'Never Make Predictions... Especially About the Future': My 2013 MLB Picks

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game ag
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, March 29, 2013 in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

"Never make predictions, especially about the future."

I have always had an affinity for the quotes of the legendary Casey Stengel.

Everyone thinks of Yogi Berra as the quintessential baseball quote. He made you think, laugh and occasionally want to launch your head into a brick wall. But Stengel, manager of 3,766 games in the Big Leagues never wasted any time getting to the point:

"There's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain."

Hard to argue with that kind of enlightenment.

The same can be said about making predictions for an upcoming season. You can win (come up with the accurate picks). You can lose (your picks could look like a 2013 NCAA bracket). Or it can rain (I'll leave this one open to interpretation... I view it as writing your picks long-hand, cutting it up into confetti sleeves, and then proceeding to 'make it rain' after completion).

So without further ado, I give you my foolish and feeble attempt at trying to predict baseball.

American League EAST:
Division Winner: Tampa Bay Rays
Why They'll Get It Done: This is the most competitive division in baseball. With all five teams constantly trading Ali/Frazier sized blows to the face of each other, one must find a constant among the chaos. The Rays pitching staff is the class of the division led by reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price. Factor in a second full season from stud lefty Matt Moore, RHP Jeremy Helickson and a healthy, MVP-type season from third baseman Evan Longoria, the Rays come away on top.
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: Longoria continues to be plagued by injuries and the offense fails to bail their pitching staff out. Also, Roberto Hernandez becomes "Bad Fausto Carmona" again and Fernando Rodney upon completion of a save, fires an arrow into the sky that comes back to earth and hits him in the ass on the way back.
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Tampa Bay Rays
o Boston Red Sox
o Toronto Blue Jays
o New York Yankees
o Baltimore Orioles

American League CENTRAL:
Division Winner: Detroit Tigers
Why They'll Get It Done: Too much talent on this team both in the lineup and rotation and not enough in the rest of the division. Cabrera, the reigning MVP and Triple-Crown winner along with first baseman Prince Fielder will continue to mash, and Justin Verlander, fresh off brand-new contract will have another Cy Young type season.
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: The merry-go-round of bullpen arms in the closer role fail to find consistency, leaving Jim Leyland with a bullpen of confusion and no sign of confidence in the 9th inning. Also Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both simultaneously get hurt or become victim of the Swahili Flu.
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Detroit Tigers
o Kansas City Royals
o Chicago White Sox
o Cleveland Indians
o Minnesota Twins

American League WEST:
Division Winner: Los Angeles Angels
Why They'll Get It Done: If you haven't heard of this here Mike Trout kid, he's really quite special. The five-tool "should've been MVP" outfielder from 2012 has another solid season, although it will be tough to replicate the type of success from a year ago. Factor in a full season of Albert Pujols being the player they thought he'd be and the most complete lineup in the American League give the Halos a slight edge over the Rangers.
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: I still have lots of concerns regarding their starting pitching. After Jered Weaver, it's a whole lot of "Ehhhh." CJ Wilson could continue his struggles, Jason Vargas may look like the pitcher that got shelled outside of Safeco Field in Seattle, and they seem to love Joe Blanton a whole lot more than everyone else (maybe not Joe Blanton's family but you catch my drift).
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Los Angeles Angels
o Texas Rangers
o Seattle Mariners
o Oakland Athletics
o Houston Astros

American League Wild Card Teams:
• Boston Red Sox
• Texas Rangers

National League EAST:
Division Winner: Washington Nationals
Why They'll Get It Done: If you don't have Spring Training statistical concerns, there are almost no flaws in the makeup of this team. I'll knit-pick starting rotation depth in case anyone in their starting five get hurt, but this is as a complete lineup as there is in the National League. Ross Detwiler is their number 4 starter and his fastball had more swings and misses than his rotation-mate, Stephen Strasburg. They also have three closers hanging out in the bullpen with ridiculous stuff in Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. First to 100-wins this year will be the "Curly Ws."
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: Strasburg decides to shut himself down in fear of the future. Seriously, there's no way this team doesn't make the playoffs unless half the team get their legs or arms cut off in a freak accident falling off the "Shake Shack" deck.
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Washington Nationals
o Atlanta Braves
o Philadelphia Phillies
o New York Mets
o Miami Marlins

National League CENTRAL:
Division Winner: Cincinnati Reds
Why They'll Get It Done: They've shown a healthy, durable starting rotation in 2012, and first baseman Joey Votto is poised for a monster season at first base. Outfielder Jay Bruce has put up better home run and RBI numbers than the previous season in all five his big league seasons. And did I mention the "Jay A Kid" is just 25-years-old? Makes me realize how little I've accomplished in my young life.
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: The superb health of their starting rotation from a season ago breaks down in 2013. Also if Aroldis Chapman struggles to throw strikes back in the closer's role and doesn't develop more quality pitches other than his fastball. His secondary pitch, his slider was only thrown about 12 percent of the time. At some point, as a top-notch closer, you need more than one great out pitch to keep hitters guessing.
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Cincinnati Reds
o St. Louis Cardinals
o Pittsburgh Pirates
o Milwaukee Brewers
o Chicago Cubs

National League WEST:
Division Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
Why They'll Get It Done: Led by arguably the top 1-2 pitching combination in baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers talent plays to their capabilities and is too much to handle for pitching-heavy San Francisco and chippy Arizona.
How They Could Screw Up My Prediction: They get off to a rotten, slow start, and play the role of the 2012 Angels; struggling to climb out of the hole they created for themselves.
How The Standings Will Play Out:
o Los Angeles Dodgers
o San Francisco Giants
o San Diego Padres
o Arizona Diamondbacks
o Colorado Rockies

National League Wild Card Teams:
• Atlanta Braves
• St. Louis Cardinals

World Series Matchup:
Nationals over Rays in 5.

American League Rookie of the Year:
• Wil Myers - Tampa Bay Rays OF

National League Rookie of the Year:
• Shelby Miller - St. Louis Cardinals SP

American League Cy Young:
• Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers SP

National League Cy Young:
• Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies SP

American League MVP:
• Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays 3B

National League MVP:
• Matt Kemp - LA Dodgers OF