The categories are: AL West win totals and division finishes, other division finishes, end-of-season awards, LCS and WS participants and winners, and a random, bold baseball prediction. What do I mean by bold baseball prediction? Think Carl Crawford being supplanted by Yaisel Puig and hitting 40 HR for the Dodgers, and/or Scott Kazmir finishing with a sub-3.00 ERA for Cleveland.
Without further ado, here is what we chose:
ALCS participants and winners: Rays over A's
NLCS participants and winners: Nats over Reds
WS matchups and winners: Nats over Rays
Random, bold, baseball prediction:
Mike Trout has a relative sophomore slump. He's still good, but only .280/.350/.500 a far cry from his crazy 2012.
A's win the West by one game over Angels. Rays have a big year, led by MVP Evan Longoria. In the NL, Cy Strasburg carries Nats to the division title over Braves and Phillies, while MVP Votto helps Reds easily repeat in the Central. Giants win the West, but get knocked out in the NLDS. Rays beat A's in a dramatic ALCS, because it feels lame to pick my own team to win it all. However, Strasburg, Harper and Gio are too much for Longoria, Price and Moore to handle, and Washington wins the 2013 World Series. Montreal baseball fans cry softly into whatever Canadians use as pillows.
AL West (and wins):
Chicago White Sox
AL Cy Young: Verlander
NL Cy Young: Strasburg
AL MVP: Cespedes
NL MVP: Posey
AL Wild Cards: Oakland, Tampa Bay
NL Wild Cards: Los Angeles, St. Louis
ALCS participants and winners: Anaheim beats Toronto
NLCS participants and winners: San Francisco beats Washington
WS matchup and winner: Anaheim beats San Francisco
Random bold baseball prediction: In a flashback to 2002, two players from the Bay Area win their leagues' MVP awards, in a flashback to 2002 (Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada). I won't talk about Posey, but I think Yoenis Cespedes is very, very capable of posting a 2002 Tejada-esque line (.306/.354/.508) while playing outstanding defense in left field. I think we only skimmed the surface of his ability in 2012 - watch out, American League. And consistent with the 2002 theme, I think the Angels are going to beat the Giants to win it all.
The Dodgers are great, but I objectively think the Giants will still be better - I can actually see Lincecum being a dangerous weapon in a long-relief role, too. I think the Nats are going to put together another great season, and the phenomenal 1-2 punch of Strasburg and Gio will carry them deep into the playoffs. The Angels are seasoned, proven, all that...I like them in the AL West. Strasburg is already a fantastic pitcher, and this year I think he'll stay healthy and throw a full season. No need to explain the Verlander pick, right? Yoenis...I don't think we've seen a thing yet. Just wait.
AL West: A's/Rangers/Angels/Mariners/Astros
AL Central: Tigers/Royals/White Sox/Indians/Twins
AL East: Rays/Jays/Yankees/Orioles/Red Sox
NL West: Dodgers/Giants/Dbacks/Rockies/Padres
NL Central: Reds/Cards/Pirates/Brewers/Cubs
NL East: Nationals/Phillies/Braves/Mets/Marlins
ALCS participants and winners: A's over Rays
NLCS participants and winners: Nationals over Dodgers
WS matchups and winners: A's over Nationals
Random, bold, baseball prediction: Albert Pujols will once again be linked to steroids.
ALCS participants and winners: TB over OAK
NLCS participants and winners: WSH over LAD
WS matchups and winners: WSH over TB
Random, bold, baseball prediction: A's territorial debate is settled by the end of the calendar year
I think TEX is still the class of the division, but the A's are not far behind. They will start slow, and then pick it up after the All-Star Break, and ride the wave again, this time to the ALCS. SFG's run of strong pitching will end due to injuries, and LAD will simply win with force of talent. CLE's upgrades, while substantial, will not get them any higher than 3rd place. WSH won't win 100 games because ATL is too good, and both end up around 90 wins. Indeed, no one will win 100 games.
AL Central: Detroit
NYY (WC 1)
Toronto (WC 2)
AL Cy Young: James Shields
NL Cy Young: Kris Medlin
AL MVP: Yoenis Cespedes (I kid you not)
NL MVP: Joey Votto
ALCS participants and winners: Tigers over Rays
NLCS participants and winners: Reds over Nationals
WS matchups and winners: Reds over Tigers
Random bold prediction: The Royals are this year's Orioles and are in it to the end -- but miss out by a game or two.
Why did I predict it this way? Because baseball is just random enough that often players, or teams, that are projected to be "good but second tier" wind up being the best that year. So while most of the names I've chosen are dark horses, they are also players capable of having a great season. And while the teams I've picked aren't generally the "sexy choices," they are good teams with a shot at winning 90 games.
Oakland (92, Wild Card)
Boston (Wild Card)
Dodgers (wild card)
Atlanta (wild card)
AL Cy Young - Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young - Stephen Strasburg
AL MVP - Mike Trout
NL MVP - Matt Kemp
ALCS participants and winners - Toronto and Oakland - Oakland wins
NLCS participants and winners - Washington and Dodgers - Dodgers win
WS matchups and winners - Dodgers vs. Oakland - A's get redemption for 88
Random, bold, baseball prediction: My bold predictions are going to be AL West-related since that's what I follow the closest. Brett Anderson miraculously stays healthy for an entire season. Chris Carter hits more home runs than Brandon Moss but has an average below .250. Mike Trout hits 40 and steals 40. Maybe that isn't that bold but hey, it's what I've got.