ESPN has posted their annual MLB predictions and this year they polled 45 of their best “experts” (I said this on Twitter as well, but Jim Caple still has a job?) on who would win each playoff spot and eventually the World Series.
Only 1 division was unanimous: the AL East. Now, alright I’m a Yankee fan, I get that. The Yankees could field a team with Bartolo Colon on it and I’d still think they were going to win 95 games. Don’t believe me? Well Colon made the Yanks and I’m penciling them in for 95. I’m an optimist.
Now, I know that I’m biased, but how could all 45 people pick the same team when we’re dealing with the most competitive division in baseball? You could make a pretty compelling case that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays in some order are the best 3 teams in baseball. Yes, I agree that on paper right now, the Red Sox look to have an edge. But not 1 person was willing to be “bold” and choose the Yankees or Rays? Don’t let my incredulity fool you – I really don’t care who ESPN picks and would rather they pick against the Yankees. I just find it funny. The Astros received one vote to win the NL Central. This was clearly not a scientific process.
There has been a good deal of talk in the Yankee clubhouse in recent weeks about being underdogs. Many people find such an idea outrageous and that’s fine and understandable. However, if the definition of the word “underdog” is, “a competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest,” (and that’s what it says in the dictionary I’m looking at) well then I guess maybe the Yankees are underdogs after all. Yes, even with their crazy payroll, deep lineup, and clubhouse full of stars. The underdog isn’t the team with the fewest resources. It’s the team that no one thinks will win. So as far as the AL East is concerned, the Yankees are the underdog.
Anyways, this has inspired me (well, maybe inspired is not the right word) to make some predictions of my own. I’m not going to predict the AL East, because I am too biased to look at that objectively, nor will I predict the postseason because it’s a crapshoot anyways.
AL Central: Twins
I’m going to punt and just choose the Twins until someone finally beats them.
AL West: Rangers
Thought about going out on a limb and choosing the A’s, but Rangers have so much talent.
NL East: Mets Braves
Obviously this could very easily be the Phillies, but I’ve hated so many of their moves in recent years, I just can’t pick them. And no, I don’t mean the Cliff Lee signing.
NL Central: Brewers
I’m going to go out on a limb and buy into the Greinke buzz. Probably a mistake but I’m not sold on the Reds.
NL West: Dodgers
Also a little bit of an upset but the Dodgers have a lot of young talent (Kemp, Billingsley, Kershaw, Ethier, Loney, etc) that I think could be poised for solid seasons. Seems like the Giants are due for a World Series hangover and the Rockies are too much of the bandwagon team for my tastes.
AL Wild Card: A team from the AL East
Take your pick: Red Sox, Yankees, Rays… one of them will be in this spot.
NL Wild Card: Phillies
I’m down on the Phillies, especially with Utley on the DL, but they still are a pretty safe bet to make the playoffs given their starting pitching.