Saturday, March 31, 2012
2012 Major League Baseball Season Preview
There are now ten teams competing for the World Series title once October rolls around, so that could make for an interesting Fall Classic as it seems that baseball, much like NFL football these days, crowns the team that is the hottest as champion when the post-season arrives.
Anyway, here are capsule style previews/predictions for the division races this season as well as the picks for the World Series outcome.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
1. NEW YORK YANKEES - As long as they spend, they seem to keep winning, just not as much in the post-season anymore.
2. TAMPA BAY RAYS - Manager Joe Maddon worked a lot of magic last year, including that incredible comeback in the final game to see the Rays get into the playoffs.
3. BOSTON RED SOX - The Bosox will be competitive once again in baseball's best division.
4. TORONTO BLUE JAYS - These guys always seems to flame out as the season wears on. So expect yet another .500 type season north of the border.
5. BALTIMORE ORIOLES - The O's are a young and improving team. Seems to be the case about this team for the last six years or so. Avoiding 90 losses in 2012 will be considered a good season.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
1. DETROIT TIGERS - The pressure is all on them as they seem prepared to make a serious run at the World Series this year.
2. CLEVELAND INDIANS - The Tribe will do well to finish above .500 in 2012.
3. CHICAGO WHITE SOX - The Sox are not as bad as some seem to be indicating. However, do not expect them to contend with the Tigers in this division this season.
4. KANSAS CITY ROYALS - Another up and coming young team that will be tough to beat day in and day out.
5. MINNESOTA TWINS - Ron Gardenhire is a good manager, he just does not have the talent as he did a few years ago when the Twins were regularly winning this division.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
1. TEXAS RANGERS - They came ohsoclose to winning it all last year. The Rangers are head and shoulders above a lot of teams in the American League.
2. LOS ANGELES ANGELS - Albert Pujols needs to deliver for the 'Halos to contend with Texas in this division.
3. OAKLAND A's - They took a step back last year, so we have to wait and see in 2012 which team will show up.
4. SEATTLE MARINERS - Ichiro is entering the twilight of his career in Seattle, but this team will do well to escape the division cellar.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES - They added a real closer this season to go along with perhaps the best starting pitching rotation in the game. Watch out!
2. ATLANTA BRAVES - Can the Braves get over the hump with the extra playoff spot in 2012?
3. WASHINGTON NATIONALS - This team is steadily on the rise and may even finish ABOVE .500 for the first time in franchise history.
4. MIAMI MARLINS - Ozzie! Ozzie ! Ozzie!
5. NEW YORK METS - Cellar dwellers in 2012.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
1. CINCINNATI REDS - No excuses this season boys.
2. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS - How the Red Birds won it all last year is beyond comprehension.
3. MILWAUKEE BREWERS - The Brew Crew lost a Prince (Fielder) to Motown, but they still have Ryan Braun and some solid pitching.
4. PITTSBURGH PIRATES - No longer the laughing stock of the National League.
5. CHICAGO CUBS - Theo! Theo! Theo!
6. HOUSTON ASTROS - GO WEST! And they will next year to the American League. But this team needs to move to the American League West this season.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
1. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS - They surprised everyone in 2010, but not last year. They should rebound and regain the NL West title.
2. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS - This team is solid and could make the surprise run in October much like San Francisco (2010) and St. Louis (2011) did the last two seasons.
3. COLORADO ROCKIES - Good lineup, but still need to show more with the likes of the Giants and D-Backs in their division.
4. LOS ANGELES DODGERS - Good pitching and a decent lineup, but they just seem to be lacking the magic to contend for the post-season.
5. SAN DIEGO PADRES - One of the worst teams in Major League Baseball once again.
Once the post-season begins, it seems to be anyone's guess as to what can happen as that has been the case for most of the past decade or so in the Major Leagues.
However, here is an attempt to pick the World Series champion for the 2012 season.
Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Angels over Tampa Bay Rays
Division Playoffs - Detroit Tigers over New York Yankees; Texas Rangers over Los Angeles Angels
AL Championship Series - Detroit Tigers over Texas Rangers
Wild Card Round - Arizona Diamondbacks over St. Louis Cardinals
Division Playoffs - Philadelphia Phillies over Arizona Diamondbacks; San Francisco Giants over Cincinnati Reds
NL Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies over San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies over Detroit Tigers
So there you have it... we'll see come October.
In the meantime, enjoy the baseball season and save me a hot dog.