Thomas Wayne’s 2012 American League Predictions
Good day ladies, gents and Cubs fans. After a few weeks/months hiatus from the baseball writing world I am back (thank/blame Adam White for that – where ever he may be right now). More recently I’ve had a slew of technical difficulties that have kept me from posting anything on good ole’ Dugout Central. With those troubles now far behind me (knock on wood, pinch of salt and the whole nine) I am here with my yearly predictions.
I won’t waste any more time with an opening and get right to the meat of the matter.
(Note: These predictions were originally written on April 3rd.)
- New York Yankees 96-66
- Tampa Bay Rays 92-70
- Boston Red Sox 88-74
- Toronto Blue Jays 87-75
- Baltimore Orioles 81-81
Yes – you are reading that correctly. I am predicting every team in the AL East to finish above .500. I love the direction the Orioles and Blue Jays are headed in and really like Tampa’s pitching top to bottom (as most everybody does) – but the Yanks are the team to beat. I look for a big season out of Jeter (yes, all you haters will have to wait at least one more year for that monumental decline you’ve been predicting for the Captain over the last few seasons) with the scrutiny of approaching 3000 hits well behind him. Add in another big year out of Granderson and a major rebound year from ARod, typical (and by typical I mean HUGE) years from Tex and Cano coupled with solid additions to the starting staff in Pineda, Kurodi, and Pettitte and you get the makings of a front runner who might just run away from the rest of the pack.
As high as I am on the entire division (which is without at doubt the best overall division in baseball) I am down (really down) on the Red Sox. Bobby V is not the answer for this club – a major attitude adjustment is. Until the players get their collective crowns out of their arses I feel this team will continue to have problems and miss the playoffs again – which is sad when you consider that even in disarray they have enough talent to push 90 wins – 90 wins when your clubhouse walls are stained with bullshit? Imagine if they actually got their heads right. Final thought – Any odds on how many games in we will be before Valentine calls out Beckett or someone else for not working hard enough?
- Detroit Tigers 100-62
- Enough said.
The AL Central has become the why-bother-division in the game. I predict every other team (White Sox, Twins, Royals, and Indians) will finish below .500 just like they did last year. Detroit is far and away the best team in the division and will push the Yanks and a pair of AL West teams as the best in the AL (and probably the best in baseball). The young Royals will show flashes of what might be – but I believe they are at least two years away, possibly three. Everyone else is a mess of one kind or another on different levels and hardly worth discussing.
- Texas Rangers 100-62
- California Angels of Anaheim via Los Angeles 99-63
- Oakland Athletics 70-92
- Seattle Mariners 66-96
The Angels and Rangers go head to head 6 times in the last two weeks of the season including the final weekend in Arlington. Think those games won’t be meaningful? Those series could have playoff implications for as many as six teams. The Rangers are loaded and seemingly poised to take the final step – winning the World Series for the first time in franchise history if they can get past waking up at night screaming David Freese’s name. The Albert Pujols led Angels will be right on their heels with lots of offense and arguably the best starting three in the game (Weaver, Haren and C. J. Wilson). Oakland and Seattle will have to wait until next year (again) to really look down on someone – the Astros join the AL West in 2013 to balance the schedules and will undoubtedly be worse than both the A’s and M’s.
Manager of the Year – Buck Showalter, Baltimore
The Orioles are 103-116 under Showalter since he took over the club in late 2010- not great but not terribly bad for a young team trying to reach the next level. If they reach my prediction of playing .500 ball this year it will be a 12 win improvement from 2011 all while playing in the best division in baseball. The other candidates for manager of the year (Madden, Girardi, Washington and Scioscia) are expected to have great teams – I think this limits their awards appeal. In my mind (small as it is) this is Showalter’s award to lose.
Comeback Player of the Year – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Come on – is there any doubt if he stays healthy? ARod can easily hit 30-35 homers and drive in 100 or more if he plays in a just a 120-130 games. If another slew of injuries doesn’t claim him this is his award with Kendrys Morales a distant second.
Rookie of the Year – Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics
Some will go with Matt Moore, others will jump on Yu (not me) Darvish. I like the Cuban expatriate as my first year player to watch. I’m not sure if his overall power will transfer to the states (especially playing in the National Park that is Oakland Alameda County Coliseum or whatever they call it today) – but even if it doesn’t this guy has the talent to hit 25 homers, drive in 85 (which will be a special deal considering how inept the rest of Oakland’s offense stands to be) score 75 and steal 15 bases while keeping his average, OBP and slugging at respectable levels.
Cy Young Award – Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
I stand by my call last year that Verlander DID NOT deserve the MVP award, but he sure as hell deserved the Cy and I think that will carry over again this year. Try these outlandish numbers on for size – 27 wins, 4 losses and an ERA of 2.40 to go with 285 K’s with a WHIP smaller than my…ummm…never mind. I don’t even believe he will be challenged by anyone. Another unanimous Cy for the best arm in the game.
MVP – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
He finally wins an MVP. This will shock no one. I look for Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Prince Fielder, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols, Miguel Batista, Paul Konerko and Adam Jones among others to all garner votes but finish behind the big man in Detroit.