Bold Baseball Predictions for the 2012 MLB Season
by Trevor Whenham - 4/5/2012
With the baseball season finally underway here are nine bold predictions for how the season is going to turn out. Remember where you heard it from:
Texas won’t make the playoffs
It seems to be a foregone conclusion to most that the Rangers will make the playoffs. I obviously won’t rule it out entirely — they have a lot of talent. I just have a feeling that it isn’t going to go as planned.
I have some concerns in the field — Adrian Beltre, and durability in several other cases. My biggest concern, though, is with the rotation. C.J. Wilson is going to be missed sorely. Holland and Harrison are candidates for a regression, it’s a long trip from the bullpen to the rotation for Feliz, and Darvish faces a lot of pressure and didn’t look as sharp in spring as I would have liked. There could be real pitching woes, and that could be enough to knock them out of the playoff picture in a very deep American League.
It’s not going to help that the AL West is going to be tougher than it has been recently, so there aren’t as many free wins for the Rangers.
Toronto will make the playoffs
I am very bullish on Toronto. The expansion of the playoff field may as well have been called the AL East rule because that division has long had more of a log jam than any other.
Toronto has patiently built their team well, and this is the year it will start to pay off.
Jose Bautista is obviously the real deal. Young talent like Arencibia and Lawrie is extremely exciting. The rotation has a chance to be strong. The bullpen is excellent. This won’t be a glamorous team, but it is a tough one, and they showed off a real swagger in the spring. They’ll play in October. Not all the way to the World Series, but at least in the new Wild Card Round.
No repeat for St. Louis — not even close
There’s still a lot to like about this team. You can’t lose Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa and still manage to overcome the World Series hangover, though. That’s too much heart-and-soul, and it’s going to be too much to overcome.
They’ll be a solid team, but not a playoff squad.
Strasburg will be as expected
Expectations are sky-high for Strasburg — even after his surgery. I fully expect him to live up to the hype.
We have to remember that the guy is still very raw in terms of pro experience. He’s wildly gifted, though, and I expect him to put up very strong numbers. I don’t think he’ll be a Cy Young contender, but he’s going to establish himself as a star — as opposed to the presumed star he is now.
Santana will be back
I am optimistic about Johan Santana this year. It has been so long since he’s been healthy that it’s easy to forget just how good he was. The surgery he got went very well, though, and there seems to be plenty of reasons to believe that the biggest issues are behind him.
Maybe it’s because I love watching him hurl it so much, but I really do believe it’s going to be a big year for him — at least as big as it can be when he plays for an absolutely terrible team.
Off year for Halladay
I love Roy Halladay. He’s the best pitcher of his generation, and one of the best of my lifetime. That being said, I can’t fight the feeling that he’s going to have an off year.
There is no one big reason for it. He’s just been too durable for too long, and I feel like something is going to go wrong for him. I also think that the Phillies are going to be a step or two off their best, and that won’t help.
He won’t be disastrous or anything, but he’ll be a far cry from what we have come to expect.
Jamie Moyer will win 300 games
Not this year, of course. At some point, though. He only needs 33 more wins. He throws so soft that his body can hold up forever, he obviously has the hunger, and the Tommy John surgery means he basically has a new arm — or at least a totally overhauled one.
He had a very strong spring, and he’s so competitive that it has to be pushing him along. I’m certainly not doubting him after what he has done in the last decade. There is pretty much no one else in the sport that would have come back from this surgery at this point, so he’s a freak. That’s not going to go away.
The Mariners will be a pleasant surprise
The Mariners have been a really bad team for a really long time. They aren’t going to be a great one, and aren’t going to be a playoff team, but I expect a massive step towards respectability this year.
They have a couple of very special youngsters in Ackley and Montero, and the deal to acquire Montero from the Yankees for Pineda is looking brilliant given the physical issues Pineda has.
They have one of the best pitchers in baseball at the top of the rotation, and some guys with high upsides behind him. I like the bullpen, too.
Last year their lack of offense killed them. It’s not going to be a great offense this year, but it will be better — and so will they. They have a real shot at .500.
The World Series winner will be... San Francisco
This one comes a bit out of left field. I really like this team, though.
Buster Posey is back, and I expect big things. I love the addition of Melky Cabrera, and I like the lineup, too. The pitching staff is as good as any in the league. I am bearish on their division, so there will be plenty of wins for San Francisco, and a nice road into the playoffs.
They have their playoff experience to draw on, and the maturity from a frustrating year last year to build this season on. They are tough, experienced, and talented. They are my team for this year.
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