The View from Spring Training: Picking MLB's Winners in 2013
Predictions always sound good when you make them.
It's watching what happens afterward that has you wondering what you were thinking, especially if you're staring at a ticket you hope to cash in the fall.
Long seasons are just that. Teams are going to be devastated by injuries, managers will be fired, 'untouchable' players will be traded, roster-fillers will emerge out of nowhere to have killer years, and promising young players will be called up and thrive. If you told me at this time last year that the Red Sox would miss the postseason and the Orioles would win an AL wild card spot and then beat the Rangers in the opening play-in game, I would have laughed in your face and taken your bet. In fact, if anyone had told me the A’s would have been anywhere near 2nd place in the AL West, let alone the division champs who finished a couple of games short of the best record in the American League, I would have asked them to double down.
Fortunately, I never met anyone who said that, so I still have a decent bank account and all my possessions.
But what's the fun in that? Here we go again:
|AL West||AL Central||AL East|
|LA Angels of Anaheim||Detroit Tigers||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Oakland Athletics (Wild Card #2)||Cleveland Indians||Tamp Bay Rays (Wild Card #1)|
|Seattle Mariners||Kansas City Royals||New York Yankees|
|Texas Rangers||Chicago White Sox||Baltimore Orioles|
|Houston Astros||Minnesota Twins||Boston Red Sox|
|NL West||NL Central||NL East|
|LA Dodgers of Los Angeles||Cincinnati Reds||Washington Nationals|
|San Francisco Giants||Pittsburgh Pirates (Wild Card #2)||Atlanta Braves (Wild Card #1)|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||St Louis Cardinals||Philadelphia Phillies|
|San Diego Padres||Milwaukee Brewers||New York Mets|
|Colorado Rockies||Chicago Cubs||Florida Marlins|
Here's my big picture in the NL:
- I can see the Reds and Nationals running away from the pack.
- It's a crap shoot as to who ends up with the wild card spots; I took one contender and one surprise.
- I defaulted to the Dodgers in the West based on marquee talent alone, but it wouldn’t shock me if the defending World Series champs took the division crown again; the Giants are resilient, if nothing else.
- The Braves will compete, but in the end, the Nats are better, at least in my eyes.
- Some of you are saying, “Really? The Pirates?” My response? Yes. They have competed for the last two years, and I think this year they put it together for a full season and sneak into the 2nd wild card spot.
In the AL, the scene looks murkier, but here's what I see:
- To get this out of the way, if the Tigers don’t run away with the division, they should be embarrassed; Detroit has too many pieces in a division that still looks mediocre.
- The Angels have just as much talent as the Tigers, but they're in a division with Billy Beane's scrappy young A’s that kept all the right pieces along with an up-and-coming Mariners team that is developing a nice collection of youngsters.
- The Rangers are ripe for a decline, and it could well begin this year; putting them behind Seattle is harsh, but a churn is coming, and I think it's here; the Rangers were punched in the mouth for the second seaosn in a row, who knows how the team will respond this time?
- The AL East will be the division to watch, but it’s going to be wild and crazy.
- The Blue Jays made all the right moves, they have an incredibly deep pitching staff, and they already had a great line-up; Canada's metropolis will break out the post-season bunting in abundance this fall.
- The Yankees are the Yankees, but they have far too many question marks in their pitching staff and an aging line-up that was completely uninspired last post-season; they could easily be watching every game of this year's post-season on television.
That's where I'll be, unless my picks all come through. If that happens, see you at the playoffs. All of them. In person.