The 2012 IIATMS Roundtable: Part IV

Brien:

A.L. East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles- I didn’t have to put much thought into the bookends here, the Yankees look like the most balanced team in the division with few glaring weaknesses, and the O’s are awful. The Blue Jays have become this year’s trendy pick to slide into the playoffs, but I just don’t trust their roster, yet. The toss up is between Boston and Tampa Bay for the runner-up spot, and I’m going with the Rays because of their deeper, and better, rotation.

A.L. Central: Tigers- The easiest division to predict in baseball.

A.L. West: Rangers- The Angels upgraded a lot, but the Rangers remain a good team in their own right, and there are a lot of question marks in the Angels’ lineup and bullpen. This should be close, but the Rangers have fewer holes on paper right now.

A.L. Wild Cards: Rays, Angels

N.L. East: Braves- Age and injuries have conspired to leave the Phillies vulnerable just a year after they assembled one of the best starting rotations of my lifetime, and now I think this is Atlanta’s division to lose once again. In an “upset special,” as it were, I’d wager on the Nationals finishing third here, with the much ballyhooed Marlins coming in fourth, closer to the last place Mets than the second place Phillies.

N.L. Central: Cardinals- I want to pick the Reds, but I think they came up one starter short of what they needed to add this winter. Losing Albert Pujols will hurt the Cardinals, but adding Carlos Beltran and getting Adam Wainwright back from injury will go a long way towards filling that void. The Brewers should remain a competitive thanks to their pitching, and the rest of the division is pretty bad.

N.L. West: Diamondbacks- I don’t have a ton of faith in Arizona to repeat as division champions, but the rest of this division is very flawed, so they almost win it by default. The Giants should be dominating this divisionthanks to their starting pitching, but Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy have proven to be comically inept at  fielding even a decent lineup to support that strong pitching.

N.L. Wild Cards: Phillies, Reds

World Series: Yankees over Diamondbacks- I don’t really know which team to pick out of the senior circuit, to be perfectly honest, as I can’t build a strong case for any of them in my head. The Diamondbacks seem to have the easiest path to a division championship here, which makes them the safe pick, and they do sort of feel like the N.L.’s most balanced team, so I can live with it. As for the Yankees, I’ll say the same thing I said last year: I’m pretty confident they win the A.L. East, they’ve got a team that’s good enough to win a championship, and we all know anything can happen in the playoffs, so I’m going to err on the side of optimism if anything.

Tamar:

A.L. East: Yankees

A.L. Central: Tigers

A.L. West: Rangers

A.L. Wild Cards: Red Sox, Angels

N.L. East: Phillies

N.L. Central: Cardinals

N.L. West: Giants

N.L. Wild Cards: Braves, Marlins

William Tasker:

A.L. East: Yankees

A.L. Central: Tigers

A.L. West: Rangers

A.L. Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Angels

N.L. East: Phillies

N.L. Central: Cardinals

N.L. West: Diamondbacks

N.L. Wild Cards: Nationals, Brewers

Gabe Lezra:

A.L. East: Yankees

A.L. Central: Tigers

A.L. West: Rangers

A.L. Wild Cards: Rays, Angels

N.L. East: Phillies

N.L. Central: Brewers

N.L. West: Diamondbacks

N.L. Wild Cards: Giants, Cardinals

World Series: Yankees over the Diamondbacks in 5. I know this prediction is kinda ridiculous…but I love the DBacks this year. Even more than the Brewers. And hey, if I’m right everyone will totally have to respect me this year. In all seriousness, I don’t buy the Phillies any more: they just can’t hit. Utley might never be the same player, Howard is fighting to be the same player he used to be, and those were two hugely important mainstays. Add that to Jimmy Rollins’ declining skills, and the lack of consistently healthy power…well, I’m not betting on them, that’s for sure.

Hippeaux:

A.L. East: Rays

A.L. Central: Tigers- I really want to pick the Royals and, if they get breakout seasons from a couple pitchers, they might still be relevant after the All-Star Break. As Jonah Keri has demonstrated, the Tigers have a lot of regression candidates – Verlander, Valverde, Fister, Peralta, Avila, etc. – but I think they also have enough underachievers – Scherzer, A. Jackson, Porcello, etc. – that the net will be more or less even, certainly enough to win the AL’s weakest division.

A.L. West: Rangers

A.L. Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Yankees- Like everybody, I had a hard time with this. This season, I believe that the six best teams in baseball all come from either the AL East or AL West. Only four of those teams can make the playoffs. No combination would surprise me. Because none of these teams have insurmountable weaknesses on the field, I went with the four who I believe have the strongest front office/managerial combinations: Texas, Tampa, Toronto, and New York. I don’t think I need to explain why Boston doesn’t make that cut. The Angels have an impressive team and their insane contracts aren’t likely to hamstring them too much in 2012; however, I think they will throw too many ABs away on guys like Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu, Bobby Wilson, and Alberto Callaspo, even though there are superior players…in their system! The Curse of Mike Napoli live on.

N.L. East: Phillies-  In the past, I’ve been an NL apologist, and I still think the difference between the two leagues is generally overstated. This season, however, the leagues are especially distinct in that, while the AL has six or seven powerhouses, the NL has zero. It’s going to make for a lot of fun, because while every NL team has huge holes, with a few good breaks any of a dozen of them could make the playoffs. What the NL does feature is a number of deep, dominant rotations. I made my picks based upon what I thought were the best of them.

N.L. Central: Brewers

N.L. West: Giants

N.L. Wild Cards: Marlins, Nationals The Nationals edge the D-Backs, Reds, and Braves not only because of their pitching depth, but because they have young, upside players on both sides of the ball and their biggest weaknesses (1B/LF, CF) are those which should be easiest to correct with in-season moves. Bryce Harper’s arrival is imminent. We know Nats ownership has been itching to spend money and they’ve got a pretty well-stocked farm system, so they could be active at the deadline.

World Series: Brewers over Rangers- I’m pretty sure this was my pick last year as well, although I think I had the Rangers winning. But I’m sticking with the trend of the last couple seasons. Although the AL will bring at least four of the five most well-rounded teams to the postseason, the NL will win its third consecutive championship with dominant starting pitching. In 2010, it was Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner going a combined 4-0 (beware, it could happen again). In 2011, the Cardinals won all three games Chris Carpenter pitched (and Jaime Garcia wasn’t bad either). In 2012, it will be Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum dominating the Rangers, who officially become baseball’s version of the Buffalo Bills.

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Yet another belated update by me:

Jason:

A.L. East: Rays

A.L. Central: Tigers

A.L. West: Angels

A.L. Wild Cards: Yankees, Rangers

N.L. East: Phillies

N.L. Central: Cardinals

N.L. West: Diamondbacks

N.L. Wild Cards: Giants, Marlins

World Series: Angels over D’backs

4 thoughts on “The 2012 IIATMS Roundtable: Part IV

  1. Moiuz

    All I have to say is this: Remember the 2011's redsox. Flat out favorite to win the WS and the division but neither happened and as a Yankee fan, it scares me. Need a great year from Alex. .290 + ba, 30hr and 110+ RBI. I don't trust tex nor granderson to replicate last years numbers. But will see. It's a long season..

  2. jay_robertson

    Thank-you, Hippeaux; if it wasn't for your predictions, I woulda thought I was watching the old SNL Skit – you know the one, the guys sitting around the table, with the refrain being "Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears."

    I'm glad everyone here is picking the Yankees – kinda figures. Yesterday's ESPN picks were depressing – Rays, Rays, Texas, Rays….

    Kudos to Brien for providing a link to last year's picks. ;)

  3. David

    As long as no one writes something like the following (still the gift that keeps on giving), we should be okay:
    http://www.nesn.com/2011/01/2011-red-sox-will-cha

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