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By Evan Roberts
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1. Philadelphia Phillies 92-70
I think we forget how good this rotation can be. Despite having low velocity in camp, I think Roy Halladay has a bounce-back year, and this time it won’t take months for Cliff Lee to win a game.
2. Washington Nationals 91-71
People are talking about the Nationals as if they were the ’98 Yankees. I don’t question the talent. I question if they can have the same magic as last year.
3. Atlanta Braves 86-76
Can Craig Kimbrel have another historic season? How much will this team miss Chipper Jones in the locker room? Either way I think they have one of the most talented outfields in baseball.
4. New York Mets 71-91
While I like the rebuilding direction they are going in, the Mets have a terrible outfield, a highly questionable bullpen, and a major question mark in Johan Santana. Unlike the past two seasons, I don’t think they fool people in the first half.
5. Miami Marlins 68-94
Poor Giancarlo Stanton… poor Giancarlo Stanton.
1. St. Louis Cardinals 89-63
They are the Cardinals! They will pitch well, defend and hit. I think Adam Wainwright will have a Cy Young season, and watch out if they call up Michael Wacha or Oscar Taveras at any point. Then the October magic begins…
2. Cincinnati Reds 87-65
The Reds will have to overcome what was a devastating playoff loss to San Francisco. They also need Joey Votto to stay healthy. I don’t like the indecision they’ve shown with Aroldis Chapman… we’ll see if he can have another dominating season as closer.
3. Milwaukee Brewers 85-77
Milwaukee finished strong last season — they went 20-13 in September/October. The injury to Corey Hart forces Alex Gonzalez to be their first baseman. But the key is keeping Ryan Braun from suspension.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates 79-83
I’d LOVE to see the Pirates make the playoffs — or dare I say finish above 500. They got incredible starting pitching early and an MVP season from Andrew McCutchen last year and it still didn’t happen. Don’t expect it in ’13.
5. Chicago Cubs 66-96
Nothing to see here, just Theo continuing to rebuild the Cubbies.
1. San Francisco Giants 89-63
With his new hairdo, Tim Lincecum will have a huge bounce-back season and the Giants win a tooth-and-nail divisional race with LA.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers 88-64
They have dethroned the Yankees as the team with the biggest payroll in baseball, BUT that does not mean they will have Yankee-esque success. Hanley Ramirez is already hurt which leads to major questions on the left side of the infield. I love Clayton Kershaw but can Josh Beckett bounce back and how will Greinke handle his new contract?
3. Arizona D-Backs 81-81
After months of speculation they finally dealt Justin Upton. I like their rotation and pen, but can they replace the power of Upton?
4. San Diego Padres 77-85
It’ll be tough to imagine San Diego competing, and losing their best player Chase Headley for a period of time certainly doesn’t help.
5. Colorado Rockies 63-99
The Rockies are flat-out bad. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are stars, but Tulo can’t stay healthy and the pitching is God-awful. With Houston in the AL, the Rockies will compete for the title as worst team in the NL.
Washington Nationals DEFEAT Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals DEFEAT Philadelphia Phillies
St Louis Cardinals DEFEAT San Francisco Giants
St Louis Cardinals DEFEAT Washington Nationals
NL MVP: Joey Votto
NL Cy Young: Adam Wainwright
1. New York Yankees 90-72
It’s hilarious how everyone wants to claim this team may finish in last or will be the new-age ’65 Yankees. They can still pitch, have a stellar bullpen and will eventually get their injured bats back.
2. Tampa Bay Rays 87-75
Trading James Shields will hurt, but the Rays have been amazing at bringing up new young arms to replace the ones they ship out. The big question will be the same… can Evan Longoria stay healthy and can they hit enough?
3. Toronto Blue Jays 85-77
While they won’t be a disaster like the Marlins, I’m not going overboard with the Blue Jays hype. This team made a lot of big moves but they have many questions. Can R.A. Dickey pitch nearly as well, being a year older and facing the AL East competition? But more important than anything may be the health of Jose Bautista.
4. Boston Red Sox 81-81
The Red Sox are better and certainly won’t have the circus-like atmosphere of last year, but they aren’t good enough to compete for this division. Though I do think John Lackey will have a big bounce-back year.
5. Baltimore Orioles 78-84
I never bought into them last year, and I was wrong. They battled for the AL East until the season’s final days and took the Yankees to five games in the ALDS. But again, I don’t buy them.
1. Detroit Tigers 96-66
Not having a legit closer to start the year is a little concerning, but unlike last year, they won’t struggle early and will leave little doubt on who wins this division.
2. Kansas City Royals 87-75
This is finally the year the Royals break through. While giving up Wil Myers may have been too much to surrender, they did bring in a legit 200-inning guy in James Shields. The Royals finally have enough pitching.
3. Cleveland Indians 82-80
The Indians went out and had a very aggressive offseason, adding Swisher, Reynolds, Stubbs and Bourn. But one of the big keys will be if Ubaldo Jimenez can re-establish himself as one of the better pitchers in baseball.
4. Chicago White Sox 77-85
The White Sox were a pretty big surprise last year in winning 85 games, but they closed the season meekly and I can see that continuing into the start of 2013.
5. Minnesota Twins 62-100
The model of small-market consistency has hit a rough rebuilding patch. I think 2013 will be the final season of the Mauer/Morneau connection.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 94-68
Last year the Angels were a big disappointment despite winning 89 games. This year they will not disappoint. While it’s very possible Josh Hamilton struggles in year one of a new contract, I expect a huge bounce-back from Albert Pujols. Oh yeah, Mike Trout is pretty good.
2. Texas Rangers 86-76
This was a rough offseason for Texas, but I really liked the addition of A.J. Pierzynski. Bottom line is they have officially let the Angels pass them in the AL West.
3. Seattle Mariners 85-77
Though I don’t have them making the playoffs, the Mariners are one of my big surprises of 2013. They needed to improve the offense, so they brought in Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales.
4. Oakland Athletics 79-83
The A’s were the big surprise of 2012 because of very good young starting pitching. I think they take a small step back in 2013.
5. Houston Astros 58-104
They are really bad… really, really bad.
Kansas City Royals DEFEAT Tampa Bay Rays
Detroit Tigers DEFEAT Kansas City Royals
LA Angels of Anaheim DEFEAT New York Yankees
LA Angels of Anaheim DEFEAT Detroit Tigers
AL MVP: Robinson Cano
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
2013 WORLD SERIES
LA Angels DEFEAT Cardinals
Which team is your favorite to win it all? Make your case in the comments…