Predicted Final National League Standings

NATIONAL LEAGUE

East Division

1.

They’ve won their division 5 straight seasons. With that pitching staff, I don’t see anything changing.

2.

Next to the Red Sox, the Braves suffered the biggest collapse in baseball last year by losing their lead in the Wild Card standings to the Cardinals. This year, I think they’ll lock up one of the Wild Card spots and hold onto it.

3.

The most surprising team this off-season was the Miami Marlins. Big signings such as Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle should move this team up in their division.

4.

Honestly, I think the 3rd spot in this division is a toss-up between the Marlins and Nationals. Washington acquired Gio Gonzalez this off-season to help add depth to their pitching rotation, and they have Stephen Strasburg back and healthy to start the season. I would also expect a bounce-back season from Jayson Werth.

5.

Not much has gone right for the Mets in recent years. They have been lacking pitching lately, but now they are lacking offense. They traded away Carlos Beltran last year, and they lost Jose Reyes to the Marlins this off-season.

Central Division

1.

Yes, I know they lost Pujols, but this team is still loaded with talent. They have Adam Wainwright back to start the season (who was arguably the best pitcher in baseball when he got hurt last spring), and they signed Carlos Beltran this past winter to add to their offense. It’ll be a close race between the Cardinals and Brewers, but in the end I think St. Louis prevails for the division crown.

2.

Like the Cardinals, they lost a huge piece of their offense in Prince Fielder this off-season. In his place, they signed Aramis Ramirez to try and get back some of the offense that they lost. If they are going to make a run at winning the division again this year, they need their pitching to stay strong and healthy the entire season. I feel like they have the offense to get it done, but how will their pitching compare to the Cardinals’? With that said, I think the team that finishes second in this division will get one of the two Wild Card spots.

3.

They just inked Joey Votto to a huge, multi-year deal. So they have that going for them. Their offense is decent, and they play in a definite hitter’s park. Their pitching, however, is what will hold them back in the division. The addition of Matt Latos will help, but it’s not enough.

4.

They had a great first half to the season last year, but then reality sunk back in for the Pirates. They have some good players on their roster, led by Andrew McCutchen, but I still don’t think they will finish over .500 this season.

5.

The Cubs are in the re-building phase right now. They traded away Carlos Zambrano and Sean Marshall this off-season, among others, and they lost Aramis Ramirez to free agency. This year is going to be a year for guys like Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney to grow into better players and gain more experience at the Major League level.

6.

There’s not a whole lot going on down in Houston. It’ll be a year full of bringing up minor league players to try and get them some MLB experience, much like the Cubs.

West Division

1.

If Ian Kennedy can have another strong season on the mound for these guys, and if Trevor Cahill can have a good season, I think they have a really good shot as repeating as division champions. I am predicting that Justin Upton hits over 40 home runs this year.

2.

Pitching is the biggest question mark for the Rockies this season. Every year we say that Colorado has a shot at winning the division, but their pitching always lets us down. If they can get quality innings out of 4 of their 5 starters throughout the entirety of the season, they will challenge the D-Backs for the division championship.

3.

Unlike the Rockies, pitching is not what the Giants are concerned about. It’s their offense. They brought in Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline last year to try and produce more runs down the final stretch of the season, but that didn’t work. They will be getting Buster Posey back to start the season, which is definitely a positive, but they just don’t have a comparable offense to either Arizona or Colorado.

4.

This could be my most underrated team in the National League. They have the reigning Cy Young winner, and the MVP runner-up. For whatever reason, the Dodgers just haven’t been able to play up to their potential the past few years. If Chad Billingsley can find a way to get back to his 2008 form, and if Aaron Harang can provide some quality innings and get 10 wins this year, we could be talking about the Dodgers possibly winning this division come late September.

5.

There are too many question marks surrounding the Padres this year. In recent years, they have been able to put together a couple strong seasons seemingly out of the blue. I don’t see that happening this year, however.

 

 

 

 

Predicted Final American League Standings

This is always just a shot in the dark, but I love trying to predict how the standings will finish up in the MLB each year. Today, I am going to cover the American League, and tomorrow I will go over the National League. So here we go. My 2012 predictions:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

East Division

1.

Last year, they were the victims of one of the largest late-season collapses in baseball history. They were pegged as a potential World Series Champion. That obviously didn’t happen. I expect them to have a big bounce-back year this season.

2.

 

It’ll be a close race between the Yankees and Red Sox for the division crown, but I see New York getting one of the now 2 Wild Card spots. However, if Nova and Pineda can live up to expectations based off of the way they pitched last season, then maybe the Yankees win the AL East. But as of now, I just don’t see that happening.

3. 

They are going to have one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball. That I am sure of. I just don’t see them winning the division. As for the second Wild Card spot, I see that team coming out of the AL West.

4.

For the past few years now, it has seemed as though the Blue Jays have been on the verge of becoming a Wild Card contender. Unfortunately for them, they can never put together a strong season from start to finish. I don’t see it panning out for them any differently this season.

5.

First of all, yes this is the logo that the Orioles have chosen to go with for the 2012 season. Second of all, they will finish last in the AL East again this year. They have some young talent with Matt Wieters and Adam Jones, but where’s the pitching?

Central Division

1.

With the addition of Prince Fielder to their lineup, these guys are going to be tough to pitch against. Then you throw in the fact that they have the reigning AL Cy Young/MVP winner leading their rotation, I don’t see them being surpassed by anyone in this division.

2.

The Indians have a lot of young talent: Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Michael Brantley, just to name a few. They acquired Ubaldo Jimenez last year from the Rockies, and even though that didn’t pan out they way that the Indians had hoped, look for him to have a bit of a bounce-back year this season.

3. 

They need Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau both to stay healthy all year if they want any chance at the division. Their pitching is what has most people worried, and for good reason.

4.

The Sox are going through a rebuilding phase right now. They lost Carlos Quentin and Mark Buehrle, among others, this off-season. This year, they will be hoping that get a lot more production out of Adam Dunn. One player to watch on the White Sox will be Dayan Viciedo. That kid is loaded with potential.

5. 

The Royals have the second best farm system in all of baseball based on overall talent, according to BaseballAmerica.com. I would have to agree. After years of finishing near, or at the bottom of the league, they are loaded with top draft picks in their minor league system. Some of them are just beginning to surface at the Major League level, such as Eric Hosmer, who is expected to have a big breakout season this year.

West Division

1.

Everyone knows that they signed Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson to big contracts this off-season. Because of those two signings, the Angels are now definite contenders in the American League. They have arguably the best starting rotation in all of baseball.

2.

They are the 2-time defending AL Champions heading into this season. Yes, they lost CJ Wilson to their division rivals in Anaheim, but they signed Yu Darvish to replace him. Much of the Rangers success this season lies in the hands of Darvish. Can he produce the way that they need him to? Only time will tell. I see the Rangers getting the second Wild Card spot come the end of the season.

3.

The Mariners got off to an impressive start last season, but couldn’t keep it up as the year progressed. They ended up finishing last in the division as the result. This year, they should theoretically finish third in the division if you compare their talent to that of the A’s. The acquisition of Jesus Montero in exchange for Joel Pineda needs to benefit the Mariners this season, or else their front office is going to look pretty bad.

4.

Two of their top pitchers heading into last season, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, are no longer with the A’s. They really don’t have much pitching now heading into this season. As for their offense, they signed Cuban prospect Yoenis Cespedes to help produce some runs. Plus, don’t forget about Manny Ramirez. Yes he is suspended for the first 50 games of the season, but once he is done serving the suspension, I’d expect to see him in the A’s lineup. However, with all of that being said, this looks like a last place team to me.