Category Archives: Predictions

2014 Season Predictions: Stone cold guesses

Predictions are predictably wrong.  But just in case we can get them right, it’s fun to go back and look at what you thought.  These are not based on simulations or modeling which is probably the best way to do things.  If you want those, there are plenty of places that do that.  The best thing about my predictions is that you know they came from the guy who picked the Angels to make the World Series…and the Blue Jays to win the AL East.  What can I say?  I guess I’m a sucker for the higher priced things in life.  (Side note:  No way can I get on board with paying a portly slugger $30M when he’s 41.)

Without further ado, here is what I think will happen during the 2014 season:

National League

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I have the Nationals and Reds meeting up in the Queen City for the wild card matchup with the Nationals throwing Stephen Strasburg and winning.

I have the Dodgers falling short again to the Cardinals in the NLCS to make their second World Series in a row.  These two staffs are really good, but I see the Cardinals as the better staff overall – and that will prove the difference.

American League

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I think the Red Sox and A’s match up in the wild card with Sonny Gray putting his big boy pants on and shutting down Boston.

The Yankees will somehow beat the Tigers in the ALCS and get back to the place they seemingly were every year.

World Series:

That trip will be short lived however as the Cardinals will win the World Series this year. I hate this as a Reds fan and hopefully I will jinx them by picking them (I won’t).  Let’s say it will take 7 games to add some drama in my life.

Other Predictions:

AL MVP – Mike Trout.  He’s the best player and he’ll finally get over the Miggy hump.

NL MVP - Ryan Braun Bryce Harper – The story becomes Harper vs. Trout.  He’s looked jacked this spring and has all the skills in the world.

AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander.  I know the trend is down, but with much of the top pitching in the NL I think he’s got a shot.

NL Cy Young – Stephen Strasburg.  If he’s healthy and dealing I think he is on Kershaw’s level.  Voters like new faces.

 

I almost had my son randomly pick teams for this as it might be as accurate.  That post might be coming up soon.

 

 

 

 

2014 Season Predictions: Mike Hllywa

angels+birthday+cake

Can you smell it? Can you feel it? baseball is almost here. Like most of you, I can tell without looking at a calendar that baseball season is around the corner. The thermometer starts pushing 50 degrees, the birds start digging in the yard looking for worms, my daughter says things like: “Daddy, can I wear a skirt to school today?” I can also tell by the reading material that becomes available. Every writer has a prediction and a forecast for what they expect to have happen this season (Mike Trout, 11 WAR, mark it down), and that’s what we are doing here. I’ve poured over the stats, other predictions and enlisted a shaman to help me see into the future (I also got him to make a Miguel Cabrera voodoo doll. Cue evil laugh track). These predictions are mine, all rights reserved, so let’s see what the magic eight ball has to say.

American League

East
1. Tampa Bay Rays
2. Boston Red Sox*
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. New York Yankees
5. Toronto Blue Jays

Every team suffers a World Series hangover, and Boston will be no different. The Orioles will start slow and then pick it up later in the year, but it won’t be enough to get them into the postseason dance. The Yankees will get a ton of free press with Derek Jeter retiring, but free press doesn’t equal wins.

Central
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins

For the foreseeable future, the Tigers own this division. Not because of otherworldly talent, but because this division is incredibly weak. The White Sox could surprise everyone and finish second in the division, but it’s a race for first loser among the bottom four teams in the AL Central.

West
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Athletics*
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Houston AstroLOLs

This division is going to be an absolute dogfight. Every prediction model has the Angels, A’s and Rangers within four games of each other, and Fangraphs as all three within a one game spread. But with the Rangers uninspiring staff and Oakland being bitten by the Tommy John bug, my money is on the Halos returning to the top of the division.

National League

East
1. Washington Nationals
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Miami Marlins
5. New York Mets

How sad is it that, even after both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both go down with torn UCL’s, I still would have the Braves finishing ahead of the Phillies? The Marlins will creep out of the cellar, but that is more because the Mets won’t have Matt Harvey than it is because the Marlins are so talented.

Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Cincinnati Reds*
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Chicago Cubs

Almost identical to last year, except the Reds will jump over the Pirates late in the season and secure a Wild Card spot. Also, the Cubs will be officially eliminated in the first week of August.

West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamonbacks*
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

It is the Dodgers division to lose, but with D-Backs still being a young-ish team, and the Giants being a smidge old, this is how my medicine man says it is going to shake out. Beware the Rockies, though. Good young arms and a healthy Tulo and CarGo could make this team very very dangerous.

* – Denotes teams fortunate enough to play in the play-in game

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Games

Arizona over Cincinnati
Boston over Oakland

Division Series

Tampa Bay over Boston
Detroit over Los Angeles
St. Louis over Washington
Los Angeles over Arizona

ALCS/NLCS

Tampa Bay over Detroit
Los Angeles over St. Louis

World Series

Tampa Bay over Los Angeles

It is a fool’s game to count out the Rays, and even though it isn’t an easy path for them to get to the brass ring, this is the year that they do it.

AL MVP – Mike Trout

The BBWAA finally gets off his back for not making it into the playoffs and rewards him with the hardware that he should’ve taken home the last two years. Not that I am, you know, biased or anything.

NL MVP – Yadier Molina

You could make the argument that Yadi should have won the MVP award last year. This year, he leaves nothing to chance and puts up a monster year that dwarfs all of his competitors.

AL Cy Young – Yu Darvish

Along with Darvish’s first CYA, he gets tapped for a “Yu Knows” endorsement campaign co-starring Bo Jackson.

NL Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw

Best. Pitcher. On. The. Planet. Period. Jose Fernandez will give him a run for his money, but Kershaw’s curveball impregnates too many women for award voters to not notice.

AL Rookie of the Year – Taijuan Walker

He’ll be behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, but with the big parks in the AL West, and his crazy-good cutter that gets mistaken for a slider, Walker is going to push his way passed the Xander Bogaerts’ and the Masahiro Tanaka’s of the world.

NL Rookie of the Year – Javier Baez

He won’t get called up until June (bold prediction), but when he does, he is going to turn the National League on it’s ear.

AL Comeback Player of the Year – Derek Jeter

I really want to put Albert Pujols’ name here, but, let’s be honest, if Jeter has even an OK season, after playing only 17 games last year, he may even walk away with a top-five finish in the MVP voting.

NL Comeback Player of the Year – Dan Uggla

You can file this one under bold predictions as well. But after dropping to a .179/.309/.362 slash line in 2013, no one in the National League has more to prove than Dan Uggla.

AL Bold Predictions

Houston Astros “only” lose 102 games thanks to their starting rotation being one of two in the AL West that doesn’t get hit by the injury bug.

Miguel Cabrera’s power numbers suffer without having Prince Fielder in the lineup behind him.

Derek Jeter is called in to pitch in the Yankees final home game of 2014. He lasts two-thirds of inning and gives up four runs and is pulled from the game by Mariano Rivera.

Mike Napoli is asked to shave his beard once its length reaches the top of his stomach. He donates the cut hair to locks of love.

NL Bold Predictions

Billy Hamilton steals 100 bases. And, to be honest, I would be comfortable taking the over on that prediction.

Javier Baez and Kris Bryant hit third and fourth in the same game.

Jose Fernandez hits his second career home run. This time, without incident.

In the same game, Yasiel Puig hits a home run, gets thrown out at second trying to leg out an infield double, throws a runner out at third and at home (in the same inning) and hits a peanut vendor in the second deck when a throw gets away from him.

2014 Season Predictions Post: Mevs

Bubble-Play

Opening Day is fast approaching – this year we’re counting baseball in Australia as the opener – even though this post traditionally rolls out the night before USA’s Opening Day. In honor of the special day which is similar to a second Christmas Eve, we make our picks on all things baseball so we can look back and see how everyone did at season’s end. Here is our 2013 predictions post. Last year was hit and miss, but we feel much more educated for this year. Here’s how I see things in baseball shaking out in 2014:

American League

AL East:
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox*
Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central:
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox*
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins

AL West:
Anaheim Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Oakland A’s
Houston Astros

National League

NL East:
Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves*
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies

NL Central:
St. Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates*
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona DiamondBacks
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres

* Denotes Wildcard teams

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Games:
Boston Red Sox over Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves over Pittsburgh Pirates

Division Series:
Detroit Tigers over Boston Red Sox (in five games)
New York Yankees over Anaheim Angels (in four games)
Los Angeles Dodgers over Atlanta Braves (SWEEP)
Washington Nationals over St. Louis Cardinals (in five games)

ALCS / NLCS:
New York Yankees over Detroit Tigers (in six games)
Los Angeles Dodgers over Washington Nationals (in seven games)

World Series:
New York Yankees over Los Angeles Dodgers (in five games)

It was a tough pick when it came down to the final four, especially choosing between the Nationals and the Dodgers for National League supremacy. In the end, a chance at playing for the title continues to elude Bryce Harper in Washington and Yasiel Puig and the star-crossed Dodgers take Vin Scully to the grandest stage just in the nick of time. As fate will have it, the New York Yankees and their band of veterans take home a title in Derek Jeter’s final season; a World Championship in the year that my first child is born. A child that my wife will swear is going to be a Yankees fan – that’s not happening.

AL MVP
1. Mike Trout
2. Evan Longoria
3. Miguel Cabrera

Evan Longoria does *just* enough to pull votes away from Cabrera – and Mike Trout does the rest. Trout will be the undisputed ‘most valuable’ for 2014, and he won’t slow down one bit. He might not be able to show us anything that he hasn’t done already, but to do it three seasons in a row – and to have three Hall of Fame caliber seasons by the time you’re 22 is something I’m not sure this generation has seen in itself.

NL MVP
1. Paul Goldschmidt
2. Bryce Harper
3. Yasiel Puig

The MVP Goldschmidt has a team that misses the postseason entirely, but his numbers are so phenomenal that not enough voters can justify giving it to the guys who play for contenders.

AL CY YOUNG
1. Justin Verlander
2. Yu Darvish
3. Masahiro Tanaka

NL CY YOUNG
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Jose Fernandez
3. Homer Bailey

AL Rookie of the Year
1. Xander Bogaerts
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. George Springer

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Billy Hamilton
2. Oscar Taveras
3. Javier Baez

AL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Derek Jeter
2. Josh Hamilton
3. Neftali Feliz

NL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Chase Utley
2. Curtis Granderson
3. Wilson Ramos

AL Bold Predictions

1. The Boston Red Sox become Xander Bogaerts’ team. The new face of the franchise in Beantown hits .285 with 22 home runs and 85 RBI.

2. Robinson Cano begins his decline phase ever so slightly in Seattle by posting a solid but not spectacular season. No one notices because the Mariners begin to play a bit better and those who notice a small decline in numbers blame the ballpark.

3. Masahiro Tanaka does his best Yu Darvish impression all season long, mystifying hitters with over 200 strikeouts.

4. The kid from Millville, New Jersey posts a 1.011 OPS and hits a career-high 35 home runs. Then adds two more in his first postseason.

5. The Cleveland Indians regress to around .500 but aren’t entirely horrible because of Terry Francona’s leadership. Jason Kipnis takes the next step towards being a star.

NL Bold Predictions

1. Stephen Strasburg finally silences the critics with a 20-win season, winning the NL CY Young going away.

2. The Reds win either 84 or 85 games; wasting the best season of Jay Bruce’s career. Bruce hits 40 home runs and drives in 115 while hitting .275 with an OPS near .900 for the year. He finishes fourth in the MVP vote.

3. Nathan Eovaldi emerges as a secondary ace for the Miami Marlins, helping them to a surprising third-place finish in the division.

4. Yasiel Puig has an up and down regular season that has flashes brilliance and struggles – but explodes in the postseason to get the Dodgers back to the World Series for the first time since 1988. Puig’s hit in the seventh game of the NLCS eliminates Washington.

5. Bryce Harper has no DL stints and plays in 140 games. His final line is .295, 34 home runs, 90 RBI, 90 runs and 15 steals. He wins a gold glove in left field to the surprise of many and finishes second in the MVP vote.

2014 Season Predictions: Corey

While Spring Training is great, we’re at that point where I want to see full lineups, pitchers going 8 innings and actual stats that I care about. Well, we’re almost there folks. I just wrapped up a great weekend of fantasy drafts, my MLB.TV subscription is re-newed and I’m ready to stay up all night this Friday to watch the Diamondbacks and Dodgers kick off the season in the land down under. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us. What teams will take the next step forward? Will Bryce Harper become the superstar he’s capable of becoming? These are the things that will be answered over the next six months. The only things we know for sure so far are that Dr. James Andrews has a nice paycheck coming his way and that Mike Trout is still good at baseball. For everything else, here is how I see things shaking out.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

EAST
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Tampa Bay Rays*
3. New York Yankees
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

CENTRAL
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians*
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Minnesota Twins

WEST
1. Texas Rangers
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics
5. Houston Astros

NATIONAL LEAGUE

EAST
1. Washington Nationals
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. New York Mets
5. Miami Marlins

CENTRAL
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Cincinnati Reds*
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Chicago Cubs

WEST
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants*
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. San Diego Padres
5. Colorado Rockies

*Denotes Wild Card teams

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Games:
Tampa Bay over Cleveland
Cincinnati over San Francisco

Division Series:
Detroit over Tampa Bay
Texas over Boston
Los Angeles over Cincinnati
St. Louis over Washington

ALCS / NLCS:
Detroit over Texas
Los Angeles over St. Louis

World Series:
Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games

Is this the year my Tigers finally get over the hump? I sure hope so and I like their pitching staff in the playoffs enough to do it. Even without Prince, the lineup will still put up a lot of runs and Joe Nathan is in town to give them a more consistent 9th inning arm. It won’t be an easy road but I think I might finally see the World Series trophy come back to the Motor City.

AL MVP
1. Mike Trout (I love Miggy, but there will be no argument after Trout’s season)
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder

NL MVP
1. Hanley Ramirez (If he can stay healthy, big year coming for a World Series Contender)
2. Joey Votto
3. Bryce Harper

AL CY YOUNG
1. Yu Darvish
2. Justin Verlander
3. Chris Sale

NL CY YOUNG
1. Jose Fernandez (The young horse knocks the king off his throne)
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Stephen Strasburg

AL Rookie of the Year
1. George Springer
2. Nick Castellanos (Love the way he’s swinging the bat)
3. Masahiro Tanaka (I’ll likely regret not have Bogaerts on here)

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Oscar Taveras (Hope he’s healthy enough for a shot to win this)
2. Billy Hamilton
3. Javier Baez

AL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Albert Pujols (He hit .258 last year and battled injuries, I think we see him get back to his 2012 numbers)
2. Derek Jeter (Most likely to receive this award if he goes out on a solid note)
3. Phil Hughes (This should go under bold predictions but maybe something clicks in Target Field)

NL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Matt Kemp (Obvious choice if he stays on the field)
2. Giancarlo Stanton (I hope he stays intact for a full year because there’s nothing better than watching him hammer one out of the atmosphere)
3. Dan Haren (3.67 xFIP shows he wasn’t as bad in ‘13 as you’d think. Great command and now in a pitcher’s park, I like his chances for a real good year.)

AL Bold Predictions

1. Jose Abreu leads AL in HR with 38.

2. New Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury hits more home runs than former Yankee Robinson Cano.

3. George Springer joins the 20-20 club in just 4 months of playing time.

4. The Tigers have 5 hitters that hit .300+ leading to their World Series (Miggy, Martinez, Castellanos, Hunter and Jackson) – Hey, it’s bold predictions…

5. Derek Jeter hits .317 and decides to come back after the season. (And he doesn’t give back any gifts he was given during his final season farwell tour)

NL Bold Predictions

1. Tulo and Cargo stay healthy, play a combined 300 games and combine for 70 HR.

2. Billy Hamilton (92 SB) steals 25 more bases than Reds team total of 2013.

3. Oscar Tavares plays in over 100 games for Cardinals and bats .315.

4. Jose Fernandez strikes out 266 batters, more than anyone in the NL the last 10 years.

5. Wilson Ramos leads all NL catchers with 27 HR.

2013 MLB Playoff Predictions

National League Wild Card Game:
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati

American League Wild Card Game:
Tampa Bay over Cleveland

National League Division Series:
St. Louis over Pittsburgh (4 games)
Los Angeles over Atlanta (5 games)

American League Division Series:
Detroit over Oakland (4 games)
Boston over Tampa Bay (5 games)

NLCS:
Los Angeles over St. Louis (6 games)
Boston over Detroit (7 games)

World Series:
Los Angeles over Boston (6 games)

Diamond Hoggers’ 2013 Season Predictions Post (Mevs)

Big_League_Chew_bubble_gum

Tonight is Opening Night of the 2013 MLB season. How hard is that to believe? In honor of the special day which is similar to a second Christmas Eve, we make our picks on all things baseball so we can look back and see how everyone did at season’s end. Here’s our 2012 predictions. Last year was hit and miss, but we feel much more educated for this year. Here’s how I see things in baseball shaking out in 2013:

American League

AL East:
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays*
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central:
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox*
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins

AL West:
Anaheim Angels
Texas Rangers
Oakland A’s
Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros

National League

NL East:
Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves*
Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets
Florida Marlins

NL Central:
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals*
Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Arizona DiamondBacks
Colorado Rockies

* Denotes Wildcard teams

Playoffs:
Wildcard Games:
Toronto Blue Jays over Chicago White Sox
Atlanta Braves over St. Louis Cardinals

Wild Card Round:
Detroit Tigers over Tampa Bay Rays
Anaheim Angels over Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers over Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals over Atlanta Braves

ALCS/NLCS:
Anaheim Angels over Detroit Tigers in 7 games
Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6 games

World Series:
Anaheim Angels over Washington Nationals in 5 games

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
AL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
AL Manager of the Year: Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox
NL Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals
AL Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
NL Rookie of the Year: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Team that will most resemble Cinderella: Pittsburgh Pirates
AL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins
NL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Terry Collins, New York Mets
AL Team Worst Record: Houston Astros
NL Team Worst Record: Florida Marlins

Other Notable Predictions:

Hardball Talk

ESPN

Sports Illustrated

FanGraphs

CBS Sports

Baseball Prospectus

Sporting News

The Baseball Show: Season Predictions & Over/Under

Over-Under-Logo

Last evening on The Baseball Show Podcast, co-hosts Mike Rosenbaum, M.J. Lloyd and myself did our season predictions and over/under show (basically more predictions).

Here’s the rundown:

-Division by division picks
-Season award picks
-Over/Unders for different totals of certain players

This is probably my favorite podcast to do each year because it’s so much fun. I think we’re close to being right on a lot of things, so make sure you hang with us for the duration of the show if you’re sitting around bored this Easter weekend.

2013 Seattle Mariners Team Preview

Our team previews start in the northwest of the US where the weather says baseball is still months away, but I believe the calendar.  The Seattle Mariners represent a bit of what I love about baseball.  Perpetual hope.  They might not be the best now, but they have plenty of young talent that make the future look brighter.

Let’s do a run down of the Mariners.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Acquired Kendrys Morales to bolster beleaguered lineup.
  • Acquired Michael Morse for the same reason.
  • Inked their ace, Felix Hernandez, to a 7 year $175m deal.
  • Moved the outfield walls in at SafeCo field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now on to who is going to take the field this year.

Continue reading

2012 NLDS San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview Post (and Prediction)

A series this important and monumental for my favorite professional sports franchise leaves me struggling to find the words on the eve of it’s beginning.

There isn’t enough I can say about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds or the special place that they hold in my heart. When this season began, I had a vision that this team’s destiny ended up somewhere in the NLCS. I didn’t know what it held from it’s beginning to it’s end, but it’s one of those visions I’ve rarely had in all of my life watching sports. It came to me originally in the 2010 NLDS, it was the 6th or 7th inning. I knew that door was closing. But I knew if I could just live long enough the Reds would be back and they would make a run. I knew 2012 was that year.

This post is more about their opponent that stands in their way. Based on a few factors, the Giants are the toughest opponent that the Reds could have drawn to open up their postseason. After the initial reaction which was fear came some acceptance on my behalf. Then came the simple fact that if this team is going to win the National League pennant, there shouldn’t be any desires for them to dodge anyone. Lay it all on the line and carve out your legacy. Go through an NL West team. Be the team that knocks off the recent World Champions.

I know these guys know what’s at stake; and I know they’re going to fight hard. There are certain things I have gut feelings about in this series. I would bet my life that the Reds don’t get swept. Not this time. I would also wager that the Reds are confident in winning this series. They aren’t scared. They think they’re the NL’s best team. I have a feeling Joey Votto hits two home runs at some point in this series in the same game. If the Reds lose, I predict that Dusty Baker will retire with the looming health problems and tepid contract situation on the forefront.

If the Reds can find a way to get through Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and company; I predict they’ll represent the National League in the World Series. No one else would be a tougher opponent for the Reds. There are no West Coast trips remaining in the rest possible paths to the pennant. This is the biggest obstacle, and the way through it must be passed first.

But there was something else about my vision of the Reds magical run; and I need to mention that they were probably baseball’s best and most balanced team in the 2012 regular season. If it does end here, we’ve been given a great team that I just knew would deliver up to this point.

The other part of the vision that I had–and I don’t know why–was the Reds season ending at the hands of an NL West team. I felt strongly about it.

I love this team and I’m so proud of them. I’ll lose a part of me during this series win or lose. I know they’re going to fight like Hell to advance. I think we’re in for the ride of our lives these next few days, and if the journey doesn’t end prematurely; some doors will open up with illusions we could only dream of behind them.

Enjoy this series Reds fans. When Johnny Cueto throws the first pitch tomorrow evening, it will have been exactly 18 years to the date since the Reds have won a postseason game. Think about that for a moment. It has spanned careers, lifetimes, relationships, hallmark events in your life.

My heart says one thing, while my head as a baseball fan says another. I’m going with what my head tells me on this.

Prediction: San Francisco Giants over Cincinnati Reds in Five Games

Postseason Predictions Begin to File In

ESPN

A total of 28 experts picked the playoffs all the way through.

Here are the number of people who picked the Reds to do the following:

Lose in the first round (out of 28): 15
Win in the first round (out of 28): 13

Lose in the NLCS (out of 13): 4
Win the NLCS (out of 13): 9

Lose in the World Series (out of 9): 5
Win the World Series (out of 9): 4

CBS Sports (Eye on Baseball)

Knobler and Perry pick the Reds to go to the World Series. Perry picks the Reds to win it all.

Jon Heyman picks the Nationals to win the World Series, with Bryce Harper as the MVP.

Wild Card Friday (& Predictions)

For the first time in the history of this blog (and the sport in general), the postseason kicks off with two Wildcard teams playing a one game play-in the day before the real deal gets going.

National League: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves

The last time Fredi Gonzalez was in this situation, he didn’t fare so well. He’s not a good manager, and his immensely talented team has brought him back for a chance at redemption despite his attempts to sabotage them all. It’s a testament to the winning culture in Atlanta, and the fact that they want to send their strong leader Chipper Jones out as he deserves; a winner.

The Cardinals had enough magic last season to last them a lifetime. If you were like us, you waited all season long for a Cardinals run that never really came. We have no doubts that the Cardinals will have some great runs in the future under Mike Matheny, and this season was a nice start to his managerial career. But these Cardinals are not made with the same ingredients that made them great at this time last year. They just aren’t.

They’ve still got the ability to score and knock down fences with the best of them, but there’s some smoke and mirrors within their starting rotation. Adam Wainwright has a lot of mileage on his arm, Chris Carpenter missed most of the season, and the wildcard game starter Kyle Lohse had a career year that seems to be an anomaly more than a constant.

The baseball gods will allow the Braves to extract some sweet revenge on the team that stole their spot like a thief in the night a year ago. Fredi and the Braves will win tomorrow night in Atlanta and give Chipper Jones one final crack at a ring that has eluded him since 1995. The Cardinals season ends tomorrow.

Prediction: Braves over Cardinals

American League: Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers

My goodness we love Ron Washington. His speech to his troops before World Series game seven last postseason is the thing that legends are made of. And how about those tricky Orioles? Who in their right mind had Buck Showalter and the Orioles here at this point? No one. Not a damn person outside the Baltimore fan base, and if you try to tell me otherwise you’re lying.

The Orioles have strung together a rag-tag bunch that includes Mark Reynolds, Robert Andino, Nate McLouth, and Chris Davis. Of course they’ll go to the Hellhouse that is the Ballpark in Arlington, to face all of those terrifying hitters and F-bomb dropping Ron Washington and they’ll start a pitcher (Joe Saunders) who I would consider waiver wire garbage. Were they trolling late-night for catfish the night that they found Saunders? He started seven games for the Orioles this season. They haven’t a season like this since I was still searching for my first kiss. And they’re going to let Joe Saunders decide their season? This is who you throw out there to decide the biggest game this team has played in decades? That’s TV I’ve got to see.

But you know what? The baseball gods are a funny thing.

Here are teams on the opposite side of the spectrum. One team is littered with superstars, while the other just appears littered. The Rangers will throw their high-dollar import special Yu Darvish to oppose Saunders. The Rangers have about as much postseason experience up and down the roster as anyone in the field this year. The Orioles have little to none.

Everyone in the world will pick the Rangers tomorrow night. It would probably make sense to do the same. But something in my gut tells me that this Texas team has learned the just how long and impossible the journey seems. They’re jaded. They dropped the World Series two years ago. Last year they climbed back up that tall hill only to see it slip away in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible in sports. If that wasn’t enough to kill the spirits of this team, getting caught by the Oakland Athletics and losing the division title after leading the way for 99% of the season has destroyed this team’s inner conscious. I’m telling you that they’re mentally cooked.

Look back at the other side now, those tricky Orioles. They don’t know what they’re about to embark upon. They haven’t been here. They can say ‘who gives a shit, the whole damn season has been crazy anyways’. They have been starting Mark Reynolds the last few seasons. What do they care? Here’s a situation where I think lack of experience helps a team. In this one game scenario, they can catch some lightning in a bottle because they aren’t able to fully grasp the moment. All the pressure in the world is on our beloved Ron Washington and his Cocaine Cowboys of the West.

Most of all, in this life when everything seems so certain; it isn’t at all. Go the other way with the pick that everyone will go one way with. When they zig, you zag.

Prediction: Orioles over Rangers

Diamond Hoggers 2010 Season Predictions Post

As part of our full-service primer for the 2010 season, we make our picks on everything so we can look back and see how everyone did at season’s end. Here’s our 2009 predictions, not that bad. Last year was hit and miss, but we feel much more educated for this year. We’ve really studied up and feel confident as ever about how things will shake out. Here’s how I see things in baseball for the following season:

American League

AL East:
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays*
Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central:
Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals

AL West:
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Oakland A’s

National League

NL East:
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves*
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Washington Nationals

NL Central:
St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona DiamondBacks
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres

* Denotes wildcard teams

Playoffs:
New York Yankees over Texas Rangers

Tampa Bay Rays over Minnesota Twins
Atlanta Braves over St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers over Philadelphia Phillies

ALCS/NLCS:
Los Angeles Dodgers over Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays over New York Yankees

World Series:
Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
AL CY YOUNG: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
NL CY YOUNG: Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Washington, Texas Rangers
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves
AL Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers
NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
Team that will most resemble Cinderella: Arizona DiamondBacks
AL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
NL Manager first fired/hot-seat: Bud Black, San Diego Padres
AL Team Worst Record: Oakland A’s
NL Team Worst Record: Pittsburgh Pirates

Sports Illustrated on the NL Central

http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/.element/swf/4.1/global/cvp/si_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=032610.ir_verducci_NLcentral

If you have not yet seen Sports Illustrated’s NL Central Preview and you’re a Reds fan, you aren’t missing out on much.

The fellas over at SI were kind enough to predict a 3rd place finish from our boys, of course finishing behing the mainstream Cubs and Cardinals.

They were nice enough to include a few sentences about us, which is more then the Brewers and Pirates received. So we’ll give them credit there. You still have to say that Sports Illustrated’s writers are so insanely bottled when it comes to their predictions. No one ever goes out on a limb or changes the field much from the year before. God forbid one of these guys had the DBacks winning the National League pennant for some variability.

Anyways, in case they’re all wrong; we’ve got them on record here.