Andrew McGiligan | Out of WriteField
With the Major League Baseball season set to kick-off on Sunday, it’s time for the second annual Out of WriteField Completely Unscientific Predictions for 2013.
As noted earlier this week, we hope to improve upon our 38 per cent success rate from last season which included accurate predictions of the AL Cy Young, AL MVP, several division winners and the two World Series teams (we incorrectly took the Tigers over the Giants) and a whole host of ones that were wrong.
So without further delay, here are the Out of WriteField picks for 2013:
Al East – Tampa Bay Rays
Al Central – Detroit Tigers
Al West – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Wildcards – Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers
Analysis: Jays fans should get their first taste of postseason baseball in decades, but it will be through the wildcard. Early injuries and demotions to Brett Lawrie and Ricky Romero combined with some skepticism of how this team will gel makes the Rays a more appealing pick to win the East. The Tigers will continue to roll in the Central, but the potential for the Kansas City Royals to emerge and what looks to be – on paper anyways – a much improved Cleveland Indians squad should make for an interesting division. As for the West, it’s time for the free-spending and a full season of Mike Trout to result in a division win for the Angels with the Rangers playing well in enough to edge Oakland for the second wildcard.
AL MVP – Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander
AL Rookie of the Year – Wil Myers
Analysis: Not known for their offensive prowess, the Rays will churn out two awards this season. Longoria defines MVP when it comes to the Rays who were about a .500 club without him in the lineup and 20 games above that mark with him last season. If Longoria can play in 140 or more games, he will have the best season of his career and some new hardware. Bryce Harper started in the minors last year and it made us shy away from picking him as ROY. Big mistake and it won’t happen again. Myers won’t be playing on Opening Day, but he will be called up before the All-Star break and make the front office look even better for dealing away James Shields for the slugging prospect. Verlander is a perennial candidate for the Cy Young and entering a contract year makes him even more determined – if that’s possible – to be the best pitcher in the game.
NL West – Washington Nationals
NL Central – Cincinnati Reds
NL West – San Francisco Giants
Wildcards – Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves
Analysis: The Nationals will once again be the class of the NL with a great pitching staff and solid lineup. Consider what Bruce Harper did at 19 and what he can do with that year of seasoning and adjusting behind him. The Reds should be able to ride a solid hitting, but potentially poor defensive lineup to the Central crown while the Giants pitching staff should make up for the offensive shortcomings of its lineup in taking the West. The Dodgers are similar to the Jays in that no one is sure what to expect from the ridiculous budget squad, but talent alone should carry them to a postseason spot. The Braves enjoyed a successful offseason and have the brothers Upton patrolling the outfield. They should beat up on everyone in the NL East not named the Nationals on the way to a wildcard berth.
NL MVP – Joey Votto
NL Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year – Oscar Taveras
Analysis: Similar to Longoria, if Votto stays healthy there’s no one that can hold a candle to him with the bat (the exception being Miguel Cabrera). Votto has been described as a hitting savant and genius in the batters’ box. Kershaw is dominant and probably the best left-handed pitcher on the planet, he’ll reclaim his spot as the NL’s top arm after finishing second in the voting last year. Like everyone else, we were ready to pick Adam Eaton as a lock for the NL ROY, but an elbow injury will keep him out of the lineup for a few months. Because of this, Taveras is the new pick. Like Myers he will start in Triple A, but the hitting machine will eventually get called up to the St. Louis Cardinals and force one of their current outfielders to the bench.
Tigers over Nationals in six
Analysis: I think Detroit will finally get over the hump and win the World Series this year. The Nationals will continue their ascension to the top of the heap, but ultimately come up short….at least for this season.