April 2, 2012; Miami FL, USA; A detailed view of New York Yankees helmets before a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Using the same format as last year, here are some predictions I've piled together. Some of these might be different from the picks I made earlier this week in William's post.
AL East: New York Yankees - I feel like this is one of the stronger Yankee teams I've seen in a while. They've got pitching in both the rotation and bullpen as well as another stacked lineup.
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Addition of Albert Pujols should raise their total of 667 runs scored last year toward the league average of 723. Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson should make for a nice 1-2-3 in the rotation.
AL Wild Card #1: Boston Red Sox - Yes, they'll be back in the postseason for the first time since being swept by the Angels in 2009. The rotation has some question marks, but their offense will continue to be potent.
AL Wild Card #2: Texas Rangers - I don't see them winning their third consecutive AL West, but they'll sneak into the playoffs ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Rays are arguably the more talented team, I think the third place team in the AL East will have trouble securing a playoff spot, having to compete with two other extremely good teams in the division. I say the Rays are the odd one out.
NL East: Miami Marlins - Finished fifth place at 72-90 last season in the NL East. Additions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano, Heath Bell and manager Ozzie Guillen should make for a very entertaining year down in "South Beach." I'll peg them as my sleeper, although they could very well implode due to the sheer overload of personalities in that new stadium.
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers - Despite losing Prince Fielder, their rotation remains solid and Ryan Braun will not be serving a 50-game suspension. I think they'll edge out the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.
NL West: San Francisco Giants - Top three rotation in the National League and Buster Posey will be back behind the plate and in the lineup. The NL West is always anyone's guess, with three different teams being the champion the past three seasons, but I'll go with the Giants in 2012.
NL Wild Card #1: Philadelphia Phillies - Even with injuries to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the Phillies still own the best rotation in the National League with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels leading the way. While the NL East will be a bigger challenge this year, they'll manage to make the playoffs yet again. If the Marlins don't live up to the hype, the Phillies will take the East.
NL Wild Card #2: Atlanta Braves - It would be fairly unprecedented to have three teams from the same division make the playoffs, but the Braves are good enough to be here. I'm sure they're out to prove themselves after choking last September. Let's put the Braves into the playoffs as well.
More condensed predictions after the jump:
ALCS: Yankees over Angels
NLCS: Giants over Braves
World Series: Yankees over Giants in 6 games
AL/NL MVP: Whoever is hitting third in Detroit's order... Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder / Matt Kemp
AL/NL Cy Young: Jered Weaver / Cliff Lee
AL/NL Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia / Ozzie Guillen
Most wins/losses at the end of the regular season: Angels / Astros
AL disappointment - There's an outside chance that nobody other than the Detroit Tigers finishes above .500 in the AL Central...
NL disappointment - It's going to be a long year, Cubs fans. You've already been waiting 103 years, why not make it 104?
Yankees surprise player: Rafael Soriano. Not sure if this is a good or bad surprise...
Yankees disappointing player: Michael Pineda. Yeah, SO?!?! Just because of high expectations.