Predicting the Divisions

Because it's fun to make myself look like a fool by the end of the year...

AL EAST

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Baltimore Orioles
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

The Yanks, Rays and Red Sox match-up pretty well in my opinion and I could see any of the 3 finishing at the top. All 3 teams have excellent rotations, with the Rays and Red Sox having the defensive advantage over the Yankees. BP is particularly optimistic about the Red Sox offense, but I'm having trouble going along with that projection. The Yanks might be getting older, but too much elite talent on the offensive side of the field for me to pick against them. But per usual, who can stay healthy will probably be the determining factor. Good news for the Cubs is Jason Frasor will still be available in about a month.

AL CENTRAL

  1. Minnesota Twins
  2. Cleveland Indians
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Detroit Tigers
  5. Kansas City Royals

In this case, I see the top 4 teams as all having legit shots at the division. The Twins managed to win last year with a lot of injuries, so I'm giving them the nod with the optimistic assumption that they'll stay a little healthier and I like the signings of Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome. The loss of Joe Nathan will just mean an opportunity for another reliever to bump their payscale for next season and should be easily absorbed.  If Fausto Carmona pitches like he did in spring training and the 2007 season, along with a healthy Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, the Indians can stay in the hunt with a bunch of good youngsters. The White Sox have a good rotation, but the offense looks troubling. While I like the pick-up of Max Scherzer over Edwin Jackson, I see a big drop-off for Rick Porcello and Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman look like they're done. But a few breaks here or there, health and which youngsters or vets have career years and any of those teams not named the Royals have a good shot.

AL WEST

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Anaheim Angels
  3. Seattle Mariners
  4. Oakland Athletics

My least favorite division in baseball because it's such an advantage to have only 3 other teams to battle each year. I do hate picking against the Angels as they always seem to figure it out, even when it doesn't look like a strong team on paper. They did lose Guerrero, Lackey and Figgins and replaced them with Matsui, Pineiro, Wood. They'll need some youngsters to step up their games such as Aybar, Kendrick and Wood,  but I'm not sure I can doom them to last place like BP projections have them at. I do like the Rangers a little more, particularly their depth and a good number of major league ready prospects to fill in for injuries and under-performance if that strikes them. The Mariners for all their hoopla, don't have a lot of depth in their rotation after Cliff Lee and King Felix and that offense looks downright pathetic. The A's pitching should be pretty good, but Billy Beane can't seem to find the magic on offense since steroid testing was implemented.

WILD CARD RACE:

  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Cleveland Indians
  4. Chicago White Sox
  5. Anaheim Angels
  6. Seattle Mariners
  7. Detroit Tigers

I just assume whicever team finishes 2nd in the AL East will once again take the Wild card.

NL EAST

  1. Philadelphia Phillies
  2. Florida Marlins
  3. Atlanta Braves
  4. New York Mets
  5. Washington Nationals

The Phillies are the class of the NL, although their starting pitching depth is a bit worrisome as is their bullpen. But they should slug their way to another division title. I think the Marlins, Braves and Mets are kind of bunched together in the second tier with the Nationals trailing the pack, although I do think the Nats break 70 wins this year. I kind of like the Marlins rotation and the depth behind it and they have some youngsters on the offensive side of the ball that could make huge leaps this year. Once again, health and career years (whether up or down) should make the difference between them and the Mets and Braves.

NL CENTRAL

  1. St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Chicago Cubs
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Houston Astros
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

It pains me to pick the Cardinals, but they've been successful before with the formula of a few elite superstars surrounded by mediocrity. In the early part of the decade it was Rolen, Edmonds and Pujols, now it's Holliday, Pujols, Carpenter and Wainwright. Most of the projections have the Cubs around a .500 team and I think they'll be able to achieve the high end of the degree of error which is usually six games. The Brewers do have a good offense, and Randy Wolf and Doug Davis should help their pitching staff a little, but just not enough in my opinion and they don't have any real depth there if injury hits. It'll be a cold day in hell before I trust a Dusty team counting on youth to take them over the top. BP actually has the Astros second right now on their depth chart projections, but we're already seeing injuries to Berkman and Oswalt. I don't think they'll implode, and they always seem to do a little better than I expect, but it's gonna take a lot of good fortune for them to compete this year. The Pirates are still in rebuilding mode but getting ever closer.

NL WEST

  1. San Francisco Giants
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Colorado Rockies
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. San Diego Padres

I liked the top 4 teams, although Brandon Webb still seems damaged so I think it's now a 3-horse race. If Manny shows up to try and earn a new contract, I'd probably vault the Dodgers to the #1 spot although their rotation is pretty iffy after Billingsley and Kershaw and little depth to cover any misfortune. I like Jonathan Sanchez to take a big step forward this year for the Giants and just enough offense and defense to carry the Giants to a division title. The Rockies are certainly in the mix as well, but I have a hard time trusting their pitchers can keep it together for two years straight.

WILD CARD

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Florida Marlins
  4. Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Atlanta Braves
  6. Colorado Rockies
  7. New York Mets
  8. Cincinnati Reds

It's March, I'm optimistic as always.

I have to say, there are only 7 teams that I see that absolutely have no chance this year (A's, Royals, Orioles, Blue Jays, Nationals, Pirates and Padres). I certainly could envision scenarios for any of the other 23 teams to put things together and make playoff runs. There's a lot of hand-wringing about our Cubs and particularly their rotation, but if there's anything Hendry has proven over his tenure is that the Cubs know what they're doing with the rotation. The Cubs ERA by starters over the years.

  • 2009 - 3.71 (5th)
  • 2008 - 3.75 (1st)
  • 2007 - 4.19 (2nd)
  • 2006 - 5.19 (15th)
  • 2005 - 4.17 (8th)
  • 2004 - 3.72 (1st)
  • 2003 - 3.69 (2nd)

So if you're expecting catastrophic injuries to Dempster and Zambrano, maybe you should be worried like 2005 and 2006, otherwise they have a really good top four in my opinion and plenty of depth to overcome short-term injuries. The defense and offense are a little more troubling, but at the very least they should be in the race, whether it be the NL Central or the wild card.

Return to Homepage

Comments

Cleveland Indians?! Really? Interesting.
I think you're underestimating the Reds. Dusty or not, this team is loaded with pitching.My projection: Cards
Reds
CUBS
Milwaukee
Asstrolls
the Pitts
Why? Because our bullpen, that's why. Be prepared for a lot of blown saves. I just hope we have a winning record and I know I'm the only one who wants Lou to stay another year. Jim Hendry doesn't count.

Harang hasn't been good for 3 years now, Arroyo is mediocre, Volquez is out and Chapman is figuring out how to throw a strike. Maybe Cueto figures out how to throw strikes and Bailey can figure it out over a full season, but I'm just not that sold on them.

And their offense is Votto and the hope that Bruce can put it together with some help from B. Phillips.

the Reds will be better when Dusty's contract expires and Walt Jocketty picks his own manager (after this year)

(and Dusty doesn't kill off all their young talent)

Harang has been "bad" for two of those years only because of no run support. He's been the hard-luck pitcher. It finally got to him mentally last year.This is a guy who is desperately needing a change of venue. He still has enough in his tank even if there is a possible injury behind his woes.

They've got more pitching coming up and Dick Pole to guide them. Oh yeah, they ass-canned Dick.

I should have said 2 years on Harang and his FIP numbers are 4.79 and 4.14 the last two years.

He's not a waste of space, but his ace days are behind him imo (he had a poor spring training I believe as well). Don't see any more run support this year coming his way, although the defense should be better.

I think we have a good top 3, assuming Lilly comes back relatively OK, but I'm not sure Randy Wells doesn't struggle a lot more this year. Maybe not belly up, but nothing in his repertoire is fooling anyone. If Porcello is going to struggle, why not Wells?

Wells will take a step back, although not as pronounced as I expect Porcello to, but I expect improvements from Z and Dempster to offset it.

Lilly's a bigger wild card imo, had quite the career year last year along with the surgery.

I'm not thrilled with Silva or anything, but don't see him being any worse than Marquis was as a Cub. He'll make his starts, keep you in most games, occasionally just stink up the joint so bad that everyone will want him cut. Gorz, Marshall, Ninja, Atkins, Diamond, J. Jackson, Cashner behind all of them if a short-term injury occurs.

That AL west is going to be brutal because I could see any 3 of them (Angels, M's and Rangers) winning it without winning 85 games. In the AL Central, I see the Wsox unfortunetly running away with it because they have four of the six best SP in that division, while their offense isnt that great its not like anybody else has a great offense in that division. The east and Wildcard I agree with your picks. Your NL picks are all what I would go with except for the Dodgers as the WC. My prediction for the WS champ this year is the Rays.

The Reds will be better because of one thing: no David Weathers.

..and no Corey Patterson or Willie Taveras.

Bruce will have to hit .280/.340/.470 not .223/.303/.470. Plus he only walked 38 times last year. Another victim of rushing prospects to the majors by the Reds. ie; Homer Bailey, Austin Kearns.

I agree with Rob that Harang's best days are behind him...His record the past two seasons is 12-31 with a 4.50 ERA. Does that look like the numbers of an "ace"? He has battled various injuries ever since Baker pitched him four innings on three days rest in an 18-inning game against the San Diego Padres in '08.

Rolen is now 67.
Votto is a basketcase.

The Reds need A LOT of help if they are going to contend...

Nice projections, although I'm a little more bullish on the Rockies, Braves and White Sox.

The Rockies finishing first, Braves second and White Sox first is all very reasonable, I don't see a big difference at all between the teams they're competing with.

My tier rankings...

AL EAST
1: Yanks, Rays, Red Sox
2: O's, Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL
1: Twins, Indians, White Sox, Tigers
2: Royals

AL WEST
1: Rangers, Angels, Mariners
2: A's

NL EAST
1: Phillies
2: Marlins, Braves, Mets
3: Nationals

NL CENTRAL
1: Cardinals
2: Cubs, Brewers, Reds
3: Astros
4: Pirates

NL West
1: Giants, Dodgers, Rockies
2: D'Backs
3: Padres

AL
1: Yanks, Rays, Red Sox (the best of the best)
2: Twins, Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Indians, White Sox, Tigers (Division/WC hunt)
3: A's, Royals, Orioles, Blue Jays (you need an opponent)

someone in the AL East will likely get screwed

NL
1: Phillies, Cardinals (the best of the best)
2: Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Marlins, Brewers, Braves, Rockies, Mets, Reds (Division/WC hunt)
3: Astros, DBacks (if everything goes their way and goes against their opponents)
4: Nats, Pirates, Padres (you need an opponent)

Nats almost make it to tier 3

I have to say, there are only 7 teams that I see that absolutely have no chance this year (A's, Royals, Orioles, Blue Jays, Nationals, Pirates and Padres).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like all your playoff picks had winning records last year. However, on average, at least one team that makes the playoffs had a losing record the year before.

Given your list above, which of these teams (Arizona, Houston, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, NYMets, ChiSox, or Cleveland) is most likely to upset one of your picks and will they do it by winning the Division or get in as a wildcard?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like all your playoff picks had winning records last year. However, on average, at least one team that makes the playoffs had a losing record the year before.

intriguing, on average meaning it happens every year or some years there are two and others 0?

I would pick the Mets as the most likely to make a WC run, with the Indians and WSox in the running for the division.

Well, actually on average 2 teams that had losing records the year before make the playoffs since the wildcard was instituted. 30/120 spots.

I wasn't sure where I read this, so I looked it up. It's from a recent SI Tom Verducci column.

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:HLgS2Kkzg...

Last year we had one team do it, the Colorado Rockies.

At any rate, if you're betting in a large pool of players (like at a sportsbook e.g.) it's important to leave one or two slots open for these turn-around teams when you do your season predictions.

Here at TCR, not so important.

Cubs will win 90 games. I did a nested analysis-of-variance (ANOVA) taking into account WARP, VORP, RISP, WHIP, earth tides and biorhythms. Then I threw it all out and settled on 90 since the Cubs will be better than last year (83 wins) and worse than 2008 (97 wins). Split the difference and call it 90.
The biggest contingencies in the Cubs year will be the performance of (in order) Ramirez, Marmol, and Soto.
The only way the Cubs challenge the Cards for the division is a disaster from one of their four key players (Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter, and Wainwright), or a partial disaster to two or more of them.
Cubs will vie for the Wild Card but are likely to lose out to #2 team from either east or west. I figure Cubs have about 25% chance to make the playoffs, so I’d bet real money at 4:1 or higher.

And I’ll try not to be so negative about Koyie Hill this year.

***Blatant Plug Warning***

I recently posted my predictions at CubsNotebook.com. Take a look if you're interested.

http://cubsnotebook.com/

I'm not quite as optimistic about the Rays as you are in the AL East. I see the Yanks winning the division with the Red Sox finishing second. I'm picking Boston to be the AL Wildcard winner.

The AL Central could go to just about anyone. I'm not high on the Indians, but if things break right for them, they could compete. A lot of people really like the White Sox, although I am not one of them.

I can't bring myself to not pick the Angels in the AL West. The Mariners are the hot pick currently, but I can't see it. Even in a relatively weak division, I see them as the second or third best team.

Philadelphia is the team to beat in the NL East. I like Atlanta. I've been spending the past few weeks down there (I'm going to the game against the Cubs on Wednesday) and there seems to be an almost euphoric feeling among Braves fans about this season. I think I've caught it. I'm picking them to win the NL Wildcard

The Cards are unfortunately the team to beat in the NL Central. I'm more optimistic about the Cubs than a lot of people, but I don't see them giving the Cards much of a challenge. Of course, as a good friend of mine is fond of saying, "You never know, catastrophic accidents do happen." I still think Milwaukee is the team that could challenge the Cubs for second place, not Cincinnati.

In the NL West, I'm high on the Rockies because I do think their pitching can hold up (Sorry, Rob. The fact that we disagree pains me.). I wanted to pick SF for second, but the more I looked at them, the more I liked the Dodgers. Arizona will probably finish in fourth, but they still could have a winning record.

sorry, you're completely wrong about everything.

i ran the numbers and the WURNS + OSN% combined with the IANS/JUS% points to him being correct.

what crack are you smoking?

@Rob G -- I usually am, but it doesn't stop me from voicing my clearly inaccurate opinions.

@crunch -- Thanks for having my back. The formula you used is the exact formula I used to come up with my predictions. We should pool our money and go to Vegas.

offense will be better w/ addition of two months of Aram & subtraction of six months of he-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned; rotation @ least workmanlike; but the bullpen - yikes...

'no bullpen, no fly...' bob marley

tonight's game not televised, but a 2nd live OAK/SF game live is being televised.

boo!

tomorrow's day game on WGN.

Cards/Twins @twins new home on MLB Network (live)

if anything...they got the parking and mass transit correct when targeting a stadium location.

3 mixed mass transit stations within walking distance of the park and tons of parking areas around the park.

the field itself is very ordinary/plain-looking, but it's not horrible. the non-premium seating looks a little cramped. there's not much imagination going on in the structure, itself, but it's not an eye sore. it walls off the rest of the city in a way that makes the people feel like the baseball field is it's own universe...which i find cool for the area it's in.

...target field has an organ player rather than constantly pumping music through a PA (it's not 100% organ music, though). the park's awesome-factor is raised a notch.

jock jones gets a standing O from the MIN fans that lasted a good while...took jones by surprise.

That's pretty cool. He got treated pretty rough in Chicago. I didn't feel that bad for him because of a journeyman chooses to sign a fat contract he should expect some rough-housing. But still kinda cool.

ftw...free games on mlb.tv this weekend... (no cubs)

Friday

Cardinals at Twins, 6:10 p.m.

Pirates at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.

Dodgers at Angels, 10:05 p.m.

Saturday

Pirates at Phillies, 1:05 p.m.

Red Sox at Nationals, 4:05 p.m.

Sunday

Mariners at Giants, 3:05 p.m

almost as exciting as the 4th NFL preseason game every year

...i didn't think dennys reyes could actually get fatter than he was.

i was way wrong.

I mentioned in a comment above that I'll be attending the Cubs vs Braves game this next Wednesday. It's the second game of the season for both teams. I got the tickets this past week just by going to the Braves MLB site. I'm in the section directly behind home plate, 20 rows off the field. Can you imagine trying to get decent seats to the second home game of the season for the Cubs without having to pay an inflated price?

I've spent the past few weeks in Atlanta. The fans seem genuinely excited about the team and the upcoming season. There's lots of talk about Jason Heyward and about the Braves winning it all in Bobby Cox' final season. Even so, the Braves have a horrible time selling out the stadium. Sad...

You don't have to remind me or the other Cubs fans who had zero problems landing tickets to Game 5 of the 2003 NLDS. In the upper deck, it was about 80 percent Cubs fans. That's why N. Carolina will never get a team despite its population - the south just can't put the butts in the seats.

I had a wonderful Atlanta experience at a Braves game. Mid-90's, I bought a ticket from a scalper for $15 a few rows above the the Braves wives. Ended up with the STH sitting next to me and we ended up becoming friends for a couple of years. He was a huge Cub/Wrigley fan, and a real baseball purist.

STH?

I did the same thing in Atlanta, went up to box ask for best tix and they had two rows behind home plate open 15 minutes before game.

Didn't buy, walked around parking lot and saw possibly the dumbest scalper in the world as he had in his hands a phone book thick pile of tickets.

Five minutes before the game he took my $ 20 bill for two tickets 5 rows off the dugout.

STH = Speaker of the House? I'm assuming we're not talking Tom Foley here.

Gingrich?
Did you ask him what he thought of Hillary Clinton?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWCFzrK3fFw

Newt "crybaby sky is falling white people are an endangered species" Gingrich most likely. He looks like someone who would enjoy a good ol' fashion Tommy Hawk Chop.

I think it will look like this:

NY
Chicago WS
Texas
TB-Wild Card

Braves
Cubs
Rockies
Giants-Wild Card

MVP AL: Evan Longoria
MVP NL: Troy Tulawitske-spell check
CY AL: Mark Buerhle
CY NL: Ted Lilly
Rookie AL: Austin Jackson
Rookie NL: Tyler Colvin

X
  • Sign in with Twitter