Thursday, April 5, 2012

2012 MLB & Pirates Projections

Baseball season opens up today and what would the start of a new season be without some predictions that are sure to go wrong. Yesterday I threw out the Pirates Preview for the 2012 season which you can read by clicking that link but now I want to go through the starters and let you know my predictions for each player in the 2012 season. These are the same predictions I gave while I was on the Pirates Roundtable Podcast so if you were listening to that then you probably already know what I am going to choose.

Before I get into the Pirates predictions I want to first lay out how I think the season is going to run down and who is going to be playing in the World Series. Before I give these predictions I must let you know that these numbers are not going to add up because I didn’t really go through the predictions like that, this is basically the order I think the teams will finish and a rough guess of how many wins they will win. Let’s get to it:

AL East
1. New York Yankees – 95-67
2. Tampa Bay Rays – 93-69
3. Boston Red Sox – 88-74
4. Toronto Blue Jays – 85-77
5. Baltimore Orioles – 65-97

The AL East is stacked. Usually they are pretty stacked because the Yankees and Red Sox are in the mix with the Rays always lurking but the Blue Jays could be a sleeper this year for a wild card spot. The Yankees have a better rotation than they did last year and they still have Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez to mash baseballs that will keep them in every game. The Rays are just always a solid team no matter what happens in the offseason and I think Boston will be right in the mix even though they lost a little from last year. Baltimore is going to be bad.

AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers – 98-64
2. Kansas City Royals – 82-80
3. Cleveland Indians – 73-89
4. Minnesota Twins – 71-91
5. Chicago White Sox – 65-97

The Detroit Tigers got better in a big way during the offseason by signing Prince Fielder and they still have Justin Verlander so they are pretty good in that category too. Oh yea, don’t sleep on Miguel Cabrera in the middle of that lineup. The Royals might seem like a little bit of a surprise here but to be honest this division is pretty bad. The Indians are kind of in no man’s land while the White Sox and Twins are not very good teams. The Twins had some promise last year but just played horribly bad and the Sox are in a full rebuild mode that won’t have them contending anything soon. The Twins might improve if they can get Joe Mauer to stay healthy.

AL West
1. Los Angeles Angels – 92-70
2. Texas Rangers – 91-71
3. Seattle Mariners – 73-91
4. Oakland Athletics – 70-92

The Angels got better in a big way over the offseason by signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and are my pick to take the AL West by the smallest of margins. The Rangers are going to be a really solid club again and the reason they could take the division is purely because they have a ton of pitching depth. The Mariners aren’t as bad as they were a year ago and they are actually getting better but as we all know as Pirates fans it doesn’t happen overnight. Having Felix Hernandez doesn’t hurt. The A’s aren’t talked about as being one of the worst teams in the league, but they are.

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies – 90-72
2. Atlanta Braves – 89-75
3. Miami Marlins – 88-74
4. Washington Nationals – 85-77
5. New York Mets – 75-87

This is going to be the tightest division in all of baseball. While I don’t think that the best team in baseball is in this division I think from top to bottom is has the most parity and outside of the Mets I can see any of the other four teams winning this division. The Phillies have a really solid rotation but the offense really isn’t that good. They have injuries to Howard and Utley and Rollins isn’t getting any younger so if they want to win the division you are going to have to rely on the pitchers. I think the Braves have the best pitching staff top to bottom in the division which is the reason they can win this but they need Jason Heyward to step up and be a big time player. Miami is trying to buy another championship. They signed Jose Reyes to go along with Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson to form a really solid club but as you know just buying players and throwing them together doesn’t always work. The Nationals made some big upgrades over the offseason and much like the Pirates are on the rise although I would say they are much closer to contending for something than the Pirates. The Mets are one of those teams that are in a rebuild mode and shouldn’t really be very good.

NL Central
1. Cincinnati Reds – 94-68
2. St. Louis Cardinals – 91-71
3. Milwaukee Brewers – 88-74
4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 73-89
5. Chicago Cubs – 70-92
6. Houston Astros – 60-102

The Reds are a really solid team and with the roster they have I can really see them getting back to the form that they were in 2012. They just signed Joey Votto to a huge extension and added a proven top of the rotation starter in Mat Latos. The Cardinals are the World Series Champions but they lost a huge piece when Albert Pujols decided to go to LA but the Cardinals bring back a solid pitching staff led by Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. They still have guys like Berkman and Holiday that can mash so they will be right there in the hunt. The Brewers took a huge hit when they lost Prince Fielder and that will take a huge amount of protection away from Ryan Braun. They signed Aramis Ramirez to play third base and will rely on Matt Gamel to play first base but both are huge question marks. I talked about the Pirates in my preview but I see them being about the same as last year although I think their path to those wins will be different. The Cubs’ biggest deal was the acquisition of Theo Epstein to the front office and they will be rebuilding while the Astros should be easily the worst team in baseball in their last year in the National League.

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants – 91-71
2. Arizona Diamondbacks – 89-73
3. Los Angeles Dodgers – 79-83
4. Colorado Rockies - 76-86
5. San Diego Padres – 72-90

The Giants have a great one-two punch at the top of their rotation with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum and they should carry the Giants despite not having the type of offense you would like to have from a division winner. The Diamondbacks are going to be an interesting team because they are a really solid team with a better offense than the Giants but the pitching is just not as strong. Justin Upton is one of the best in the business for the Diamondbacks and will look to carry them along with Ian Kennedy who is very solid on the bump. The Dodgers should hover around .500 this year after the sale of the team to Magic Johnson which should get some players minds off it. Matt Kemp is truly one of the best in the game and with Clayton Kershaw you always have a chance but the rest of the roster isn’t great. The Rockies just can’t seem to get that push and the Padres have some promise but not for this season.

Playoffs

AL
1. Detroit Tigers
2. New York Yankees
3. Los Angeles Angels
WC – Tampa Bay Rays
WC – Texas Rangers
AL Champion – Detroit Tigers

NL
1.Cincinnati Reds
2.Philadelphia Phillies
3.San Francisco Giants
WC – St. Louis Cardinals
WC – Atlanta Braves
NL Champions – Philadelphia Phillies

World Series Champions – Detroit Tigers

Now it is that time where we look at the Pirate predictions that I promised you. These are for the starters only and I will include Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones since they are both technically starters in my book.

For the hitters we (Roundtable Podcast group) went with home runs and the triple slash line (average/on base/slugging) while for the pitchers we went with games started, record and ERA. I made these predictions and looking back at them I think I would make some changes but I am not going to backtrack now.

Hitters

Garrett Jones – 20 HR, .265/.325/.440
Casey McGehee – 13 HR, .267/.325/.416
Neil Walker – 15 HR, .265/.330/.415
Clint Barmes – 10 HR, .253/.301/378
Pedro Alvarez – 17 HR, .230/.290/.435
Rod Barajas – 15 HR, .235/.280/.410
Alex Presley – 4 HR, .289/.345/.406
Jose Tabata – 7 HR, .303/.365/.416
Andrew McCutchen – 20 HR, .295/.370/.475

Pitchers

A.J. Burnett – 30 GS, 11-11, 4.09 ERA
Erik Bedard – 23 GS, 12-8, 3.75 ERA
James McDonald – 32 GS, 11-11, 4.15 ERA
Jeff Karstens – 26 GS, 8-13, 4.53 ERA
Charlie Morton – 25 GS, 11-10, 4.36 ERA

Well there you go. As you can expect my predictions are going to be dead on so you can take those to the bank.

Have differing thoughts? Leave it in the comments.

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