Sunday, January 08, 2012

Your pre-spring training 2012 Major League Baseball predictions

Remember this is a first-look; there is still more than one month before spring training begins, and there are some important free agents still left to be signed.

NL WEST:
Arizona: Last year was not a fluke. Right?
Colorado: The classic could-be-better-or-worse-than-last-year team.
San Francisco: Yes, they'll have Buster Posey back, but the Giants will continue to struggle to score runs.
Los Angeles: The biggest question of this season: Which group will own the team next season?
San Diego: The Padres are closer than you might think to being good.

NL CENTRAL:
Cincinnati: The Reds could finish anywhere from first to third.
St. Louis: The Cardinals could finish anywhere from first to fourth.
Pittsburgh: The Pirates could finish anywhere from first to fifth.
Milwaukee: The Brewers could finish anywhere from first to fifth.
Chicago: The Cubs could finish anywhere from fourth to sixth.
Houston: The Astros will be lucky not to finish sixth.

NL EAST:
Philadelphia: No, I cannot explain that October meltdown, but I can explain the dominance of those starting pitchers.
Atlanta: The Braves keep inching closer to the top but are not there yet.
Miami: A real stadium. A real team. Ugly uniforms.
Washington: Perhaps the only thing Congress can agree upon -- you can still get good tickets to a Nats' game
New York: What a mess.:

AL WEST:
Texas: The one-more-strike-that-wasn't World Series Game 6 could haunt more than the loss of C. J. Wilson
Los Angeles: The addition of the aforementioned Wilson might be more important than picking up Albert Pujols.
Oakland: The Athletics' management has a plan. I think.
Seattle: More turbulent waters for these Mariners this season.

AL CENTRAL:
Detroit: Justin Verlander cannot repeat his 2011 magic. But the Tigers are still pretty good.
Cleveland: The Indians appear to be about one year behind the Braves.
Chicago: The White Sox should be boring in comparison to the past couple years. Who knows, that might be good.
Kansas City: Do you remember the last time the Royals were relevant? Neither do I.
Minnesota: Which of the Twin Cities is to blame for the Twins' collapse?

AL EAST:
New York: The Yankees are not as dominant, but they keep winning.
Boston: The September collapse led to a necessary house cleaning. Or not.
Toronto: The best pitching staff in this division can be found right here.
Tampa Bay: The Rays keep winning. Somehow.
Baltimore: The Orioles would have a chance, if they were in the Central.

NL WILD CARD: Atlanta
AL WILD CARD: Los Angeles

2012 POST-SEASON:
Divisional Round:

National League:
Philadelphia over Cincinnati
Atlanta over Arizona

American League:
Los Angeles over New York
Detroit over Texas

Championship Series:

National League:
Philadelphia over Arizona

American League:
Los Angeles over Detroit

World Series:

Philadelphia over Los Angeles

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