Jose Bautista leads the revamped Jays
Aidan Flynn's 2013 Predictions
AL East
1. Toronto Blue Jays: 93-69
2. Tampa Bay Rays: 92-70
3. Boston Red Sox: 85-77
4. New York Yankees: 79-83
5. Baltimore Orioles: 74-88

Attempting to take advantage of a clear opening in the division, the Blue Jays acquired a legitimate, although atypical, ace in RA Dickey and other All-Star talents in the form of Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle. Overall, the Blue Jays boast an exceptional amount of talent on both the offensive and pitching ends, and should make a run at the divisional crown. The Rays have a top-3 rotation in the game, even with the loss of James Shields. Their offense is a bit questionable, but I like the offensive core of Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce, and eventually, Wil Myers. The Red Sox actually spent the most this offseason, adding over $80 million over the winter months. While I think the Sox will definitely rebound from their forgettable 2012, the mediocrity on the pitching end and injury concerns prevent them from ultimately reaching the postseason. The Yankees are the Yankees, I know, I know, but their pitching depth, or lack thereof, age, and injury concerns are all major question marks. I seriously doubt the position players' ability defy the laws of aging and if that happens entirely, their season could turn ugly fast. The Orioles probably lucked themselves into a playoff spot last year. Not to take anything away from what they did, but it just isn't sustainable. They do have some good pieces (Jones, Wieters, Machado) but I don't trust their pitching and playing in the AL East shouldn't do them any favors.

Is Salvador Perez a breakout player?
AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers: 95-67
2. Chicago White Sox: 83-79
3. Cleveland Indians: 81-81
4. Kansas City Royals: 78-84
5. Minnesota Twins: 64-98

The Tigers possessed one of the most well-rounded rosters in the Majors last year, and that was with bad luck from Max Scherzer, a shaky bullpen, 600 PAs from Delmon Young, and the absence of Victor Martinez. The bullpen situation still isn't resolved but the rest of team looks poised to run away with the worst division in baseball. Their staff is crazy deep and could produce two genuine CY contenders in Scherzer and Justin Verlander. The White Sox, Indians, and Royals all suffer from mediocrity syndrome. The White Sox probably won't have the same pitching and don't have quite the offensive firepower of the Tigers. The Indians have a nice lineup, which was augmented by offseason acquisitions Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Still, the pitching is just downright awful and should prevent the Indians from being anything more than a .500 team. I know the Royals are the "hot" pick right now, but I don't see it. Their pitching is almost as bad as the Indians. Luis Mendoza? Ervin Santana? Even Wade Davis and Jeremy Guthrie? Does that even sound like a playoff team. To me, it screams mediocrity. I do like the bullpen (Kelvin Herrera might be this year's Chapman) and some of their young players (especially Perez and Moustakas), but still can't look past the starting pitching. Speaking of bad rotations, the Twins' should be pretty terrible as well. Joe Mauer and his pretty little swing should be the only thing keeping Twin Cities residents from coming through the turnstiles.

The one and only, Mike Trout
AL West
1. Texas Rangers: 91-71
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 87-75
3. Oakland Athletics: 83-79
4. Seattle Mariners: 75-87
5. Houston Astros: 56-106

Talk of Texas' demise is bit quick in my opinion. They only lost Josh Hamilton, and the acquisitions of Lance Berkman and AJ Pierzynski should at least minimize his loss. Add in improvement from Yu Darvish, some at-bats to Jurickson Profar, and I still see the Rangers as a threat to win the pennant. Everyone knows I adore Mike Trout, but he himself can't make up for the pitching deficiencies of the Angels. I just don't trust that staff at all, and could very well see them falling out of the playoff race. For now, the offense is enough to get it done. Oakland, like Baltimore, will probably regress, but given that their 2012 was more skill-based than lucky, they shouldn't experience quite the same fall. Cespedes, Reddick, platoon advantages galore and the continued development of that young staff should keep them above .500. Seattle probably won't compete this year in the ultra-competitive West, but I love their farm system. Mike Zunino, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin, Brandon Mauerer, and Carter Capps could all see time in the bigs this year and in 2014, they could all be on the field at the same time. Astros fans, you can keep trying to convince yourself 2013 is a nightmare, but this year is going to be flat-out ugly.

Will his age 20 season be better than Trout's?
NL East
1. Washington Nationals: 99-63
2. Atlanta Braves: 89-73
3. Philadelphia Phillies: 80-82
4. New York Mets: 71-91
5. Miami Marlins: 61-101

Washington is the best team in baseball. Hands down, no questions asked. It wouldn't surprise me if they won 100+ games and ran away with the division, pennant, and World Series. Bryce Harper is special and could produce an age 20 season similar to his AL counterpart, Mike Trout. Strasburg could dominate, especially without the innings limit over his head this year. This team is the real deal. Atlanta made some interesting moves this year, first and foremost with the acquisition of Justin Upton. I like the lineup and the defense is off-the-charts, but doubt the starting pitching's ability to succeed over 162 games. The bullpen, on the other hand, has no doubts. Kimbrel, O'Flaherty, Venters...they're loaded. The Phillies are in decline phase and will probably continue until they change their philosophy. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are still good, but everything else, from the rest of the rotation, to the lineup, to the bullpen, are all questionable. The Mets knew they weren't going to be competitive when they dealt the reigning CY winner, but the haul they got back was more than solid. A revitalized system could be producing all-star talents as soon as next year. Miami may have killed baseball in the city, but they did get some quality talent in the various trades they made throughout the year. However, this year, I see very little reason to throw Giancarlo Stanton a strike all year. It's going to be bad.

OBP machine, Joey Votto
NL Central
1. Cincinnati Reds: 95-67
2. St. Louis Cardinals: 90-72
3. Milwaukee Brewers: 82-80
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: 79-83
5. Chicago Cubs: 73-89

I think the Reds are like the Nationals, just a lesser version. They both excel in multiple facets of the game. I really like Shin-Soo Choo in the leadoff spot, a place where they got absolutely no production last year. If Joey Votto is healthy, he could make a run at a second MVP. People still don't understand how good he is. The Cardinals are solid all around team and there might not be a more important player than Yadier Molina. The progressions he's made with his bat are for real and he should also be a shortlist MVP candidate. After the top two, he rest of the division lays in mediocrity. Milwaukee has some good bats, but the pitching is suspect. Pittsburgh has Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, and practically nothing else. Prepare for losing season number 21 this year. Chicago won't do a whole lot this year, but Epstein and co. know what they're doing. Jeff Samardzija is a burgeoning ace and Starlin Castro is a future superstar. They won't win the World Series this year, but could very well in a couple of years.

$147 million man Zack Greinke
NL West
1. San Francisco Giants: 88-74
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 87-75
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: 84-78
4. San Diego Padres: 76-86
5. Colorado Rockies: 64-98

Color me unimpressed with the Dodgers' enormous spending spree. They'll certainly benefit from a full year of Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett, and of course, Nick Punto, but I just don't see it coming together for them. Handing money out like its candy can only work for so long, and dishing it out to the always average Brandon League and a fat Korean import in Hyun-Jin Ryu should be a sign of recklessness. The Giants might not have the most talented team, but they are a perfect fit  in their ballpark. They also happen to have the reigning MVP in Buster Posey, who is superstar in his own right. The pitching is always there, so if they get contributions from guys not named Posey, they should be in good shape. As for the Diamondbacks, they faced a lot of scrutiny for their "grit-first" mentality when acquiring players. Despite this, they still have a strong and deep staff that should keep them in plenty of ballgames. I like Adam Eaton, Paul Goldschmidt, and Miguel Montero a lot, and they all should anchor a surprising D-Backs lineup. They could pounce on the division crown if the Giants don't hit and the Dodgers succumb to their high-priced expectations. The Padres have a rather uninspiring team as of now, but could make a things interesting in a year or two with that farm system. Austin Hedges (catcher) and Max Fried (pitcher) are the real deal. Colorado has some nice pieces in Tulowitzki, CarGo, and Fowler, but may god bless the pitchers that have to make Coors their home for a living. The place isn't quite the disaster it was in the 90's-00's, but still ranks as the worst pitcher's park in the game. Until they find any semblance of quality pitching in that park...good luck.


AL WC: Tampa Bay over Los Angeles
ALDS: Tampa Bay over Toronto; Detroit over Texas
ALCS: Tampa Bay over Detroit

NL WC: St. Louis Cardinals over Atlanta Braves
NLDS: Washington Nationals over San Francisco Giants; Cincinnati Reds over St. Louis Cardinals
NLCS: Washington Nationals over Cincinnati Reds

World Series: Washington over Tampa Bay in 7; WS MVP: Bryce Harper
Is Jurickson Profar the game's next star?
MVP: (winner in bold)
1. Mike Trout (.309/.386/.512, 27 HR, 55 SB, 8 WAR)
2. Evan Longoria
3. Miguel Cabrera
1. Joey Votto (.324/.431/.550, 28 HR, 108 RBI, 7.5 WAR)
2. Bryce Harper
3. Troy Tulowitzki

CY: (winner in bold)
1. Max Scherzer (220 IP, 255 K's, 2.75 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 7 WAR)
2. Yu Darvish
3. Matt Moore
1.Clayton Kershaw (230 IP, 235 K's, 2.45 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 7 WAR)
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Madison Bumgarner

ROY: (winner in bold)
1. Jurickson Profar (.270/.330/.410, 3.5 WAR)
2. Chris Archer
3. Wil Myers
1. Trevor Rosenthal (2.50 ERA, 80 IP, 110 K's)
2. Jedd Gyorko
3.  Adam Eaton

Author's Awards (NOTE: These are not real awards!)
Breakout Player Award 
1. Matt Moore (200 IP, 230 K, 2.90 ERA, 6 WAR)
2. Salvador Perez
3. Jason Kipnis
1. Bryce Harper (.292/.366/.531, 36 HR, 125 RBI, 24 SB, 7.5 WAR)
2. Brandon Belt
3. Jeff Samardzija

Craig Kimbrel fronts the best 'pen in baseball
Slugger of the Year Award
1. Miguel Cabrera (.328/.408/.569, 34 HR, 120 RBI, 7 WAR)
2. Jose Bautista
3. Albert Pujols
1. Joey Votto (.324/.431/.550, 28 HR, 108 RBI, 7.5 WAR)
2. Giancarlo Stanton
3. Ryan Braun

ALL MLB Team: 
(1st team listed first and bolded, 2nd team listed second and not bolded)
C: Buster Posey, Salvador Perez
1B: Joey Votto, Albert Pujols
2B: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
3B: Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro
OF: Bryce Harper, Ryan Braun
OF: Mike Trout, Matt Kemp
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista
DH: Billy Butler, Edwin Encarnacion
SP: Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish
SP: Max Scherzer, Matt Moore
SP: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Cole Hamels
RP: Craig Kimbrel, Kelvin Herrera
RP: Aroldis Chapman, David Hernandez



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