The most exciting time of the year is upon us all, as we are just a few days from the beginning of the regular season. For someone like me, Opening Day is right on par with Christmas Day on the annual holiday hierarchy. With the fast approaching start of the season, the time is now to put all the chips on the table and do the best forecast for the season I can hope to do. That is a task though I am incapable of fulfilling myself. So I must summon the powers of the great NostraDavis to reveal who will celebrate and who will cry during the upcoming 2013 season.
I summoned NostraDavis last year on my short-lived personal blog “Baseball Obsessed” that died a quick death upon my arrival with Swingin’ A’s. The corpse of that blog still remains, and if you wish to see it you can right here. He predicted that the Atlanta Braves would send Chipper Jones into retirement a la John Elway, on top of the world with a World Series title. They were supposed to have a rematch of the 1992 World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays who he felt were poised to break out, perhaps he jumped the gun on that one. He did end up getting 3 out of 5 playoff teams correct in each league, including the upstart Washington Nationals, so time will tell if his psychic skills have been fine tuned in the last year.
So we’ll take a quick break from focusing solely on the Athletics and the AL West, and take a tour around the league and see how NostraDavis sees the MLB season playing out.
Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox
March 28, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) reacts in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Often times an infusion of talent like we saw with the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason doesn’t work out for one reason or another. It didn’t for the Red Sox when they acquired Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford in 2011. The sheer mass of talent the Blue Jays got though to complement an already talented roster will prove just too much for the rest of the division to handle. The Yankees look old and broken down, but they’re still the Yankees and someone like Vernon Wells could experience a renaissance in pinstripes, once Curtis Granderson and perhaps Mark Teixeira return they’ll make some noise, but they won’t catch Toronto. The Orioles and Rays are both teams with talent on their roster, but each team lacks enough in a given area to keep them down just enough to put them behind the Yankees. All three teams below Toronto will be in the wild card hunt. The Boston Red Sox are trying to patch their roster together, but Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Jonny Gomes along with Ryan Dempster are not going to be enough to keep them out of the cellar of the AL East, although they might be the best last place team in baseball.
Tigers, Royals, Indians, White Sox, Twins
The Tigers vastly underachieved last season but were able to get it together enough to catch the fading White Sox down the stretch. They’re getting Victor Martinez back, and will have Anibal Sanchez for the full season, and have added Torii Hunter to the outfield mix. They are among the most talented teams in baseball, and what was supposed to be the easiest AL pick last year will be once again in 2013. The Kansas City Royals are the longtime doormats of this division, but much like the Tampa Bay Rays before, enough bad baseball leads to a ton of stud prospects. They’re all reaching the major leagues now and the Royals should be competitive in 2013 without a doubt. The Indians spent some money to buy Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, but their pitching staff is still a question mark, the addition of Trevor Bauer will be an interesting storyline to watch as the season progresses. The White Sox are without a strong direction at this point, but they seem destined for mediocrity. The Twins are in a rebuilding mode of sorts, despite the presence of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau still in Minneapolis, with Vance Worley tabbed as the Opening Day starter, I think it’s obvious they’ll finish in last place.
Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Astros
As much as it pains me to say, the Angels will not be able to be held down again this season. Despite the fact that Albert Pujols may very well be breaking down with his bad knees, and the fact that I don’t think their rotation is much above average, the rest of their offense should be too good to stop. The A’s will give them quite a challenge for much of the season before the Angels pull away and take the AL West crown away. The A’s will be strong contenders for a wild card spot, and while their depth will aid the team when the injury bug bites, it won’t be enough to overcome the Angels. The Texas Rangers have taken a step back with the loss of Josh Hamilton, they’ll have a potent offense still but they’ll miss his big bat that tied the whole lineup together. The Mariners added some decent offensive firepower with Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, but their pitching staff beyond Felix Hernandez leaves much to be desired. The Astros are in an ultimate rebuilding mode, they lost 106 games last year and added Carlos Pena and Chris Carter to their lineup. They may be able to avoid the century mark this year, but there’s virtually no chance they avoid last place in 2013.
AL Wild Card
Next time, NostraDavis will take a look at the National League, the 3 division winners from 2012 seem awfully well established, but will another team be able to unseat them from atop the mountain? We shall see…