The World's Worst Preseason Predictions

Spring training is about to wind down...thankfully...unbearable as it ends up being by the end, it was doubly so with the World Baseball Classic extension. The only real goal of spring training is to leave camp healthy and the Cubs failed at that much like they do at winning baseball games. As you can see, I expect little from the Cubs this season, which is rare from me, as I'm always overly optimistic this time of year. Maybe that's a good sign for the year, the biggest surprises come when you expect the least.

NL East

  1. Braves
  2. Nationals
  3. Phillies
  4. Mets
  5. Marlins

Nationals versus Braves feels like a coin flip to me, with which team staying healthier and getting a few breakout performances likely rising to the top. The way the Nationals handled Strasburg last year made me an anti-Nationals fan for life though, so I'm going with the Braves. A year of Utley and Howard and all that pitching talent means the Philies have a good chance at rebounding....although Michael and Delmon Young acquisitions were facepalm worthy.

NL West

  1. Dodgers
  2. Giants
  3. Padres
  4. Diamondbacks
  5. Rockies

While I'm certainly no fan of the Dodgers spending spree, their core players remain Kemp and Kershaw, which means the excessive spending is being built around them...kind of a good plan actually. And the Giants still have all their pitchers. I'm a little higher on the Padres than most, a lot of good young talent in my opinion that could bust out at any point, while I think the Kevin Towers can't get out of his own way.

NL Central

  1. Reds
  2. Cardinals
  3. Pirates
  4. Brewers
  5. Cubs

The Reds probably won't have as much good luck with their starting staff this year, but lots of talent there in Cincy. And the same can be said for the Cardinals...albeit a little on the older side. Cards do have the best farm system, but beyond Shelby Miller, I don't know who is going to step in this year. At some point, all this team building is going to pay off for the Pirates and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if this is the year. My memories of the Brewers rebuild felt a lot like the Pirates, a few years where they seemed to get close to respectability before finally breaking through. As for the Brewers, if they end up suspending Braun, the Cubs may manage to stay out of the cellar.

AL East

  1. Rays
  2. Orioles
  3. Yankees
  4. Blue Jays
  5. Red Sox

Flip a coin on the whole division in my opinion. As surprising as the Orioles were last year and you'd expect a pullback, they've got a ton of young talent ready to produce. I certainly expect the Red Sox to be better this year, but someone has to go last. As for why pick the Rays? They won 90 last year without their best player for most of the season or limping in the games he played. Although Longoria may end up on the DL again, a full season could do wonders for that lineup along with a full year of Desmond Jennings. That all being said, any team in any spot wouldn't surprise me here...and since they'll all be likely beating up on each other while the AL West gets to play the Astros a ton of times (and the AL Central gets the Twins), it also wouldn't surprise me if only one team makes the playoffs.

AL West

  1. Rangers
  2. Angels
  3. A's
  4. Mariners
  5. Astros

The Angels have gotten too far away from building within, that I'll go with the Rangers this year. But it's honestly another coin flip with the A's right on the outskirts. I think the Mariners shold be considerably better as well and all four teams will get to fatten up on the Astros.

AL Central

  1. Tigers
  2. Indians
  3. White Sox
  4. Royals
  5. Twins

This feels like a one team race, but you never really know. I certainly could see the Royals take a step forward this year with their young hitters and not-completely-terrible pitching staff. The White Sox always seem to do better than I expect (Northside bias I believe it's called). The Indians made some nice additions along with a decent young core (Kipnis, Santana, Cabrera). The Twins are starting Vance Worley on Opening Day.

Tier Rankings

Tier 1 (World Series favorites): Tigers, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Reds, Nationals, Rangers, Angels

Tier 2 (Playoff hopefuls): Cardinals, Pirates, Phillies, A's, the AL East

Tier 3 (Could surprise): Indians, White Sox, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Padres, Mets, Brewers

Tier 4 (#1 draft pick contention): Cubs, Astros, Marlins, Rockies, Twins

Comments

2013 braves...all time team batting K record or 2nd highest ever all time team batting K record?

1,529....2010 ARZ...the mark to challenge/beat.

Angelfan wife not happy with your AL West prediction. I predict, Rob sleeping on couch for awhile.

i don't understand what building from within has to do with the team on the field this year, myself...unless chemistry is being weighed heavily.

there's 4 30+ HR capable guys in the lineup, some good (but not outstanding) hitters surrounding them...a decent pen backing up the good, but somewhat-sketchy SP.

I think we'll be okay on this one. They'll still be way better than the Cubs.

mlbtr on Moscoso...

I wonder what they see in him?
Was he on Team Russia for the WBC?

The Blue Jays claimed Moscoso off of waivers just a week-and-a-half ago. Last season with the Rockies, the 29-year-old posted a 6.12 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 50 innings. He also started 21 games for the 2011 Athletics, posting a 3.38 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 128 innings.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2013-posi...

FG turns its positional WAR projections into wins and have the Cubs at 78, last in the Central but only six (standard deviation!) out of the 2nd wild card.

Most obvious places to improve - 2B, 3B, RF, RP

FG turns its positional WAR projections into wins and have the Cubs at 78
---
conversely, Fangraphs predicts that the Cubs will get the #9 slot in the 2014 Draft.

(technically the glass is full, half water and half air)

So true. Plus, while only six back of the projected WC2, there's three tied at 84, another at 83, and three more at 80. Only the Padres, Mets, and Marlins are projected to be worse in the NL.

it's a projection more than a prediction, it seems the statistical models usually sort of graviate towards 81 wins for most teams that don't show to be truly excellent or truly awful.

BP has them at 78 wins too...

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

if Garza and Baker weren't hurt, and if they had a 3bmen, maybe they could sniff .500, but without a hot start (much less likely now without 2 of their pitchers), they'll likely sell of come July and be on the very low end of their projections.

Sure, it's only a 7% chance of making the playoffs, but compared to the 0.3%-ish odds of 2012, this team is slightly less bad!

Also, I'm pretty sure the Cubs are a lock for the playoffs as long as Rizzo hits 530 home runs.

Concur on all counts

Ha!

seems they are pretty optimistic on the starting pitching (like 9th best overall) without factoring in the starting pitching is 2/5's injured at the moment.

"Cardinals and RHP Adam Wainwright have agreed to a five-year, $97.5 million extension through 2018, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports."

matt garza's 2013 FA stock raises a tick...provided he can actually come back in form.

"Blue Jays signed LHP J.A. Happ to a two-year, $8.9 million contract extension."

matt garza's 2013 FA stock remains unchanged.

ha

Jae-Hoon?

Random thoughts reading this:
Just how old are the Phillies now? And if you were them, wouldn't you have sold a piece or two for the future at SOME point?
As a baseball fan, fuck Jeffrey Loria. From a business standpoint, meh.
I actually dislike Dusty Baker as a human after '03, although I've heard he's a swell guy. Only way I don't vomit if the Reds actually win it all is if Dusty has a heart attack before the final out. (Too much?)
I think (maybe wishfully for their sake) this is the beginning of respectability (again) for the Pirates. I put them #2, and mayyyyyybe second WC (although doubtful)
AL East, agree, who knows?
AL West, I think the Bills--check that, Rangers, fall apart this year. Slide them all the way to third (or maybe even fourth) and leave the rest unchanged
I saw the Twins starting V Worley opening day and thought I must have read it wrong.
And, I'm drunk right now. So, sorry if there's typos.

add a line about Angie Dickinson, and you are Larry King.

Recent comments

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  • FYI: Here's a good link explaining the differences in pitching WAR between Fangraphs and Basebell Reference.

    http://www.crawfishboxes.com/2012/8/28/3273844/which-war-works-best-pitc...

    Rob G. 15 min 8 sec ago view
  • ERA is just FIP with defense and luck. That being said if Hendricks gets his ERA under 2.00, he may have a legit shot.

    That all being said I was looking at Fangraphs WAR and I should have been looking at Basebell Reference WAR because more voters use that. My bad and happy to admit my mistake unlike some people around here that shall not be named (just kidding CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!)

    Rob G. 18 min 20 sec ago view
  • Yes. That is something up with which we will not put.

    fullykräusened 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Right, then. Moving forward lets focus on simple declarative sentences, subject-verb agreement, and watch out for punctuation. Avoid prepositions at the end of sentences.

    Jackstraw 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • I love sabremetrics and think FIP and WAR can definitely predict future success. For the Cy though which is an award for current success I do think ERA and WHIP have a place. Also while Hendricks doesn't have the strikeouts he does have the highest soft hit contact and second lowest hard hit contact which does a lot to take fielding skill out of it.

    To me if the ERA is close FIP and WAR should be used but right now its not. That said I agree with you Hendricks won't get it.

    johann 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Can't get soft just because we have a big lead!

    billybucks 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • kershaw will be lucky to put in 160+ip. even though it projects to be an awesome 160+ip it's going to be extremely difficult for him to do much with that. he's still got minor league rehab game(s) to go through and he's only stretched out to 2ip with his last simulated rehab...it may take another couple weeks before he returns.

    the numbers are awesome, but he's lost the equivalent of a good chunk of a top-tier pen arm's season in innings of work compared to the rest of the lot.

    crunch 3 hours 32 min ago view
  • Kershaw, Fernandez and Syndergaard are your current leaders and all will be pitching meaningful games down the stretch that could make or break them. Hendricks will not be and his saber-numbers aren't anywhere close to those 3 and he'd split votes with Arrieta and Lester whom all are basically neck-and-neck for  WAR and FIP. If Kershaw pitches like just okay Kershaw in September he deserves to win in a landslide. Voters are pretty much saber-inclined now so it would take a crazy shutout streak or something for Hendricks to jump in the picture.

    Rob G. 12 hours 48 sec ago view
  • AZ PHIL: With starters the likes of Edwin Jackson, even Chris Rusin or Michael Bowden could look good on their staff. At best, he is a #5-6. But as always, LH are at a premium.

    The E-Man 13 hours 30 min ago view
  • Sure we would all want consistency. He is not even 24, has played 5 (!) positions this year. Can you imagine what is in his head? He was only a part-time player at 2 spots last year. And THEN think about hitting?? Cut him some slack...You sure are picky lately. First wishing #6 NL RBI guy Russell have a better average, and now an "unncessarily fancy pick". Geez tough crowd!

    The E-Man 13 hours 34 min ago view
  • it's going to be hard to take down scherzer.

    kershaw is supposedly coming back soon, though he'll probably need a good amount of deep innings to match up with scherzer...probably too late at this point. tanner roark, bumgarner, and hendricks are probably going to steal some votes along with kershaw.

    crunch 14 hours 3 min ago view
  • I absolutely love Javy's game, and I love the way Maddon changed the perception of him as a ballplayer, but I really wish he would just make the routine plays routinely. On the ground ball in the 9th, he made an unnecessarily fancy pick. He made the play, but tried the same thing last night and made an error.

    billybucks 14 hours 25 min ago view
  • How many wins does Kyle need for serious Cy Young consideration? Would 17 be enough if he leads the league in ERA? My goodness, what a season -- makes a Dartmouth alum proud.

    billybucks 14 hours 27 min ago view
  • jacos 14 hours 30 min ago view
  • hendricks WHIP drops to 0.98 over 159 innings after throwing 7ip 3h 1bb 4k, 0r/er

    ERA down to 2.09 on the season.

    crazy good.

    crunch 14 hours 52 min ago view
  • I am pretty well fed up with the majority of home plate umps. Just terrible inconsistencies.

    The E-Man 14 hours 55 min ago view