2011 MLB Predictions

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If there is any investment advice coming in the next few minutes of your reading life, it isn't in my prediction of a Red Sox/Braves WS - it's in the places where my season win totals differ significantly from those available in Vegas.  If you're a regular reader of mine, you'd know I'm fairly consistent in beating those totals - and in last year's NFL preseason picks, had as much success as I've had in any endeavor in several years.

With that.  My win total is first, the Vegas number is second.

AL East
1. Boston (94, 95.5)
2. NYY (91, 91.5)
3. Tampa (87, 84 - that's a reasonable play)
4. Baltimore (80, 76.5 - that's a reasonable play)
5. Toronto (79, 76.5)

Last year's Red Sox team was better than you think, despite missing the playoffs - and to it they add Gonzalez, Crawford and presumably a healthier Pedroia.  The Yankees have a bundle of pitching prospects that should pump up their pen by year's end and aid a shaky back of the rotation enough to get by Tampa, on whom if anything, I'm overly pessimistic in this projection.  If Yanks/Rays are fighting for that WC spot late that wouldn't surprise.  I like both Orioles and Jays more than the sportsbooks.

AL Central
1. CWS (86, 85.5)
2. Minnesota (85, 86)
3. Detroit (85, 84.5)
4. Cleveland (71, 72)
5. KC (64, 68)

-It's hard to be bullish about the top of the White Sox order, but CWS can hit homers (love me some Adam Dunn moving to the AL) and catch the ball, and I'm projecting that's enough to win the division.  Liriano, Morneau, and Nathan are all concerns for the Twins - I'd guess 85 is the top of their likely curve for the year, and were they to have a hot first half, I'd like an investment that says they cool down the stretch.  The Tigers, like the Brewers in the other league, are employing a stars and scrubs strategy, with some really strong front of the rotation starters, a couple of bit bats in the lineup and not a lot else.  That could be enough to win for both of them.  Cleveland doesn't have the pitching to do much this year; everyone loves the Royals farm system, but the prospects won't win many games for them this year.

AL West
1. Texas (86, 86.5)
2. Oakland (84, 84)
3. LAA (79, 82.5)
4. Seattle (69, 70)

I've got a bit of a crush on Oakland's pitching staff, but they'll need some uncharacteristic years from the bats to beat this projection and get past Texas.  The Angels are a .500 team; Seattle's pretty bad.  

The three best teams in the American League are the same 3 best teams from last year - Boston, the Yankees, and Tampa.  I'll take the Yankee/Red Sox ALCS and pick Boston to win the pennant.

NL East
1. Philadelphia (90, 96.5 - which is pretty clearly high, it's the best play on the board)
2. Atlanta (88, 88)
3. Florida (82, 82.5)
4. NYM (79, 76)
5. Washington (72, 72.5)

-They lost Werth, and it looks like Utley too for at least the first month of the season, add in a messy bullpen, and winning 97 games looks really far away for the Phils.   I like the Braves' bullpen arms a ton, assuming they can maintain their gains post-Cox.  Like the Angels, the Fish look like a prototypical .500 club; this is the first year in - maybe a decade that I like the Mets more than the books; and the Nats are hopeless.

NL Central
1. Milwaukee (86, 86.5)
2. St Louis (84, 83.5)
3. Cincinnati (84, 86.5)
4. Chicago (79, 82)
5. Pittsburgh (69, 67)
6. Houston (66, 71 - also, high)

I referenced the Brewers in the Tigers thought; the only reason for the disparity in their records is the AL is the better league, but they seem equally likely to me to win their divisions.  Cards probably don't have the arms to get closer to 90 wins; there's some emerging Reds love, I refuse to believe a team planning on hitting Edgar Renteria second in 2011 can win 87 games.  I like Chicago's starting staff but not much else; the Pirates have some young offensive talent, and Houston's DOA.

NL West
1. SFG (90, 88)
2. LAD (87, 83.5 - a reasonable play)
3. Colorado (85, 87)
4. San Diego (78, 75.5)
5. Arizona (71, 72.5)

If my Giants won a couple fewer games and the Dodgers or the Rox won a couple more and we got edged out late that wouldn't be a shock, but it's hard to look at SFG and not see an improved Sandoval, a full season from Posey and what looks like lots of ABs from Belt offsetting regression from Torres and Huff to give us comparable offensive production to last year - a full season from Bumgarner helps to mitigate what absolutely has to be regression from the bullpen, and we look to be just a little bit worse than last year.  If it turns out we win 87-88 and those other 2 wins go to LA - again, that wouldn't surprise.  LA's might nearly match us in arms, and bouncebacks from Ethier and (especially) Kemp gets them near us.  The best player in the division is Tulowitzki and Gonzalez isn't far behind - they're a Detroit/Milwaukee stars/scrubs team, but it would take injuries to the top end pitching by the other two clubs to slide them up.  Padres fall back without Gonzalez, and Arizona has no chance.

You're making it up if you don't take Philadelphia - last year, I took Phillies/Red Sox for the Series before the season and don't see much reason not to do it again in 2011.

But for the hell of it I'll say it's the Braves, coming out of the WC, who knock off the defending champs, my beloved Giants, in the playoffs and like the ALCS is Yanks/Sox, the NL is Braves/Phils - and Atlanta gets by them.

Braves/Sox WS.  I'll take Boston.


Blog said...

Oakland with five errors in their first game. One time abberration, or something to be concerned about?

Jim said...

Nope, it's one day.

Yup, only in that when you're relying on your pitching you can't play bad defense. It's not the kind of thing they can get away with (or SFG, we've kicked the ball around both games)

Blog said...

They looked awfully sloppy again today, literally throwing the game away on two occasions in the ninth.

Two consecutive aberrations?

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It