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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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 3 hours 25 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 6 hours 23 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 6 hours 35 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 6 hours 44 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 6 hours 49 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 7 hours 44 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 8 hours 1 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 8 hours 3 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 8 hours 28 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 9 hours 24 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 9 hours 42 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 9 hours 46 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 10 hours 56 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 11 hours 35 min ago view