Thomas Wayne’s 2012 National League Predictions

by JohnBowen

We finally got my AL predictions posted the other day – so let’s move on to my lead-pipe locks of choice in the senior circuit.

(Note: These predictions were originally written on April 3rd)

By Thomas Wayne

NL East

  • Philadelphia Phillies 96-66
  • Washington Nationals 90-72
  • Atlanta Braves 88-74
  • Florida (Yes I know its Miami now – I’m just defiant) Marlins 80-82
  • New York Mets 71-91

I really like what Washington has put together this off season. I like their pitching, like their sticks, like the whole kit-and-caboodle. If I had any guts I’d do what I’d really like to do which is call them the NL East Champions. Sadly, I am not that gutsy. Philly still has Halladay, still has Lee and once they get all their sticks healthy they will be right where they want to be – in striking distance of the East title. Conversely, I think the Bravos take a step back as do the new and improved (I say that tongue planted firmly in cheek) Marlins. I’m not convinced the high priced talent in Miami has the right attitude to win (Reyes, Zambrano, and Hanley have never impressed me as players who put team and winning first – all have major attitude and selfishness  problems) and even a fiery new manager won’t make the difference. The Mets are still rebuilding but I believe they might be better than everyone thinks.

NL Central

  • St. Louis Cardinals 96-66
  • Cincinnati Reds 88-74
  • Milwaukee Brewers 80-82
  • Pittsburgh Pirates 79-83
  • Houston Astros 74-88
  • Chicago Cubs 70-92

This is where I get accused of playing favorites – and that may be true, but it’s also no less true that I believe St. Louis will be BETTER in 2012 than they were in their 11th championship season. Better overall hitting (yes Pujols is gone but add Beltran to Berkman along with a full year of a healthy David Freese and an always-improving-offensively Yadi Molina and you have the makings of something special), solid pitching and the vast majority of the returning players have played in multiple post seasons and want to get back again, this makes this veteran laden team hungry for more. Couple this with the fact that I believe the Reds are HIGHLY overrated by far too many of the so called “experts” out there and you have the makings of a run-away and hide kind of season by the Red Birds.

NL West

  • Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72
  • Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77
  • San Francisco Giants 79-83
  • Colorado Rockies 79-83
  • San Diego Padres 76-86

The West, in my humble opinion, is not the best. With the exception of the Padres each of the teams in this division has great individual talent but there are no truly great teams.  I’m sure some would greatly disagree with me but if you really break these teams down they each have one or two solid hitters and/or one or two solid pitchers but there are no truly great teams top to bottom. If I had to throw one team out there as “the” team to beat under my assumption that there are no great overall teams I guess it would be Arizona, but the Dodgers have two amazing sticks (Should-have-been-2011-NL-MVP Matt Kemp and healthy-an- ready-to-have-an-MVP-year Andre Ethier) who might carry them all the way to the division title if the one great arm on the team (Cy guy Clayton Kershaw) can repeat his 2011. San Francisco probably has the best arms in the division but most likely the worst sticks. Colorado and San Diego are playing for pride come June.

Manager of the Year – Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals

With Tony LaRussa gone (along with his HOF pedigree, should-be-a-shoe-in-for-the-HOF pitching coach Dave Duncan, and all world first ballot HOF first sacker Albert Pujols) Mike Matheny has huge shoes to fill, but all indications are the four time Gold Glover has the chops and backing of his veteran players to be successful. A good year from Washington might just give Davey Johnson a boost in some voter’s minds but I think this is Matheny’s award to lose.

Comeback Player of the Year – David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals

Some might forget that Freese only played in 97 games last year (363 at bats) because of his history making October performance but facts are facts – if Freese plays in 140 or more games he should come close to an OPS of .850 or higher and hit between 25 and 30 homers and drive in over 85. A comeback player of the year award will look odd sitting next to his NLCS and WS MVP awards but I’m sure he will take it.

Rookie of the Year – Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

The young Red’s shortstop looks like he’s going to get a shot at playing every day, all year long. I think he’ll hit a solid .280 with 15 homers and 25 steals and possibly 100 runs scored. Diamondbacks outfielder AJ Pollock and Padres first sacker Yonder Alonso could make a push if they get day in and day out at bats.

Cy Young Award – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

Yes, I know that supposedly they are going to shut him down once he hits the 150 innings mark regardless of whether or not they are in playoff contention. And since I believe they will be in playoff contention largely in part to Strasburg pitching more than 150 innings (funny how that works out huh?) I like the young man’s chances at winning his first Cy Young award. I see him pitching between 180 and 200 innings with a WHIP around 1.10 and an ERA around 2.70 to go with a 16 to 18 win season. The kicker will be the 215 strikeouts he will have in those 180 to 200 innings pitched. Mark it down – the Nats are in playoff contention on September 1st and Strasburg pitches masterfully down the stretch making him the favorite for the Cy Young.

MVP – Ande Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yep, I like a Dodger to win the MVP and it’s not Matt Kemp. Ethier is in a contract year and has shown before that when healthy he’s as good a stick as anybody. If he gets hurt again all bets are off – but if healthy and 550 at bats or more come his way I look for A.E. to bat .315 with 35 homers, 115 batted in, 90 runs scored and 40 plus doubles and an OPS over .900. Most importantly he will produce when the entire league starts pitching around arguably the games most talented player in Matt Kemp.

If Ethier falters who do I like? Well….

If you want a real sleeper for MVP and are willing to go out on a limb (hell, more like the tip of the last leaf about to fall off a broken twig) try this one on for size – Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina. Yadi is the game’s best individual defensive player at his position and has constantly improved his offense from year to year since entering the league. This is the year he breaks out and for a team a lot of so called experts think will struggle without Albert Pujols. Yadi will bat .315 this year with a career high in all categories (I’m predicting 21 homers, 82 RBI, 80 Runs and 30 doubles). In the past team-leader type studs like Barry Larkin, Kirk Gibson, and Dustin Pedroia have all won MVP awards with solid to great numbers even though other players had much better individual numbers throughout the league. With that in mind I like Yadi for a top five finish in this year’s balloting. Mock or praise me on this one in November.

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78 Responses to “Thomas Wayne’s 2012 National League Predictions”

  1. Chuck Says:

    How can Strasburg win Cy Young and not COY?

  2. ThomasWayne Says:

    Good point Chuck…I didn’t even think about that one since I was so convinced Freese would have a healthy year which would translate into a great year that I didn’t even consider Strasburg.
    Chalk it up to if I don’t think a pitcher who plays every 5 days should win an MVP…he shouldn’t win a Comeback Player award either if an everyday player is eligible.
    Makes sense? Yea? Nay?
    It really doesn’t matter…its not like Ive ever picked these things correctly before…lol
    TW

  3. JohnBowen Says:

    I mean, comeback implies you were at an elite level before.

    Freese has been outstanding when he’s played, but his 97 games last season, plus the historically excellent 18 he put together in last year’s post-season, were a career high.

  4. Raul Says:

    Well, the Marlins aint lookin too good.

    Maybe you were on to something.

  5. Cameron Says:

    Freese played 97 games. Strasburg pitched, what, 5 last year?

  6. Raul Says:

    I must be living on another planet. I don’t remember Joey Votto getting 250 million.

  7. Chuck Says:

    “I must be living on another planet.”

    Say hi to Shaun for me.

  8. Chuck Says:

    Rangers are playing game seven.

    What draft?

  9. Raul Says:

    LOL @ 7

    Rangers up 2-1.

    That’s what I’ve got on the tv.

  10. Brautigan Says:

    LOL @ Chuck. I completely forgot about the draft. Rangers have scored both goals by a defenseman. Nice……

  11. Chuck Says:

    Between periods..NBC showing the Devils game.

    Walking around my living room spraying Lysol.

    Reminds me of an old joke.

    Rangers fan beats the shit out of an Islanders fan, what’s that make a Devils fan?

    The shit.

  12. Chuck Says:

    #10..

    Right?

    Forwards carry the puck in the zone, unless they have a clear, point blank range shot, pass it back to the blue line, and let the d-man rip it.

    Three things can happen:

    1) Goalie is screened…goal.

    2) Forward tips the shot..goal

    3) Goalie makes save, forward scores on the rebound..goal.

    Forward goes in and takes contested shot..no goal.

    It’s like the NBA..some dude goes one on three and is pissed he can’t get a shot off, in the meantime he has two teammates within dunk range.

    I honestly feel sorry for anyone born after 1980..they have no fucking clue about how sports should be played.

  13. Chuck Says:

    “Jesus saves, and Gretzky scores on the rebound.”

    If the Rangers need two things right now;

    Brian Leetch and Brad Park.

    Or Barry Beck..not picky.

  14. Chuck Says:

    C’mon, Rangers..you’re the number one seed..this series shouldn’t have gone past five games, and you’re sweating in the third period?

    KICK THEIR ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Raul Says:

    agreed
    they should have put this team away last week

  16. Chuck Says:

    Rangers play winner of Devils/Panthers?

    Come on New Jersey.

    You swamp dwelling, second class, ugly ass uniform wearing assholes.

    Sweep the motherfuckers.

    Need a power play specialist, call me. I haven’t skated in 10 years, but to beat those pussies, glad to make an exception.

    Fuck you, Scott Stevens.

  17. Chuck Says:

    Say what you want about Bud Selig, but Gary Bettman put TWO hockey teams in Florida.

    It’s like Bud putting an expansion team in Fairbanks.

    They’d have to play 81 home games in ten weeks.

  18. Chuck Says:

    Through 24 games, Bryce Harper has three RBI’s and four errors.

    Memo to Mike Rizzo..AAA not a smart move, brah.

    Harper’s about one more 0-5 from going Matt Bush on someone, and you got no one to blame but yourself.

  19. Raul Says:

    I think the Rangers are playing the Capitals.

    Phil Humber followed up his Perfect Game with a Perfectly Crappy Game.

  20. Chuck Says:

    I want an Eastern Conference final between the Rangers and Flyers.

    Spring, 1979.

    I’m working in Reading with the Phillies.

    There were a couple of all women schools in the area, walking into a bar or social with a Phillies ID card was like walking in naked with a $1000 bill taped to your forehead.

    Had worked the current regular season with the Rangers farm team in New Haven..knew all the guys..the Maloney brothers, Phil Esposito, Don Murdoch, Ronnie Duguay, Ron Greschner.

    Never saw so many groupies following one team in my life. There were many a night I left a party with a leftover who made Kathy Ireland look like Roseanne Barr.

    University of Pennsylvania made the Final Four..against Larry Bird and Indiana State and Magic Johnson and Michigan State.

    Last time an Ivy League school made the Final Four.

    The UP campus was within walking distance of the Spectrum..go to a game, go get laid.

    Between UP and the Flyers, the campus was pretty much naked for a month.

    No shit, I got more pussy in six months than the rest of my life combined.

    It was seriously like fishing in a bucket.

  21. Chuck Says:

    “Phil Humber followed up his Perfect Game with a Perfectly Crappy Game.”

    Just like Dallas Braden, he’ll make more money at autograph shows than as a player.

    He’ll be 90 years old like Don Larsen, and will have lines around the block at $50 a whack for two hours to sign “Phil Humber, perfect game, 4/20/12″ on a ball.

    Cha fucking ching.

  22. Raul Says:

    LOL @ both comments

  23. Chuck Says:

    Last time the Rangers and Flyers met in the playoffs was 1997..might be worth a road trip.

    Raul?

  24. Raul Says:

    I’ll be in New York on Wednesday morning for a week visiting family and friends.
    A few of my buddies are huge Rangers fans.

    Playoff tickets will probably be impossible to come by (though they did manage to go see Game 2). At the least, I’m sure we’ll have a night or two in the city watching the game at some dive bar.

  25. Raul Says:

    In case anyone’s paying attention, Jose Bautista is hitting .194

  26. Mike Felber Says:

    If you want to know great dive bars in Hell’s Kitchen Raul, I can hook you up. Will be happy & come out to say hi, real busy with festival & magazine now.

  27. Chuck Says:

    Wow..Devils up 2-1 with 3:48 left, and New Jersey takes a delay of game penalty.

    And it took 20 seconds for Florida to tie the score.

    Brilliant

    Oh, wait.

    It was the Devils.

    Never mind.

    Just another day in Swampville.

  28. Chuck Says:

    Isn’t every bar in Hell’s Kitchen a dive bar?

    I mean, that’s why it’s called Hell’s Kitchen.

  29. Raul Says:

    We’ll see what happens, Mike.

    Usually when I go back home, I spend all my time up in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow up in Westchester County with my family.

    But the last few times I’ve been home I’ve been neglecting some of my friends in the city, so I’ll have to go to Brooklyn/Queens (probably around some hipster areas because my friend seems into that crowd now)…and I have to visit some former coworkers in Manhattan, though that’ll probably just be a lunch thing.

  30. Chuck Says:

    I think if I was a junior hockey player and got drafted by the Devils, I’d go John Elway on them.

    “New Jersey?”

    “Hell fucking no, dude.”

    I’d go play for a club team in Johannesburg before I played in beautiful downtown fucking Hackensack.

  31. Raul Says:

    LOL

    I guess if you’re a young guy, there’s always that trashy, wasted college poon in Hoboken.

  32. Chuck Says:

    “I guess if you’re a young guy, there’s always that trashy, wasted college poon in Hoboken.”

    Reminds me of the old saying”

    “I never went to bed with an ugly chick, but I sure as hell woke up with a few”.

  33. Raul Says:

    Hahahahahaha

  34. Cameron Says:

    For those who missed the NFLDraft, let me sum it up for you in five words. “What the fuck just happened?” I’d say about ten second-rounders stumbled their way into the first round. Also, I am thoroughly convinced that the Browns are the most incompetent team in any professional sport while the Patriots proved to be the smartest team around yet again, drafting two guys who can be immediate starters for their defense.

  35. John Says:

    “Also, I am thoroughly convinced that the Browns are the most incompetent team in any professional sport”

    I like the Richardson pick, though I’m not sure why they needed to give away two third rounders to move up one spot. It’s not like the Vikings were gonna take a RB. Maybe the Vikings were auctioning that pick off and Cleveland jumped in?

    And yeah, drafting a 28-year old QB? Sorry, there’s no logic there. Maybe he’s better than McCoy, but the Browns aren’t competing this year with anyone anyway. Might as well hold out a year, see if McCoy improves at all (unlikely) and then when you go 4-12 for like the dozenth consecutive year, try to draft Matt Barkley.

  36. Chuck Says:

    As much as I hate the Devils, as dumb as it is to have hockey in Florida, you have to admit there aren’t too many things in sports better than overtime in Game Seven.

  37. Raul Says:

    Definitely @ Chuck

    These games have been thrilling.

  38. Chuck Says:

    John and Cam..you guys must have missed the memo.

    Thanks to the new CBA and the extra five roster spots, football now has room for wasted salary, just like the other sports.

    Baseball has the DH and closer.

    NBA has the designated three point shooter or the “go foul somebody” guy.

    The NFL now has third string quarterback and backup extra point holder.

    “For those who missed the NFLDraft”

    I didn’t watch it intentionally, nor did I miss it.

    Two NHL game sevens, and two playoff spots on the line on the final day of NBA season?

    And you watched Mel Kiper Jr’s hair for six hours?

  39. John Says:

    Hockey? Pass.

    NBA? Pass.

    Also, Chuck, teams don’t draft third string qb’s in the first round. Weeden is starting for Cleveland next year. As a 28 year old rookie.

  40. Chuck Says:

    No he’s not, John.

    He’ll get less playing time than Tebow.

  41. Raul Says:

    Dude, playoff hockey is awesome.

    You should tune in. We’re in the 2nd OT of this Panthers/Devils game.

  42. Raul Says:

    The Devilsssssssssss

  43. John Says:

    Yes, Chuck, he will.

    Why do you think the Browns drafted him in the FIRST ROUND.

    @Raul, I’ll give you that…watched the Capitols-Bruins game last night, it was a thriller. From what I understand, Hockey playoffs have the most parity and the most close games. I just never got into it as a kid…no NHL in WI…

  44. Mike Felber Says:

    Can’t travel too far Raul, but easy to spare time to go to an HK joint. Just got an agreement on the run of 3 floors, 10 space, 4 are theaters, for a 10 hour opening party. I want performances throughout, so will give free registrations now & try to make something great. Attended a New Year’s party here a few year’s ago, also room to room shows. no $ changes hands, I pay & take nothing (off the food & drink they sell).

    http://royariasstudios.com.

    Hell’s Kitchen has a rough hewn past Chuck, draft riots, ~ 500 killed in 1863, the westies, speakeasies, orphans, crime…But while not too gentrified (largely due to being a historic district, so mostly just 5 story buildings in the heart of NYC, I like to say it is more like “heck’s Kitchen”. Cleaned up years ago, RICO laws did most of the heavy lifting, by theater community, more artists & gay folks moved in, but mostly a real community.

  45. Cameron Says:

    Or KC, no one for me to root for, so I never got into it.

  46. Chuck Says:

    “Why do you think the Browns drafted him in the FIRST ROUND.”

    Ryan Leaf, Todd Marinovich, Tim Crouch, Chris Weinke, Drew Henson…

  47. Chuck Says:

    “more artists & gay folks moved in, but mostly a real community.”

    So you fit right in…

  48. Chuck Says:

    As ironic as it may be, Kansas City actually had an NHL team, from 1974-76, called the Scouts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_Scouts

    Awesome logo and uniform, still check eBay for one on occasion.

    The irony part is after they left KC, they moved to Denver and played as the Colorado Rockies for six years, before finally agreeing to share a swamp in New Jersey with the Giants, where they now play as the Devils.

  49. Cameron Says:

    @46 Most of those guys got chances to start, though. And his competition is McCoy, for Chrissakes.

  50. Chuck Says:

    Sorry, don’t see it.

    The Browns aren’t giving up on McCoy this early, especially seeing how he played last year.

    Granted, his last couple of games were stinkers, but they were against Cleveland and Baltimore, two teams fighting for playoff spots, while the Browns were just going through the motions.

    He only threw 11 picks in 463 attempts and while his rating sucked, it’s not his fault he has no receivers.

    I saw Wheeden’s bowl game, and the best thing about it I can say is good for him playing his career game on national TV.

    The guy can’t move, has no arm, you know, two requirements to play in the NFL.

    At least he can tell his kids he got drafted.

    It was a shit pick.

    Typical Browns.

  51. Cameron Says:

    Drafted twice. The guy was the Yankees’ first pick in 2002.

  52. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes I do Chuck. Artists only as a hobby, organizer, & gay folks tend to appreciate art more than straight men-on average. I say i turn over a new leaf before my festival, that is, often in some gay bars. Trying to recruit ‘em for a party mostly, one around the corner I coveted will not get: the newer clubs are more about money. But nice seating, a large stage & screen, a separate back bar…Maybe another year.

    But you do the reflexive gay baiting old hat you are gay insult thing, so what can I say, it is at best a tired trope. Though i joke I got into the arts due to lack of competition for grrrrls, & did “freegan” a GF from a female artist who I saw for a year…

  53. John Says:

    @46, none of those gentlemen were 28, and none were drafted with the intention of being back-ups.

  54. Bob Says:

    Congrats to the 2 Rangers fans. And yes, playoff hockey is awesome. With the Bruins and Wings both out, I can actually watch the games without my BP skyrocketing.

  55. Bob Says:

    1. Bronson Arroyo has 10-5 rights.
    2. The Phillies and Orioles MAY have interest in Brandon Inge, who wants to continue playing. I said may.

  56. Bob Says:

    Delmon Young, what the fuck??????????????

  57. Raul Says:

    LOL

    Of all the people Delmon Young wanted to mess with, the last one would be a NYC Jew.

    Whip out that check book, Mr. Young.

  58. Raul Says:

    http://mlbprospectpulse.com/

  59. Raul Says:

    Carl Crawford is out for 3 months.

  60. Chuck Says:

    http://mlbprospectpulse.com/what-is-a-prospect/

  61. Chuck Says:

    Thanks, Raul.

  62. Mike Felber Says:

    NYC Jew, like me. From what I know about you Raul, you have no detectable prejudice. Cannot tell from that statement. Most NYC Jews are not near rich.

  63. Chuck Says:

    RIP Moose Skowron

  64. Raul Says:

    I was joking around, Mike.

    I’m not a bigot or a racist. But there is a stereotype about Jews and Money. And Jews and public/legal outrage. And I was kidding about it.

    Delmon Young is going to pay for this one. Not because he assaulted a Jew, but because he assaulted someone, period.

    I just find it funny. Pushing a Jew and rattling off anti-semitic remarks…IN NEW YORK CITY??? Of all places…lol. That’s what I find funny with my twisted sense of humor.

    It would be like Tom Glavine going up to Harlem and slapping a black baby.

  65. Chuck Says:

    Newsfeed said Young was so drunk the cops couldn’t fingerprint or process him when they got to the police station.

    Now, THAT’s drunk.

  66. Chuck Says:

    Nationals called up Harper, he’ll be in the starting lineup tomorrow.

  67. Bob Says:

    That is interesting.

  68. John Says:

    Wow.

    Kinda went in the opposite direction with that one.

  69. Brautigan Says:

    Baseball reference has yet to notify of Skowron’s passing.

    Sigh.

  70. Brautigan Says:

    I love playoff Hockey games. I try not to miss any of the Blues playoff games, which is hard to do here in Portland, Oregon. (Our WHL team just swept the Tri-City Americans!)

  71. Brautigan Says:

    Washington is either going to look genius, or they’re going to look mad. Depends on how Harper’s career pans out.

    Chances are, Harper is going to be a first round HOF when all is said and done.

    Not that I’ll be around to approve of such.

  72. Mike Felber Says:

    Ah, yes, I kind of knew you were joking & not a bigot. Just imagine how that looks, & even here not all know you. Substitute blacks, or whomever.

    Alright, I will be around Hell’s Kitchen, if’n you wanna have this atheist Jew direct you to a good local bar & come out to say hi. ;-) I am having a party at some great venues, some shows like dueling pianos & such locally. Such as at Tobacco Road, subtitled Bikini Bar, bar girls wear bikini tops.

  73. Chuck Says:

    http://mlbprospectpulse.com/nationals-recall-harper-is-it-the-right-time/

  74. Raul Says:

    Mike,

    I’ll email you if I have time. My gut feeling is I won’t, but I don’t want to say no.

    I’ll be up in Westchester with my family. Then I have to come into midtown to meet some ex-coworkers, and I might have to head to the financial district to meet another friend. Then I’ll have another day in Brooklyn/Queens with a buddy of mine. And I might get dragged to Staten Island…though I’m trying to avoid it.

    Whatever happens, I do appreciate the offer, Mike
    Thank you

  75. Cameron Says:

    @64 John Rocker comes to mind when you say that.

    @66 …I don’t drink, but some days I wonder if it’s a good day to start…

  76. Cameron Says:

    Oh Raul, since I don’t think you’re watching the draft but you are a Dolphins fan, thought I’d update you.

    1st Round (#8) – Ryan Tannehill, QB
    2nd Round (#42) – Jonathon Martin, OT
    3rd Round (#72) – Olivier Vernon, DE
    3rd Round (#78) – Michael Engew, TE

    No real weapons for Tannehill, but having Long and Martin at the tackles does wonders for that line.

  77. Mike Felber Says:

    You have a busy trip Raul. Midtown West is Hell’s Kitchen. If you do go to SI, take the Ferry & walk around the outside. Governors Island Ferry is next to it & that is a beautiful historic place when open.

    Just a walk from the ferry, if you want cheap duds, this is the place to go. Every Thing Goes Thrift and Vintage
    http://www.etgstores.com.

    I know Chuck loves these stories, sooooOne February I needed a suit. Called around thrifts to find ones with suits in my size. This one seemed best. Went there & found 2 suits, one a hounds-tooth with a picket square & extra buttons, & the other a conservative lightly striped job I still have.

    Cost $33 & change w/tax for both.

  78. Bob Says:

    Dice-K is pitching today. For double-A Portland. Here’s hoping.

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