2013 MLB Predictions

posted in: Opinion | 0

As the 2013 Major League Baseball season opens up the year, as always, promises surprises, storylines, excitement, and drama. Here are my predictions and notes on every team in Major League Baseball

  • NL East

    • Nationals

      • Projected Record: 95-67

      • The team with the best record in baseball got better with additions Rafael Soriano and Denard Span.

      • Stephen Strasburg, one of best pitchers in game, is no longer limited and can pitch full year

      • Bryce Harper is no longer a rookie and has more experience

      • Key Player: Gio Gonzalez

        • Will offseason steroid scandal effect play?

        • Can he repeat 20 win performance of last year?

        • If he repeats his performance from 2012 this team could have the best starting rotation in baseball

    • Braves

      • Projected Record: 91-71

      • A Wild Card team from year ago added both of B.J. Upton and Justin Upton to join Jason Heyward giving them one of the best outfield combinations in the game

      • Craig Kimbrel, Cy Young finalist and 2012 Rholaids Relief Man of the Year, shows no sign of slowing down

      • How will loss of Veteran Chipper Jones effect team?

      • Key Player: Justin Upton

        • Can change of scenery from Arizona and reunitement with brother BJ return the 25 year old to MVP finalist form of 2011

    • Phillies

      • Projected Record: 86-76

      • Full year out of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley

        • Utley first spring training games in 2 years

        • One Phillies executive said of Utley, “He’s running around like a little kid. So, he’s healthy.”

      • Addition of Mike Adams sures up the 8th inning pitching

      • Additions of Ben Revere, Michael Young, and Delmon Young could spark lineup

      • Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, and Jimmy Rollins are yet another year older

      • Outfield has lots of questions

      • Key Player: Roy Halladay

        • This team will win by starting pitching if it wins at all

        • If Halladay returns to form pitching should be this good

    • Mets

      • Projected Record: 76-86

      • David Wright and Ike Davis are bright spots on team not built to win now

      • Young prospects Zach Wheeler and newly acquired Travis D’Arnaud show bright future possibility

      • Outfield is dismal as the Mets ranked 29th of 30 in outfield Wins Above Replacement, and top 2 outfielders left

      • Key Player: Ike Davis

        • If Davis puts up very good numbers, that’s will put this team in its best likely position

        • David Wright is almost a lock to play well, if Davis can play well on top of the that will help team

    • Marlins

      • Projected Record: 65-97

      • After disappointing 2012’s high hopes, the Marlins traded away Jose Reyes, Mark Beurhle, and Josh Johnson to Blue Jays, as well as former all-star closer Heath Bell

      • Giancarlo Stanton is lone bright spot remaining

      • Key player: Giancarlo Stanto

        • If the Marlins are going to pull off a miracle and compete in this division, it’s going to come on the shoulders of Giancarlo Stanton

 

 

  • NL Central

    • Reds

      • Projected Record: 90-72

      • The 2012 Central Division champions enter the 2013 season having retained   almost all of their Major League roster

      • Career .289 hitter Shin Soo Choo fills major hole at top of lineup

      • Mat Latos is one year more experienced as is Todd Frazier, and Zack Cozart

      • Homer Bailey finished 2012 strong with a 2.01 ERA in September and a no-hitter of the Pirates. Looks to carry that momentum into 2013

      • Superstars Joey Votto and BRandon Phillips don’t appear to be dropping off

      • Three projected starting outfielders; Shin Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, and Ryan Ludwig, combined for zero games in center field last year. Will Choo be able to play it?

      • Key Player: Shin Soo Choo

        • Despite the middle of the lineup being above average, the Reds finished just 21st in total offense last year as they ranked dead last in batting average and on base percentage from the leadoff spot

        • Choo hit .283 last year with 21 stolen bases and should improve leadoff spot production

    • Cardinals

      • Projected Record: 87-75

      • After coming one game away from playing in the World Series, the Cardinals retained much of their starting lineup including All-Star catcher Yadier Molina

      • Slugger Matt Holiday appears to be able to continue to carry the lineup power-wise

      • Last year ranked 5th in total offense and appear poised to repeat that performance

      • Pitching rotation lost 16 game winner Kyle Lohse to free agency and Chris Carpenter, who missed most of 2012, will probably miss whole season with nerve condition in throwing shoulder. How good will pitching rotation be?

      • Key Player: Adam Wainwright

        • The former ace of Cardinals staff, who had consecutive years of an Earned Run Average (ERA) below 3.00, missed all of 2011 after having Tommy John surgery and threw a career high 3.90 ERA in 2012. His return to form would be huge for this rotation

        • If he can pitch like the All-Star he once was the rotation would certainly be good enough for the lineup to win

        • Signed 5 year extension worth $97.5 million just before the beginning of season, how well can he make that deal worth it?

    • Brewers

      • Projected Record 82-80

        • Kyle Lohse will be big addition to this team which needed pitching help

        • Former MVP Ryan Braun and Third Baseman Aramis Ramirez will look to carry this lineup once again

        • Yovanni Gallardo and and Kyle Loshe will lead the rotation and Closer John Axford will look to bounce back after rough 2012

        • Key player: John Axford

          • Axford’s struggles hurt the Brewers last year as he blew nine saves

          • If he can return to his 46 for 48 in save opportunities form of 2011 it would be huge for this team

    • Pirates

      • Projected Record: 80-82

      • The Pirates in each of the last two years have started out the year very good only to collapse at seasons end, failing to break now 20 year streak of seasons with a record below .500

      • All Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen will anchor a lineup in which he is surrounded by 30 home run Third Baseman Pedro Alvarez, solid hitting Neil Walker, and exciting prospect outfielder Starling Marte

      • How will addition of Catcher Russel Martin help lineup and pitching staff

      • Loss of lockdown closer Joel Hanrahan will hurt in 2013

      • Starting rotation seems mediocre at best behind AJ Burnett. Will pitching be able consistently keep Pirates in games?

      • Key Player: AJ Burnett

        • After a rough stay in New York, Burnett started off 2012 very well, but faded along with rest of team near end

        • Pirates will need very good season from him to anchor the pitching rotation

    • Cubs

      • Projected Record: 68-94

  • NL West

    • Giants:

      • Projected Record: 93-69

      • Last year’s World Series Champions only losses from last year’s starting lineup were Brian Wilson, who missed almost the entire year with injury, Melky Cabrera, who missed the last month and half of regular season and entire playoffs after suspension for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED)

      • Starting rotation is huge strength with Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Madison Bumgarner leading the way

      • 2-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum performed remarkably in the bullpen 2012 postseason after struggling in starting rotation all regular season, where will he pitch in 2013? How will he pitch?

      • 2012 NL MVP and 2-time World Series champion Buster Posey is just 25 years old has now 2 years of experience under his belt

      • Outside of Posey lineup is fairly unintimidating

      • Key Player: Tim Lincecum

        • If put in bullpen will he be as effective and useful as he was in the 2012 postseason

        • If put in rotation will he be able to rerun to pre-2012 form

        • Wherever he is pitching, if Lincecum is very effective, this will be one of the leagues best in that category

    • Dodgers:

      • Projected Record: 86-76

      • Money has appeared to be a non-issue under the new management group having traded Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett as well as Zack Grienke out of free agency and to add to all-stars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw

      • Will these big-name players, many of whom have seemed to be attitude problems over their careers, play together well?

      • Will Josh Beckett return to ace form?

      • If superstars play to capability, they could be best team in league

      • Loss of Hanley Ramirez for large part of beginning of season to hand injury will hurt

      • Key Player: Andre Ethier

        • With all the superstar additions, Ethier will play a different role this year, but if he can continue to play the way hit as he has throughout his career this lineup should be strong

    • Diamondbacks

      • Projected Record: 82-80

      • Inexplicable strong push to trade Justin Upton leaves this team without big threat in middle of lineup

      • Team does have good young pitching with Ian Kennedy, Brandon McCarthey, and Wade Miley leading the way

      • Key Player: Jason Kubel

        • With the loss of Upton, Kubel appears to be the main power threat in the lineup

        • This team will struggle if he does

    • Rockies

      • Projected Record: 80-82

      • After a very rough 2012, this team could have a slight bounce back in 2013.

      • The return of Shortstop Troy Tulowotzki after injury limited him to 47 games in 2012 will be big

      • The combination of Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Wilin Rosario makes this a potentially scary lineup

      • Pitching rotation ranked last in league with an ERA of 5.81 last year. Miraculous levels of improvement will be needed for this team to compete for a playoff spot

      • Key player: Starting rotation

        • In a rotation lacking big names, big steps up from the entire rotation will be needed for this team

        • Team was sixth in total offense last year, even without Tulowitzki for much of season. If pitching is even average, team will see huge improvement

    • Padres

      • Projected Record: 73-89

      • Moving the fences in should help league’s 24th best offense with 26th best slugging percentage improve

      • Chase Headley, by far best hitter in lineup, looks to continue his .318 batting average from the last 3 months of 2012

      • Can starting rotation prove to better than they seem?

      • Key player: Chase Headley

        • Similar to Ginacarlo Stanton and the Marlins, Headley seems to be the lone bright spot in a lineup which scares nobody

        • If he gets injured or plays very poorly, runs will be very hard to come by for this lineup

  • AL East

    • Blue Jays

      • Projected Record: 94-68

        • In one trade with the Marlins the Blue Jays launched themselves into contention in the division, and they followed that with a trade with the Mets to make them the favorites in this division

        • Reigning N.L Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey along with Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero, and Mark Beurhle make this a very solid pitching rotation

        • Jose Reyes adds an elite leadoff man to a team which slugged the 6th most home runs in 2012

        • Lineup is very good, pitching rotation can be very good as well

        • Key Player: Josh Johnson

          • After posting a 2.30 ERA in 2010, Johnson only pitched in 9 games in 2011 and pitched to a mediocre 3.81 ERA in 2012. If he can return to the ace form he has demonstrated, it would be huge for this pitching staff.

    • RaYs

      • Projected Record: 87-75

        • Despite losing super star 3rd baseman Evan Longoria to injury for most of 2012, the Rays managed to be competitive and that can be expected of them again

        • Loss of BJ Upton hurts and trade of James Shields for prospect Wil Myers will hurt until Myers comes up to big leagues

        • Reigning Cy Young award winner David Price is still approaching the prime of his career so every year could be better than the last

        • Evan Longoria was hitting .329 before a torn hamstring took him out of play until August and he will be looking to return to that pace in 2013

        • Key Player: Evan Longoria

          • The Rays have been at their best when Longoria was carrying them and his return to leadership role will be huge for this team

          • If Longoria can play like he did when he won the silver slugger award in 2009, he will be a strong anchor to this lineup

    • Orioles

      • Projected Record: 85-77

        • After shocking the baseball world with their first playoff appearance in 14 years, the Orioles retained much of their roster

        • All-star closer Jim Johnson is one of the best in the game, leading the league with 51 saves last year

        • However, there’s a reason their playoff appearance was a stunner last year. The starting rotation doesn’t have a single starter with 2 years of Major League experience and a career ERA below 4.00

        • They went 16-2 in extra inning games in 2012 which is almost impossible to repeat

        • Key Player: Wei-Yin Chen

          • If Chen can improve on his 4.02 ERA now in his second year pitching in America, it would be big for anchoring this staff

          • It is a staff that lacks a standout star pitcher, so depth will be key

    • Yankees

      • Projected Record: 83-79

      • After winning the division in 2012, the already old Yankees seemed only to get older with additions of Kevin Youkillis of Travis Hafner

      • The 2nd best offseason in baseball will be missing many components with injuries, and every player is yet another older

      • Key players in the lineup Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixera join Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list for a large time to open the season

      • Derek Jeter also won’t be ready for opening day as he recovers from the broken ankle he suffered in last year’s postseason

      • Alex Rodriguez will probably miss until July after hip surgery in January

      • Mariano Rivera’s return should replace loss of Rafael Soriano

      • Loss of Russel Martin really hurts at catcher’s position

      • Key Player: Ivan Nova

        • Nova has showed the capability to be a better pitcher than he was last year as his 2011 ERA was over a full run lower than in 2012

        • If his control can develop more and he pitches to his potential, this rotation will be very good

    • Red Sox

      • Projected Record: 80-82

        • After an embarrassing 2011 September collapse and laughable 2012 performance, the Red Sox look to return to winning ways with offseason acquisitions of Shane Victorino, Joel Hanrahan, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, and Stephen Drew

        • Andrew Bailey returning to health gives Boston a strong back end of bullpen

        • Starting rotation is still big question

        • Key Player: John Lackey

          • In the two years since coming to the Red Sox from the Angels, Lackey has an ERA of 5.50. If he can return to the 3.81 ERA form he had on the Angels, it would help give this rotation much better depth

  • AL Central

    • Tigers

      • Projected Record: 98-64

        • The reigning AL Champions improved largely this year with the return from injury of catcher Victor Martinez and addition of outfielder Torii Hunter

        • The first Triple Crown winner since 1961, Miguel Cabrera, appears poised to retain his MVP throne

        • Justin Verlander shows no signs of slowing down

        • Key player: Bruce Rondon

          • After Jose Valverde’s atrocious 2012 season and postseason, the Tiger’s closer job appears to be rookie Bruce Rondon’s to lose

          • Rondon seems to have very good strikeout stuff, but control is a major issue for him. In first appearance of 2013 Spring, he walked two and struck out two in his four batters faced

    • Royals

      • Projected Record: 87-75

        • The young Royals team will be looking to win now with the emergence of young players Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer as well as the offseason addition of pitcher James Shield

        • All star Designated Hitter Eric Hosmer will look to repeat his .300/.373/.510 (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/ Slugging Percentage) slash line from last year

        • Key Player: Ervin Santana

          • Newly acquired from the LA Angels, Santana will look to return to his 2011 form when he posted a 3.38 ERA

          • If he pitches well, it would give this rotation two top-of-the-line starters which would really help lead the staff

    • Indians

      • Projected Record: 85-77

        • After consecutive years of second half collapses, the Indians added to their outfield free agent MIchael Bourn and Drew Stubbs to give them elite outfield defense

        • Their bullpen is anchored by closer Chris Perez who has had three consecutive years with an ERA below 4.00

        • Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera looks to continue to lead the lineup

        • Starting rotation is huge question after a 4.78 team ERA in 2012 good enough for 29th in the league

        • Key Player: Ubaldo Jiminez

          • Jiminez had an ERA of .788 over the first two months of 2010 but since being traded to the Indians has pitched poorly

          • The Indians will need him to recapture that early 2010 form to give the rotation some upside

    • White Sox

      • Projected Record: 83-79

        • The White Sox were a big surprise in 2012 in coming close to beating the Tigers for the division, but they lost a key offensive piece in A.J. Pierzynski.

        • Rotation has upside at top of rotation, but lacks good depth

        • Team had two Bounce Back Player of the Year candidates in Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn. How well they will be able to repeat that form will be important for this team’s success

        • Key Player: Jake Peavy

          • Peavy’s repeating of his 2012 performance will be invaluable for the White Sox starting rotation

 

 

    • Twins

      • Projected Record: 74-88

        • The Twins team that finished 22 games out of first place in the AL Central in 2012 seems to have worsened for the present  having traded key outfield pieces Denard Span and Ben Revere

        • Twins are not a team likely to win in 2012, but they have three of the MLB.com’s Top Twenty prospects

        • Key Player: Justin Morneau

          • Since his 30 homerun season in 2009, Morneau has yet to play more than 81 games as concussion symptoms and injuries kept him off the field

          • He says he had his first “normal offseason” since concussion and hopes to return to the form he had before injury

  • AL West

    • Angels

      • Projected Record: 95-67

        • After signing Albert for an exorbitant $250 million over 10 years in 2011, the Angels again spent huge amounts of money on the free agent market’s biggest name slugger by signing Josh Hamilton to a 5 year 125 million dollar contract

        • Generally agreed to be the best outfield combination in the game Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, and Peter Bourjous should provide both stellar defense and stellar offensive numbers

        • LIneup will look to put up huge power numbers as it includes four of the leagues top thirteen home run hitters of 2012

        • Bullpen is talented, but lacks serious depth. Closer Ryan Madson, set-up men Sean Burnett, and Ernesto Frieri, and left-handed specialist Scott Downs will lead bullpen

        • Starting rotation is big question after Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. Will star-studded lineup be able to overcome combine 4.32 ERA of back half of rotation?

        • Key Player: CJ Wilson

          • Wilson struggled in his first year with the Angels posting a 3.93 ERA almost a full run higher than his 2.84 ERA the year before. A return to his top of the rotation form with the Rnagers would give this rotation two top-line starters which would go a long way.

          • Team will look to win with its offense, but it would be huge boost if the rotation can keep more runs of the board

    • As

      • Projected Record: 89-73

        • Last year’s Cinderella story looks to repeat their overachievement from last year.

        • Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes improved greatly over the course of last year and looks to retain that end of season form

        • Josh Reddick had a breakout 2012 campaign slugging a career high 32 home runs and he will look to repeat that performance

        • Young back end of bullpen stars Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook will look to improve on impressive 2012

        • Team still lacks serious star power as Oakland characteristically does.

        • Ninety-four games were started by rookies and that is a lot to expect on such young arms, and last year’s heavy workload could lead to injury problems this year

        • Key Player: Jarrod Parker

          • Parker had an impressive rookie season going 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA. His continual improvement and maturing will be very helpful for this rotation

    • Rangers

      • Projected Record: 87-75

        • After back-to-back World Series losses the Rangers blew a lead in the division at 2012 season’s end, and lost superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton and key bullpen piece Mike Adams

        • Rangers will likely put a lot on young prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt

        • Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, and Mike Napoli will likely be big losses

        • Key Player: Adrian Beltre

          • The Rangers lost 67 home runs from 2012 and two of their top three homerun hitters in Hamilton and Napoli, Beltre will have to lead the way in picking that back up

          • 2012’s number one offense will likely rely more on pitching this year

    • Mariners

      • Projected Record: 79-83

        • The Mariners do seen to be beginning to come back up from their rebuilding years, but this team still isn’t good enough to compete in the verynstrong AL West

        • Moving in the fences at SafeCo field should help the league’s worst home offense in 2012 improve in 2013

        • The addition of Michael Morse should also help offense

        • Key Player: Dustin Ackley

          • Ackley struggled his sophomore year, but will be looking to bounce back in 2013

          • A good year out of him would be huge for this lineup

    • Astros

      • Projected Record: 61-101

        • The light at the end of the tunnel is not yet in sight for the Astros and a move to one of baseball’s toughest divisions won’t help matters

        • The lone bright spot seems to be 2nd baseman Jose Altuve

        • Key Player: Jose Altuve

          • If the Astros are to miraculously form a winning season, their success will have to come carrier on the shoulders of Altuve

          • The 2012 All Star hit a team high .290 last year and will his continual improvement will be important for this team
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