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.

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 6 hours 21 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 7 hours 37 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 8 hours 23 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 8 hours 26 min ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 8 hours 26 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 8 hours 54 min ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 9 hours 58 min ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 11 hours 4 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 11 hours 53 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 16 hours 23 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 day 7 hours ago view