also be in contention after a great 2010 season then a down season in 2011.
2011 NLC Final Standings
- Brewers 96-66
- Cardinals 90-72
- Reds 79-83
- Pirates 72-90
- Cubs 71-91
- Astros 56-106
2012 NLC Predictions:
- Cardinals (88-74)
- Reds (85-77)
- Brewers (82-80)
- Pirates (75-87)
- Cubs (69-93)
- Astros (58-104)
Cardinals Analyst: Defending 2011 World series champions St Louis Cardinals will play the 2012 season and beyond without Albert Pujols who has been the centerpeice of the Cardinal’s franchise since he was called up in 2001. Not the only key lost, long-time skipper Tony LaRussa has retired shortly after the Cardinals won the world series. Cardinals managed to sneak in to the postseason after the brutal late season collapse by the Braves. They are returning ace Chris Carpenter to the helm, also Adam Wainwright who has a 20 win season min his credit, and Jaime Garcia a quality #3 type starter. Cardinals offense still looks eerly similar to the one that won the WS- despite losing Albert Pujols. They got Yadier Molina behind the plate, Lance Berkman who crushed the ball in his first season as a Cardinal- I doubt he puts up those numbers again but he should have a good season. Post-season hero David Freese gets the nod for his first full year at 3B. Carlos Beltran (CF) and Rafael Furcal (SS) are againg players but still make an impact with speed and occasional power. I think the Cards will have enough offense to propel them to another NLC pennant.
Reds Analyst: Down season for the Reds faithful after making the postseason in 2010- only posting 79 wins in the ’11 season. I think this season will be different as the Reds should be in contention all season. They have alot potential in their offensive lineup. 1B Joey Votto hits for power- Brandon Phillips hits for average and power- Rolen still playing good ball at the hot-spot. Outfield set with Stubbs (great speed, occasional power, K’s alot), Jay Bruce and my town Lancaster-native Chris Heisey patroling the OF. With a decent lineup each game, pitching staff is Cueto, newly acquired Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, and the young firearms of Mike Leake and Homer Bailey. All around decent club, should make a impact in the NL Central pennant race.
Brewers Analyst: Like the Cardinals, Brewers off-season was mered with a huge player loss. Prince Fielder left Milwaukee to switch leagues to the AL (Tigers). Heart of the Brew crew order impacted with the loss of Fielder’s power. Could play huge role on Ryan Braun as their wont be that big ball protecting him. Brewers still got a decent sortment of offensive fire power. They got a good player of Rickie Weeks at 2B, who hit 20 HRs in 2011, Nyjer Morgan, Corey Hart and of course Ryan Braun. It is going to be interesting to see how Bruan performs on two cases- 1.) without big Prince and 2.) after the Drug case that went on this offseason. Brewers pitching is led by Yovani Gallardo and Zack Grienke and Shawn Marcum with Randy Wolf a good veteran #4 type starter. Chris Narveson rounds out the rotation. Brewers pitching suggests they have a shot to come out as NLC winners again but I give the Cardinals starting 5 a slight edge. Told you its going to be one heck of a 3-team race this season!
Pirates Analyst: Pirates made a loud move last season as they treated their fans when they were in the NL Central race well into July. Their downward spirial begun when a clear tag out at the plate- was called and the Braves went on to beat the Pirates in 19 innings- then everything went downhill from there for the Bucs. This season the Pirates best offseason move wasp icking up catcher Rod Barajas- who can hit for decent power. Rest of the Pirates line-up includes Neil Walker, McCutchen, Jones, Clint Barmes and Casey McGee will control the leftside of the IF. Pirates pitching looks rather bleak in my opinion. Their ace of the staff is likely to be either Jeff Karstens or Charlie Morton. They are followed by Kevin Correia, James McDonald and injury-proned Erik Bedard. They did acquire AJ Burnett from the Yankees to become the ace of the young staff but a bunt practice injury to his eye knocked him out until atlease early June. Good thing they are starting to pack PNC Park more often now- as its a beautiful ballpark…lets hope the players reward the fans so they come out to PNC this season!
Cubs Analyst: The curse of the Cubs continue- over 100 years and still going strong since the Cubs last WS title. Cubs trying to change the reverse, named Dale Sveum new manager with Theo Epstein the new boss of the team. They won’t change the play of the team. Cubs should struggle yet again this season. They do have good offense potential with Geovany Soto though he struggled only hitting .228 2011- Sterling Castro 2nd year player- probably the best Cubs offensive threat though involved in offseason off-the-field trouble. Alfonso Soriano hit 26 homers but couldn’t lift his average over the .250 mark, Marlon Byrd, and David Dejesus can hit for average at times. Cubs pitching is the problem- Matt Garza the ace; but after him all is average at best with Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Travis Wood. The curse will go on for another year on the North side of Chicago.
Astros Analyst: Not much to say about the Astros. They lost 106 games in 2011- could challenge that this season as well. The Astros outlook provides 6 of 8 offensive players that I have never heard of. Carlos Lee the veteran- still not near production as he was 3-4 years ago. Jed Lowrie not a veteran- but most experienced than rest of the others besides Carlos Lee. Astros better half is pitching with Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, JA Happ, but what help could they boost the team- if they lack to score more than 2 runs a game? Watch for Wandy Rodriguez to be dealt by the deadline to a playoff contender in need of a decent caliber pitcher. 106 losses last season, could they reach 110 losses this season?
Final review on standing predictions, I got:
Only 10 days away until the first game of Seattle vs Oakland in Japan. And only 19 days remaining before everyone’s opening day begins!
Time for my division by division predictions for the 2012 season! Beginning with the NL East division. NEXT SERIES OF POST UP THROUGH OPENING DAY will be these posts with my league by league predictions!
Final 2011 NL east standings were
- Phillies final record: 102-60
- Braves final record: 89-73
- Nationals final record: 80-81
- Mets final record: 77-85
- Marlins final record: 72-90
My predictions for the 2012 Season:
- Phillies (98-64)
- Braves (86-76)
- Marlins (83-79)
- Nationals (82-80)
- Mets (62-100)
Analyst: Phillies were eliminated in the first round by the eventual world champion St Louis Cardinals after winning 102 games in the regular season. I think with the three aces of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hammels, and the addition of Jonathan Papelbon to shut the door will be enough to propel the Phillies to another NL East title by a comfortable margin over Atlanta. Don’t forget Hunter Pence, should have a big year in that ballpark!
Braves Analyst: Good 2011 season by the braves winning 89 games despite ending short of a playoff bid. It was a step in the right for first year manager Fredi Gonzalez and co. Expect a good race for 2nd place between Marlins, the Nats, the Braves. Comparing the Braves pitching staff to the other two teams, I give a good edge to the Braves. Solid pitching staff made of veteran Tim Hudson (16 game winner in 2011), young gunner Jair Jurrjens (2.95 era in 2011) and Tommy Hanson. Braves offensively has some good players, but questions marks all over. Brian McCann does a great job controlling the pitching staff and also puts up very impressive numbers batting. Question marks lie on the shoulders of long-time player Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward. Jones turn 40 years old and has been shuffling in and out of the braves lineup after injury riddle seasons the past few years. Question: will he be able to stay healthy and produce decent stats? only time will tell. Was Jason Heyward just stuck in the sophmore slump? after a 277-18-72 season in 2010; Heyward only hit for an BA of .227 with only 14 longballs and only drove in 42 runs. I think a good pick is if the braves are going to be a player this season, it will be from the pitching side of the ball.
Marlins Analyst: Big off season for the Marlins, picking up big additions of SS Jose Reyes, SP Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. They also have a new ballpark starting this year and a name change from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins. Expect the Marlins to improve more this season with a good lineup on paper. Watch the combo of Jose Reyes (Batting champ of 2011); Phenom LF Mike Stanton continues to impress hitting 34 bombs in the ’11 season, only 22 years of age, figures only to become even better as he moves on to his prime. Dont forget the other Marlin play makers Logan Morrision who hit 23 homers but also had a not so great BA of .247. Hanley Ramirez dropped off big time (243 BA 10 homers) in 2011…with the Reyes pick-up Ramirez moves to third base..lets see if that does any impact on his play. Pitching staff of the Marlins: Josh Johnson had a 1.64 in 9 starts before ending his season with an injury. Veteran Mark Buehrle backs Johnson up. Pretty good move to pick up the veteran southpaw who tossed a perfect game in 2009 as a pitcher for Chicago White Sox. Behind those two guys are Ricky Nolasco who was a solid leader for the Marlins after Johnson went down with injury. Possibly the most intriguing pickup of a few for the Marlins was bringing in Carlos Zambrano who has had rocky seasons along to go with his temper the past few years in his stay with the Cubs.
Nationals Analyst: Finally Nationals gave their fans something to cheer about winning 80 games in 2011. And they may only improve- they acquired Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson to anchor their young pitching staff along with John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, and yes Stephen Strasburg. Although rumor has it that Strasburg will start up in Harrisburg, PA to begin the season with the Harrisburg Senators. Either way Strasburg looks likely to return to the big leagues sooner rather than later at some point this season. Nats lineup features sluggers in the infield of 2B Danny Espinosa (21 Hrs) and Ryan Zimmerman a past AS was locked up long term by the Nats; now locked up with a $100 million dollar contract that keeps him in National uni until 2020! Those a very possible risk factor after a injury played 2011 campaign limited him to only 12 homeruns. If he returns to full health he could play very good defense at 3B while hitting near or over .300 BA and 20-30 homers. The outfield of the Nats features Michael Morse who has been quiet all along until last season when he belted the cover off the baseball hitting for average and power (.303/31 homers and 95 RBIs). Jayson Werth in his first season after accepting that monster contract was a mini bust- he did hit 20 home runs- but average was only down into the 230’s and the run production was just absent for the most part. If he returns to his Philadelphia like days, it coulf give the Nats a big boost. And the big question mark is if any of the OF get hurt or struggle will they call up #1 pick 19 year old RF Bryce Harper? Manager of the nats saids Harper has a shot to make the roster, but if he does will he make an immediate impact? Watch for a more slight improvement in the 2012 season but for a playoff team- I believe isn’t this season.
Mets Analyst: What to say about the Mets? They let Jose Ryes walk, Angel Pagan also gone. I think its pretty obvious that the Mets are going to struggle majorly this season. If they are well out of the race by the trade deadline they might just well deal David Wright to a contender in need. Met fans are not please at all with the team. Couple of positives for the mets- 1.) Ike Davis who hit for a pretty good season, though struggle at times and 2.) Johan Santana is returning after being out since 2010. Question marks surround Santana- will he be able to pitch like he did with the Twins? Either way it going to be a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong season for the Mets faithful. I fear a 100-loss season is on the way for this team!
In review- my NLE picks
Though the Marlin/Nats may swap posistions as both teams look even on paper.