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.

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25 comments

  1. Billion Memes

    February 23, 2012 08:52 AM

    Color me surprised at the predictions for the Cards, Braves, and Dodgers. I think the Reds have narrowed the gap, but I still think the Central is the Cards’ division. The Braves were an elite (top 5) team last year up until the collapse and I think we’ll see that team again this year. I’d peg them for low 90’s in wins, even with the tougher NL East. As for the Dodgers, I just feel the NL West is a crap shoot every year and some team comes out of nowhere to win the division. I’ll go with the Dodgers this year.

  2. Evan

    February 23, 2012 11:07 AM

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who puts the Marlins ahead of the Braves. Stanton is going to be a beast in the years to come.

  3. Wilsonvaldezisinthehalloffame

    February 23, 2012 12:06 PM

    when cliff lee has a sub 2 era and 10 sho’s this year you’ll all eat your words.

  4. Josh B

    February 23, 2012 12:07 PM

    About to hop on the first plane to vegas with these picks in my back pocket….

    I think 4 teams in the east will be between 81 and 94 wins. The phils are probably under, marlins over(if i had the foresight to predict a healthy season from josh johnson), nats over, and braves over.

    The Phillies fall from the 100 win plateau won’t be contributed to a declining offense but to improvement in the division. It will be nice/fun to see the Mets relegated to baltimore oriole status, as 4 teams try to finish over .500.

  5. Paul Boye

    February 23, 2012 04:45 PM

    In the interest of disclosure, I changed my Royals pick to Over. My original submission to Bill had them at Under for some reason, even though I have them at 2nd in the Central.

    I can’t say I’m expecting DET to win the division by 16+.

  6. hk

    February 23, 2012 06:06 PM

    With Braun winning his appeal, I’ll bet you guys wished you took over 81.5 on MIL. The # will certainly rise by a couple of wins now.

  7. Dotnet

    February 23, 2012 06:11 PM

    If you think the Cubs are in the same “Tier” as the Brewers, I question your baseball knowledge. The NLC has 2 tiers. Cards,Reds,Brewers then the Cubs,Pirates,Astros. The Pirates will likely be better than the Cubs this year.

  8. Ryan Sommers

    February 23, 2012 07:05 PM

    Yeah, the Braun thing helps. But Prince was a 5 win player last year. Who did they replace him with? I don’t think they’re on the level of the Pirates and Astros, but I can’t imagine they’ll compete with the Cardinals and Reds.

  9. hk

    February 23, 2012 07:45 PM

    Ryan,

    The Brew Crew won 96 games last year (albeit with a pythag record of 90-72), lost Prince and added Aramis Ramirez for a projected net loss of ~3 wins. With Braun avoiding suspension, I think they’re a good bet to win more than 82 this year (although it’s also a good bet that Vegas immediately raised the over / under to 83.5 or more).

  10. hk

    February 23, 2012 07:49 PM

    I question the baseball knowledge of anyone who questions other people’s baseball knowledge based solely on pre-season predictions the other people make.

  11. Daniel

    February 23, 2012 07:51 PM

    excruciating, excruciating pain!

  12. LTG

    February 23, 2012 08:44 PM

    Poor Daniel.

  13. ajnrules

    February 24, 2012 12:42 AM

    “when cliff lee has a sub 2 era and 10 sho’s this year you’ll all eat your words.”

    John Tudor did all that back in 1985. Didn’t do him any good in winning the Cy Young.

  14. Pat

    February 24, 2012 01:51 AM

    I’m way more scared of the Braves and Nats than the Marlins. The Marlins 72 wins last year matches their pythag. They added 8-10 wins with Reyes and Buehrle, but I don’t see where the additional improvement comes from. Maybe Stanton and Morrison take another step forward, but they lost Vazquez…The Braves and Nats have deeper rosters. I just don’t get picking Miami 2nd at this point.

  15. Mitch Goldich

    February 24, 2012 02:06 AM

    I was a little surprised to see you four unanimously pick Colorado under 81.5. I know they won only 73 last year, but Pythagorean expectation had them closer to 77 and they have a lot of the same core that was over .500 the previous two season.

    Fangraphs had them middle of the pack in injuries last year (17th in total days on the DL, 10th in total trips) but they went just 11-24 with Car-Go out of the lineup.

    With you guys unanimously under on the Giants and Dodgers, I’m curious if anyone else considers them a sleeper team to top the Diamondbacks in a weak NL West.

  16. Evan

    February 24, 2012 10:27 AM

    Pat,

    Josh Johnson will presumably be back and Heath Bell was at least a decent pickup even if he was an overpay. Johnson alone should be worth at least 3 wins if he’s anything like himself after his injury. I think Stanton continues to improve and the Braves didn’t really add any new pieces to make me think they’ll be better. Maybe the Marlins are only an 80 win team, but their offseason was big and it makes them much more competitive.

  17. Michael Baumann

    February 24, 2012 12:47 PM

    Mitch-

    I don’t think the Rockies finishing 4 under their Pythagorean record is a fluke. It’s hard to believe any team led by Jim Tracy is going to finish over .500 without a lot of luck (a la 2009), even with Carlos Gonzalez healthy. Though in as weak a division as the NL West, I suppose anything is possible.

  18. Pat

    February 24, 2012 12:58 PM

    Evan – Agree with your points. If they get a full season out of Johnson, it would be huge for them. He missed almost all of 2007, 2008, and 2011 though. It just seems like they need everything to break right just to get to the 85 win range…The Braves didn’t make any major additions, but they have a slew of highly regarded young guys who should be better this year.

  19. Ken

    February 24, 2012 08:26 PM

    General NL East comment…won’t surprise me if the common expectation of the division being much improved falls short. So I’ll take the under on the hype , or anticipation level. Nats have an ace on an innings count, pressure to rush Harper, questions on hoiw much offense can improve. Coiuld be good, hardly a strong liklihood. Fish will be interesting, combustability depending. Stll, uncommon as it is haven’t dispelled Phils chances of a 6th straight improved record.

    Read a prediction a week ago or so that the Brewers win the NL Central again (even pre Braun) because of pitching. Maybe people forget that. Heavy lean to under on Braves by tyhe staff (3-1). All I can say is Heyward should be MUCH better.

    Tend to think Kershaw is quite capable of repeating as a CY guy, at least worthy of mention. Suffice to say there didn’t seem anything flukey about his breakthrough. Would have thought 1 of the 4 staffers might have picked Kemp for MVP honors.

    I’ll give you a longshot for AL MVP honors in the sense that nobody seems to think of him. El Hombre de Decline. Now that billboard would fire Albert up. You can easily point to a pic of decline if you look less than hard, sure. But this might be a guy who’s Jordanesque in his competitiveness, and his decline included 3 dingers in 1 of his most recent games. I can’t help but think of Frank Robinson’s Triple Crown year after his celebrated over the hill trade when I think of Pujols now. Picking a Tiger seems wrong considering the good chance that even a great individual year dispells value the way it looks like they’ll win the division with ease.

  20. Lefty

    February 25, 2012 08:28 AM

    I’m trying to understand the reasoning for all of you to go under 87.5 on the Giants. They won 86 last year without Posey for a good part of the season. 2 years ago in his rookie year Posey was a 3.1rWar, last year 1.5rWar. So it’s reasonable to assume he could be at least a 4 win player this year. I just don’t see how you can go under 87.5 wins. Vogelsong was a bit of a fluke, I can see that, but Lincecum and Cain pitched into some higher than normal BABIP, which won’t happen again this year. That would make up for Vogelsong returning to normal. And the Giants offense just can’t be any worse than last year can it? I think it’s the best bet on the whole board. I’d bet the ranch on the Giants winning 88 games- well, if I actually had a ranch.

  21. hk

    February 25, 2012 10:06 AM

    The Giants were outscored last year by 8 runs making their pythag record 80-82.

  22. johnnn

    February 27, 2012 01:52 AM

    who do ya’ll think has the best shot being the NL MVP among the Phils?

  23. Phillie697

    February 27, 2012 11:18 AM

    The best chance of the Phillies producing an MVP is if one of the pitchers blow up and have a Verlander-type year. Otherwise, sorry, not going to happen.

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