There's one week left to go before the end of Spring Training, and as the Yankees learned last night, injuries can still take their toll, but nonetheless, it's time for Pinstripe Alley's 2012 Standings Forecast.
The composite 2012 Pinstripe Alley Standings Forecast represents the average predicted win total submitted by six different participants (see below for individual win-loss projections). In the American League, the Tigers and Yankees are expected to run away with their respective divisions, while the Angels are predicted to hold off the Rangers for the West title. As a consolation, the Rangers are the consensus wild card selection, but their opponent in the one-game playoff is yet to be determined as the Rays the Red Sox were forecast to end the season in a tie.
In the National League, the picture is much less clear as 10 teams are projected to win over 80 games. The only shoe-in is the Phillies, who are once again expected to win the NL East. The races for the Central and West are forecast to me much closer, however, with the Reds and Diamondbacks holding off several challengers. In what could either be a dream come true or a nightmare for MLB, the PA composite calls for four teams to end the season with 85 wins, which, if baseball can survive the logistical complications, could make for an incredibly exciting entrée to the League Division Series.
2012 Individual Playoff Forecasts
The dominance of the Yankees and Tigers evident in the composite standings is also represented in the individual playoff predictions as both teams were selected to win the division by all seven prognosticators. The Angels were also a near-unanimous selection to win the West, but the Rangers were named on one ballot in addition to six wild card selections. The Rays were the next common wild card selection, while the Red Sox and Blue Jays were tabbed twice and once, respectively.
Aside from the Phillies, who were selected to win the East on six of seven ballots, the National League was much more diverse. In the Central, the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals were all selected at least once, while the West was split between the Diamondbacks and Giants along with a lone vote for the Dodgers. The Braves were the most common wild card selection, but the East division rival Marlins and Nationals also received wild card consideration, giving the senior circuit 10 different playoff participants among the individual selections.
2012 Individual Standings Forecast (click to enlarge)
Among the individual Win-Loss projections, the Angels were the only team picked to win 100 games, although the Yankees and Phillies had multiple forecasts of 98 or 99. On the other end of the spectrum, the Astros were a common choice for the worst team in baseball, with four prognosticators expecting