Saturday, April 20, 2013

The NBA Blog: 2013 Playoff Predictions

2013 NBA Playoff Predictions

Western Conference

First Round
#1 Oklahoma City over #8 Houston (4-1)
#2 San Antonio over #7 Los Angeles Lakers (4-2)
#3 Denver over #6 Golden State (4-1)
#4 Los Angeles Clippers over #5 Memphis (4-2)

Second Round
#1 Oklahoma City over #4 Los Angeles Clippers (4-2)
#2 San Antonio over #3 Denver (4-2)

Conference Finals
#1 Oklahoma City over #2 San Antonio (4-3)

Eastern Conference

First Round
#1 Miami over #8 Milwaukee (4-0)
#2 New York over #7 Boston (4-3)
#6 Atlanta over #3 Indiana (4-3)
#5 Chicago over #4 Brooklyn (4-3)

Second Round
#1 Miami over #5 Chicago (4-1)
#2 New York over #6 Atlanta (4-2)

Conference Finals
#1 Miami over #2 New York (4-1)

NBA Finals
#1 Miami over #1 Oklahoma City (4-2)
Finals MVP: LeBron James

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Baseball Blog: 2013 MLB Team Rankings and Mini-Previews

2013 MLB Team Rankings and Mini-Previews
Note: Projected W-L total in parenthesis. 

1. Washington Nationals (99-63): They’re pretty scary. Loaded and they should be much healthier this year. Plus, the bullpen and rotation got even stronger. And this time they’ll have their guy who can dominate any lineup at the time when it most helps to have a guy who can dominate any lineup. 

2. Tampa Bay Rays (99-63): I guess this is more of a hunch pick. They’re still working with some inherent disadvantages. We know Maddon will have them competitive, but if they have bad luck they could wind up winning between 80 and 89 games rather than winning between 90 and 99 games. But for some reason I feel like this might be their year. There are no obvious holes.  

3. Anaheim Angels (98-64): They’re loaded everywhere and this year they won’t be under as much pressure. I think they’ll be as good as they looked to be on paper going into last year. 

4. Detroit Tigers (97-65): They should cruise to another division title and if they get into the postseason with that rotation they’ll be hard to beat. 

5. St. Louis Cardinals (96-66): The Cards have good starting pitching and relief pitching, but the backbone is that deep lineup that is so hard to kill in October. 

6. San Francisco Giants (95-67): Look, the lineup still isn’t that impressive, but they’ve won 2 of the last 3 titles and they aren’t going anywhere. They’ve got a stellar rotation and the pen is damn near unbeatable in October. 

7. Cincinnati Reds (94-68): I doubt I’ve ever had the Reds ranked this high, even before I started doing this blog. You know they’re going to score runs and they have a solid rotation. But it’s the bullpen that puts them near the top of the league for me. It’s elite. 

8. Atlanta Braves (92-70): My team should be competitive again and in the running for a postseason spot. We should be in position to win a World Series championship if we can just get in and then get hot in October. Of course, we’ve been in that position in about 20 of the last 22 seasons and it’s only happened once so…

9. Philadelphia Phillies (91-71): I think they’ll bounce back this year. They’re certainly not what they were a few years ago, but don’t forget about them. 

10. New York Yankees (91-71): They’d definitely be lower if they weren’t the Yanks. They’ve had horrendous injury luck since last fall and they apparently don’t have a single youngster in the organization that can help out. This could well be the year that New York’s stretch of winning seasons comes to an end. To be honest, I’ve always felt like their winning record streak would end up being something outrageous like 50 years or so, as I just could never imagine how they wouldn’t at least win 82 games. Right now they’re at 20 straight winning seasons, but it’s actually not hard to see how they might fail to win at least 82 this year.

They still have the highest payroll in the game (in fact they apparently set a new record for opening day payroll this year), but they are more ordinary than they’ve been in a long time. This could be a losing year. But I’m betting against it. I bet they hang around long enough for the injured guys to come back and I bet they wind up finding their way into the postseason as usual. 

11. Toronto Blue Jays (90-72): Is this finally the year Toronto makes it back to the playoffs? Going into the season they’re the Marlins of this year (in more ways than one). We’ll find out if the plan goes better for the Jays than it did for the Fish last year. 

12. Los Angeles Dodgers (89-73): The Dodgers are solid all around and should be in the mix for a playoff spot. 

13. Texas Rangers (88-74): I feel like the Rangers have taken a few steps back. They certainly seem to be “trending downward” to use the parlance of our times. But then again perhaps they’ll be better than I think and they’ll finally win it all this year. It could certainly happen.

14. Boston Red Sox (87-75): A lot of people would find this projection to be a bit too optimistic but I can’t count out the Sox. They have to be due for a swing back in the other direction, right? 

15. Chicago White Sox (85-77): I expect the White Sox to be the good-but-not-great team that they seem to be almost every single year. They should benefit from playing a schedule loaded with games against Cleveland, Kansas City, and Minnesota, but I don’t think they’ll really challenge Detroit. And it should be noted that they’ve followed up each of their last 3 winning seasons with losing seasons.  

16. Arizona Diamondbacks (82-80): I don’t think I really understand Arizona’s master plan. But they should be alright this year. 

17. Oakland Athletics (80-82): Well just when we thought the game had passed Ol’ Billy by he was back in business in a major way last year. Billy Beane’s team had been dormant for 5 years and there was no sign that last year would be different. Even after the first couple months of last year there didn’t seem to be anything too special about Oakland. But in typical A’s fashion, a no-name team got insanely hot and overtook everyone on their way to the playoffs. They’re quick playoff exit was also typical for the A’s under Beane. I don’t think it was a fluke. We may actually see a repeat of last year, but I’m betting on more of a middling season. 

18. Kansas City Royals (79-83): They’re not there yet. I don’t think they’ll be as bad as usual and there are enough awful teams in the AL for them to win some games. But I don’t think this is the year they finish over .500. 

19. Colorado Rockies (76-86): This team is just hard to project because they play in Denver, they are always getting hurt, and the pitching is so unpredictable. They should score some runs and be healthier this year but I have no faith in the pitching. 

20. Milwaukee Brewers (75-87): It looks to me like Milwaukee’s window has closed for the time being. 

21. Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90): They’re not there yet either. I see another losing season in their future. 

22. Seattle Mariners (75-87): Shouldn’t be terrible but I’ll be shocked if they are better than mediocre. 

23. New York Mets (69-93): There’s no reason to think they’ll be any good, but I don’t think the Mets will be a total disaster. 

24. Cleveland Indians (66-96): Cleveland seems to be in between rebuilding and trying to compete and that’s a tough spot to be in. 

25. San Diego Padres (66-96): There’s just not much to the Padres these days. 

26. Minnesota Twins (62-100): They’ve hit the nadir I believe. Will this rut end up taking out Ron Gardenhire? 

27. Baltimore Orioles (60-102): That’s right. I’ve got ‘em right back where I had ‘em last year. Sure, I was way, way wrong last year in terms of projected win-loss record for these guys. But I don’t think my reasoning was wrong. Last year’s Baltimore Orioles squad was without a doubt the luckiest MLB team I have ever seen, and they may have been the luckiest team I’ve seen out of all of the Big Four North American sports leagues. There’s no doubt in my mind they were a total fluke.  

28. Miami Marlins (60-102): It seems inconceivable that they won’t suck. 

29. Chicago Cubs (59-103): The Cubbies have kinda crept back to the old days. From 2007-2009 the Cubs posted 3 consecutive winning records for the first time since the early 1970’s. They’ve now posted losing records in each of the 3 seasons since then, going from 75 wins to 71 wins to 61 wins last year. I think the Cubbies will experience back-to-back 100-loss seasons for the first time in their existence. 

Yeah, take that in. No, it’s for real. 137 years and they’ve never lost 100 games twice in a row. In fact, they’ve only lost 100 games or more in 3 of 137 seasons. Now, I do understand that they’ve only been playing 162 games a year since 1962. And I realize that during the first half of the 20th century they were actually good on a consistent basis. But still: they’ve made the postseason just 6 times in the last 67 years, and yet they’ve only lost more than 99 games 3 times? That seems strange to me.

30. Houston Astros (58-104): It’s weird that the Astros are in the American League now. It’ll be a surprise if they aren’t the worst team in baseball once again this season. It’ll take something special for them to avoid a third straight 100-loss season.

The Baseball Blog: 2013 MLB Season Predictions

No time for cute introductory paragraphs this year, Imaginary Readers. Gotta get right into the predictions, straight away.

2013 MLB Predictions

Note: predicted number of wins and losses are exact. Wildcard teams in italics. 

(#) = predicted finish within league (based on W-L record).

American League

1. Rays: 99-63 (1)
2. Yankees: 91-71 (4)
3. Blue Jays: 90-72 (5)
4. Red Sox: 87-75 (7)
5. Orioles: 60-102 (14)

1. Tigers: 97-65 (3)
2. White Sox: 85-77 (8)
3. Royals: 79-83 (10)
4. Indians: 66-96 (12)
5. Twins: 62-100 (13)

1. Angels: 98-64 (2)
2. Rangers: 88-74 (6)
3. Athletics: 80-82 (9)
4. Mariners: 75-87 (11)
5. Astros: 58-104 (15)

National League

1. Nationals: 99-63 (1)
2. Braves: 92-70 (5)
3. Phillies: 91-71 (6)
4. Mets: 69-93 (12)
5. Marlins: 60-102 (14)

1. Cardinals: 96-66 (2)
2. Reds: 94-68 (4)
3. Brewers: 75-87 (10)
4. Pirates: 72-90 (11)
5. Cubs: 59-103 (15)

1. Giants: 95-67 (3)
2. Dodgers: 89-73 (7)
3. Diamondbacks: 82-80 (8)
4. Rockies: 76-86 (9)
5. Padres: 66-96 (13)

MLB Team Power Rankings and Projected W-L Records

1. Nationals: 99-63

2. Rays: 99-63

3. Angels: 98-64

4. Detroit: 97-65

5. Cardinals: 96-66

6. Giants: 95-67

7. Reds: 94-68

8. Braves: 92-70

9. Phillies: 91-71

10. Yankees: 91-71

11. Blue Jays: 90-72

12. Dodgers: 89-73

13. Rangers: 88-74

14. Red Sox: 87-75

15. White Sox: 85-77

16. Diamondbacks: 82-80

17. Athletics: 80-82

18. Royals: 79-83

19. Rockies: 76-86

20. Brewers: 75-87

21. Pirates: 72-90

22. Mariners: 75-87

23. Mets: 69-93

24. Indians: 66-96

25. Padres: 66-96

26. Twins: 62-100

27. Orioles: 60-102

28. Marlins: 60-102

29. Cubs: 59-103

30. Astros: 58-104

American League Playoffs

Wildcard Playoffs

#4 New York Yankees over #5 Toronto (1-0)


#1 Tampa Bay over #4 New York Yankees (3-0)

#3 Detroit over #2 Anaheim (3-2)


#1 Tampa Bay over #3 Detroit (4-3)

National League Playoffs

Wildcard Playoffs

#5 Atlanta over #4 Cincinnati (1-0)


#1 Washington over #5 Atlanta (3-1)

#2 St. Louis over #3 San Francisco (3-1)


#1 Washington over #2 St. Louis (4-2)

World Series

#1 Tampa Bay over #1 Washington (4-3)

Awards and Leaders

AL MVP: Albert Pujols

NL MVP: Jason Heyward

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

AL ROY: Jackie Bradley 

NL ROY: Jedd Gyorko

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon

NL Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny

AL Rolaids Reliever of the Year: Mariano Rivera

NL Rolaids Reliever of the Year: Craig Kimbrel

ALCS MVP: Evan Longoria

NLCS MVP: Gio Gonzalez 

World Series MVP: David Price

AL Batting Champ: Miguel Cabrera 

NL Batting Champ: Joey Votto

AL Homerun King: Jose Bautista 

NL Homerun King: Giancarlo Stanton

AL Win Leader: Yu Darvish

NL Win Leader: Cliff Lee

AL Save Leader: Joe Nathan 

NL Save Leader: Jonathan Papelbon