It’s that time of year. Spring training games are underway and baseball fans everywhere are having heated discussions about who will finish where. It’s kind of silly, really. As any Yankee fan can tell you, “You can’t predict baseball.” Still, we make the effort – never mind that mid-season injuries, trades and call-ups always alter the picture. Add in the players who have break-out years (seriously, who thought Jose Bautista would slug 54 homers in 2010?) or unexpectedly terrible ones (think Carlos Lee), and predicting anything this time of year becomes an exercise in futility. But it is a fun exercise, so here I go.
I’ll start by posting the expected finish of team, including record. How did I come to this? I ran 100 season simulations, based on a program I originally wrote for picking football games. Of course, this assumes I’ve correctly guessed every team’s roster on Opening Day and that nobody suffers a significant injury. It’s worked well for me in picking the NFL (as those of you who followed my picks on Twitter last year probably know), but this is the first time I’ve ever tried it in baseball. By the way, the division names double as links, you can hit them to get to a more in-depth prognostication.
- New York Yankees, 105-57 0 GB
- Boston Red Sox, 105-57 0 GB
- Tampa Bay Rays 95-67 10 GB
- Baltimore Orioles 94-68 11 GB
- Toronto Blue Jays 67-95 38 GB
- Minnesota Twins 87-75 0 GB
- Chicago White Sox 84-78 3 GB
- Detroit Tigers 71-91 16 GB
- Kansas City Royals 55-97 32 GB
- Cleveland Indians 45-107 42 GB
- Oakland A’s 97-95 0 GB
- Texas Rangers 85-77 12 GB
- Anaheim Angels 83-79 14 GB
- Seattle Mariners 64-98 33 GB
Yes, the AL East is that good. And yes, Cleveland is that bad.
Season’s biggest surprise: The Oriole starting rotation. I know, you probably think I lost my mind. But the O’s may have the best stable of young arms in the league, with Jake Arrieta (25), Brian Matusz (24), Brad Bergesen (25) and Chris Tillman(23). Add in a resurgent Justin Duchscherer and the steady Jeremy Guthrie, and that’s a lot of promise.
MVP candidate: Robinson Cano. If you thought last year was special, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
CY Young Candidate: Since this award seems given to somebody from a losing team lately, I’ll stay with the trend. Here’s a vote for Joakim Soria.
As always, I look forward to your feedback. And…PLAY BALL!!!