MLB 2012 Predictions

Ah, that time of year again for my annual predictions!  As I said before, last year’s prediction contest proved that no one had any clue what would happen.  This year, I will not be going to all the work of coding some sort of survey where everyone makes their picks, but if you include your predictions in the comments I’ll post them on a separate post so we can all look back in seven months and see who was closest!

Moreso than any other season, I think there is a very clear line between the contenders and non-contenders in the American League.  I don’t see there being any surprise teams.  Maybe the Royals will finally finish near .500.  Maybe the Blue Jays can pass the Red Sox in the standings.  But there seem to be 6, maybe 7 teams competing for the five playoff spots.

* = Wild Cards

American League East

  1. Yankees – 96-66
  2. * Rays – 92-70
  3. Red Sox – 87-75
  4. Blue Jays – 86-76
  5. Orioles – 63-99

American League Central

  1. Tigers – 100-62
  2. Indians – 82-80
  3. Royals – 79-83
  4. Twins – 71-91
  5. White Sox – 66-96

American League West

  1. Rangers – 97-65
  2. * Angels – 94-68
  3. Mariners – 71-91
  4. Athletics – 68-94 

In the NL, my big surprise pick will be the downfall of the Braves.  Outside of the Phillies, there will be no 90-win teams and a whole bunch packed in the middle in an exciting Wild Card finish.

National League East

  1. Phillies – 99-63
  2. Marlins – 84-78
  3. Nationals – 81-81
  4. Braves – 79-83
  5. Mets – 64-98

National League Central

  1. Reds – 88-74
  2. * Cardinals – 85-77
  3. Brewers – 83-79
  4. Pirates – 77-85
  5. Cubs – 73-89
  6. Astros – 57-105

National League West

  1. Diamondbacks – 89-73
  2. * Dodgers – 88-74
  3. Giants – 84-78
  4. Rockies – 79-83
  5. Padres – 69-93 

ALWCS – Angels over Rays
NLWCS – Cardinals over Dodgers
ALDS – Angels over Yankees / Tigers over Rangers
NLDS – Reds over Cardinals / Phillies over Diamondbacks
ALCS – Tigers over Angels
NLCS – Phillies over Reds
World Series – Tigers over Phillies

AL MVP – Miguel Cabrera, DET
NL MVP – Joey Votto, CIN
AL Cy Young – Jared Weaver, LAA
NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay, PHI
AL Rookie – Yoenis Cespedes, OAK
NL Rookie – Bryce Harper, WAS
AL Manager – Jim Leyland, DET
NL Manager – Kirk Gibson, ARI

As for the Twins specifically, I think they’ll get buried in the standings early with a tough April schedule.  I don’t think Morneau will ever make it back to his pre-concussion form and will probably not play more than 60 games, while Mauer stays healthy but continues to be a singles hitter with fewer than 10 homers. The breakout star for the Twins this year will be Danny Valencia, who will lead the team in HR and RBI, while Francisco Liriano will have a rebound first half and be dealt at the trade deadline to a contender.  Best-case scenario for the Twins, I see them winning 79 games.

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