Power Rankings And Prognostications

carnackEverybody’s putting out their power ranking and projections for the year so I thought I’d join in. I do it just a bit differently than the rest but it should be easy enough to follow.  I rated managers, rotations, lineups and bullpen. The ranks are beside the team in the table at the end. You can see that a series of mediocre ranks doesn’t mean a mediocre finish.

American League

AL East

Blue Jays – I’m almost scared to write this because the Jays like last year’s Marlins could implode completely. There are things in place to stop that however. Their manager isn’t likely to detonate without warning.  Jose Bautista is going to drive in 130 runs with Jose Reyes in front of him and the rest of the team will follow.

Red Sox – As much as I hate to admit this the Red Sox have quietly put together a pretty good lineup and indications this spring are that the rotation is solid . That plus a deep if not exciting bullpen puts them ahead of the Orioles and Yankees.  They will be one of the wild cards

Rays – The rotation is solid and if you believe in Fernando Rodney they can close games out too. Unfortunately for them in order to get Rodney they need to be ahead. Therein lies the problem, who exactly is going to score all the runs? If Joe Madden pulls this off he’s manager of the century.

Orioles – The issue here is the rotation not the bats or the backend of the pen. I just don’t see enough arms there to win nor do I see an owner willing to pop for a new one.

Yankees – Staring infield is Lyle Overbay, Robinson Cano, Eduardi Nunez and Kevin Youkilis with Vernon Wells, Brett Gardiner and a 39 year old Ichiro in the outfield. If The Captain comes back he’s gimpy.

AL Central

Tigers – Lineup got better rotation is strong and the owner will go get a closer.

Royals – Deep lineup with starting pitching that just might get them over the hump. I like James Shields as a leader. The bullpen is solid. They just don’t have enough to catch Detroit unless the Tigers implode.

Indians – Sorry Terry, no pitching and a questionable pen.

White SoxJohn Danks is a question mark and the lineup looks old and won’t score enough.

Twins – Sympathy cards should be addressed to Ron Gardenhire, he has no rotation and not much of a pen. Look for them to trade come July and that isn’t an add kind of trade either.

AL West

Angels – Rotation is shaky and backend of the bullpen not secure yet. The lineup led by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton should score far too many runs to be threatened by the Rangers.

RangersYu Darvish will come into his own and the Rangers could flip these two positions around if Lance Berkman  and Ian Kinsler hit 3 and 5 with Beltre in between. They have a closer and three fifths of a rotation I just don’t believe in the rest of the staff. They will be the other wild card.

Mariners – The Mariners will surprise people. Their pitching is strong and they added experienced hitters in the lineup. Unless the atmosphere something bad happens they’ll do well just not well enough.

Athletics – The A’s pitching is good but last year they led the majors in strike outs. This winter they added more strikeouts. They may not be a 500 club this year.

Astros – Sent into exile as part of Bud $elig’s master plan to change the way MLB works the Astros are essentially a AAA ball club. They say every team wins fifty. That may not be true for this team. They will win first round draft picks in 2014, 2015, 2016. . .

National League

NL West

(Come on you didn’t think I would lead with the east did you?)

Giants – Good pitching and the best manager in the game right now have taken them there before and it will again. Tim Lincecum will have a bounce back year in spite of reports to the contrary and Matt Cain will be Matt Cain again.

Dodgers – All that meat and no potatoes. Eight starting pitchers and a closer who’s never been a lights out closer. Lots of talent and if it comes together look out. I’m just not sure this is the year. If it is the Giants will need body armor. They will be one of the wild cards

Diamondbacks – Rotation isn’t good enough, J.J. Putz isn’t sure enough and the lineup has grit but not much pizazz. They could fool me but I doubt it.

PadresBuddy Black and his crew are a year away from challenging if they can hold things together and the new owners provide needed assistance.

Rockies – Well, I hear Denver is a nice place to live.

NL Central

Reds – The reds lineup is better with Shin-Soo Choo in it. He may be an average centerfielder but his .373OBP is an improvement over last year. Joey Votto is healthy again and that alone is enough to make them favorites. They moved Aroldis Chapman back to the pen “for this year” and their rotation has question marks but I expect them to win the central relatively easily.

Cardinals – They start the season without a real shortstop and missing Chris Carpenter. While they’ve extended Adam Wainwright he wasn’t exactly an ace last year. Kyle Lohse is in Milwaukee and Jaime Garcia wasn’t dependable last season. They should have enough to stay in front of the Brewers but won’t catch the Reds.

Brewers – Shallow rotation, Alex Gonzalez at first base. . .Don’t look now the Pirates maybe gaining on you.

Pirates – I love Clint Hurdle and the Pirates have some great young players but they don’t have great deep pitching. Wandy Rodriguez is a nice number 3 and A.J Burnett does a fair imitation of a number 2+ but the rest are largely potential yet to be realized. They’ll break 500 and that in itself is a victory after two decades.

Cubs – Still two years away from a challenge and with Garza starting in the DL they will likely choose close to the Astros and Marlins in next year’s draft.

NL East

Nationals – Braves fans above all others should know what happens when you have dominant pitching and that describes the Nats rotation to a T.  We all know about Stephen Strasburg but behind him are Gio Gonzalez and the very under rated Jordan Zimmerman. They pushed another young and under rated pitcher in Ross Detwiler to the fifth spot when they signed Dan Haren who adds experience and 200 innings or so to the Nationals rotation. Adding Rafael Soriano to their bullpen makes it equal to ours, perhaps better if Jonny Venters elbow strain stick around and Jordan Walden’s back acts up.

Braves – The Braves simply have too much offense for the rest of the division and while they may split the Nats series 9-9 they should. . .should feast on the AA pitching in Miami and the slight better arms at Citi Field.  They should win the Philly series as well and easily slip into second place if the pitching holds up. They will be the other wild card.

Phillies – I really wanted to put the Mets here. The Phils are old in key spots. Michael Young is 35, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins 33 and Ryan Howard 32. Still Utley and Howard have power and J-Roll is always tough. Michael Young may have a ‘free at last year’ at least to start with but he’s not a good third baseman any longer and his bat is declining. Their outfield was bolstered (?) by Delmon Young who will start the season on the DL and must pass weight checks to improve his salary and Ben Revere. For the Phils to stay ahead of the Mets Roy Halladay must be healthy and hold up his third spot in the rotation behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Charlie Manual is a good manager and those three pitchers make the Phillies dangerous if the old folks can stay healthy.

Mets – The Mets have David Wright, Ike Davis and some other folks. Pitching is thin – thinner now that Johan Santana is gone for the year – and the bullpen weak. Terry Collins should get an award for not going crazy.

Marlins – Uh. . . They are the Marlins, owned by Jeffrey Loria and may get to pick right after the Astros for the next three years

Team Manager Rotation Bullpen Lineup Divison Rank  
Tigers 6 7 16 2 AL C 1  
Royals 23 18 17 14 AL C 2  
Indians 13 24 19 17 AL C 3  
White Sox 19 20 10 18 AL C 4  
Twins 14 27 28 19 AL C 5  
Jays 24 4 15 5 AL E 1  
Red Sox 16 10 21 9 AL E 2 AL WC 2
Rays 2 6 11 25 AL E 3  
Orioles 8 22 9 10 AL E 4  
Yankees 4 15 5 22 AL E 5  
Angels 7 14 14 1 AL W 1
Rangers 11 8 12 8 AL W 2 AL WC 1
Mariners 27 13 18 23 AL W 3  
Athletics 22 11 23 21 AL W 4  
Astros 28 28 27 30 AL W 5  
Reds 12 9 3 6 NL C 1
Cardinals 17 16 7 11 NL C 2
Brewers 21 19 22 16 NL C 3  
Pirates 10 23 26 26 NL C 4  
Cubs 26 25 20 27 NL C 5  
Nationals 5 1 2 4 NL E 1
Braves 18 12 1 3 NL E 2 NL WC 1
Phillies 9 3 4 13 NL E 3  
Mets 20 26 25 28 NL E 4  
Marlins 29 29 30 29 NL E 5  
Giants 1 2 6 12 NL W 1
Dodgers 25 5 8 7 NL W 2 NL WC 2
Diamondbacks 15 17 13 15 NL W 3  
Padres 3 21 24 24 NL W 4  
Rockies 30 30 29 20 NL W 5  

Post Season

In the AL I have the Red Sox beating the Rangers in the sudden death playoff then losing quite quickly to the Angels.  The Tigers will beat the Jays and somehow the Angels to get to the World series again. They will lose again. Writers should get their Buffalo Bills quotes sharpened up now.

In the NL The Braves and Dodgers lock up in the sudden death stupidity but the star laden Dodgers lose to the Braves. The Giants take on Cincinnati once more and Dusty Baker still can’t figure out how to beat them. The Nats and Braves play in the other division series and the Braves come up short again. The Nats go one to out pitch the Giants, beating them in 5 and eventually beating the Tigers in 6 giving the media the last season World Series championship for Davey Johnson they wanted.  Following the series Jim Leyland, Dusty Baker and Davey Johnson walk off into the sunset together.

Angels def RedSox Tigers def Angels  
Tigers def Jays    
    Nats def Tigers (7 Games)
Nats def Braves Nats def Giants  
Giants def Reds    

That’s A Wrap

So that’s my power ranking and predictions for the season and that I guarantee. . .that they are predictions for the season. All of this is subject to change due to injuries, trades, weather related snafus and odd umpire rulings of course. Let me know where I went wrong… you could well be right…. but you won’t be

Tags: Atlanta Braves Predictions

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