2012 Previews: American League

As I’m sure you’re quite aware, the Texas Rangers preview posted yesterday was the last of the American League previews, so I thought it pertinent to do somewhat of a review of sorts. A preview review, if you will.

Follow me after the jump to take a look at my predictions (or rather, random gut-reaction guesses) for the American League in handy chart form. Because who doesn’t love charts? No one. The answer is no one.

AL East W-L GB
Boston Red Sox 94-68
Tampa Bay Rays* 93-69 1
New York Yankees** 92-70 2
Toronto Blue Jays 83-79 11
Baltimore Orioles 60-102 34

 

AL Central W-L GB
Detroit Tigers 86-76
Kansas City Royals 81-81 5
Minnesota Twins 80-82 6
Cleveland Indians 77-85 9
Chicago White Sox 74-88 12

 

AL West W-L GB
Texas Rangers 97-65
LA Angels of Anaheim 91-71 6
Oakland Athletics 71-91 26
Seattle Mariners 65-97 32

 

As you can infer from the information above, the Rangers, Red Sox and Tigers would be guaranteed entrance into the ALDS with the Yankees and Rays heading to a one-game playoff to decide who gets to face the AL’s number-one seed; in this case the Rangers.

Predicting the regular season is somewhat easier given the large sample size inherent therein, but predicting the post-season is a different animal; one I’m not entirely comfortable provoking. But, for the sake of entertainment and to hold myself accountable to you, the loyal Blankard, I will perform the inadvisable and attempt to predict the playoffs.

In my little predicted fantasy world, the Rangers would face the winner of the Rays-Yankees tilt, which I will give to the Rays, mostly because they have a much deeper pitching rotation. If C.C. Sabathia is not available to New York in that one game, they don’t necessarily have the pitchers to compete with the depth of the Rays.

I’ll predict the Rangers to defeat the Rays, just as they did in each of the last two years and the Red Sox to handle the far inferior Tigers, setting up a Rangers-Red Sox ALCS. In a short series, I like the Red Sox more than the Rangers mostly because I think their lineup is slightly deeper and, all things being equal, the Red Sox trio of Lester, Beckett and Buchholz is better than any three pitchers the Rangers possess. So, there you have it: I “predict” that the Red Sox will win the AL pennant. And for the sake of subjecting myself to further future mockery, I’ll say they do it in six games.

As for the awards, here are three players I think have a legitimate shot at each of the major awards, listed in no particular order:

MVP Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
  Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox
  Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

 

CY Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
  Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
  Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

 

ROTY Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels Anaheim
  Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
  Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers

 

Thoughts? Suggestions? Feces flinging?

Comments (52)

  1. Did you omit Bautista from the MVP list because you don’t think he’ll be as good or because he won’t get the recognition his play deserves(ie. more of the same)?

    • Because even though he may put up MVP numbers, if the Jays only win 83-games, he won’t win it.

      • so why did you put Pujols in then if they finish 6 games back of the division and don’t get the second wild card

        • I am guessing Travis would say something like “because he is Albert Fucking Pujols” but I don’t want to put words in his mouth.

  2. I don’t I’ve ever seen KC so high up… I don’t know what to think.

  3. How pathetic is it under your guesses that a 4th place AL East team could possibly finish 2nd in the AL Central… Life in the Beast.

  4. I really can’t see Gonzalez getting MVP consideration. He had a ridiculous BABIP last year and still ended up the third best player on his own team. If you think Ellsbury is a candidate for regression I’d look at Pedroia again for Boston

    • I think that Gonzalez’ HR total will be much higher this year. I also think his BABIP will be significantly higher than it was when he played half his games at PETCO because PETCO is a BABIP-eating monster. I’m not saying he’ll repeat .380, but if he finishes with a .340-.350 BABIP (which I think is possible within his skill set), he’ll still hit in the .310-range with great on-base numbers.

      His shoulder problems sapped some of his power last year; it wouldn’t surprise me if he was a .310/.380/.575 type player with 35 homers. I think that puts him in the discussion.

  5. Looks like the AL ended up 10 games above .500 as a whole (only possible due to interleague wins, I guess). Just make sure your NL prediction is 10 games below .500.

    • Oh trust me, it all works out. You can trust me on that. I did the math about 50 or 60 times. But yeah, I figure the AL to be significantly better than the NL in interleague play as they have been for the past several years.

    • And actually, the AL is 20-games over .500

  6. I’m not sure how you have Boston ahead of TB or NY when you’ve got Aceves pegged as the #5. A decent reliever, sure, but as a SP his career 4.94 FIP is about as bad as it gets. Bard’s not pitching more than what, 150 innings, and I don’t know if I’d expect him to be that good either.

    Then you factor in that horrifyingly bad SS experiment and I don’t think they’ll end up better than they were last year.

    Their lack of depth is pretty scary. If Beckett goes back to his every other year of sucking, or Lester/Beckett miss much time they’ll be forced to add in one of those marginal starters. It’s a very good lineup, but the pitching has taken a fair step back and it’s pretty unlikely they’ll pass BOTH TB & NY, let alone one of them.

    You can’t just ignore the losing streaks in the beginning of the year or the end. Which is what you did, and implies that you think they’re closer to a 106 win team. Which is just crazy. One of those losing streaks might be a fluke, but having it happen twice is more than a coincidence. Is shows that they’re a deeply flawed team. And given the injury risks of Beckett, their SS, Buchholz, Youkilis (among others) and the lack of depth to counter those injuries over a long season, it’s just not likely that they’ll be the winners over a 162 game season.

    • I didn’t ignore the beginning and end of the year, I just took its relative sample size with a grain of salt. Ultimately I only have them 4 wins higher than they were last year. I believe that they will trade for a starter or sign Oswalt at some point and I think you’re being too harsh on Beckett. He had one bad year and that was due mostly to his back problems. He’s been a pretty phenomenal pitcher throughout his career.

      I think even if bard struggles and Aceves has to move back to the bullpen, they have a number of depth starters that can step in. I just don’t get why people think they’re going to fall off a cliff. They won 90 games last year with the crazy-fluky start an finish to the year. Technically I’m saying they are a slightly worse team than they were last year when you take that into account.

      Also, if you notice, I’m hedging a bit with the East. I have the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees all finishing within two games of each other. I’m essentially saying that they’re all pretty equally good. It comes down to my opinion is all and I think the Yankees take an age-induced step back. I think that should be the far more surprising thing here than where I have Boston.

      • Beckett is also extremely injury prone. I may be harsh on him, but he’s not exactly the most reliable guy at the top of the rotation. Twice in the last 4 years he’s failed to pitch 190 innings, going 174 and 127. And that’s a huge issue given both the question marks in the 3-4-5 spots AND the guys who will have to come in to make up for injuries and Bard/Aceves lack of ability to pitch 200 innings.

        And you can’t ignore what happened as far as when Boston won or lost. It’s confirmation bias – you think Boston’s a good team so you’re ignoring (or putting less weight on) the beginning/end because you think they’re a better team than they showed. But you can’t do that. They were a 90 win team. Doesn’t matter when the losses occurred.

        They do have depth starters – none of them are good. Cook, Padilla, Miller – these guys are 4.5-5 FIP guys at this stage in their career as starters. That’s pretty damn close to replacement level, is it not? Having depth and having quality depth are two very important and different things. If Lester/Beckett goes down the Sox season is over because they’ll be running out Aceves (5 FIP), Miller (4.69 FIP) and Bard (a guy who has had 0 success at any level in the majors as a starter). And that’s assuming Buchholz stays healthy, which isn’t a given either.

        You can argue the Yankees take a step back with age – Jeter/Arod/Tex/Ibanez sure. Surely not Granderson, Gardner, Cano. And if you want to talk regression on Granderson, I’d make the same counter argument on Ellsbury.

        And what the Yanks lost in the lineup, I think it’s fair to say they’ve significantly improved in the rotation with Kuroda and Pineda. Boston hasn’t improved to the same degree at any one position.

        And of course, Carl Crawford took a step back with the wrist injury (and we know those can effect a player throughout the year) so they’ll be tossing out Sweeney and Cody Ross on the corner outfield slots. And the drop off from Scutaro to Aviles/Punto is probably the biggest positional change impact on either team (and not in a good way). I’m not impressed by Ibanez at DH, but let’s remember Posada was the primary DH for the Yanks and he was pretty brutal. So the bar is set pretty low for the Yankees -a 326 wOBA would give them identical production, to last years DH. Ibanez had a 322 wOBA vs RHP last year so it’ll be fairly close.

        Basically what you’ve said here, is that by some combination the Yankees will drop 7 games or the Sox will improve by 7. Seems pretty extreme for a team that didn’t improve at one spot (and arguably took several spots back) while the Yankees improved significantly at SP.

      • “Also, if you notice, I’m hedging a bit with the East. I have the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees all finishing within two games of each other. I’m essentially saying that they’re all pretty equally good.”

        I agree with this, but I agree with Mark on Boston’s pitching. I would probably swap their position with the Yankees.

        “I didn’t ignore the beginning and end of the year, I just took its relative sample size with a grain of salt.”

        “It’s important not to get too drawn in by small sample sizes.”
        (from the original Boston preview)

        I think this is a misuse of the term ‘small sample size’. You can’t just cut off parts of the season and say that they irrelevant because they are small sample sizes. The whole season is the sample. Ignoring the bad beginning and end is cherry picking your data.

        • valid point on the pitching, but I still think they’ll be better than people think. As for the sample size thing, I’m not ignoring those parts of the season. If I was, I’d be predicting them to win 110 games. I’m just saying I think people put too much weight on what happened at the end of the year. It was a problem of injuries and depth, something which I feel (perhaps naively) that they’ve addressed somewhat).

  7. How middle-of-the-road. How safe. You could have made the same pics last year. No one wants to go out on a limb. I will, Jays win 93 and make it to the ALCS!

    GO JAYS!

    • I picked the A’s to win the AL pennant last year…I’m trying to reel in my sense of reality this year, haha.

      • Nice preview.

        I agree with some of the commentors about the Red Sox. I just don’t see them becoming a force to win the AL East this season. I think the Yankees have the lineup and the arms to come out on top. Plus, I just see too many issues with Bobby Valentine. Something is going to implode this season. I just have a bad feeling.

        I am more bullish on the Jays. I see them pushing the Red Sox for 3rd place in the AL East. Either way, it might not matter as the Angels and Rangers will likely lock up the 2nd wildcard spot.

        Oooh, you picked the A’s last season? That must hurt now in retrospect? Well, that is why they play the games. To make the projections look foolish.

        Hoping for a 90 win season for the Jays. It could happen. Go Jays!

  8. hey is this predictions based on the additional wild card entry there will be i guess 2 this year instead of 1 .

  9. Well, the Red Sox have a lot of issues to deal with other than just boozing and lack of overall team spirit in the clubhouse. Boston’s pitching in general, both starting and bullpen is weaker than the Yankees overall, and the line-up favors the Yankees too.

    Gonzalez is overrated and everyone gives him to much credit that is not always deserved; just like the media does with the Texas Rangers.

    Fact is the Angels are better, and Darvish had an ok debut in Spring Training but getting your panties all bunched up over anything in Spring Training is ignorant.

    The Rays have starting pitching but you cannot go into any season trusting Kyle Farnsworth completely as your closer, as he will jinx you. And there batting line-up is not great, as Evan Longoria cannot carry the entire club in this division.

    The Yankees are going to win the AL East, as they are stacked everywhere…on the bench as well as down in the minors. They have seriously talented prospects in waiting, and you are dumb to think that A-rod is to old, as look what Kobe Bryant is doing in the NBA at age almsot 35.

    This article gives no reasoning or facts because they would contradict your overall reasoning; instead of just admitting that you hate the Yankees so you tossed them in the Wild Card round just cause you thought it would not make it so obvious.

    Please try and be optimistic, or unbiased when making these kind of picks because after what Boston did last season to predict the Red Sox going to the World Series over the Rangers is where you really lost all credibility here. Pick with knowledge, not with jealousy and anger.

  10. I dont think the Red Sox have the pitching depth to win the division.. and this is the year I think the Yankee offense starts to falter, there pitching isn’t particularly deep either..

    I’m calling it now, Rays win the division, and by atleast 5 games this year. Sox grab the second wild card, rangers the first wild card, angels win that division.
    Central i like your ranks but I think the Sox lose way more and Tigers win atleast 90

  11. Prediction:

    Yankees win East
    Tigers win Central
    Angels win West
    Red Sox and Rangers play the one game play off as wild card teams.

  12. Does anyone know what website to go to to watch a live Red Sox game for free?

  13. I think you are underestimating the jays i believe that for the most part that if they can stay healthy they could be better than tampa or even new york remember tampa strugggled to earn runs last year and thejays also have pieces good solid young pieces (potential all stars ) like lowrie thames snider ghost and d’arnud who some all ready got a taste of the majours all im sayin is dont count the jays out the only way i see the jays slipping is if the starting pitching isnt there or closing pitching

  14. Travis, I am just curious but when you make your record predictions is it just a guess or do you go through each teams schedule and figure out where they are going to get the wins from? and then make a guess?

    • It’s a rough estimation based on nothing other than my gut feeling. I know the rosters pretty well and obviously I take things like strength of schedule into account, but I have no mathematical formula of any kind to work off of. I do, however, make sure that the records for the AL and NL add up to .500

  15. I think we should post a prediction for one game each day.

  16. Realistically, the Jays should win 82-85. If all goes according to plan and no one important gets hurt, and those who need to achieve their potential do so, they can win, what, 88-91? Enough to win the Central. It’ll be interesting to see if indeed the Tigers win fewer games than a team or teams that fail to get to the playoffs. MLB needs to figure out some way to do away with the arbitrariness of divisional records, at least by creating 2 divisions in each league. You can even admit a 6th playoff team from each league; division winners get a bye while the next 4 teams play a best-of-three series.

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