2012 Predictions with the Crashburn Staff

It’s the most fun time of the year. Oh, did I say fun? I meant excruciatingly painful. Televised baseball is still weeks away and meaningful televised baseball even further. Those of you, like me, suffering from pangs of withdrawal will be forced to cope for a little while longer. To distract ourselves from the painful reminder of “no baseball”, I gathered Paul, Ryan, and Michael, and we put together some predictions for the upcoming season.

Over/Under

Using the over/unders posted at Vegas Watch.

Team Wins Bill Ryan Paul Michael
PHI 95.5 Over Over Under Under
TEX 94.0 Under Over Over Over
DET 94.0 Under Over Over Under
NYY 93.0 Over Over Over Over
LAA 89.5 Under Under Over Over
TBR 87.5 Over Over Over Over
BOS 87.5 Over Over Over Over
SFG 87.5 Under Under Under Under
STL 87.0 Over Under Under Under
CIN 87.0 Over Over Over Over
ATL 85.5 Over Under Under Under
ARI 84.5 Over Over Over Over
MIA 82.5 Under Over Over Under
MIL 81.5 Under Under Under Under
LAD 81.5 Under Under Under Under
TOR 81.5 Under Over Over Over
COL 81.5 Under Under Under Under
WSN 81.0 Over Over Over Over
KCR 78.5 Over Under Over Over
CHW 77.5 Under Under Under Under
CLE 75.5 Over Under Over Under
NYM 74.5 Under Under Under Under
MIN 74.0 Under Over Under Over
CHC 73.5 Over Over Under Over
OAK 73.0 Over Over Over Over
PIT 73.0 Over Over Over Under
SEA 72.5 Under Under Over Under
BAL 71.0 Under Over Under Under
SDP 70.5 Over Over Over Under
HOU 62.5 Over Over Over Over

The four of us are in complete agreement with 14 teams: eight on the over (NYY, BOS, TBR, CIN, ARI, WSN, OAK, HOU) and six on the under (SFG, MIL, LAD, COL, CHW, NYM). Ryan and I expect the Phillies to reach at least 96 wins while Paul and Michael expect the Phillies to come in at 95 or under.

Division Finishes

Let’s start with the National League.

NL East Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Phillies Phillies Phillies Phillies
2 Braves Marlins Marlins Nationals
3 Nationals Braves Braves Braves
4 Marlins Nationals Nationals Marlins
5 Mets Mets Mets Mets
NL Central Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Cardinals Reds Reds Reds
2 Reds Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals
3 Brewers Brewers Brewers Cubs
4 Cubs Cubs Pirates Brewers
5 Pirates Pirates Cubs Pirates
6 Astros Astros Astros Astros
NL West Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Diamondbacks
2 Giants Giants Rockies Dodgers
3 Rockies Rockies Giants Giants
4 Dodgers Dodgers Padres Rockies
5 Padres Padres Dodgers Padres

We’re in total agreement on the top and bottom of the NL East, with the Phillies and Mets, respectively. We disagree on the meat between the bread, so to speak. We are all optimistic about the Reds, though I am the only one who doesn’t see them winning the NL Central outright. That division is essentially three tiers: Reds/Cardinals, Brewers/Cubs, and Pirates/Astros. And in the NL West, we all think the Diamondbacks will take the top spot with the rest of the division being more or less insignificant.

The American League:

AL East Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Yankees Yankees Rays Yankees
2 Red Sox Rays Yankees Rays
3 Rays Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox
4 Blue Jays Blue Jays Blue Jays Blue Jays
5 Orioles Orioles Orioles Orioles
AL Central Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Tigers Tigers Tigers Tigers
2 Royals White Sox Royals Twins
3 Indians Twins Indians Royals
4 Twins Indians White Sox Indians
5 White Sox Royals Twins White Sox
AL West Bill Ryan Paul Michael
1 Rangers Rangers Rangers Rangers
2 Angels Angels Angels Angels
3 Athletics Athletics Mariners Athletics
4 Mariners Mariners Athletics Mariners

All of us like the Yankees in some capacity in the AL East. Paul is very optimistic about the Rays, and I’m the only one wearing rose-colored glasses with the Red Sox. We each think that the Tigers’ off-season was more than enough to make them favorites in the AL Central, while both Paul and I think the Royals will take big strides in 2012. The AL West was pretty easy to predict, with the Rangers taking first, the Angels second, and the final two spots going to the unimpressive Athletics and Mariners.

Awards

Bill Ryan Paul Michael
AL NL AL NL AL NL AL NL
MVP Cabrera Votto Bautista Votto Cabrera Upton Cabrera Upton
CY Weaver Hamels Sabathia Halladay Price Hamels Verlander Halladay
ROY Moore Harper Moore Alonso Moore Mesoraco Moore Mesoraco

Miguel Cabrera got three of the four AL MVP picks, with Ryan the lone dissenter. The NL side was split between Joey Votto and Justin Upton, with last year’s winner nowhere to be found. Each of us chose a different pitcher for the AL Cy Young, and each of us chose a Phillie to win the NL Cy Young, split between Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay. We were all in agreement that Matt Moore takes home the AL Rookie of the Year award. The NL side is much murkier, but Paul and Michael both think the winner will be Devin Mesoraco.

Let us know in the comments which of our predictions you like and which you think we will get completely wrong, and feel free to leave your own as well. You can use Twitter to shout at me (@CrashburnAlley), Ryan (@Phylan), Paul (@Phrontiersman), and Michael (@atomicruckus) if you so desire.

Must-Watch Video: Steve Carlton’s Slider

Last night, @erhudy brought this to my attention on Twitter. Phillies fans are well aware of Steve Carlton‘s pitching prowess, but he played roughly 25 years before the advent of baseball clips on-demand. Thus, this video is a real gem.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the video:

This is an important question — it’s the most important question anyone should ask themselves in life: why do you think you were put on this Earth?

Carlton: Teach the world how to throw a slider.

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John Vukovich: I remember one day Dick Ruthven asking him how he threw that slider. So, Lefty very simply picked the ball out of the bag and said, “I hold it like this and I throw the shit out of it.”