How 2012 Will Shake Out
By The Captain
With just days left in spring training and a few cuts left it’s time to look into the crystal ball and predict how the 2012 season will turn out. In the National League I see the Phillies coming back to the pack and the Nationals has the most dangerous team in the senior circuit. Yes the Marlins will be tough but will have growing pains in 2012. The Braves will step back and the Mets will be, well the Mets are the Mets bringing up the rear in the East.
In the Central, the Reds will bounce back the Cards will slide backwards but be competitive. The Brewers will hang around but without Prince they won’t have enough. Good news in Pittsburgh they won’t finish with a losing record. That leaves the Cubs and the Astros. Well there’s always next year, ok maybe 2014 or 2015 will be better for these two clubs.
The West should finish out similar to 2011. The Diamondbacks are balanced and should prove last season was no fluke. The Giants are going to get back to the post season but that will be about it in their final season with both Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. The Dodgers will be better than expected and are a dark horse to win the division and the Rockies aren’t far behind. The Padres, well they’re the Padres enough said.
The Nationals will be the story of the post-season. They will make their first playoff appearance as a wildcard and go all the way to the NLCS. They will serve notice to the rest of the NL that they will be the class of the National League for the next few years. The Phillies will make one final run much like the Wheeze Kids did in 1983.
In the American League it should be interesting there are more power house teams in the AL that are a sheer joy to watch the great baseball these teams will play. In the East the Yankees will be the class again and should win 100 games. The Rays with that amazing rotation will finish second and gain a wildcard berth. The Red Sox will be solid but not strong enough to make the post-season. The dark horse team in not only the AL East but in the whole AL is the Toronto Blue Jays. This team has an offense to compete in baseball’s best defense and their pitching is catching up. They can finish anywhere from fourth to second. Oh the Orioles have some promising young talent. Well, that’ is it for my complements of the O’s sorry this team is doomed to the AL East cellar once again.
In the central The Tigers will roll this mediocre division and finish with baseball’s best record. The Indians will finish second but that’s about all I can say for them. They are not a playoff caliber team. The rest of the division shakes out this way. The improving young Royals will finish third and you can throw the Twins and White Sox into a hat and whichever one you pull out will finish a distant 4th and the other will bring up the rear.
The battle for the West is going to be the most fun division race in baseball. The Rangers talent-wise have been the best team in baseball for the last two years and still are. The Angels are much improved with the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. They will give the Rangers fits all year but not enough to keep the Rangers from the division title. The Athletics will be better than the Mariners but that isn’t saying much. Both teams will finish miles behind the Rangers and Angels.
The Yankees will have an early exit at the hands of Albert Pujols and the Angels. The Tigers and Rangers will have an amazing division series. The wild AL West race will culminate with the best league championship series in years with an epic 7 game series between the Rangers and Angels.
The most talented team in baseball will finally take home the crown. The third time will be the charm as the Rangers will reach the mountain top and defeat the Phillies in 6 games to take home their first ever World Series title.
Nationals over Giants
Nationals over Diamondbacks 3-2
Phillies over Reds 3-0
Phillies over Nationals 4-2
Roy Halladay NLCS MVP
Red Sox 93-69
Blue Jays 86-76
White Sox 71-91
Angels over Rays
Angels over Tigers 3-2
Rangers over Yankees 3-1
Rangers over Angels 4-3
Yu Darvish ALCS MVP
Rangers over Phillies 4-2
Yu Darvish World Series MVP
Regular Season Awardsjbstorey@hardballmadness.com