Today marked the opening day of the 2012 Major League Baseball season. Ichiro had 4 hits in his homecoming and helped the Mariners down the Athletics, in Tokyo, by the score of 3 to 1 in eleven innings. Last year at this time I was still contemplating the idea of creating a blog, thus the following are my first MLB season predictions.
1. San Francisco Giants - lots of pitching and full year of Buster Posey = Back on Top
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - too much talent on this club not to compete for a division title
3. Arizona D'Backs - in my eyes they overachieved last season; still better than a .500 team
4. Colorado Rockies - improving young staff and solid bats, but a couple years away
5. San Diego Padres - rebuilding mode
1. Cincinnati Reds - if Dusty manages the pen correctly, they'll run away and hide
2. Milwaukee Brewers - still have the pitching, but losing Prince hurts
3. St. Louis Cardinals - too pesky and resourceful to fall too far
4. Pittsburgh Pirates - improving, but need to loosen the purse strings
5. Chicago Cubs - three 5th place finishes in a row? Yikes!
6. Houston Astros - gosh, they're bad, with no signs of improving
1. Florida Marlins - new stadium, new crazy manager, new pitching staff
2. Philadephia Phillies - getting too long in the tooth to repeat again; Howard/Utley are concerns
3. Washington Nationals - a year or two away from OWNing this division
4. Atlanta Braves - pitching question marks abound; offense maturing
5. New York Mets - what a mess this team has become
1. Texas Rangers - may be the best team in baseball if they can stay healthy.
2. L.A. Angels of Anaheim - that Pujols contract will bite them in the butts, but not this year
3. Seattle Mariners - have some nice young arms; Ackley & Montero will help
4. Oakland Athletics - youngest starting rotation in the majors = not many wins
1. Detroit Tigers - power hitters, power pitching, Jim Leyland... what's not to love?
2. Kansas City Royals - minor league system finally paying off
3. Minnesota Twins - won't realize how valuable Cuddyer was until he's gone
4. Cleveland Indians - Carlos Santana is a beast, but not much help elsewhere
5. Chicago White Sox - at least the Cubs' arrow is point up
1.Tampa Bay - voting with my heart here, not my head
2. Boston Red Sox - good luck Mr. Francona; expectations are high
3. New York Yankees - Granderson comes back to earth and ARod plays in < 100 games
4. Toronto Blue Jays - will they ever compete in this division?
5. Baltimore Orioles - I like the O's, I really do, but they're in a very tough division
NL Wild Card Winners = Phillies & Dodgers
AL Wild Card Winners = Angels & Red Sox
World Series = Tigers over Phillies
NL MVP = Hanley Ramirez (3B - Marlins)
AL MVP = Evan Longoria (3B - Rays)
NY Cy Young = Roy Halladay (Phillies)
AL Cy Young = Dan Haren (Angels)
NL Rookie of the Year = Julio Teheran (P - Braves)
AL Rookie of the Year = Matt Moore (P - Rays)
I'll check back in October/November to see how the season shook out. Six months and 162 games is a long season, and all it takes is one rookie to come out of no where or one crippling injury to change the fortunes of a team. It'll be fun to watch and you can bet I'll be doing more than my fair share!