2013 MLB Predictions–American League–UCB project

AL East

  1. Toronto Blue Jays (2)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays * (5)
  3. New York Yankees
  4. Boston Red Sox
  5. Baltimore Orioles

It’s not just that the Blue Jays made the big deal with the Marlins to acquire Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.  It’s the depth they have in both the lineup and the starting rotation.  NL CYA winner R.A. Dickey will lead the rotation, and Jose Bautista will finally have a lineup around him.  Having a 4th OF’er in Rajai Davis who stole 46 bases is quite a luxury, and Colby Rasmus will probably hit in the 7 or 8-hole.  Even with all the moves, the Blue Jays still have talent in the farm system to call on if needed.  The Blue Jays took advantage of the right time to strike.  The Yankees and Red Sox probably won’t be down for too many years, so this team will need to gel fast, and I think they will.

The Rays will be solid under Joe Maddon once again.  Outside of superstar Evan Longoria and underrated Ben Zobrist, it’s a lineup of steady players.  The pitching staff is led by David Price and is solid 1-5.  It will be impossible for Fernando Rodney to repeat his performance from 2012 (0.60 ERA), but he’s good enough to still be a top 5 closer.

The Yankees, Red Sox and O’s will all be battling for 3rd in the AL East.  The O’s lack pitching and were helped in 2012 with a 16-2 record in extra-inning games as well as 29-9 in one-run games.  The Red Sox are counting on John Lackey and Felix Doubront as their 4th and 5th starters and will start the year without David Ortiz.  The Yankees will start the year without Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes.  It’s a little naïve to think the Yankees and Red Sox won’t try to spend their way to the top as the season progresses, but no one is catching the Blue Jays in 2013.

AL Central

  1. Detroit Tigers (1)
  2. Kansas City Royals
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Minnesota Twins

The Tigers have the best starting staff 1-5 in MLB with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.  And by the way, they have a pretty good offense as well, with Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera leading the way.  The players on offense around him in Prince Fielder, Alex Avila, Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson and Tori Hunter will ensure he won’t be pitched around that often.  The BP is also solid, and the only question for the Tigers in 2013 will be if they can clinch the #1 overall seed in the AL.

The Royals finally figured out they needed pitching and traded top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis.  Shields will be the ace of the staff, followed by Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Davis and Luis Mendoza.  They have a top 10 closer in Greg Holland (91 K in 67 IP) and a strong BP behind him.  Salvador Perez is one of the best all-around young catchers in the game.  If Mike Moustakas can improve his plate discipline, along with a few others, this team is ready to take off.

The White Sox lost a big piece of their team in the offseason in A.J. Pierzynski.  They will see that loss in the lineup as well as the pitching staff.  Paul Konerko continues to be steady, but at 37, he’s bound to slow down soon.  Adam Dunn will strike out 200 times or more, the question is if he’ll hit 40 HR’s or not.  Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd are a nice 1-3 in the rotation, but after that it’s a lot of question marks and not a lot of depth.  The White Sox had the 30th ranked farm system in 2012.

The Indians are an interesting team.  They added Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and manager Terry Francona.  It all starts with pitching though and the Indians just don’t have it.  Justin Masterson will lead a staff followed Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers and Scott Kazmir.  That has the potential to be a good starting staff, but most of those guys will have to turn it around.  The names sound good if it was 3-4 years ago.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire might look up to see when Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are batting.  Then again, he may be too tired from walking to mound and making pitching changes and too busy replacing the ice packs on his knees from doing so.

AL West

  1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3)
  2. Texas Rangers * (4)
  3. Oakland A’s
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Houston Astros

The Angels are loaded, period.  Though not the best team in the AL, they have enough to get it done in the AL West and make a strong run in the playoffs.  Mike Trout may be the best overall player in the game, although I agreed with Miguel Cabrera winning the MVP in 2012.  Albert Pujols has seen his OPS slip 4 years in a row (2008-1.114, 2009-1.101, 2010-1.011, 2011-.906, 2012-.859), but having Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo batting behind him should reverse that trend for 2-3 years if he’s healthy.  Being familiar with AL pitchers will also help.  Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick are above average complementary players.  The SP’s are tough 1-5 with Jered Weaver leading the way.  I thought the acquisitions of SP’s Justin Vargas and Tommy Hanson were good ones.  The Angels went out and got Ryan Madson to close, but he’ll start the season on the DL still recovering from TJS.  Still, the BP looks good with Ernesto Frieri leading the way (98 K’s in 66 IP).

The Rangers lost some key pieces, most notably Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton, but picked up A.J. Pierzynski.  It’s unclear if Lance Berkman will make a contribution or not, as one false step on either knee and he’s out.  Joakim Soria might end up being a nice addition once he returns from the DL in May.  Joe Nathan is still a top closer.  Elvis Andrus keeps getting better.  Adrian Beltre is still the best all-around 3B in MLB, winning a second consecutive Platinum Glove Award (Goes to the best defensive player in each league, Yadier Molina has won both in the NL since they started in 2011).  After Derek Holland, Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison, there are some question marks in the rotation.  The Rangers will find playing time for top prospect Jurickson Profar as his time is now.

The Oakland A’s aren’t likely to sneak up on anyone in 2013.  Like the Orioles, I expect them to come back to the pack.  Young pitchers Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone are impressive, but the fact is the A’s played way above their talent level in 2012.  Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes is a budding star, Coco Crisp continues to be solid, but the rest of the team just doesn’t have the firepower to make another run.

Although I’m picking the A’s for third, the Mariners have the potential to do more damage if everything breaks right.  They made some interesting moves in picking up Michael Morse, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales.  They’ll need all of these guys to have career years to make any kind of run at Rangers for 2nd in the ALW.  Felix Hernandez is a top 3 pitcher in all of MLB, but after that, there’s nothing as far as pitching help.  Catcher Jesus Montero is a rising star.

The Houston Astros may be one of the worst teams of all-time.  GM Jeff Luhnow has a long road ahead of him.  If I were Luhnow, I would get as much as I could by trading Jose Altuve now.  Staff ace Bud Norris is likely to have an ERA over 5.50.  The 2003 Detroit Tigers were 43-119, which was the worst record in baseball since the 1962 Mets who were 40-120.  I won’t be surprised if the 2013 Astros are close to that.

So there you have it.  I have the Blue Jays, Tigers and Angels as division winners, with the Rays and Rangers as the wild cards.  The NL picks will be in the next day or two.

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8 Responses to 2013 MLB Predictions–American League–UCB project

  1. WainwrightandMiller says:

    I was waiting J.D., I love this time of the year.

    The al east is a tough one. I agree the Jays are going to be tough, but O’s last?

    Al Central, no way the Royals are second…The Indians may give Detroit all they can handle.

    I dont’t think Pujols will be getting any better, and I still like the Rangers ahead of la lal land.

  2. Cardly says:

    Rays
    Yankees
    Red Sox
    Jays
    Orioles

    Tigers
    Indians
    Royals
    WhiteSox
    Twins

    Rangers
    A’s
    Angels
    M’s
    Astros

  3. Nuke says:

    Not sure I can take anyone seriously when the leave the Yanks out of the playoffs

  4. jen77 says:

    I like all your picks ‘cept the AL East.

    I’d go with….TB, Bos, Tor, NYY, Oreos

    Cya

  5. Jim G says:

    Flip Boston and Baltimore in the East.

    The Royals getting 2nd is something I’ll believe when I see it.

    The West looks good.

  6. bstanley says:

    TB-Tor-Bos-Bal-NY

    Det-KC-Cle-Minn-Chi

    Tex-Oak-La-Sea-Hou

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