Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Full Preview of the 2012 MLB Season

Guest Post By: Craig Kibler

Well it’s that time of year again folks. The MLB regular season starts in just a few weeks so this is usually the most appropriate time for all self proclaimed baseball experts to make their predictions for the upcoming season. I won’t call myself an expert but I certainly take pride in my baseball knowledge.

There are many places with new faces this year and after this year’s free agency I felt it was hard to get a feel for how the league shakes out. Then MLB added a Wild Card team to each league and it confused me even more when I sat down and tried to establish where each team would finish in 2012.

I can’t wait to see how things actually turn out this year. As a Cubs fan my hopes for the season aren’t that high. However, the team is heading in a great direction under new team President Theo Epstein. Knowing that the Cubs will still be in a rebuilding phase this year, I can observe baseball care-free this year.

Feels good knowing I can just relax and take in the baseball season. So with that in mind I did a lot of research this year and I feel prepared to make what will most likely be ill-founded predictions for the 2012 MLB season.

To make this easy I will show you my division rankings, MVP winners, Cy Young winners, Wild Card teams, playoff match-ups & winners, ALCS & NLCS MVP’s, and World Series MVP.

Division rankings are based on predicted final standings of the regular season.

2012 Playoffs Predictions

Well there you have it. I present to you a full prediction report for the 2012 MLB regular season, playoffs, and awards. For support sake I will talk, in limited detail, about why I made the choices I did.

Division Winners: I think the East winner in the NL has to be Philly. They still look pretty banged up but the pitching staff is just too good for this team not to win the division. Sure everyone else in the East got a little better… Well not the Mets but that’s a lost cause at this point. The Marlins look solid but I still think there some weaknesses that will keep them from winning the division. The Marlins will probably compete with the Braves for the last Wild Card spot but I don’t see playoffs in Miami this season.

The winner in the AL East is always a toss-up, but I will give the edge to the Red Sox this year because they own a much better pitching staff than the pinstripes. Look for the Rays and Blue Jays to compete with the Yankees for a Wild Card spot but don’t expect 2 Wild Card teams from this division.

Both the NL & AL Central will be down this year. The top of both divisions look good with the Reds and Tigers but the remaining teams are lack luster in every sense of the phrase. Cardinals and Brewers will be decent but not playoff teams and the Tigers might be the only team in the AL Central to finish above .500.

The AL West is probably the most intriguing division this year and it’s all about the Rangers and Angels. With the moves the Angels made in the off-season it is hard to say they don’t have the best roster on paper. However, I am giving the advantage to the Rangers. I just think the Rangers have a slightly more complete team and a better bullpen. Rangers take the division and the Angels get a Wild Card spot.

The NL West might be the most competitive NL division top to bottom. The D’backs are coming off a surprising season where they won 94 games but I do not expect a repeat performance this season. With Buster Posey coming back I see the Giants taking this one. The Giants, like the Phillies, just have too much good pitching. I think the Rockies and Dodgers will battle for second in this division but in the end it will go to the Dodgers and so will the last playoff spot.

Playoffs: Always hard to predict any baseball playoff so I just went with gut instincts on this one. I think that the Rangers are still the best team in AL and no one can compete with the talent level of a healthy Phillies team. If both teams stay healthy I think we will see the Rangers make their third trip in as many years to the World Series, only to lose for a third consecutive time. This year the Rangers become the Buffalo Bills of the MLB. Colors match so the role will fit nicely.

Awards: I think there are several players that can end winning the MVP and Cy Young in both leagues. Taking all things into consideration like age, team, numbers from last year, team additions, ball park, and so on. When you look at my picks, you can tell that I didn’t stretch too much. It almost looks like I’m just name dropping and hoping I’m right. Well duh. The best baseball minds could spend hours trying to figure out who will win MVP and Cy Young this year and be completely wrong.

No one really sticks out above the rest in the AL MVP race so I went with Adrian Gonzales. Adrian should have great numbers again this year on a division winning team in Boston. Great numbers while being a member of the AL East champ is always a good recipe for hardware at the end of the year.

Now that Albert is in the AL I think the NL MVP could be a lock for 2010 MVP Joey Votto. With Braun’s recent bad PR and no Prince or Albert, I think it opens up the MVP for Joey Votto. Like Gonzales, Votto will have great numbers again and his team should easily win the division.

When it comes to Cy Young I just think of the two best pitchers in each league. I don’t think I will have too many people argue with me on Verlander and Halladay.

Well I think Billy Joel once said, you may be right and I may be crazy. But at least I’m not Tim Tebow.

About the Author: Craig Kibler is the lead blogger for Sports Traveler, a leading sports tourism site providing MLB tickets and travel packages.


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