Sure, the season may have (just barely) begun already, but that doesn’t invalidate these predictions from THT’s staff. This merry band of prognosticators took a stab at foretelling how the 2013 season will play out, a subject we’ll revisit for reward and ridicule at the end of the year. For now, see how our contributors’ picks compare to your own.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten TB TOR BAL NYY BOS Mike Clark TOR NYY TB BAL BOS Joe Distelheim TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Matt Filippi TOR NYY TB BOS BAL Nick Fleder TOR TB NYY BOS BAL James Gentile TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Jeffrey Gross TOR TB BAL NYY BOS Sam Hendrickson TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Matt Hunter TOR TB NYY BOS BAL Chris Jaffe TB BOS NYY BAL TOR Brad Johnson TOR TB BAL NYY BOS Dan Lependorf TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Jason Linden TOR TB BOS BAL NYY Bruce Markusen TOR TB NYY BAL BOS Greg Simons TB TOR BOS NYY BAL Dave Studeman TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Paul Francis Sullivan TB TOR NYY BAL BOS Shane Tourtellotte TOR TB BOS BAL NYY Steve Treder TB TOR NYY BOS BAL Doug Wachter TOR TB BOS NYY BAL Jack Weiland TOR TB BOS NYY BAL Consensus TOR TB NYY BOS BAL
By the narrowest of margins, 11-10, the Blue Jays are predicted to take the AL East over the Rays. The Yankees, perennial playoff participants, will have to hope they can snag the second Wild Card from third place. The Red Sox are expected to bounce back from last season’s cellar-dweller status all the way up to fourth place. Meanwhile, last year’s close-and-late darlings, the Orioles, don’t appear to have Lady Luck favoring them in 2013.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten DET KC CHW CLE MIN Mike Clark DET KC CHW CLE MIN Joe Distelheim DET KC CLE CHW MIN Matt Filippi DET CLE CHW KC MIN Nick Fleder CLE DET KC CHW MIN James Gentile DET CHW CLE KC MIN Jeffrey Gross DET CLE KC CHW MIN Sam Hendrickson DET CHW KC MIN CLE Matt Hunter DET CLE KC CHW MIN Chris Jaffe DET KC CHW CLE MIN Brad Johnson DET CHW CLE KC MIN Dan Lependorf DET CHW CLE KC MIN Jason Linden DET CLE CHW KC MIN Bruce Markusen KC DET CLE CHW MIN Greg Simons DET CLE CHW KC MIN Dave Studeman DET CHW CLE KC MIN Paul Francis Sullivan DET KC CHW CLE MIN Shane Tourtellotte DET CLE KC CHW MIN Steve Treder DET CHW CLE KC MIN Doug Wachter DET CLE KC CHW MIN Jack Weiland DET CLE KC CHW MIN Consensus DET CLE KC CHW MIN
Receiving 19 of 21 votes first-place votes, the Tigers are clear favorites in the AL Central. After that, though, things get very, very muddy. The Indians, with their new manager and two pricey outfield signings, squeak into second place. The Royals edge the White Sox for third thanks to Kansas City receiving one first-place vote. (That crazy Bruce!) The Twins finishing anywhere other than last would be a stunner (unless you’re Sam), though we said the same thing about Baltimore last preseason.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten TEX LAA SEA OAK HOU Mike Clark LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Joe Distelheim LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Matt Filippi LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Nick Fleder LAA SEA OAK TEX HOU James Gentile LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Jeffrey Gross LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Sam Hendrickson OAK LAA TEX SEA HOU Matt Hunter LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Chris Jaffe LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Brad Johnson TEX LAA OAK SEA HOU Dan Lependorf TEX OAK LAA SEA HOU Jason Linden LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Bruce Markusen LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Greg Simons LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Dave Studeman TEX LAA OAK SEA HOU Paul Francis Sullivan LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Shane Tourtellotte LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Steve Treder LAA OAK TEX SEA HOU Doug Wachter LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU Jack Weiland TEX LAA OAK SEA HOU Consensus LAA TEX OAK SEA HOU
The Angels are favored by nearly three-fourths of our staff members, with the Rangers taking all but one of the remaining first-place tallies. The A’s are not expected to relive last year’s surprise run to the AL West title (unless you’re Sam—again), picked to come in third. With one exception, the Mariners took all the fourth-place votes, and the AL’s newest squad, the Astros, are unanimously seen as a last-place team.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten WAS ATL NYM PHI MIA Mike Clark WAS ATL PHI MIA NYM Joe Distelheim WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Matt Filippi WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Nick Fleder WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA James Gentile WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Jeffrey Gross ATL WAS PHI NYM MIA Sam Hendrickson WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Matt Hunter WAS ATL NYM PHI MIA Chris Jaffe WAS ATL PHI MIA NYM Brad Johnson WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Dan Lependorf WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Jason Linden WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Bruce Markusen WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Greg Simons WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Dave Studeman ATL WAS PHI NYM MIA Paul Francis Sullivan WAS ATL PHI MIA NYM Shane Tourtellotte WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Steve Treder WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA Doug Wachter WAS ATL NYM PHI MIA Jack Weiland WAS ATL PHI MIA NYM Consensus WAS ATL PHI NYM MIA
Matching Detroit with 19 first-place votes are the Nationals, while the Braves took the same number of second-place selections. The Phillies have been chosen to repeat their mediocrity, the Mets are picked to avoid the cellar, a position 17 voters designated for the dirt-cheap Marlins.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten STL CIN MIL CHC PIT Mike Clark CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Joe Distelheim CIN STL MIL PIT CHC Matt Filippi CIN STL MIL PIT CHC Nick Fleder CIN PIT STL MIL CHC James Gentile CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Jeffrey Gross STL CIN PIT CHC MIL Sam Hendrickson CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Matt Hunter CIN STL MIL PIT CHC Chris Jaffe STL CIN MIL PIT CHC Brad Johnson STL CIN MIL CHC PIT Dan Lependorf CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Jason Linden CIN STL MIL PIT CHC Bruce Markusen CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Greg Simons CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Dave Studeman STL CIN PIT MIL CHC Paul Francis Sullivan STL CIN PIT MIL CHC Shane Tourtellotte CIN STL PIT MIL CHC Steve Treder STL CIN MIL CHC PIT Doug Wachter CIN STL MIL CHC PIT Jack Weiland CIN STL CHC PIT MIL Consensus CIN STL PIT MIL CHC
Two-thirds of THTers see the Reds as the NL Central champs, while the rest favor the Cardinals. In another tight vote in a Central division, the Pirates just edge the Brewers for third place. In something less than a landslide, the Cubs are chosen for the cellar.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th John Barten SF ARI LAD SD COL Mike Clark LAD SF ARI SD COL Joe Distelheim ARI LAD SF SD COL Matt Filippi LAD SF ARI SD COL Nick Fleder SF LAD ARI SD COL James Gentile LAD SF ARI SD COL Jeffrey Gross LAD ARI SF SD COL Sam Hendrickson SF ARI LAD SD COL Matt Hunter LAD ARI SF SD COL Chris Jaffe LAD SF SD ARI COL Brad Johnson SF ARI LAD SD COL Dan Lependorf SF LAD ARI SD COL Jason Linden LAD SF ARI SD COL Bruce Markusen LAD SF ARI COL SD Greg Simons LAD SF ARI SD COL Dave Studeman LAD SF ARI SD COL Paul Francis Sullivan SF LAD SD ARI COL Shane Tourtellotte LAD SF ARI SD COL Steve Treder SF LAD ARI SD COL Doug Wachter SF LAD ARI SD COL Jack Weiland LAD SF ARI SD COL Consensus LAD SF ARI SD COL
The big-spending Dodgers look to be buying an NL West title, pushing last year’s world champion Giants to second. Arizona and its gaggle of outfielders are slated for third place. About the only nice thing to say about the Padres is that Bruce picked them for last, preventing the Rockies from sweeping that spot.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WILD CARDS/AWARDS
AL WC AL MVP AL Cy Young AL ROY John Barten TOR/LAA Mike Trout Justin Verlander Jurickson Profar Mike Clark NYY/OAK Mike Trout Justin Verlander Jurickson Profar Joe Distelheim TOR/OAK Yoenis Cespedes Yu Darvish Wil Myers Matt Filippi NYY/TEX Robinson Cano Felix Hernandez Aaron Hicks Nick Fleder TB/LAA Evan Longoria Yu Darvish Jackie Bradley Jr. James Gentile TOR/NYY Mike Trout Justin Verlander Wil Myers Jeffrey Gross TB/OAK Jose Bautista Yu Darvish Jurickson Profar Sam Hendrickson TOR/LAA Jose Bautista Felix Hernandez Jackie Bradley Jr. Matt Hunter TB/TEX Robinson Cano David Price Aaron Hicks Chris Jaffe BOS/TEX Mike Trout Justin Verlander N/A Brad Johnson LAA/OAK Albert Pujols Justin Verlander Jackie Bradley Jr. Dan Lependorf TOR/OAK Mike Trout Chris Sale Wil Myers Jason Linden TB/BOS Mike Trout Justin Verlander N/A Bruce Markusen TB/TEX Mike Trout Justin Verlander Jackie Bradley Jr. Greg Simons TOR/OAK Mike Trout Justin Verlander Wil Myers Dave Studeman TOR/LAA Mike Trout Yu Darvish Wil Myers Paul Francis Sullivan TOR/OAK Evan Longoria Jered Weaver Chris Archer Shane Tourtellotte TB/LAA Evan Longoria Yu Darvish Jackie Bradley Jr. Steve Treder TOR/OAK Mike Trout Justin Verlander Wil Myers Doug Wachter TB/TEX Mike Trout Justin Verlander Aaron Hicks Jack Weiland TB/LAA Evan Longoria Justin Verlander Wil Myers Consensus TB/OAK Mike Trout Justin Verlander Wil Myers
Among those teams not predicted to win their division, the Rays and A’s got the most Wild Card votes, eight apiece. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout, is forecast to be capture the MVP award many thought he should have had last season. Justin Verlander, baseball’s newest ultra-wealthy pitcher, looks set to recapture his Cy Young form, and the plurality of voters anointed Wil Myers as this campaign’s Rookie of the Year.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WILD CARDS/AWARDS
NL WC NL MVP NL Cy Young NL ROY John Barten ATL/CIN Matt Holliday Stephen Strasburg Zack Wheeler Mike Clark ATL/STL Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Oscar Taveras Joe Distelheim ATL/LAD Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Gerrit Cole Matt Filippi ATL/STL Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg Adam Eaton Nick Fleder ATL/LAD Giancarlo Stanton Stephen Strasburg Julio Teheran James Gentile WAS/CIN Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Oscar Taveras Jeffrey Gross WAS/ARI Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg Shelby Miller Sam Hendrickson ATL/STL Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Shelby Miller Matt Hunter ATL/STL Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Oscar Taveras Chris Jaffe ATL/SF Joey Votto Matt Cain N/A Brad Johnson ATL/PHI Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg Jedd Gyorko Dan Lependorf STL/LAD Joey Votto Gio Gonzalez Julio Teheran Jason Linden ATL/STL Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg N/A Bruce Markusen ATL/STL Matt Kemp Stephen Strasburg Shelby Miller Greg Simons ATL/SF Jason Heyward Clayton Kershaw Travis D'Arnaud Dave Studeman WAS/CIN Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Oscar Taveras Paul Francis Sullivan ATL/CIN Joey Votto Clayton Kershaw Oscar Taveras Shane Tourtellotte ATL/SF Andrew McCutchen Stephen Strasburg Julio Teheran Steve Treder ATL/CIN Joey Votto Matt Cain Julio Teheran Doug Wachter ATL/LAD Andrew McCutchen Gio Gonzalez Shelby Miller Jack Weiland ATL/SF Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Adam Eaton Consensus ATL/STL Joey Votto Stephen Strasburg Oscar Taveras
The Braves are a clear first Wild Card, with the Cardinals slotting in to make another trip to Atlanta for the one-game showdown. A healthy Joey Votto means another MVP campaign, according to our voters. And a full, healthy season from Stephen Strasburg ought to be enough for him to earn his first Cy Young. In a much-divided vote, Oscar Taveras sneaks past Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller to earn the nod as ROY.
John Barten Rays over Giants Mike Clark Nationals over Tigers Joe Distelheim Nationals over Tigers Matt Filippi Nationals over Angels Nick Fleder Rays over Nationals James Gentile Nationals over Tigers Jeffrey Gross Braves over Rays Sam Hendrickson Tigers over Nationals Matt Hunter Angels over Nationals Chris Jaffe Rays over Braves Brad Johnson Nationals over Rangers Dan Lependorf Reds over Tigers Jason Linden Reds over Blue Jays Bruce Markusen Braves over A's Greg Simons Nationals over Tigers Dave Studeman Nationals over Rays Paul Francis Sullivan Cardinals over Rays Shane Tourtellotte Tigers over Nationals Steve Treder Nationals over Tigers Doug Wachter Nationals over Angels Jack Weiland Reds over Rays Consensus AL Champ: Tigers NL Champ: Nationals WS Champ: Nationals
Ladies and gentlemen, you read it here first. The Washington Nationals are going to defeat the Detroit Tigers to win the 2013 World Series title. Or not.
We can do our best to make these predictions, but few foresaw the Giants over Tigers last year. It’s possible that this season will work out just as we anticipate, but it’s much more likely that we’ll be stunned by numerous developments within the game. That’s why they play the games and why we love to follow along.