Maybe because I just got home from Philadelphia. Maybe because it’s NCAA tournament time and everyone is predicting something. Maybe because I can’t wait for the baseball season to start.
But whether there is a good reason or not, I have decided today is Prediction Day. I will fearlessly and foolishly predict how the Major League Baseball season will turn out, the winners and losers in each division. I’ve made up my mind and once I put the thoughts into print I am stuck. Ready or not, and I’m not sure if I’m ready or not, the Philadelphia Phillies will win the World Series in 2012.
The Phillies are the best team. The Phillies have enough of everything to win it all. The Phillies are so loaded with guys scratching to make the roster that they are measuring the worth of Juan Pierre and Scott Podsednik–as 25th man. Personally, I think they should both return to the White Sox, who could use them. Jim Thome is around just to pinch hit once in a while. Top to bottom the Phillies have the most talent. Of course, being the best doesn’t always mean you get to slip on those championship rings. This time I think it does.
I think the American League is stronger than the National League, but that the Phillies are still the No. 1 team. This is how I picture the rest of the teams faring:
American League East
1) New York Yankees. Easy division winner. 2) Boston Red Sox. A major struggle to hold off the Rays. 3) Tampa Bay, 4) Toronto Blue Jays. 5) Baltimore Orioles. Still bad after all these years.
American League Central
1) Detroit Tigers. The champs of the weakest division in the AL. 2) Minnesota Twins. Lots of questions, but a bigger upside than other teams if guys stay healthy. 3) Cleveland Indians. 4) Kansas City Royals. They are supposed to have a pip of a farm system. It’s time to see what they’ve got. 5) Chicago White Sox. Two giant steps backward.
American League West
1) Los Angeles Angels. The Albert Pujols factor enables them to overtake the Rangers. 2) Texas Rangers, with or without a highly fit and focused Josh Hamilton. 3) Seattle Mariners. 4) Oakland A’s. Whatever happened to Moneyball?
I expect the Yankees to win the American League Championship Series over the Angels and represent the AL in the World Series.
National League East
1) Philadelphia Phillies. 2) Atlanta Braves. A team getting stronger. 3) Miami Marlins. Greatly improved, but in the wrong division. 4) Washington Nationals. Them, too. 5) New York Mets. Looking at a really bad year. For the first time in a long time, the American League East will not be the strongest division in the game. This one will be.
National League Central
1) Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had a superb off-season and they seem to have all the necessary ingredients to capture the division. 2) St. Louis Cardinals. Somehow St. Louis always seems to be living on the edge, with a major injury threatening the season. Last year the Cardinals won the World Series even without Adam Wainwright. This year Chris Carpenter is hurt, thought it’s not clear how seriously yet. It’s a new era in St. Louis without long-time manager Tony La Russa and without Albert Pujols, so making up for disadvantages will be more difficult. 3) Milwaukee Brewers. Weaker than they were. 4) Pittsburgh Pirates. Could they record a winning season for the first time in a generation? Actually, the only reason the mediocre Pirates rate this highly is because they are in the same division as the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. One of the toughest predictions of the season is who will be worse, the Astros or the Cubs. I am going to vote Houston as No. 5 and the Cubs No. 6.
National League West
1) Arizona Diamondbacks. Probably the best of the lot here. 2) Los Angeles Dodgers. 3) San Francisco Giants. 4) Colorado Rockies. 5). San Diego Padres. Along with the American League Central, perhaps the most non-descript division in the game.
I’m figuring on a Philllies-Reds National League Championship Series with the Phillies moving on.
World Series: Phillies defeat the Yankees in six games.