Joe’s NL Divisional Picks
East- Miami Marlins 97 wins, Philadelphia Phillies 94 wins- Wild Card #1
The NL east is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Last year the Phillies won the division with a MLB best 102 wins and a monstrous pitching rotation. The new look Marlins have a new stadium and new players bringing in Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. The Braves also have a good team with deep pitching and an interesting mix of veterans and young players even after their record collapse last season. This year, I think the Marlins will come through.. The Phillies still have the best rotation in the division but they might have the worst offense, Ryan Howard could miss most of the season with an Achilles injury and Chase Utley is now in question. I still pick the Phillies to get a wild card slot.
Central- Cincinnati Reds 94 wins, Brewers 92 wins- Wild Card #2
Last year when Adam Wainwright went down with an injury I counted the Cardinals out; they ended up winning the World Series. This year they have no Pujols and Chris Carpenter is looking like he is not healthy. It’s hard to count the defending champs out. The Brewers lost Prince Fielder and a lot of protection and power in the lineup, but they did add Aramis Ramirez and already have a top of the line young pitching rotation that is probably in the top three in the NL. I pick them to win the Wild Card and play the Phillies in the play in game. The Reds are my dark horse this year, last year they were at the bottom of the league in pitching with a lot of injuries and inconsistences.
NL West- Arizona Diamondbacks 95 wins
Last Year was no fluke for the Dbacks. They won the west by 8 games over the defending champion Giants. I love the Giants pitching rotation, but their hitting is just not good enough to compete with the best. The return of Posey will help, and Lincecum will have a much better year than last. I like the Dbacks with their young talent, Ian Kennedy, who has come into his own, and a great manager in Kirk Gibson, I see them winning by a game or two.
Justin’s AL Picks
East-New York Yankees 103 wins, Red Sox 97 wins-Wild Card #1, Rays 95 wins-Wild Card #2
The American League East might be the best division in the history of sports this year. The Yankees have added a ton of pitching both young and old addressing their major need last year. The Rays are a young teamthat just won’t die. Mix the cut throat “us against the world mentality,” a great coach in Joe Maddon and a young pitching rotation they are a dangerous team. The Red Sox have all the talent they need and new manager Bobby Valentine is bringing a fresh new mentality. The Blue Jays are worth mention, they lead the league in home runs and have great young pitching coming up this year.
Central- Detroit Tigers 100 wins
The Central is a mess this year and the only constant is the Tigers. They added Prince Fielder to the monster Miguel Cabrera for the best 3-4 combo in the bigs. Mix that with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and a great bullpen, this is a runaway year for the Tigers. The only question is Cabrera’s move to third. The White Sox and Twins have disappeared and the Indians cannot stay healthy, look for the Royals to finish second with an 85 win season but do not come within 12 of the Tigers.
West- LA Angels 96 wins
The West is interesting. Take out the two bottom feeders in Oakland and Seattle, and you have a slugfest that spans 162 games for the division title. The Angels have vastly improved with Pujols and CJ Wilson coming over. The Angels rotation rivals the Phillies and is extremely deep. The Angels had 86 wins last year before adding Pujols, a 15+ game winner in Wilson and healthy Morales, look for them to get 96 wins. Texas has a great lineup but their pitching is a question mark. We don’t know how Yu Darvish will do and they lost their ace. I like them for 90 wins, but no playoffs because of the strength of the Angels and the East division