MLB 2013 Predictions

It’s time once again to throw sense out of the window and to try to predict what is going to happen in the coming MLB season.

The A’s and Orioles showed last year that if there’s one thing we can predict accurately, it’s that something unpredictable is heading our way.

I predicted a Yankees-Phillies World Series last year, which was an improvement on my Braves-Twins prediction from 2011 but only a slight one.

I can at least take comfort from not jumping on the Marlins bandwagon prior to last season. I didn’t see them turning their off-season additions into success from such a relatively poor starting position (their 2011 season) and Ozzie Guillen was always likely to be as much a liability as an asset.

It was a rare success for my predictions, so my usual caveat applies: don’t feel slighted if I haven’t picked your team, it’s probably a good sign for your prospects this year.

Mark George has joined in me in this crazy task. Here’s how we are guessing the season ahead will turn out.

American League East

Mark George Matt Smith
1
Toronto
NY Yankees
2
Tampa Bay (WC)
Toronto (WC)
3
Boston
Tampa Bay
4
NY Yankees
Boston
5
Baltimore
Baltimore

Both of us see Toronto’s off-season leading to a postseason spot, although we see very different fates for the Yankees. Mark says, “Yankees get off to slow start, make additions and players return from injury but too late to save their season”. I believe Toronto and Tampa Bay both have better teams on paper this year, but there’s just something about the Yankees that always seems to see them pull through. So, on noting more than a gut feeling, I’m going to predict they surprise us all by capturing another division title.

Baltimore’s reward for their wonderful 2012 adventure is to be shoved back down to the bottom of the AL East in our predictions, although I agree with Mark’s thought that “Baltimore will finish last, but won’t be too far from .500”.

American League Central

MG MS
1
Detroit
Detroit
2
Kansas City
Cleveland
3
Chicago WS
Chicago WS
4
Cleveland
Kansas City
5
Minnesota
Minnesota

It’s difficult for any AL Central prediction to look far past the Tigers.  Detroit should have won at a canter last season; they’ll rectify that this year.

Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City all have their faults, but I like the positivity around Terry Francona’s club and think, against the odds, they’ll get enough pitching to finish second, albeit not enough for the Wild Card. Mark sees the Royals taking “a big step forward”, but failing to end their run of playoff-less seasons.

American League West

MG MS
1
LA Angels
LA Angels
2
Texas (WC)
Oakland (WC)
3
Oakland
Texas
4
Seattle
Seattle
5
Houston
Houston

We’ve both got the Angels making up for a disappointing 2012 by winning the West in 2013. The battle between Texas and Oakland looks set to go to the wire.

Mark sees the Rangers pipping the A’s in the final few days, but this A’s fan remembers how the two teams dealt with the pressure of the run-in respectively last year. I’m hoping Oakland can do it again, even though Josh Hamilton won’t be in a Texas uniform to drop a simple fly-ball this time around.

National League East

MG MS
1
Washington
Washington
2
Atlanta (WC)
Atlanta (WC)
3
Philadelphia
Philadelphia
4
NY Mets
NY Mets
5
Miami
Miami

Across the internet, I suspect most NL East predictions will look the same. There’s a clear order here with the Mets and Marlins at the bottom, the Phillies being a mid-ranking side, and the Nationals leading the way trailed by a dangerous Braves club.

As Mark puts it: “Strasburg has the hype but Jordan Zimmermann has a big year too. The Up, Up and A Hey outfield puts Braves in the playoffs. Phillies better than last year but not quite good enough”.

National League Central

MG MS
1
Cincinnati
Cincinnati
2
St. Louis
St. Louis
3
Milwaukee
Milwaukee
4
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
5
Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs

Mark and I are on the same page in the Central. We both see the Cardinals pushing the Reds close but not quite close enough (Mark suspecting a lack of production from St. Louis’s middle infield will come back to cost them).

The Brewers’ recent addition of Kyle Lohse gives them the extra pitcher they clearly needed, although that still may not be enough to truly challenge the top two in the division. As for Pittsburgh, whilst they have some good young talent and it would be great to see them finally make a move, the way their 2012 season nose-dived once again made me wary of predicting a positive outcome until they prove they can do it.

National League West

MG MS
1
LA Dodgers
L.A. Dodgers
2
San Francisco (WC)
San Francisco (WC)
3
Arizona
Arizona
4
San Diego
San Diego
5
Colorado
Colorado

We complete a ‘full house’ of NL predictions with our identical NL Wests. Mark reckons that his Dodgers will pip the Giants to the title in final week of the season, with San Diego finishing very close to Arizona.

I think the D-Backs will keep in the race for the majority of the season, only to tail off in September and leave the final couple of weeks as a battle royal between the two long-term rivals.

Post-season

Here’s how Mark sees the post-season turning out:

WILD CARD

Texas beats Tampa Bay, Atlanta beats San Francisco

DIVISION SERIES
Detroit beats Texas in 4
Toronto beats LA Angels in 5

Washington beats Atlanta in 4
Cincinnati beats LA Dodgers in 5

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Detroit beats Toronto in 7
Washington beats Cincinnati in 5

WORLD SERIES
Washington beats Detroit in 6

We may not get a Strasburg v Verlander matchup, but the Nats win it all as Ryan Zimmerman doubles in a pair in the 8th inning of the decisive game.

As for my post-season prediction, it ends up with the same Fall Classic pairing, but with a different outcome:

WILD CARD
Toronto beats Oakland, Atlanta beats San Francisco

DIVISION SERIES
Toronto beats NY Yankees in 4
Detroit beats LA Angels in 5

Washington beats Atlanta in 5
LA Dodgers beats Cincinnati in 4

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Detroit beats Toronto in 6
Washington beats LA Dodgers in 5

WORLD SERIES
Detroit beats Washington in 6

So there we go, those are our predictions (i.e. informed guesses) for how the season ahead will pan out. Who do you think will end up celebrating at the Fall Classic in October?

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