Myworld’s 2013 Major League Predictions

No great surprises here.  Everyone picks winners based on what they see on paper.  Injuries, slumps and breakout years define seasons for many teams.  Mid-season acquisitions can also change the fate of a team.  With those thoughts in mind, here are myworld’s predictions for the 2013 season.

AL East

1. Toronto Blue Jays - If offseason acquisitions guaranteed championships the 2012 World Series would have featured the Angels playing the Marlins.  Good power with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and a solid four in the rotation with Brandon Morrow slated for the fourth spot.  Sergio Santos coming back from injury should help the bullpen.

2. Tampa Bay Rays - They’ve traded a number of starters to improve their hitting, but at some point it has got to hurt.  Not a lot of experience after David Price.  They will have to wait until at least mid-May to have Wil Myers bat join Evan Longoria.  That will cost them the wild card.  Fernando Rodney is questionable to repeat last year’s numbers.

3. Baltimore Orioles - The question will be whether they can do it with smoke and mirrors again, but this should be a better team than the 2013 season with less victories to show for it.  Brian Roberts will fill the hole at second and Manny Machado at third.  Wei-Yin Chen could be the big disappointment as hitters adjust to his pitching style.  Foreign pitchers have success the first year, but seem to struggle in subsequent years.

4. Boston Red Sox - The signings of Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew seemed to be roster fillers rather than playoff signings.  Drew will follow in his brother’s footsteps by appearing on the disabled list opening day, joined possibly by David Ortiz.  Jackie Bradley took advantage of the weak Red Sox outfield to make the opening day roster.  Jacoby Ellsbury will continue to play centerfield, but Bradley is probably the better centerfielder.

5. New York Yankees - They are going to start the month of April without Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.  Derek Jeter and Phil Hughes are also hobbled while outfield replacement Adonis Garcia couldn’t take advantage of injury opportunities by getting injured himself.  They also lost a slew of homeruns with the departures of Russell Martin, Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez.

AL East MVP - Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)

AL East Cy Young - David Price (Rays)

AL Rookie of the Year - Jackie Bradley (Red Sox)

Wild Card Teams - None

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers - Their big achilles heal will be their defense. It will give up a lot of runs. With a 3-4-5 of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez they should score a lot of runs. Justin Verlander will lead the pitching staff. They will need to get a consistent six from their starters because t

he bullpen is a mess.

2. Kansas City Royals - A nice acquisition of some veteran pitchers in James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana and resigning Jeremy Guthrie gives them a solid four. They already have the young bats to score some runs and they should see some improvement there.

3. Cleveland Indians - They sacrificed their future to sign Nick Swisher and Michael Bourne. They do need Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Carrasco to pitch to expectations and Trevor Bauer to surprise. The low key style of Terry Francona should help.

4. Chicago White Sox - They battled all last year with the Tigers for the division but they didn’t do a whole lot to improve themselves. They need the aged bats of Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn to keep on bopping and the young arms of Chris Sale and Addison Reed to pick up wins and saves.

5. Minnesota Twins - They traded their centerfielders to upgrade their young pitching. Starting pitching was a shambles last year and it will be a shambles this year. Aaron Hicks will be key to set up RBI opportunities for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham.

AL Central MVP - Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)

AL Central Cy Young - Justin Verlander (Tigers)

AL Central Rookie of the Year - Aaron Hicks (Twins)

AL Central Wild Card - Kansas City Royals

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Their biggest move was subtracting Josh Hamilton from the Rangers and adding him to their lineup. With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols they have three potential MVPs in their lineup. The big key will be how effective C.J. Wilson is in their starting rotation. They can’t afford another disappointing season from him. The closer situation is unsettled until Ryan Madson can show he can do the job.

2. Texas Rangers - They still have a solid lineup even without Josh Hamilton. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz will strive for 30 plus homerun years and A.J. Pierzynski will try to provide some of that offense that was subtracted with the departure of Hamilton. Now that Yu Darvish has acclimated to the 162 game season he should be a better pitcher. The closer situation still is dependent on brittle arms in Joaquin Soria, Joe Nathan or the forgotten Neftali Feliz.

3. Oakland Athletics - They will see some settling from the starting pitchers who did so well for them last year. Yoenis Cespedes is preparing himself for a big spring. Whether they can get repeat seasons from Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss is open to question. The bullpen is not settled and an ace must emerge from the young rotation. Look for that to be Jarrod Parker.

4. Seattle Mariners - They are improving. They added some sticks in Raul Ibanez, Kendry Morales, Michael Morse and Jason Bay. They all leave something to be desired from the defensive end. Felix Hernandez is their ace but little is behind him and Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor throw hard to be better closer options in the future.

5. Houston Astros - They lack an ace and a real power threat. Their best player is Jose Altuve who stands 5′5′ at best. It will be a long season for the Astros, who still are spending their focus on building the team through the development of the farm system.

AL West MVP - Albert Pujols (Angels)

AL West Cy Young - Felix Hernandez (Mariners)

AL West Rookie of the Year - Leonys Martin (Rangers)

AL West Wild Card - Rangers

National League East

1. Washington Nationals - No team has a starting four better than Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. The depth is not there if injuries shelve some of the starters and Dan Haren appears to be a down grade from Edwin Jackson. They have three closers in their bullpen in Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. The lineup is solid with a break out year from Bryce Harper expected.

2. Julio Teheran - The Upton brothers B.J. and Justin have to fulfill their potential. The Braves hope they will feed off each other. Freddie Freeman is ready for a breakout year and Andrelton Simmons was showing some gold glove defense. Craig Kimbrel was having some spring trouble and Johnny Venters was having his elbow checked out so that could speel trouble. Their starting rotation falls far short of the Nationals.

3. Philadelphia Phillies - The health of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will be key. Howard did not look good moving quickly in spring and the drag of a 162 game season may require a stint on the DL. A Roy Halladay slump will make this rotation drop to vanilla with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels their only aces. Dominic Brown appears ready to contribute.

4. New York Mets - They have David Wright but no one to surround him.  Lucas Duda carries a lot of bulk but his hitting has been inconsistent and Ike Davis slugged 32 homeruns but hit .227. They lost two aces when they traded R.A. Dickey and lost Johann Santana to injury for the year. It will be a long season with no hot start like last year to disguise a poor season.

5. Miami Marlins - Like the Mets they have Giancarlo Stanton in their lineup, but no one to protect him. They will battle the Astros for the worst record in baseball. All they can hope for is the fans get excited as they sprinkle in their prospects like Adeiny Hechavarria, Rob Brantley and JakeMarisnick into their lineup.

NL East MVP - Bryce Harper (Nationals)

NL East Cy Young - Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)

NL East Rookie of the Year - Julio Teheran (Braves)

NL East Wild Card - Atlanta Braves

NL Central

1. Cincinnati Reds - They have some quality starters whose numbers will not look good because of the hitters park they pitch in. Johnny Cueto is turning into an ace, Matt Latos was acquired from the Padres to be their ace and Homer Bailey has the potential to be an ace. Joey Votto will be healthy but the lack of a true centerfielder could become problematic. It may force them to call up Billy Hamilton by mid-year or sooner. Aroldis Chapan as the closer is a better fit for this team than in the starting rotation.

2. St. Louis Cardinals - Another team with a quality starting rotation led by ace Adam Wainwright. The big blow was the injury to Chris Carpenter and the departure of Kyle Lohse as a free agent, but they have young arms in Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Micael Wacha who can more than make up the slack. Their lineup has some good bats but lacks a true power hitter and myworld is not sold on Jason Motte being the closer.

3. Milwaukee Brewers - The signing of Kyle Lohse strenghtens a rotation that already had Yovani Gallardo. John Axford has to show more consistency as their closer and their bats need to show more offense. Ryan Braun is the one consistent. Rickie Weeks needs to have a bounce back year to ignite the offense from the leadoff spot. Finding a bat to replace Cory Hart early in the season is critical.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates - Andrew McCutchen continues to improve and could be the best player in this division. The Pirates have to decide whether to bat him in the one or three hole. Pedro Alvarez has to shake off a disappointing start to his career and show some consistent offense. They traded their closer over the offseason and their starter rotation will not pop your eyes out. A.J. Burnett has to replicat last season.

5. Chicago Cubs - It is still a rebuilding year for the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo shows good promise with the bat. The Cubs will have to decide on the disappointing Carlos Marmol as their closer or use the more successful Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa. Myworld will be surprised if Alfonso Soriano survives the whole year with this team. Starting rotation will take its lumps.

NL Central MVP - Joey Votto (Reds)

NL Central Cy Young - Johnny Cueto (Reds)

NL Rookie of the Year - Shelby Miller (Cardinals)

NL West Wild Card Team - None

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers - On paper this team should win it for Don Mattingly’s sake. Combining Zack Greinke with Clsyton Kershaw will give the Dodgers two aces. They have plenty of offense to score runs with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.  Carl Crawfords needs to show he is not in the downward trend of his career.  Josh Beckett will make a tough number three in the rotation if he pitches the was he did after the trade from the Red Sox.

2. San Francisco Giants - They still have Matt Cain to head the rotation and Madison Bumgarner is an up and comer.  Myworld does not have a lot of faith in their closer by committe Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo.  The lineup needs the bats of Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence to drive in more runs.  Buster Posey can not do it all on his own.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks - The Astros traded some of who they perceived as malcontents for gritty ball players, saying good bye to Juston Upton and Trevor Bauer and saying hello to Martin Prado, Cody Ross and Eric Hinske.  They hope to have a new centerfielder with a better OBA in Adam Eaton, but losing some slugging average to Chris Young.  They need for Wade Miley to avoid any sophmore slumps and Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill to rise to the top of the rotation.

4. San Diego Padres - The starting pitching will be their Achilles heel.  No ace after the trade of Matt Latos last year.  Andrew Cashner is their closest possibility, but he will have to settle for the bullpen when the year starts.  With the fences moved in the bats of Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable to take more balls out of the park.  Cashner may eventually take over the closing role for Huston Street.

5. Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez make a good 3-4 sticke, but both have missed a number of games because of injury.  The starting pitching is non-existent.  Chirs Volstad making the roster in the bullpen should tell you enough about their quality pitching.

NL West MVP - Matt Kemp (Dodgers)

NL West Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

NL West Rookie of the year - Hyun-Jim Ryu (Dodgers)

NL West Wid Card Team - San Francisco Giants

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