Tank’s 2012 Preview

EASTERN DIVISION

Overview: The Phillies are still the team to beat, but they won't run away and hide from anyone as the entire division has gotten better, especially the Nationals and Marlins who both believe they can be playoff contenders, the Braves have issues with health and age and the Mets are a mess.

Philadelphia Phillies 95-67

The Phillies still have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and now with Closer Jonathan Paplebon in the pen they have a certified closer, but their lineup has suddenly got fans in Philadelphia worried. When they began this run of five straight division titles the Phillies were built on power bats, but with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both on the Disabled List as the season begins the Phillies bats seem old, putting more pressure on the pitching staff. Fortunately Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee can handle the pressure, and take the Phillies back to October, but it won’t be easy.

Washington Nationals 92-70 (Wild Card)

King Kong ruled the box office, the All-Star Game was held for the first time in Chicago and Washington played the Giants in the World Series. The year was 1933 and it was the last time October baseball was held in the Nation’s Capital. This year that will all change as the Nationals will arrive as Stephen Strasburg now healthy and raring to go will quickly become one of the game’s best pitchers add a solid line up, which this year will be helped more by Jayson Werth who will rebound from a disappointing 2011 and the Nats will battle all season for the NL East, especially once Bryce Harper is called up to the majors.

Miami Marlins 88-74

At long last Circus World is open in Miami, as the Marlins new stadium resembles a demented carnival with a bizarre Home Run display and a fish tank behind homeplate. The key for the Marlins will be keeping it full all season, and to that the Marlins who spent loads of cash in the off-season must be in the race all season. With two Wild Card spots that should not be a problem, but to get into October they must hope Jose Reyes who even while winning the batting crown spent time on the DL for the third straight season last year can play a full season and Hanley Ramirez makes a smooth transition to third base.

Atlanta Braves 79-83

When he announced he will retire at the end of the season Chipper Jones, joked he hoped to be around for the end of the season. A day later he learned he would start the season on the DL after knee surgery. That will be the story of the 2012 Braves. Injuries to the starting rotation have been the story for the Braves as both Jair Jurrjens and Tim Hudson have been behind schedule in recovering from off-season surgery. Jurrjens will be ready for opening day, but Hudson won’t and in a tough division like the NL East if injuries are a big deal in April they will be a bigger deal in September.

New York Mets 61-101

The Mets are celebrating their 50th Anniversary by returning to the lousy play of 1962. Due to continued financial trouble due to diminished ticket sales and the lingering effects of the Bernie Madoff case, the Mets were forced to slash payroll. IN the NL East this has left the exposed and weak as they simply don’t have the players to compete. The Mets are hoping to build with youth, but they also do not yet have enough talent in the farm system to even compete. This team will lose plenty this year, and more changes could be on the horizon as the Mets clearly are in a rebuild mindset.

CENTRAL DIVISION

Overview: The Cardinals won the World Series, but without Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa they will be hard pressed for a encore, the Brewers won the division but lost a Prince, the Reds are a player to take the crown, as the Pirates and Cubs are far from competing, while Houston is already looking forward to 2013 in the American League West.

Cincinnati Reds 88-74

After winning the Central in 2010, the Reds took a step backward in 2011, posting a disappointing 79-83 record. They already got some bad news when newly acquired closer Ryan Madson was lost for the year to Tommy John surgery. However, considering the Brewers and Cardinals both lost key parts of their lineup the door is wide open for the Reds to reclaim the Central Division crown, with a revamped rotation led by Mat Latos. Look for the Reds to get just enough pitching as Adonis Chapman emerges as the closer with his 100 mph fast ball.

Milwaukee Brewers 84-78

The Brewers got a season saving win before spring training started as Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension for using PEDs was overturned on a technicality. Only Braun knows for sure if he got away with it, but for the rest of his career he needs to watch his P and Qs. Still they will sorely miss Prince Fielder, as Braun will now have to carry the load all by himself. The loss of Fielder will hurt the entire team as the Brewers relied heavily on offense last season to outscore every one. They will battle again in the Central, but this time they will come up a few games short.

St. Louis Cardinals 79-83

Up to the miracle comeback the Cardinals spent most of the season just above .500. They caught lightning in the bottle late and early as Lance Berkman found the fountain of youth, but expecting him to repeat those numbers will be asking too much. The Cardinals will sorely miss Albert Pujols as his presence in the lineup helped make everyone better. The Cardinals will also miss Tony LaRussa who had the amazing ability to get the most out of what he had on the team, winning a second World Series in St. Louis in 2011. The Cardinals won’t fall off the cliff, but they won’t be in the picture when the season comes to an end.

Pittsburgh Pirates 77-85

Boyz II Men, End of the Road was the number one song on the radio when Francisco Cabrera singled home two runs to give the Braves a 3-2 win over the Pirates in Game 7 of the NLCS. For the Pirates it really was the end of the world as Barry Bonds bolted for the Bay and the Pirates have not had a winning season since. That stretch of losing in the Steel City will not end this year, as the Pirates have become the land of castoffs like A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard who once sought by contenders are hoping to rebound and get back in the playoff race with a trade at the deadline.

Chicago Cubs 73-89

Plan A-Z all failed, as did Plans 1-8, now its Plan Nine from Fenway Park as Theo Epstein tries to bring the same magic that end the Red Sox World Series drought to Wriglyville, where the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 when the Model T Ford was the hot new model. Cubs fans should understand Rome was not built in a day and the mess that Theo Epstein has to clean up from Jim Hendry will take a few years to get them back into playoff contention.

Houston Astros 48-114

There are no words to describe how bad the Houston Astros are. Last year they posted a dreadful 56-106, they may be even worse this year as they prepare to join the American League in 2013. Now the likelihood they will challenge the 120 losses of the 1962 Mets is slim, but even reaching 50 wins could be a tall order for a team that probably would have a tough time competing on the AA level let alone AAA.

WESTERN DIVISION

Overview: The Giants and Diamondbacks again should battle for the division crown with a Wild Card berth being a good consolation prize for the runner up. The Dodgers with their ownership situation getting settled could emerge as a dark horse, while the Rockies are likely to end the season with several changes as they fall short again. The Padres meanwhile will be left in the dust as they again finish in last place.

San Francisco Giants 93-69

Last year the Giants learned just how valuable Catcher Buster Posey was, as they had nobody to pick up the slack after Posey was lost for the season in a home plate collision in May. The Giants tried to add some speed at the top of the lineup as they acquired Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan in the off-season. The Giants pitching staff is still one of the best in the game, and if they can score enough runs they can make another October run, as they again battle the Diamondbacks in the West.

Arizona Diamondbacks 89-73 (Wild Card)

The Diamondbacks like the Giants need to score to succeed, as the addition of Trevor Cahill makes a good rotation even deeper. One key will be Ian Kennedy who had a breakout 21-4 season last year to prove 2011 was not a fluke. What will help is the addition of a second Wild Card, as the D-Backs will have more pressure as they won’t catch anybody by surprise. However, when the bell rings at the end of the season the Snakes will be alive and will be in the Wild Card Game.

Los Angeles Dodgers 86-76

Last year Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp were the bright spots in an otherwise dreadful season in LA. It will be difficult for Kemp and Kershaw to match 2011, but thanks to the recent sale the Dodgers will be in better position to acquire reinforcements come the trade deadline. The big question mark is the Dodgers bullpen which has been completely overhauled. If they can find a reliable closer the Dodgers could sneak into the playoffs.

Colorado Rockies 74-88

For the last few seasons the Rockies seemed like the team that had the pieces but somehow those pieces never quite came together at the right time. They did have two strong runs to get to the World Series in 2007 and to the Wild Card in 2009, but now the Rockies are a team in transition. Troy Tulowitzki is a big star but he cannot do it alone. The Rockies added some veteran leadership and AARP pitching in Jamie Moyer this year, but for a fairly old team that does not solve any problems. Expect more changes durring the season as the Rockies never are a factor in the race.

San Diego Padres 68-94

Boring new logo, boring team, boring colors the San Diego Padres in a few words. At least the weather will be good all year. The Padres on the other hand won’t be very good. Perhaps the biggest value they can hold is the veterans they can deal at the deadline as they focus on the future, while sitting at the bottom of the National League West again.

EASTERN DIVISION

Overview: The addition of a second Wild Card may be the gift from above the Blue Jays have been waiting for as they believe they have begun to catch up to the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox who have dominated the division. Once a division on power, the division is now becoming about pitching, father time is beginning to catch up the Sawx and Yanks, while the Orioles will get some parting gifts from Proctor and Gamble for participating.

New York Yankees 94-68

They say you never have too much pitching and the Yankees are learning that before the season even starts as Michael Pineda their big off-season pick up will start the season on the DL with a strained shoulder. The Yankees have a deep staff and a deep bench and deep pockets to make the big deadline acquistion. While Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are on the downward slope of their careers, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are emerging as the new face of the Yankees who once again will rise to the top of the American League East.

Tampa Bay Rays 92-70 (Wild Card)

There is nothing more exciting than young pitching and the Rays have loads of it with David Price, Mark Helickson, and Matt Moore. The Rays lineup is not too shabby either as they should get a boost from the return of Carlos Pena. Nobody should benefit more from Pena’s return than Evan Longoria who will get some protection in the line up and see better pitches. They will at least get a Wild Card spot, now fans need to do their part and fill the Trop.

Toronto Blue Jays 90-72

While the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox may have better overall pitching at least on paper, there is no debater what team in the AL East has the most dangerous line up from top to bottom and that is the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s been nearly 20 years since the Jays won back to back World Series, but after years of being buried in the East some light is shinning as they now have some good young arms and the ability to focus on a second wild card for some hope in September. In the end the Jays will fall short again, but a full 162 game season of important games could have them poised to strike in 2013.

Boston Red Sox 85-77

September collapses don’t just come out of the ether they are an indication of a deeper problem with the team itself. Teams that ignore it are doomed for years of misery trying to patch every growing hole. The Red Sox made a change in the front office and manager, but Bobby Valentine was the wrong choice to lead this type of veteran team. Valentine is better with bit players and rookies, the Red Sox old vets won’t take kindly to his control and it will lead to a summer of frustration at Fenway.

Baltimore Orioles 55-107

The Orioles have brought back the classic smiling bird cap. That smile is the only one that will be seen in Baltimore this season as the Orioles once again are back at square one. Not even Buck Showalter can fix this mess. There are no reinforcements on the horizon and the stars the Orioles thought were on the verge line Matt Wieters are just the latest letdown. The rotation is bad, the bullpen is bad and the lineup is terrible, and when then plays in the toughest division in baseball its bye bye birdies again as Orioles finish in last place.

CENTRAL DIVISION

Overview: Unless something goes wrong, this is the Tigers division to win. The Tigers have the look of a team that could be loved for years in Detroit like the 1968 and 1984 teams. The Royals are on the rise, the Tribe will have a tough time equaling last year's start, the Twins need to first get healthy and the White Sox are a mess.

Detroit Tigers 102-60

Strong starting pitching check, strong bullpen check, strong lineup check, the Tigers have it all. Justin Verlander may not be able to equal what he did last year, but he won’t have to, the Tigers have a solid staff behind him and a lineup that may now be the best in baseball with the addition of Prince Fielder. There is no reason the Tigers can’t run away with this division, in fact fighting complacency and boredom will be the biggest battles along with staying healthy. If the Tigers can do all three there will be a World Series Party in Detroit.

Kansas City Royals 83-79

Its not the end of the rainbow in Kansas City, but its a start as the Royals look to become a winning baseball club. The players are there they are just young and need to get some experience under their feet for them to become contenders. However, finishing above .500 would be a great start in Kansas City and the Royals have the players to do that especially if Eirc Hosmer continues his development. The Royals just are still a little green and challenging the Tigers will be a tall task.

Minnesota Twins 78-84

If it could go wrong it did go wrong for the Minnesota Twins in 2011. Joe Mauer lost his power, Justin Morneau continued to struggle with effects of a concussion. The Twins need at least one to get back to his All-Star form or the Twins are in a greater world of hurt. I think at least Mauer can bounce back, while the Twins won’t challange anyone for the playoffs they can at least start down the road to recovery.

Cleveland Indians 76-86

Last year the Indians had a great start and were in the race for the Central Division. However, they came back to earth in the second half, despite landing Ubaldo Jimenez at the trade deadline. The bad news is they overspent on Ubaldo who will not be the ace they need to sustain a challenge to the Tigers, as Grady Sizemore’s injuries continue to mount.

Chicago White Sox 68-94

One day on the Southside Ozzie Guillen will be loved as much as Mike Ditka is for bringing the White Sox a World Championship, which he did in 2005. Now that he is gone we will see how much he gave a team that even at its best plays in the shadow of the Cubs when they are even at their worst. Without Ozzie’s personality the Sox will shrink, worse Robin Ventura a man with no managerial experience is dealing with a team in decline. This has disaster written all over it.

WESTERN DIVISION

Overview: The Athletics and Mariners started the season in Tokyo; they might as well stay there, because they have no shot to challenge the Angels and Rangers who will battle for the Western Division. The only thing that may dampen the drama is the second Wild Card, which will all but ensure both teams making into October. Meanwhile, the M's and A's will fight for the best view of last place.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 97-65

Nobody made a bigger splash this offseason than the Angels with the signing of Albert Pujols. They also added C.J. Wilson, which not only improved their staff but hurt the rival Rangers staff. In addition Kendrys Morales is back after missing a year and a half and the Angels have one of the deepest lineups in the American League. Getting to October is not the goal of the Angels, winning October is and they have a team that can do it.

Texas Rangers 93-69 (Wild Card)

Coming of two straight heartbreaking World Series losses, the Rangers now find themselves in a dog fight with the Angels for supremacy in the American League West. They will sorely miss C.J. Wilson, especially if Yu Darvish does not live up to expectations. The Rangers still have a good lineup and should be a factor in October, even if they fall short of winning the division as the second Wild Card will be a good safety net.

Seattle Mariners 73-89

The Mariners still are not a contender but there are signs of improvement, as they finally have some young hitters they can build a lineup around. The Mariners still have Felix Hernandez who slimmed down in the off season and looks poised to make a run at another Cy Young, but it will be hard to imagine the team winning a lot of games when facing the Angels or Rangers. In the end there will be signs of hope to build off, but it will be another long season in the Pacific Northwest.

Oakland Athletics 68-94

There is no Hollywood ending for the Money Ball A’s, as this season will be the last for Billy Beane in Oakland. The Athletics are in a word AWFUL, and hope for the future is dying as they cannot get a stadium built in San Jose, as they appear to be stuck in an awful dual purpose stadium in Oakland. As long as they in this unwinnable situation they won’t be going anywhere.

LEAGUE LEADERS AND AWARDS

National League

  • Joey Votto Reds
  • Giancarlo Stanton Marlins
  • Joey Votto Reds
  • Cameron Maybin Padres
  • Melky Cabrera Giants
  • Joey Votto Reds
  • Roy Halladay Phillies
  • Roy Halladay Phillies
  • Stephen Strasburg Nationals
  • Washington Nationals
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Buster Posey Giants
  • Stephen Strasburg Nationals
  • Lucas Duda Mets
  • Adonis Champman Reds
  • David Freese Cardinals
  • Jair Jurrjens Braves
  • Gio Gonzalez Nationals
  • Jeremy Guthrie Rockies
  • David Wright Mets
  • Tim Hudson Braves
  • Brian Wilson Giants
  • Bryce Harper Nationals
  • Davey Johnson Nationals
  • Joey Votto Reds
  • Roy Halladay Phillies
  • Joey Votto Reds
  • Batting Crown
  • HR Leader
  • RBI Leader
  • SB Leader
  • Runs Leader
  • OPS
  • Win Leader
  • ERA Leader
  • K Leader
  • Surprise Team
  • Disappointing Team
  • Comeback Player
  • Comeback Pitcher
  • Breakout Player
  • Breakout Pitcher
  • Disappointing Player
  • Disappointing Pitcher
  • Best Acquisition
  • Worst Acquisition
  • Falling Star Hitter
  • Falling Star Pitcher
  • Fireman
  • Rookie of The Year
  • Manager of The Year
  • Hank Aaron Award
  • Cy Young
  • MVP

American League

  • Miguel Cabrera Tigers
  • Jose Bautista Blue Jays
  • Robinson Cano Yankees
  • Coco Crisp Athletics
  • Curtis Granderson Yankees
  • Miguel Cabrera Tigers
  • Jered Weaver Angels
  • Jered Weaver Angels
  • Justin Verlander Tigers
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Kendry Morales Angels
  • Joe Nathan Rangers
  • Eric Hosmer Royals
  • Ricky Romero Blue Jays
  • Kevin Youkilis Red Sox
  • Michael Pineda Yankees
  • C.J. Wilson Angels
  • Manny Ramirez Athletics
  • Paul Konerko White Sox
  • Josh Beckett Red Sox
  • Jose Valverde Tigers
  • Matt Moore Rays
  • John Farrell Blue Jays
  • Jose Bautista Blue Jays
  • Jered Weaver Angels
  • Miguel Cabrera Tigers

National League

  • Joey Votto RedsBatting Crown
  • Giancarlo Stanton Marlins HR Leader
  • Joey Votto RedsRBI Leader
  • Cameron Maybin PadresSB Leader
  • Melky Cabrera GiantsRuns Leader
  • Joey Votto RedsOPS
  • Roy Halladay PhilliesWin Leader
  • Roy Halladay PhilliesERA Leader
  • Stephen Strasburg NationalsK Leader
  • Washington NationalsSurprise Team
  • Atlanta BravesDisappointing Team
  • Buster Posey GiantsComeback Player
  • Stephen Strasburg NationalsComeback Pitcher
  • Lucas Duda MetsBreakout Player
  • Adonis Champman RedsBreakout Pitcher
  • David Freese CardinalsDisappointing Player
  • Jair Jurrjens BravesDisappointing Pitcher
  • Gio Gonzalez Nationals Best Acquisition
  • Jeremy Guthrie Rockies Worst Acquisition
  • David Wright MetsFalling Star Hitter
  • Tim Hudson BravesFalling Star Pitcher
  • Brian Wilson GiantsFireman
  • Bryce Harper NationalsRookie of The Year
  • Davey Johnson NationalsManager of The Year
  • Joey Votto RedsHank Aaron Award
  • Roy Halladay PhilliesCy Young
  • Joey Votto RedsMVP

American League

  • Miguel Cabrera TigersBatting Crown
  • Jose Bautista Blue JaysHR Leader
  • Robinson Cano YankeesRBI Leader
  • Coco Crisp AthleticsSB Leader
  • Curtis Granderson YankeesRuns Leader
  • Miguel Cabrera TigersOPS
  • Jered Weaver AngelsWin Leader
  • Jered Weaver AngelsERA Leader
  • Justin Verlander TigersK Leader
  • Toronto Blue JaysSurprise Team
  • Boston Red SoxDisappointing Team
  • Kendry Morales AngelsComeback Player
  • Joe Nathan RangersComeback Pitcher
  • Eric Hosmer RoyalsBreakout Player
  • Ricky Romero Blue JaysBreakout Pitcher
  • Kevin Youkilis Red SoxDisappointing Player
  • Michael Pineda YankeesDisappointing Pitcher
  • C.J. Wilson AngelsBest Acquisition
  • Manny Ramirez AthleticsWorst Acquisition
  • Paul Konerko White SoxFalling Star Hitter
  • Josh Beckett Red SoxFalling Star Pitcher
  • Jose Valverde TigersFireman
  • Matt Moore RaysRookie of The Year
  • John Farrell Blue JaysManager of The Year
  • Jose Bautista Blue JaysHank Aaron Award
  • Jered Weaver AngelsCy Young
  • Miguel Cabrera TigersMVP

Postseason

NLDS
3
2
3
1
ALDS
3
0
3
2
NLCS
4
3
ALCS
4
2

Managers to be Fired

  • Manny Acta-Indians
  • Bud Black-Padres
  • Terry Collins-Mets
  • Fredi Gonzalez-Braves
  • Bob Melvin-Athletics
  • Brad Mills-Astros
  • Buck Showalter-Orioles
  • Jim Tracy-Rockies
  • Bobby Valentine-Red Sox
  • Robin Ventura-White Sox

World Series


4

2012 World Champs
Detroit Tigers

2

Predicions Made on 4/1/12 at 4:30 PM ET.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *