Season picks are at least my own
There’s no getting around it — my predictions suck. Regular season, postseason, awards. Doesn’t matter whether I use advanced statistic analysis or the more time-honored eeny-meeny-miny-moe method. I never get it right.
I’ll own that. I’ll wear it. But at least my picks are my own.
Flash back to last year, when my colleague Jon Paul Morosi actually picked the Giants over the Tigers at the start of the postseason. Pretty darned impressive, except for one thing: He succumbed to outside pressure just before the World Series and reversed course, going with the Tigers.
Outside pressure from all of his Tiger-loving Michigan pals? Not exactly.
Outside pressure from his mom.
I can assure you that no relative of mine will influence my selections. No relative of mine wants to be anywhere near my selections.
You want to read the flip-flopping Morosi and go to Vegas with his picks, be my guest. The predictions below are made with the utmost integrity, if not the utmost intelligence.
Rays: A lot to like — best pitching in division, Evan Longoria for a full season and maybe Wil Myers for the second half.
Blue Jays: Love their talent and potential. Just want to see how they look on the field rather than on paper.
Orioles: Will again spend all season cycling through starting pitchers — for better or worse.
Red Sox: Big problem if David Ortiz doesn’t get healthy quickly, but could surprise if rotation’s spring performance was for real.
Yankees: They will struggle with health all season — yes, even in their rotation, too.
Tigers: I don’t need Morosi’s mom to tell me — they’re good.
Royals: They’re stronger, no doubt. Just not convinced that they’re even an 85-win team.
White Sox: Maybe better than the Royals if their rotation holds up. But not a lot of upside overall.
Indians: Poor starting pitching will make Terry Francona wish he were still with the Red Sox.
Twins: Have you seen their starting pitching?
Athletics: I’m betting on their pitching and overall depth, though it will be difficult for them to repeat their magic from 2012.
Rangers: At some point, they will need to promote Jurickson Profar to boost the offense — and figure out where to play him.
Angels: Bullpen was a mess at the end of spring training, and back of rotation is a concern.
Mariners: Offense clearly is better. Rotation isn’t good enough.
Astros: Put them down for 45-117.
Nationals: Most talented team in baseball, and great vibe in clubhouse, ready to take the next step.
Braves: Boom or bust with the Uptons. Leaning toward boom.
Phillies: So much — too much — depends on Halladay and overall health.
Mets: The sooner right-hander Zack Wheeler arrives, the more interesting they will be.
Marlins: Love Mike Redmond, but I can see it now — Bobby V takes over at mid-season.
Reds: Worthy challenger to the Nats. Only concern is lack of alternatives if one of five starters gets hurt.
Cardinals: Late-spring injuries troubling, and the loss of Kyle Lohse might hurt more than they think.
Brewers: Lohse helps, but the pitching staff overall is still short.
Pirates: Midseason promotion of Gerrit Cole best hope of team finally breaking .500 barrier.
Cubs: Trade Matt Garza. Trade Alfonso Soriano. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Giants: Need Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito to extend 2012 postseason magic; otherwise, back of rotation becomes real concern.
Dodgers: Train-wreck potential. And then they’ll sign Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Diamondbacks: Chance to surprise due to their pitching, potential of Paul Goldschmidt to explode.
Padres: Will be better in second half than first once Chase Headley, Yasmani Grindal return and rest of pitching gets healthy.
Rockies: Actually like their offense. Their pitching is a threat to public safety.
Mike Trout, Angels: Will win Triple Crown out of leadoff spot to ensure that there is no debate this time.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: Would be first back-to-back MVP since Albert Pujols in 2008-09.
Jose Reyes, Blue Jays: I generally prefer up-the-middle defenders in MVP voting, but will he stay healthy?
Joey Votto, Reds: Was leading candidate last season before undergoing knee surgery. Leading candidate every season when healthy.
Jason Heyward, Braves: The whole package – lightning-quick bat, terrific glove and emerging leadership, too.
Bryce Harper, Nationals: Not just incredibly talented. Incredibly driven, too.
Justin Verlander, Tigers: Just turned 30 and has thrown 538 innings the past two seasons, including playoffs. So?
David Price, Rays: No reason to doubt him, other than that Verlander simply might be better.
Jered Weaver, Angels: Strikeout rate not what it was, absurdly low BABIP last season. No matter, he’ll find a way.
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: Yep, I’m going there. He’s healthy, unleashed and ready to dominate.
Matt Cain, Giants: Incredibly consistent, year after year.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Only red flag is that hip problem at the end of last season.
Aaron Hicks, Twins: There’s a reason the Twins traded both Denard Span and Ben Revere.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox: Smart, instinctive and skilled, he will be the darling of New England.
Wil Myers, Rays: Not a finished product, but could make huge impact in second half.
Jedd Gyorko, Padres: Moving from third base to second, but will hit wherever he plays.
Rob Brantly, Marlins: Catcher made strong debut last season after arriving in Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade.
Gerrit Cole, Pirates: Right-hander starting season in minors, but possesses huge upside.
Joe Maddon, Rays: For his next trick, he will turn Yunel Escobar into the Sportsman of the Year.
Bob Melvin, Athletics: More difficult task this season persuading everyday players such as infielder Jed Lowrie and outfielder Chris Young to accept less certain roles.
John Gibbons, Blue Jays: Will get credit for bringing together all of the Jays’ new, disparate parts.
Bruce Bochy, Giants: Has won two of last three World Series, but shut out in this award since 1996.
Davey Johnson, Nationals: Back-to-back awards at ages 69 and 70 would be quite an achievement.
Dusty Baker, Reds: Shin-Soo Choo will help him look very smart.
Wild-card game: Blue Jays over Rangers
Division Series: Tigers over Blue Jays, Rays over Athletics
ALCS: Tigers over Rays
Wild-card game: Dodgers over Braves
Division Series: Nationals over Dodgers, Reds over Giants
NLCS: Reds over Nationals
Tigers over Reds