AL EAST (my prediction):Toronto Blue Jays (90-72)
Tampa Bay Rays* (87-75)
New York Yankees (83-79)
Boston Red Sox (80-82)
Baltimore Orioles (77-85)
AL EAST (reality):Boston Red Sox (97-65) +17 wins
Tampa Bay Rays* (92-71) +5 wins
Baltimore Orioles (85-77) +8 wins
New York Yankees (85-77) +2 wins
Toronto Blue Jays (74-88) -16 wins
I wasn't alone in my optimism for the Blue Jays. Just about everything went wrong for them last year. They're a good bet to bounce back this year; however, the sudden rebound by Boston (fueled by a legit farm system) and, soon, the Yankees (fueled by $, yet again) has narrowed Toronto's window considerably. I really can't look back at their 2013 and say that their plan was a bad one. It just didn't work.
AL CENTRAL (my prediction):Detroit Tigers (93-69)
Cleveland Indians (82-80)
Kansas City Royals (79-83)
Chicago White Sox (77-85)
Minnesota Twins (66-96)
AL CENTRAL (reality):Detroit Tigers (93-69) Exactly right!
Cleveland Indians* (92-70) +10 wins
Kansas City Royals (86-76) +7 wins
Minnesota Twins (66-96) Exactly right!
Chicago White Sox (63-99) -14 wins
I'll pretend that my predictions for Detroit and Minnesota are due to my super-human intelligence and not just a bit due to good fortune. The Indians got a much better contribution from their pitching than I ever anticipated. Some of that is real (Danny Salazar), but they're going to have to do it again this year, sans Kazmir and Jimenez. I don't like them odds.
The White Sox were pluperfect awful. It's a shockingly moribund offense. Jose Abreu will help offset that, but only somewhat.
AL WEST (my prediction):Los Angeles Angels (93-69)
Texas Rangers* (91-71)
Oakland Athletics (83-79)
Seattle Mariners (76-86)
Houston Astros (56-106)
AL WEST (reality):Oakland Athletics (96-66) +13 wins
Texas Rangers (91-72) Exactly right!
Los Angeles Angels (78-84) -15 wins
Seattle Mariners (71-91) -5 wins
Houston Astros (51-111) -5 wins
I thought the 2012 A's had a lot of success with platoon players and role players, and the likes of Cespedes/Moss/Reddick wouldn't be as good again. I also thought their pitching staff was a work in progress, at best. I could argue that I was right, and yet the A's still won 96 games. I'm dumbfounded.
You can't go wrong betting on Mike Trout, but you most certainly can go wrong betting on the Angels.
NL EAST (my prediction):
Washington Nationals (95-67)
Atlanta Braves* (91-71)
Philadelphia Phillies (79-83)
New York Mets (72-90)
Miami Marlins (65-97)
NL EAST (reality):Atlanta Braves (96-66) +5 wins
Washington Nationals (86-76) -9 wins
New York Mets (74-88) +2 wins
Philadelphia Phillies (73-89) -7 wins
Miami Marlins (62-100) -3 wins
No really massive misses here. The Nats' offense fell apart due to injury and some seemingly random ineffectiveness. Luckily, I didn't guess 103-105 wins for them like some did.
NL CENTRAL (my prediction):Cincinnati Reds (92-70)
St. Louis Cardinals* (89-73)
Milwaukee Brewers (80-82)
Pittsburgh Pirates (76-86)
Chicago Cubs (68-94)
NL CENTRAL (reality):St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) +8 wins
Pittsburgh Pirates* (94-68) +18 wins
Cincinnati Reds* (90-72) -2 wins
Milwaukee Brewers (74-88) -6 wins
Chicago Cubs (66-96) -2 wins
I really thought the Pirates peaked in 2012, but their pitching staff allowed ~200 fewer runs than I expected. Some of that is real, but there's a not of fluke there.
The Cardinals are good. #analysis
NL WEST (my prediction):San Francisco Giants (90-72)
Los Angeles Dodgers (88-74)
Arizona Diamondbacks (86-76)
San Diego Padres (79-83)
Colorado Rockies (68-94)
NL WEST (reality):Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) +4 wins
Arizona Diamondbacks (81-81) -5 wins
San Diego Padres (76-86) -3 wins
San Francisco Giants (76-86) -14 wins
Colorado Rockies (74-88) +6 wins
The Giants continued to zigzag their way through the standings. The Rockies are actually showing signs of respectability, which would be good news if they had a clue. Look forward to one year above .500 in the next five.
ALDS: Tigers over Rays; Blue Jays over Angels
ALCS: Tigers over Blue Jays
NLDS: Nationals over Braves; Reds over Giants
NLCS: Nationals over Reds
WS: Nationals over Tigers
NL MVP: Joey Votto, Reds
NL CY YOUNG: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Shelby Miller, Cardinals
AL MVP: Evan Longoria, Rays
AL CY YOUNG: Yu Darvish, Rangers
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kevin Gausman, Orioles
No really big misses. Gausman could have contended if he hadn't gotten injured; the AL ROY field was a bit bare this year, with Wil Myers not playing a full season.
Until next year ... rather, next week.