It is much easier to be wrong when picking who will win and far be it from me to strain myself. I mean it is bad enough that I put myself through this annual exercise in self-humiliation, but I’ll be damned if I pull a muscle in the process.
The number this year to be aware of is 5. Five teams from each league will reach the postseason and of those 10 teams, eight will move beyond game 163.
My formula for making my selections is grammatical in nature. I believe that punctuation marks help you decide things. For example, if you go to a restaurant and you look at a menu and the description of the item has lots of commas (Pan-Roasted Silver Hake with Fennel Infused Brandade, Shaved Fennel, Pickled Peppers, and Watercress … Black Olive Tapenade. The likelihood is really good that you will be over-paying for each comma. My baseball picks are based on question marks – the more questions a team has the worse the team’s chances are for success (Can the Red Sox succeed with two unproven starters at the back end of their rotation? What happens if Pedroia/Ellsbury/Gonzo gets hurt? Can Melancon replace Bard? Can Bailey replace Papelbon? Can Valentine replace Francona?. There are so many more questions, I don’t want to fill the page). The point here, is that I prefer my menus without a lot of commas, my teams without a lot of question marks, and my sentences without a lot of semi-colons because of my fear of semi-colitis.
To get to the five in league, I started with a process of elimination.
These teams are definitely not participating in Postseason Pandemonium (okay, it’s not March Madness):
From the AL East: Baltimore Orioles
From the AL Central: Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox
From the AL West: Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners
From the NL East: NY Mets
From the NL Central: Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs (Does a rotation of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm make you shake with fear? What if you’re not a terrified Cubs fan?).
From the NL West: San Diego Padres
That leaves seven teams in the AL and an unwieldy 11 teams in the NL.
Let’s look at Cinderella teams. These are teams that are good but require some magic like a Fairy Godmother to make it to the Postseason Prom (yes, I’m still trying):
AL – Toronto Blue Jays
NL – Washington Nationals – BTW: I take Jayson Werth over Carl Crawford in the “who comes back better from the worst signing of last season” contest
That leaves six teams in the AL and an awkward 10 teams in the NL.
I describe the NL grouping as awkward because while five of the 10 will play in October, not all are equally viable choices. They are better than the Eliminated, but not as promising as the Cinderellas. They are the teams filled with too many question marks.
The Dubious include:
From the NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies
That leaves me with eight teams and five slots in the NL. Now here’s my problem, I’m not a fan of any of the teams in the NL Central. Of the three remaining, the Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers, any could win the division and none are likely Wild Card contenders.
- The Cardinals are minus Chris Carpenter for how long? And did you hear that Tony LaRussa retired? By the way, did you notice that Albert Pujols is now an Angel?
- Oh, and Prince Fielder is now a Tiger? And Ryan Braun is either innocent or guilty of PEDs depending on whether a FedEx delivery can be made?
- Who is closing for the Reds now that Ryan Madsen is out for the season? Dusty Baker didn’t even get a chance to ruin his arm. Mat Latos was an ace in San Diego, who isn’t?
Then there is the NL East.
- The Phillies have great starters, and a great closer, but will these guys play the infield when they aren’t pitching?
- Will the Braves relievers start this year so they can get get some rest? Will Jason Heyward continue to go haywire? Will Chipper just be Larry if his knee hampers him in his final season? Doesn’t it concern you that the Braves rushed to sign Livan Hernandez two hours after the right-hander was released by the Houston Astros?
Okay, having said all that (meaning I can’t procrastinate any further) here we go, here are my picks:
- NY Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Boston Red Sox – My preseason shocker says, Bobby V will be one and done with Sox and back to ESPN next year
- Baltimore Orioles
- Detroit Tigers - Drew Smyly joins the rotation, yeah that’s the difference maker in this horrid division
- Kansas City Royals
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Minnesota Twins
- Los Angeles Angels – Too much pitching, hitting, and managing for the rest of the league
- Texas Rangers (Wild Card) – The Josh Hamilton negotiations could get ugly
- Seattle Mariners
- Oakland A’s
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Miami Marlins (Wild Card)
- Washington Nationals
- Atlanta Braves
- NY Mets
- Cincinnati Reds
- Milwaukee Brewers
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Chicago Cubs
- Houston Astros
- San Francisco Giants – Matt Cain will prove very able
- Arizona Diamondbacks (Wild Card)
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Colorado Rockies
- San Diego Padres
World Champions – Angels, I love the rotation of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana
- AL Cy Young – Jered Weaver
- NL Cy Young – Zack Greinke
- AL Manager of the Year – John Farrell
- NL Manager of the Year – Ozzie Guillen