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Play Ball! the 2013 Baseball Thread

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Spring Training is in full swing. The WBC starts next week. The regular season is only a month away! I for one am so glad to see it. Football is over and the NHL is so difficult to watch when your team couldn’t even win a scrimmage against its own AHL affiliate team. After some big moves in the off season, not the least of which is the Astros moving to the AL I think this is going to be a very interesting year. So here are my predications on how this all goes down:

American League East
1. Toronto Blue Jays: Huge offseason netting Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Melky Cabrera, RA Dickey, and Emilio Bonfiacio in trades. Bautista is a stud and with Morrow and Romero rounding out the rotation this team is loaded for bear. Baseball has a lot of history where a team of big names does not mesh and just implodes over the course of the season. I don’t think that will happen here. Prediction: This team will win over 100 games and bring a World Championship back to Toronto.


2. Baltimore Orioles: Last year was not a fluke. This is one of those clubs where the whole is more than the sum of their parts. There are few big name stars aside from Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. They are not flashy, and they are young with an average age of 27 last year. But they play good sound fundamental baseball and that is what wins these days. In any other division they would be the champion but with the in the brutal AL East they may not even win the wildcard. Prediction: More than 90 wins and they will contend for a wildcard spot.


3. Tampa Bay Rays: Ok, this is my team but I’ll try to be objective. How do you replace James Shields and Wade Davis? Simple, call up Alex Cobb and Chris Archer. Last year’s Cy Young winner David Price will lead a rotation that will be no worse off for trading one of the best starters in the AL. The bullpen will be a work in progress but they do have the best closer in the league in Fernando Rodney. The trouble is the Rays don’t score a lot of runs. If Longoria can stay healthy and new additions James Loney and Yunel Escobar can get it together this team could easily finish in second. Prediction: 90 wins but no playoffs.


4. New York Yankees: For the past few seasons the Evil Empire has been aging gracefully. Now they are just aging. Cano is out for the first 3 months, Teixeira has a bad back and Jeter, Suzuki and Youkilis are way past their prime, Granderson strikes out to much and Mariano Rivera is over 40 and coming off ACL repair. Nuff said. Prediction: 81-81 at best. Most likely they will lose more than they win.


5. Boston Red Sox: Still rebuilding. They still have some good hitters but pitching is a problem Lester and Buchholz had bad seasons last year. Ryan Dempster is their #3. Seriously? Fraid so. The bullpen is even worse. They are weak defensively and while they might score some runs they will also give up too many. Prediction: Sorry Lady Crimson, it’s gonna be along year. 65-97.

American League Central


1) Detroit Tigers: For the most part their World Series team is back for another run. Torii Hunter is a great pick up to bat in front of Miguel Cabrera. They have solid pitching with Verlander, Scherzer, Fister & Sanchez, and a deep bench. They should have no trouble winning the AL Central. Prediction: 92-70 & Division Pennant.


2) Kansas City Royals: If this were a poker game you could say the Royals have gone all in. Trading away Meyers, Odorizzi, the cream of their farm system, for Shields and Davis was a gutsy move and it should help improve the team. But run production will still be a problem. I think they will hang around enough to make a move near the trade deadline that will have them in contention for a wildcard spot. Prediction: 88-74 but probably no playoffs.


3) Cleveland Indians: Their 2013 lineup reads like a who’s-who of who used to be good. This team is a collection of tier 2 free agents, over the hill vets and rule 5 pickups with Swisher, Giambi, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Trevor Bauer. It’s like the Yankees and Red Sox opened a retirement home. Not quite as bad as the movie team in Major League but they are going nowhere fast. Prediction: 75-87. Terry Francona’s honeymoon will be short.

 

4) Chicago White Sox: Pitching will be their strength this year with Sale, Peavy, Danks and Floyd but their lineup is weak. Rios and Keppinger will produce, but it really falls off after that. This is a team in decline but with their farm system and judicious attitude towards trades the rebuilding will be short. Prediction: 72-90 But still the best team in Chicago.


5) Minnesota Twins: The average age is 31 and injuries have left them in a scramble. Twenty guys from AAA Rochester saw major league time last year. If I were them I’d be shopping Joe Mauer to restock a depleted farm system. That move won’t be popular but it isn’t like they are winning with him. That is if he can stay healthy. Prediction: Oh yeah, they will lose 100 this year.

American League West

1) Los Angeles Angels: Pujols, Trout, Hamilton, oh my. They under performed last season (not Trout but the team). That should not happen this year. They have a strong rotation, a very strong line up. The bench is weak but that can be fixed with a late summer trade. Lord knows they have enough to go around. Prediction: 96-66. Lose to the Blue Jays in the ALCS


2) Oakland A’s: Nobody told them they were not supposed to be good last year. They scored an awful lot of runs for a team with a .238 batting average. The reason is though they were collectively .278 with RISP. No too shabby. Cespedes was a great pick up last year and only figures to improve. Another amazing fact is last year their rookie pitchers picked up 54 wins. Somehow the A’s find a way to win. Prediction: 92-70 and a Wildcard berth.


3) Seattle Mariners: Yes you read that correctly. I’m picking the M’s to finish ahead of the Rangers. They have the makings of a good team and there is help coming in the days ahead from their minor leagues. Felix Hernandez all but guarantees a win every 5th day. They lead the AL West in OPS last year at .655 thanks to a change in batting strategy by Manager Eric Wedge. None of their players are spectacular but as I said before, sound fundamentals and error free play are what wins these days. Prediction: 84-78.


4) Texas Rangers: AJ Pierzynski is a huge pick up and provides a much needed left handed bat down the order. The line-up is strong and the front of the rotation is strong but the bullpen and 4 & 5 slot and the big question mark. This will be a little bit of a rebuilding year for the Rangers but with David Murphy getting major league at bats and Profar coming up from the minors they will still contend. Prediction: 83-79. They may make a play for a pitcher or two if they are contending near the deadline.


5) Houston Astros: Notice I had everyone else in the west over .500? It’s because they get to play the Astros 19 times each. This team is not just going to be bad, they may contend for the title of worst of all time. The only bat they have is Carlos Pena and his batting average over the last three seasons wouldn’t even boil water. Lucas Harell is their best pitcher and I expect he’ll be traded by season end. Prediction: Do I really need to say it?

National League East


1) Washington Nationals: This is the most complete team in the NL. They have only one weakness; catcher. Wilson Ramos & Kurt Suzuki are not going to be the answer. I read on Bleacher Report they had an interest in getting Joe Mauer from the Twins. If they pull that off they have a real chance of bringing DC its first World Series since 1925. With the possible exception of the Giants they have the best rotation in the NL and a solid line up anchored by the suddenly resurgent Adam LaRoche. Prediction: 99-63 and a trip to the Series. Enoch, buy your tickets now.


2) Atlanta Braves: Defensively they will be one of the best, if not the best team in the NL. The Upton brother in the outfield with Heyward will be the best combo and this team will have a lot of punch behind the plate. The question marks will be bench depth. They are playing in a tough division and injuries might well sidetrack them without viable replacements to step in. Prediction: 90-62 and a Wildcard berth.


3) Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies are flirting with good while sleeping with mediocrity. From Hamels to Papelbon their pitching staff is solid. If Utley, Howard and Rollins can produce at the plate they will be contenders. The problem is Atlanta has their number. They only managed two wins in 19 games against them last season. Heck, Halladay had a 11.21 ERA against the braves. Not good when they are in your division. Prediction: The Phillies have now had 10 consecutive seasons over .500. This will make 11. 85-77, no playoffs.


4) New York Mets: It’s a shame that one of the leagues flagship franchises is in such disarray. The problems with the Mets begin and end in the front office. Bad personnel decisions have now led four years of poor performance. But take heart Volo, this ship is about to right itself. Johan Santana and David Wright are great pieces to build around and four of the Mets farm teams won championships last season so there is a lot of talent coming. But not this year. Prediction: 81-81. Beating up on the Marlins will be enough to avoid a losing season.


5) Miami Marlins: Once again I’ll try to be objective. Loria you miserable son of a bit… no that’s not good. Let me try again. Yet again the Marlins traded away their entire team and brought back a host of minor league prospects. Good ones to be sure but not ready for the show. Giancarlo Stanton is their only star and how they handle him will show what they are planning in the future. If they trade him there is no future. If the keep him they will be a monster team in a year of two. Prediction: The AAA New Orleans Zephyrs will have you wondering which is the affiliate and which is the major league club. 67-95

National League Central

1) Cincinnati Reds: They had a great season last year and should do the same this year. Votto and Bruce will anchor a strong line up. Adding Choo is a big upgrade in the outfield. There is a question about if he can play center. Putting Chapman in the rotation will probably be a mistake but it might work out. Cueto and Latos will lead the rotation and Broxton is as good a closer as any in the NL. Prediction: 89-73 and the NL Central Pennant


2) St. Louis Cardinals: They lost Skip Schumaker in a trade, Brian Fuentes retired, Lance Berkman signed elsewhere and it appears Kyle Lohse will not be there. But for all that they still have a fair shot at the wildcard. Prediction: 85-76 and in the running for a wildcard.


3) Pittsburgh Pirates: How many years since they last had a winning season? Let me put it this way, most of you were little kids. George Bush was president. No, the first one. Yep, 1992. I think that ends this year. The have been quietly building a winning team through their minor league system and it is about to start paying off. Prediction: 82-80 and you won’t recognize a soul on that team whose name isn’t McCutchen.


4) Milwaukee Brewers: The pitching staff that only managed to finish 22nd in ERA lost their two best starters. Gallardo is still a winner but there is not much after him. Ryan Braun is the best and only power bat. Weeks might put up decent numbers but RBIs will be hard to come by with no one on base. Last season they had a team OBP of .318 and nothing has been done to improve that. Prediction: 77-85 and a forgettable season.


5) Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein is determined to build a lasting winner but first he has to clear away the rubble. The last bit of that is Soriano who I figure he’ll trade by midseason as long as he can convince the owners to eat the salary. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are the future of the Cubs. Each will be legit all stars for years to come. There is a lot of talent coming up and the future is bright. However the present is not so good. Prediction: 70-92

 

National League West

1) San Francisco Giants: Hurlshot will have a lot to smile about from this club in the coming months. With the exception of the Nats they have the best pitching staff in the league. Especially if Lincicum can return to form. They had four guys with over 100 RBIs last year and Posey and Sandoval should both improve their numbers if they stay injury free. Prediction: 95-67 and they lose to the Nats in the NLCS


2) Los Angeles Dodgers: It’s been a few years since the Dodgers-Giants rivalry meant anything. Those days are back. Expect the boys in blue to push SF all season. If the team manages to gel. As I said earlier, there is a long history of teams of high priced free agents not working out. (see 2012 Marlins). And a history of when it does (see 1997 Marlins). I think this will be the latter. Prediction: 94-68 and the NL Wildcard berth.


3) Arizona Diamondbacks: Now here is a team that I was not too sure about. I wanted to put them higher but just had a hard time getting them past the Giants and Dodgers. They are another team that should be more than the sum of their parts because the play sound fundamental ball. No star power with Upton gone but no weaknesses either. Pitching is solid behind Cahill and Kennedy with some good young arms in the pen. Prediction: 88-74 and a sleeper for the wildcard.


4) San Diego Padres: Pitching is weak (but better than the Rockies) and hitting is mediocre. They were second in the NL in stolen bases last season but 14th in OBP so that sort of cancels out. They do have some prospects that can have an impact in 2013. James Darnell and Jed Gyorko are a couple of great examples but the issue is they are both third baseman so one will need to move or be traded. Prediction: 80-82, still a year or so away.


5) Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki has to stay healthy for the Rocks to do anything this year. Carlos Gonzalez was a nice surprise and he and Tulo can combine for 60/200 if they can keep it together. Michael Cuddyer has to step up and earn his money and provide the kind of leadership they signed him for. Pitchers at Coors Field are batting more than just opposing hitters, long double turn into 400’ homeruns there due to the altitude. To compensate the Rockies need to build a solid staff of groundball pitchers. They don’t have one. Prediction: 69-93

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"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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5. Boston Red Sox: Still rebuilding. They still have some good hitters but pitching is a problem Lester and Buchholz had bad seasons last year. Ryan Dempster is their #3. Seriously? Fraid so. The bullpen is even worse. They are weak defensively and while they might score some runs they will also give up too many. Prediction: Sorry Lady Crimson, it’s gonna be along year. 65-97.

:lol:

Yeah, I'm not expecting much from them. It'll mostly be a matter of watching to see how Farrell does, as well as any/all other rebuilding moves. On the other hand, I believe they're going to be playing the Giants this year, on my home turf. Which if I can get away/get tickets to see it in the stadium, would be awesome.

 

....I don't analyze teams/stats much, just watch the Sox regularly and a few other teams semi-regularly/occasionally and cheer....if they do well, I'll watch the playoffs etc. I tried once to watch more ballgames than that and keep up with all the good players but meh....that's too much time. Heh.


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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I'm very excited about the Giants this season.  The toughest part will be making the postseason, once they get there the pitching is so good that they pretty much shut down the other teams.  That weird thing is how little buzz they get even though they've won 2 of the last 3 titles.  Yahoo has them ranked 8th, which I just don't get.  

 

In the AL, I'm hoping the A's can continue surprising teams.  Their success comes from pitching, they've simply got a great group of young arms, they know how to develop them, and so many of the AL teams have weak pitching.   On the other hand, the NL has a ton of good pitching teams.  I put the Nats behind the Giants until they win a title.

 

The Giants also have a much better lineup than they did in 2011.  Posey staying healthy is obviously a key, the guy has won rookie of the year and MVP, as well as two series in his two healthy seasons.  But top to bottom this is a younger team with more upside than the 2010 team that won.  The Dodgers are obviously making an aggressive push to win the division, but they have a lot of question marks and they definitely don't have the arms after Kershaw.

 

So it should be a great season, I'm looking forward to it for sure.

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I'm surprised the A's, Giants, & MLB are still quibbling over the move to San Jose. San Jose wants them, it's more than big enough to support an MLB team. And they are in a no win situation in Oakland.

 

Come to that the Rays are in a similar spot in St. Petersburgh.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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I'm not too surprised the Giants are disputing it, since they have nothing really to gain from it, but I agree it's ridiculous.  As a Giants fan I totally support the move, there is no reason for San Jose not to have another major sports team, they can definitely support it.  The crazy thing is the Warriors (NBA) are moving to SF in a year or two, and the Raiders are always threatening to leave, so Oakland is in a tough spot.

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The World Baseball Classic has released it's first round schedule. The japanese teams have dominated this thing but I think Team Australia is going to make some noise because their players have just finished a season rather than have one in front of them. Call me crazy but I've always loved this thing.

 

http://web.worldbaseballclassic.com/wbc/2013/schedule_and_tickets/


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Oh yean and this: Manny Ramirez is going to play in the CPL in Taiwan this season. Soon they will hate him too. :lol:

 

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130226&content_id=42013958&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Manny is awesome. People who hate him are weak cowards. Boston's BETRAYAL of him was their downfall.

Edited by Volourn

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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4th generation Yanks fan but it's gonna be hard to care about them once Mo, Jeter and Pettitte retire for good. Watching Posada go was hard enough =[ 

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Please don't suck this year Cubbies. Please don't suck this year Cubbies. Please don't suck this year Cubbies.


bnwdancer9ma7pk.gif

Jaguars4ever is still alive.  No word of a lie.

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I think the Yankees are due for rebuilding Krook, but Cashman has been doing something no other Yankees GM has sone in a long time, focusing on minor league development. In hs tenure their farm system has gone from being ranked 28th to 14th, in fact ESPN has them at 10th. There will be new names to learn soon. Notice they haven't been chasing bad contracts lately, like A-Rod.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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I'd like to get in to this, but I'm from Houston so........yeah. Astros are going to suck pretty damn bad.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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4th generation Yanks fan but it's gonna be hard to care about them once Mo, Jeter and Pettitte retire for good. Watching Posada go was hard enough =[

Yeah, I'm having similar feelings with the turnover of all the Red Sox. That's sports of course, but just felt like it happened so fast, like a rug pulled out from under. At least there's still Pedroia and a couple others. Still waiting for some new players that make me feel something other than ambivalence...ones that might be with the team for a bit.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Been a Blue jays fan for ... jeez, going on 30 years now. Was just a kid when I started watching them a season or two before their first playoff appearance in 1985. Old enough to feel genuine heartbreak when the Royals completed a comeback from down 3-1 in the ALCS. Been through some amazing ups and downs in that time, but the years since their world series win in '93 have been tough, with just enough occasional hope thrown in to keep me a fan.

 

Watching Alex Anthopolous this winter push all those chips he's been accumulating over the past few years to the middle of the table and say, "I'm going all in," has been really fun. Instead of making any predictions, I'm just going to echo what the players have been saying, which is basically that they still have to go out and play the games.

 

It's baseball. Anything can happen. But it'd sure be nice to watch some meaningful baseball in the fall.


I took this job because I thought you were just a legend. Just a story. A story to scare little kids. But you're the real deal. The demon who dares to challenge God.

So what the hell do you want? Don't seem to me like you're out to make this stinkin' world a better place. Why you gotta kill all my men? Why you gotta kill me?

Nothing personal. It's just revenge.

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Yeah, I've been a Blue Jays fan too but I've been lukewarm since they've been fooling around forever. This eyar, the excitement is very real. That said, I don't know why they rehired a coach who did nothing but be a loser for them and espicially one with a poor attitude and a violent angry temper issue. That said, he's said all the right things sicne being rehired but we'll see how it goes. Of course, he's likely tro try to steal all the credit for nay success when any success should be given to the GM for his mvoes and the players for being talented.


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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No other Nippon-Ham Fighters supporters here? Lame.

 

In a complete paradigm shift, Billy Beane is starting to sell jeans with Cespedes and Reddick.


"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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In the NPB I'm a fan of the Chiba Marines. Nobody cheers for the Ham Fighters!

 

Well kudos to the Dutch. Big upset beating the ROK this morning. Brazil gave Japan a hard time and the Aussies laid an egg against Taipei.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Japan and Cuba are looking tough in the WBC. I caught the Rays Twins game on mlb.com today. Nice to see David Price looking sharp.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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More bad news for the Yanks, Teixeira will miss the first month of the season http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130306&content_id=42365242&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

 

I need to revise my prediction. They are in serious trouble.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Big news in the WBC! Congrats to Team Italy for knoking off Mexico and kudos to the Netherlands for pulling a big upset over Cuba.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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Also, Brett Lawrie out of the tournament for Canada. I hope this injury doesn't cause him to miss the start of the season.

Edited by mr insomniac

I took this job because I thought you were just a legend. Just a story. A story to scare little kids. But you're the real deal. The demon who dares to challenge God.

So what the hell do you want? Don't seem to me like you're out to make this stinkin' world a better place. Why you gotta kill all my men? Why you gotta kill me?

Nothing personal. It's just revenge.

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Big news in the WBC! Congrats to Team Italy for knoking off Mexico and kudos to the Netherlands for pulling a big upset over Cuba.

 

I was pretty shocked by that, I hope Romo got blowing saves out of his system :p

 

This is definitely an odd event, I'm not sure what to make of the whole WBC.  

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You know the finals will be right there in your hometown. USA vs Mexico tonight! Woo-Hoo. That will be a good game.


"Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos!"

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