On Easter Night, Major League Baseball’s season will kick off with a Sunday Night showdown between the Texas Rangers and their instate rivals, the Houston Astros, who will make their grand debut in the American League after 50 years in the Senior Circuit. Every other team will begin their quest for the World Series on April Fools Day or April 2nd. Gonna be an interesting year, so who will come out on top in October? Here’s my predictions for who will:
New York Yankees: 91-71
Tampa Bay Rays: 90-72 (Wild Card)
Toronto Blue Jays: 87-75
Baltimore Orioles: 81-81
Boston Red Sox: 73-89
Why: Despite being ravaged with injuries to key players, the Yankees will ride their strong rotation and bullpen, led by the return and final ride of Mariano Rivera, to another AL East crown. David Price will lead the best pitching staff in baseball back into the playoffs. Toronto will fall short of massive expectations thanks to injuries and miss the playoffs. Baltimore will (for now) prove to be a one year wonder. Boston will not improve much with an atrocious back end of the rotation.
Detroit Tigers: 98-62
Chicago White Sox: 84-78
Cleveland Indians: 81-81
Kansas City Royals: 72-90
Minnesota Twins: 63-99
Why: With their starpower, Detroit should win this comfortably.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 99-63
Oakland Athletics: 93-69 (Wild Card)
Texas Rangers: 84-78
Seattle Mariners: 64-98
Houston Astros: 52-110
Why: Anaheim has arguably the best lineup in the majors. Oakland will prove to not be a one year wonder and return to the playoffs on more strong hitting and clutch hitting. Texas will take a step back with all the losses they’ve had. Seattle and Houston will be feasted upon
Washington Nationals: 102-60
Atlanta Braves: 96-66 (Wild Card)
Philadelphia Phillies: 76-86
New York Mets: 71-91
Miami Marlins: 61-101
Why: With young guys continuing to improve, Washington and Atlanta could have top notch offenses in a limited NL. Washington will take it based on stronger pitching. Philadelphia will continue to slide with age and injuries not on their side.
Cincinnati Reds: 97-65
St. Louis Cardinals: 93-69 (Wild Card)
Pittsburgh Pirates: 85-77
Milwaukee Brewers: 77-85
Chicago Cubs: 59-103
Why: Cincinnati and St. Louis will duke it all year once again, with Cincinnati coming out on top, but not until the last few weeks. Pittsburgh will at long last finish with a winning record, with hopes for the future.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 92-70
San Francisco Giants: 89-73
Arizona Diamondbacks: 82-80
San Diego Padres: 74-88
Colorado Rockies: 64-98
Los Angeles’ star power will not fail them this year, and like in 2011, the Giants hit or miss offense will fail them, despite another great year from Buster Posey.
American League Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. After being snubbed following a historical rookie year, Trout will lead his team to the playoffs and continue to put up outstanding overall numbers.
American League Cy Young: Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers. Verlander will outbeat Jered Weaver, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, and David Price to capture his second Cy Young award
American League Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar, INF, Texas Rangers. Only 20 years old, the latest Curacao product will establish himself at some position in the Texas lineup and produce.
American League Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays. Best manager in baseball, and he proves it time and time again every time the Rays lose key players, the latest being workhorse James Shields to Kansas City
American League Comeback Player of the Year: Mariano Rivera, RHP, New York Yankees. In the final year of a legendary career, Mariano has some unfinished business after tearing his ACL last May.
National League Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds. For three straight seasons Votto has led the NL in on-base percentage. With Pujols and Fielder in the AL and Ryan Howard’s career slowing down, Joey V is clearly the best at his position in the Senior Circuit. Only playing 111 games last year, he looks to be healthy.
National League Cy Young: Matt Cain, RHP, San Francisco Giants. Cain will finally prove to be able to be truly an elite pitcher and completely step out of Tim Lincecum’s shadow and become the Giants’ leading man.
National League Rookie of the Year: Travis D’Arnaud, C, New York Mets. Coming over the in R.A. Dickey deal, D’Arnaud will impress quickly and give the Mets a sign of hope for the future.
National League Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers. Mattingly will finally get the Dodgers into the playoffs and will this award for comanding this $213 million Hindenburg to success.
National League Comeback Player of the Year: Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies. An Achilles tear in the 2011 NLDS limited him to 71 games last year. Now healthy, he shouldn’t have a problem getting back to the 30+ HR, 100+ RBI plateau
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 99-63
2. Detroit Tigers: 98-64
3. New York Yankees: 91-71
4. Oakland Athletics: 93-69
5. Tampa Bay Rays: 90-72
AL Wild Card:
5. Tampa Bay over 4. Oakland: David Price will out-duel Jarrod Parker to clinch a date with the Angels
3. New York (AL) over 2. Detroit, 3-2: The Yankees will finally get past the Tigers in their fourth try in eight years led by pitching that’s just better than Verlander and Co.
1. Los Angeles (AL) over 5. Tampa Bay, 3-1: The Angels get to the ALCS by disposing of the Rays with the power of their offense.
1. Los Angeles (AL) over 3. New York, 4-2: Anaheim’s mighty offense just too much for the aging and tired Bomber crew.
ALCS MVP: Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim
1. Washington Nationals: 102-60
2. Cincinnati Reds: 97-65
3. Los Angeles Dodgers: 92-70
4. Atlanta Braves: 96-66
5. St. Louis Cardinals: 93-69
NL Wild Card:
4. Atlanta over 5. St. Louis: Braves get revenge over Cards for last year and 2011 collapse to get to the NLDS
2. Cincinnati over 3. Los Angeles, 3-2: Exciting series by two talented teams, but strongest bullpen comes through
1. Washington over 4. Atlanta, 3-2: After long, grueling season and series, the Nats finally get their due and advance to the NLCS
NLCS: 1. Washington over 2. Cincinnati, 4-3. Entertaining series goes down the finish. Nats clinch first ever trip the Fall Classic in 7 at home.
NLCS MVP: Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Washington Nationals
World Series: Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4-2. The Nats’ strong rotation will silence the Angels’ powerful offense to win the franchise’s first championship and the Nation’s Capital first World Series championship in 89 years.
World Series MVP: Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Washington Nationals