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Third Time’s The Charm?: A Work In Progress’ 2012 MLB Predictions

Will Busch Stadium host the World Series for a second straight year?

As always, I’m late getting my predictions out. But, a week after Opening Day, here are my picks for the 2012 season:

NL Central

1 St. Louis Cardinals – 92-70

2 Milwaukee Brewers – 86-76

3 Cincinnati Reds – 84-78

4 Pittsburgh Pirates – 72-90

5 Chicago Cubs – 68-94

6 Houston Astros – 61-101

Yes, Albert Pujols no longer plays in St. Louis, but I believe the Cardinals are the class of the NL Central. I think they’ll win the division thanks to their pitching depth (rotation and bullpen), which includes super-prospect Shelby Miller, who I expect to see in the big leagues by mid-season.

I’m not buying the Reds. I don’t trust a team that will rely on Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick in the middle of the batting order. I also expect at least one of their starters (most likely Johnny Cueto) to miss significant time with a Dusty Baker caused injury. If a team other than the Cardinals is going to win the Central, it’s going to be the Brewers. Even without Prince, they have the rotation to compete deep into the season.

NL East

1 Philadelphia Phillies – 94-68

2 Washington Nationals* – 89-73

3 Miami Marlins – 87-75

4 Atlanta Braves – 86-76

5 New York Mets – 80-82

It was tempting to go with either the Nats or the Marlins, but in the end, it was just too hard to pick against Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. No one is sure what the Phillies will get from Ryan Howard or Chase Utley this season, and the NL East is one of the deepest divisions in baseball, so it won’t be a cake walk for the five-time defending division champs.

With the addition of a second wild card spot, I’d be shocked if two NL East teams don’t make the playoffs. I like the Nats to earn one of the Wild Cards and make the playoffs for the first time since moving to Washington. The top three in their rotation (Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez) stacks up with any team in baseball. Strasburg gets all the attention, but Zimmermann is one the best young pitchers in the National League. Washington’s lineup has some holes, but I expect uber-prospect Bryce Harper to fill one of them by July.

NL West

1 Arizona Diamondbacks – 93-61

2 San Francisco Giants* – 88-74

3 Colorado Rockies – 81-81

4 Los Angeles Dodgers – 80-82

5 San Diego Padres – 75-87

I think last year’s surprise playoff team is even better this season. Their rotation was boosted through the trade for Trevor Cahill, and by the end of the season, I expect both Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs to be pitching in the big leagues. With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder now in the AL, I believe Justin Upton is one of the five best players in the NL, and he’s in great position to win his first MVP award.

With their rotation, the Giants will definitely be in the hunt for the division crown late into the season, and I believe they’ll grab one of the two wild card slots. If San Francisco merely had an above average lineup, they’d be one of the best teams in the baseball, alas their position players leave much to be desired. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Rockies or the Dodgers compete for the division and a wild card spot.

NL Awards

MVP – Justin Upton, ARZ

Cy Young – Cole Hamels, PHI

Rookie of the Year – Trevor Bauer, ARZ

AL East

1 New York Yankees – 96-66

2 Tampa Bay Rays* – 94-68

3 Boston Red Sox – 91-71

4 Toronto Blue Jays – 86-76

5 Baltimore Orioles – 68-94

This is the best division in baseball. I will be utterly shocked if two teams from the AL East don’t make the playoffs, and I won’t be surprised if they claim both wild card spots. I think the Yankees will edge the Rays, who will end up earning a wild card. The Red Sox and Blue Jays should both be competing for the playoffs late into the season.

AL Central

1 Detroit Tigers – 93-69

2 Cleveland Indians – 81-81

3 Kansas City Royals – 78-84

4 Chicago White Sox – 74-88

5 Minnesota Twins – 70-92

The Tigers should have no problem winning this division, I will be pretty surprised if the Royals, Indians or White Sox give Detroit a run for its money. The only interesting thing to watch is whether any other team in the division finishes over .500.

AL West

1 Texas Rangers – 95-67

2 Los Angeles Angels* – 94-68

3 Oakland A’s – 75-87

4 Seattle Mariners – 68-94

This should be an epic battle between Texas and Los Angeles. Both teams should make the playoffs, but they’ll be fighting all year to win the division and avoid playing a one-game wild card playoff. Behind their star-studded lineup, deep pitching rotation and solid bullpen, I like the Rangers to make the World Series and finally win a championship, fighting off some demons from the past two seasons.

AL Awards

MVP – Robinson Cano, NYY

Cy Young – David Price, TB

Rookie of the Year – Matt Moore, TB

NL Playoffs

Wild Card

Giants over Nationals


Giants over Phillies

Cardinals over Diamondbacks


Cardinals over Giants

AL Playoffs

Wild Card

Angels over Rays


Yankees over Angels

Rangers over Tigers


Rangers over Yankees

World Series

Rangers over Cardinals

Hey, last year’s World Series was a classic, why not do it again?

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