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2013 MLB Predictions

Updated on April 1, 2013

How They'll Finish

Do you smell that? Go ahead, take a big whiff. You know what that is right? That is the smell of fresh cut grass, flowers beginning to bloom and fresh leather being broken in. Oh, did I not mention that with Spring comes baseball? Well, it does and it is finally here. The 2013 Major League Baseball season gets underway tonight as the Houston Astros host their first game as a member of the American League. Houston was the worst team in the league last year and moves from the average National League Central to the tougher American League West. It isn't hard to envision them finishing with the worst record in the league again. What is a little harder is figuring out who will finish on the opposite end of the spectrum. That is where I come in. Below I will give the breakdown of who will finish where and give you a little synopsis about each playoff team and why they will continue to play on in October. And here's my pitch.


National Leage

East

1. Washington Nationals

2. Atlanta Braves*

3. Philadelphia Phillies

4. New York Mets

5. Miami Marlins


Central

1. Cincinnati Reds

2. St. Louis Cardinals*

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

4. Milwaukee Brewers

5 Chicago Cubs

West

1. San Francisco Giants

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

4. San Diego Padres

5. Colorado Rockies

Playoff Teams

Washington Nationals ~ They were the doormat of the National League East for so long but broke out last year to finish with the best record in baseball. That's right folks, the Nats are the team to beat this year. There will be no cap for ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg this year. There will also be a full year of 20-year old phenom Bryce Harper. Couple that with the return of catcher Wilson Ramos from a knee injury and the additions of a true center fielder in Denard Span and new closer in Rafael Soriano the Nats seem to have it on lock. They got their first taste of the playoffs last year and fizzed out in the NLDS against the Cardinals but this year I see them playing much, much deeper into October. They certainly have the Natitude to bring a title to the nation's capital for the first time since 1924.

Atlanta Braves ~ Probably the second best team in the league. The problem with that is they are in the same division as the Nats. That means Atlanta is almost assuredly headed for a second straight one-game playoff for a wild card. To say they got hosed on the infield fly rule in last year's game is an understatement. But that is last year. This year the Braves retooled by replacing speedy center fielder Michael Bourn with B.J. Upton and then acquired his brother Justin from Arizona to man left. The Uptons and Jason Heyward make up what is arguably the best outfield in all of baseball. All three of them should be in the 20-20 club this year. While the offense is a strength the pitching is what concerns me. Usually Atlanta is synonymous with good pitching but they will be counting on Kris Medlen to lead the staff and have Paul Maholm as the number two. Tim Hudson is a solid number three and after that is Mike Minor and Julio Teheran. If the pitching holds up the Braves could challenge Washington but I see a wild card in their future.

Cincinnati Reds ~ To start or to close? That was the big question in Cincy this offseason as the debate raged on about what to do with Aroldis Chapman. He of the off the radar fastball and god-like 15.3 k/9 last year dominated at the end of games like nobody I can recall in recent memory. Straight gas homey. Some clamored for him to be in the rotation as they would get more innings from him but others wondered why mess with success? In the end that is exactly where they decided he should be. At the end of the game closing up shop. With a one run lead in the 9th there is no pitcher I would hate to see more as an opposing hitter.

St. Louis Cardinals ~ The Cards are the team that just won't go away. Every time you think they are down they come right back at you. That is why I cannot pick against them this year. Sure, you can say they lost Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal for the year. Sure, Carlos Beltran is another year older and his knees that much weaker. Of course you can say the loss of Kyle Lohse to division rival Milwaukee is big. World Series hero David Freese is going to being the season on the DL. You can even mention that Lance Berkman, though hurt most of last year, is no longer on the team. All of those things make it easy to write off the Cards. Right? I mean, those are some significant notes about this team. But you can also say they have an ace in the making in Shelby Miller who will be the number five pitcher in the rotation. You can say they have a top prospect waiting in the wings in Oscar Tavares. You can say Allen Craig will be a more than suitable playing first as all he does is rake. You can say a lot of things about the Cardinals and I say they will win the wild card again this year setting up a rematch with Atlanta.

San Francisco Giants ~ Last year many people wondered where Tim Lincecum went. A two-time Cy Young award winner who hadn't posted an ERA of over 3.5 since his rookie year in 2007 regressed to a 5.18 ERA last year an led the league with 17 wild pitches. That, is very unlike the Big Time Timmy Jim we have all come to know and love. This year people around Giants camp may have also wondered with Lincecum was as he was sporting a new look as he cut off his shoulder-length locks. If he can bounce back to his ace-like form the Giants will once again put forth a top of the rotation that nobody wants to face come October, or any other time of the year for that matter. With Matt Cain leading the way and young stud Madison Bumgardner to follow, Lincecum can do some damage as the number three. If he falters they still have Ryan Vogelsong to top the rotation. The Giants will get some stiff competition this year from the Dodgers but I say the pull out the division and claim the only playoff spot out west.

American League

East

1. Toronto Blue Jays

2. Tampa Bay Rays*

3. New York Yankees

4. Boston Red Sox

5. Baltimore Orioles

Central

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Kansas City Royals

3. Cleveland Indians

4. Chicago White Sox

5. Minnesota Twins

West

1. Los Angeles Angels

2. Texas Rangers*

3. Oakland Athletics

4. Seattle Mariners

5. Houston Astros

Playoff Teams

Toronto Blue Jays ~ Last year the Baltimore Orioles took everyone by surprise and nearly won the division. This year it is Toronto's turn but I think they get the job done. The AL East is by far the toughest division in baseball from top to bottom. Honestly, any of the teams can finish first or fifth and I wouldn't be surprised. I do believe that Toronto did too much during the offseason to not win the division this year. The additions of R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera coupled with the return of Jose Bautista from injury should be enough to lead the Blue Jays to the playoffs for the first time since Joe Carter homered to give Toronto their second consecutive title in 1993.

Tampa Bay Rays ~ If they made a movie about Billy Beane and the A's for Moneyball they have to write something about the low-budget Rays do they not? General Manager Andrew Friedman pulled off another impressive swap by acquiring stud prospect Wil Myers from the Royals for ace James Shields and Wade Davis. The Royals were staved for pitching help but I believe they made an error here. Myers will start the year in the minors to slow his service-time clock but I expect him to be called up in May and immediately start paying dividends. This might mean second baseman Kelly Johnson goes to the bench and Ben Zobrist slides back in to that spot but clearing room for Myers is a must. Losing Shields will hurt but they still have reigning Cy Young winner David Price followed by Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and potential breakout pitcher Alex Cobb. They even have Chris Archer in the minors if need be. The Rays have been a model ball club over the last five years and should be playing in October once again this year.

Detroit Tigers ~ The best team in the American League last year got even better. Hard to believe right? They resigned mid-season acquisition Anibal Sanchez who pitched lights out since coming over from Miami. They also replaced Delmon Young with free agent Torii Hunter. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder make up what I believe to be the scariest 3-4 hitters in the game. Oh, and did I mention that they are getting Victor Martinez and his .303/.370/.469 career batting line back from injury? That is like adding a top free agent. Justin Verlander also signed the richest contract for a pitcher which will keep him in Detroit until his late 30's. This team is again going to be scary and should run away with the weak AL Central.

Los Angeles Angels ~ After they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last year everyone thought the Angels would storm into the playoffs. Not only did that not happen, two teams finished ahead of them in their own division and both made the postseason. This year, that changes. The Angels will get a full year from MVP runner up Mike Trout and they also added outfielder Josh Hamilton from division rival Texas. While the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired after ace Jered Weaver and Wilson I think this team will pack enough punch to win the shootout in the west this year.

Texas Rangers ~ The window for Texas is closing. It isn't closed yet, but it is closing and fast. Losing Wilson and Hamilton in back-to-back years to LA only makes matters worse. Yu Darvish should establish himself this year as an ace for the Texas staff but there isn't much else behind him. Or at least, not much else that is healthy. Neftali Feliz, Martin Perez and Colby Lewis are all hurt. Matt Harrison is a nice pitcher but I don't think he is a top guy even though he will get the nod tonight in the season opener. Leonys Martin also has the unenviable task of filling Hamilton's shoes but he doesn't have 1/5 of the power production his predecessor took to LA. What I think will happen is the Rangers will look to trade shortstop Elvis Andrus in hopes to fill some holes and create a position for the games top prospect in Jurickson Profar. I think the Rangers have enough to squeak into the playoffs again this year but this might be their last chance.


***EDIT***


How I missed my World Series prediction i do not know. Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in six.

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    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 4 years ago from The Lone Star State

      This is a very interesting hub. I think the AL East is too tough for Toronto. They will finish in third place at best.

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