All week we’ve been talking about how predictions work and how you can, pretty accurately, take a stab at just how well a team might do (if, of course, you can figure out how many runs they’ll score/give up).
What follows flies completely in the face of al of that. While I don’t think I can get away with talking about predictions all week and not stick my own neck out there, I can forewarn you that this is a totally unscientific, gut-checking style of prediction. There are no stone-cold lead pipe locks, bold predictions when we get back from commercial. These really are just a bunch of thoughts I have for the season this year.
NL East: The Nationals are going to win the National League East. Their two big concerns are they strikeout a lot and they don’t have a lot of depth at starter/lefty bullpen. The good news is all sorts of teams strikeout now, and it’s okay when you have lots of power-which the Nats do. The Braves are an excellent team, but I think they have too many strikeouts (The Uptons might be the best thing for the Nationals power pitchers) and aren’t as deep as the Nats in some places. Starting the season without Brian McCann will hurt them too.
The Mets and Phillies could both finish 3rd of 4th, but it’s wholly dependent on the Phillies. The Liberty Bell Bashers are older, but they have a few guys who can still hit and more than a few guys who can pitch. I can’t count a team that has Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay out of anything. The Mets, on the other hand will be a bad team that plays tough. No David Wright hurts them for a bit, but I expect them to give the Nationals some fits in a few games this year.
For the first time, I am wholly not worried about the Marlins. Even Giancarlo Stanton can’t win games by himself, and as Matt’s Bats points out we should all feel sorry for the fish behind home plate who have to watch all the games.
The Rest of The NL: The Dodgers went a little nutty in Free Agency last year, and they could very well be this year’s Marlins or Angels (who also disappointed last year). Somehow, I don’t think so. Colorado isn’t anything to write home about, and Arizona remains an okay team with very nice pieces here and there. San Diego…well never mind about San Diego. The World Series Champion Giants won it all last year despite a terrible year from Tim Lincecum. This year they’ll need him, I think, or the Dodgers will win the West. And Good. Cuz I want The Nats to beat their brains in during the NLCS anyway. Stupid Matt Kemp. (Sorry, got a little emotional).
Speaking of teams I now hate, the Saint Louis Cardinals are the best team in the Central. The Reds played a little out of their head last year, and the Cards should have won more games. Hate to say it Nats fans, but I think the Cards in the post-season is a lock this year. The Pirates are probably good for another half season of good baseball, but no more. The Cubs are doing all the right things, but you won’t see that this year-and the Brewers are due for a step back, I think. They get erratic play from everyone, and I just can’t get behind a team with Tony Plush anywhere near it. Also, all these teams should take a dip in wins because they don’t have the Astros to beat up this year.
The AL: Even shorter analysis! The Yankees are gonna take a huge step back but not as far back as the Orioles. The Jays are going to be legit, so bank it. The Rays,
even though they didn’t add much firepower, are probably the class of the East still. Red Sox could manage fourth this year. Detroit will repeat in the Central, but only cuz they have V-Mart back. The White Sox will compete, but not make the playoffs because Texas, Oakland and Los Angeles are excellent teams who do get the benefit of playing Houston all year.
Other Thoughts: I’m betting heavy on Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa to have very good years. I’m thinking Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond won’t be quite as good as last year, but Zim, Werth and Span will more than make up for any drop off there.
I’m thinking the Nats will bring home at least 5 pieces of individual hardware at the end of the year, including one that rhymes with either Bly Fung or Host Baluable Slayer.
Michael Morse is gonna blow up real good in Seattle. he’ll be getting a Multi-year deal for many, many dollars.
I think Charlie and Dave will say “Bang! Zoom!” at the end of Nationals games no less than 94 times, and as many as 106 times.
I think the hardest post-season series for the Nationals will be the NLDS. If they win that, everything else will move quickly (I just think their depth helps them in longer series).
I think the Nationals will win the last game they play in 2013.
Okay I’m out of ideas for things to pretend I know about. Leave more questions or your own predictions in the comment section, and we’ll just have a big old hoot of a time pretending we know what the heck we are talking about!