Sep 19, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) at bat against the Texas Rangers at Angels Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Season Preview


Prediction season is once again upon us. Here at BSI, we will be partaking in the festivities as well, with each writer posting their own thoughts and predictions in the coming days. Without further adieu, here my various (probably incorrect) predictions on how 2013 will shake out. Enjoy

September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bold indicates postseason berth

AL East

1. Toronto Blue Jays: 93-69

2. Tampa Bay Rays: 92-70

3. Boston Red Sox: 85-77

4. New York Yankees: 79-83

5. Baltimore Orioles: 74-88

MVP: Evan Longoria

CY: Matt Moore

The stranglehold that was the Red Sox and Yankees atop the division has certainly been loosened over the past couple of seasons (looking at you, Tampa). This progressive weakening of two of baseball’s great powers has never been more evident than this year, consequently leaving the door wide open in the AL East. Seeing a clear opportunity available, I love what the Jays did this offseason. They completely revamped their rotation with a legitimate, albeit atypical, ace in RA Dickey and acquired another frontline starter in Josh Johnson. Another offseason I liked was the Rays, who I thought absolutely fleeced the Royals in the blockbuster Myers-Shields swap. Even without Shields, I think they have a top 3 rotation in the game. I’ve been on the Matt Moore bandwagon for some time and think this year could the one he takes off. As I discussed during the Season Expectation Roundtable, I see the Red Sox as a realistic playoff contender. However, I still worry about some of the arms in the rotation and the durability of some of the bats (Ortiz, Middlebrooks, Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Napoli all hurt last year). All told, I think this season is more of a build up to next year, with the Killer B’s (Bradley, Bogaerts, Barnes) and the Dodger Duo (Webster, De la Rosa) being the foundation to the next great Red Sox team. As for the Yankees…I know they are the Yankees, but I don’t have much faith in that pitching staff and the age and injuries are all definite concerns. Lastly, I think the Orioles’ 2012 was more magic than repeatable skill, and see serious regression in store. Not to take anything away from what Buck Showalterdid, but I have a hard time believing they can duplicate their success.

Mar 7, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28) against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training game at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers: 95-67

2. Chicago White Sox: 82-80

3. Cleveland Indians: 81-81

4. Kansas City Royals: 78-84

5. Minnesota Twins: 64-98

MVP: Miguel Cabrera

CY: Max Scherzer

The Tigers are among the most well-rounded teams in the game and playing in the weakest division in baseball doesn’t hurt. Their rotation is just absolutely ridiculous, both in terms of sheer talent and depth. I really like Scherzer this year, as he already is one of the game’s premier strikeout artists and should benefit from some BABIP regression. I think either he or his teammate, Justin Verlander, will walk away with the CY. The rest of the division is embarrassingly weak, filled with mediocrity (Indians, Royals, White Sox) and a 95+ loss team in the Twins. As I said before, I was not a fan of the Shields trade from the Royals perspective, and am baffled by people who think their rotation is any good. Ervin Santana is awful, Luis Mendoza is awful, and Wade Davis wasn’t all that good when he was a starter. Now, I do love some of their young talent and I think their bullpen is among the game’s elite (Kelvin Herrera might be the best reliever you never heard of). Yet, the rotation and the continued presence of guys like Jeff Francoeuron the roster makes me hesitant to make them anything more than a .500 team. I do think the Indians did some good things this offseason, but like the Royals, seriously question how a rotation like that can be a playoff contender.

 

AL West

1. Texas Rangers: 91-71

2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 87-65

3. Oakland Athletics: 83-79

4. Seattle Mariners: 75-87

5. Houston Astros: 56-106

MVP: Mike Trout

CY: Yu Darvish

I think people are overstating Texas’ demise. They honestly did not lose much on-field production except for Josh Hamilton, and I could see Berkman/Pierzynski/Profar combining to produce sufficient offensive numbers to soften that blow. Yu Darvish began figuring things out last year, and with his stuff, the sky is the limit. The Angels had a strong offense to begin with, and the addition of Josh Hamilton only adds to that firepower.  While Mike Trout will almost certainly regress from his historic rookie campaign, he could still be the best player on the planet with his incredible skillset. Heck, he might win the MVP he should have won last year.  Oakland is similar to Baltimore in that they will probably regress this year as well. However, having talented arms such as Jarrod Parker and gifted bats like Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, the A’s should stay above .500. The rest of the division is rather uninspiring, although I do like the Mariners farm system that could make them genuine contenders in 2014. Astros fans…this year is going to be ugly.

I’m not going to go in depth on the National League since it doesn’t really pertain much to the Red Sox, but here are my NL postseason teams.

NL Playoff teams:

East: Washington Nationals

Central: Cincinnati Reds

West: San Francisco Giants

WC: Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals

While I have already listed my American League divisional MVP’s and CY’s, here are my predictions for each league.

Overall Award Winners

AL MVP: Mike Trout

AL CY: Max Scherzer

AL ROY: Jurickson Profar

NL MVP: Bryce Harper

NL CY: Stephen Strasburg

NL ROY: Trevor Rosenthal 

Mar 8, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Postseason

ALWC: Tampa Bay over Los Angeles

Price over Weaver in a classic pitcher’s duel

ALDS: Tampa Bay over Toronto; Detroit over Texas

Tampa Bay’s pitching depth edges out strong Toronto roster; Detroit’s arms are too much to handle for the Rangers

ALCS: Tampa Bay over Detroit

A lot of close ball games could very well be decided by the little things; something in which Tampa Bay prides itself on and excels

WS: Washington over Tampa Bay, 7 games; WS MVP: Bryce Harper

While a lot can change between now and then, I think the Nationals are the best team and baseball and it’s not even close. Bryce Harper could very well be the NL MVP, Stephen Strasburg could very well be the NL CY, and the rest of the roster is scary deep. I don’t see very many flaws in this roster and think the better team prevails in a Fall Classic for the ages.

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