- AL Central
- 2012 MLB Season Overview
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- MLB Team Run Differential
Selig said he had endured far more criticism about the introduction of the wild card — and the blasphemy of including a second-place team in the playoffs — than about the system now in place. The one constructive criticism of the earlier system had been that it did not give enough credence to winning your division. To the extent that the system puts the Yankees at a competitive disadvantage — wait, what? When the Yankees, and the Dodgers, and other wealthy teams share all of their revenue with their competitors, then we can take up the issue of competitive disadvantage.
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Take a seat before you read this. Bill Shaikin.
2012 MLB Season Overview
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Meanwhile, tanking has become more tolerated , in part because the Astros and Cubs offered models to follow, using premium draft picks accrued from plus loss seasons to help build championship clubs. And perhaps these trends also make for more predictable October baseball. The last three World Series champions each won plus games in the regular season preceding their title.
The Astros and Dodgers are the favorites to meet in the World Series, as they did in If they do, it will make the MLB postseason finale feel like an inevitable conclusion to an incredibly predictable season. Check out our latest MLB predictions. The Yankees and Astros never saw their playoff odds fall beneath 60 percent, and though the Twins opened the season with a Travis Sawchik is a sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight.
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Baltimore ranked towards the middle of the league in offensive production in ; however, they simply do not have the starting pitching to compete with New York, Boston, Tampa and Toronto a combined 72 times over the course of the season. But for now, the big-market money spenders will remain atop the East. After an old-school prospect exchange with the New York Yankees in the offseason, the Seattle Mariners still remain a few years away from contention in the AL.
With a core of young talent surrounding Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez, the M's will have to wait a while before they can compete with the vastly improved LA Angels and Texas Rangers. Fans remain hopeful that their return from the Cliff Lee trade, Justin Smoak, will develop into the hitter scouts projected he would be. His emergence combined with the addition of a blue-chip hitting prospect in Jesus Montero should help produce at the plate for a team that scored fewer runs than any in baseball a season ago.
A bounce-back year from Ichiro Suzuki would not be surprising, but cannot be expected at age And playing at one of the league's largest ballparks, Safeco Field, 81 times a season certainly will not help the cause. You do have to commend the Mariners front office for making moves to bolster a weak lineup.
Giving up prized pitching prospect Michael Pineda was not easy, but it was necessary given the best interests of the team long-term. Unfortunately, long-term does not mean right now. Not two years removed from a devastating September collapse, the San Diego Padres look nothing like the team that won 90 games in The trading of Adrian Gonzalez to Boston last winter spurred a movement that has left very few familiar faces from two seasons ago.
Guys like Heath Bell, Mat Latos and Ryan Ludwick will all be sporting different uniforms this spring despite their contributions to a surprisingly competitive campaign. Now, the Padres have an abundance of younger, more inexperienced talent that will take time to mature.
Offseason moves to acquire veterans Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson will undoubtedly help with the growth and development of a young team; however, they remain unlikely to produce numbers beyond what is expected from guys at the bottom of the order. As for the rotation, the unproven Tim Stauffer leads the way for a shaky group that includes the consistently inconsistent Edinson Volquez. If only Huston Street would sprint in from the bullpen, maybe the crowd at Petco Park would have something to cheer about in Realistically, the greatest hope for Mets fans might be that Johan Santana and David Wright avoid the disabled list in The two staples of the franchise have struggled to remain healthy in recent seasons, diminishing what chances New York did have to compete with Philadelphia and Atlanta atop the NL East.
Also consider that Washington added a quality arm to an already promising rotation, the fact that the Marlins improved at the Mets expense adding Jose Reyes , and you have four quality playoff contenders in one division. A string of three consecutive fourth-place finishes could be snapped in ; however, fifth place does not sound much better.
Hefty contracts and spontaneous coaching changes have proved widely ineffective for the Mets in recent years. It is clearly time to rebuild. Optimism flooded Kauffman Stadium during the early months of last season when Kansas City remained in contention for much of the first half. Though the run did not last into the fall, fans of the Royals should not get discouraged. No, the Royals have not made the playoffs since their title year in ' No, they do not have the pieces in place to compete for one this year.
Last year, Alex Gordon finally showed fans why the organization drafted him with the second overall pick in the draft. He batted. Unfortunately the pitching is a bit further away. Pittsburgh was another city inspired by success in the early stages of last season. But a dismal second half led to a 19th consecutive losing season. But like many of the teams listed before them, Pittsburgh is still a few years away from playoff contention. Question marks in the rotation begin and end with former Yankees. AJ Burnett, who was recently acquired from New York, is likely to lead the five-man rotation with Jeff Karstens on the back end.
Erik Bedard is slotted as the third starter, and possibly poses more uncertainty than the other two. Making the switch to the National League this season, the oft-injured Bedard looks to make 30 starts for just the second time in his career. Even then, it remains a long shot that we will see the Pirates in October. But that does not mean they can't finish above.
While the recent addition of the suspended Manny Ramirez does not remind fans of Billy Beane's strategy portrayed in Moneyball , the low-risk acquisition could prove beneficial for a team that ranked in the bottom third of the league in runs scored in For a team that has been built around pitching the last few years, the Athletics appear to be addressing offensive needs at last. Cespedes batted. Premiere closer Andrew Bailey, like Gonzalez, was traded this winter to the surprise of many. And to make matters worse, injuries have left potential ace Brett Anderson out for the year and Dallas Braden sidelined for an uncertain period of time.
For once, the Athletics might be able to score some runs in the enormous Coliseum. But in the crowded AL West, they simply do not have the pieces to contend in Coming into the season, all eyes in Cleveland will be on Ubaldo Jimenez to see if he can rebound from a disappointing campaign. After surrendering their top two pitching prospects for him, the Indians hope the hard-throwing righty can get back to the success that earned him a start in the All-Star Game.
Jimenez struggled in 10 outings for Cleveland after being dealt at the deadline last season, posting a 4.
MLB Team Run Differential
But a return to form for Ubaldo could mean great things for an experienced Indians pitching staff that ranked near the middle of the league in After a career year, Justin Masterson looks to repeat a season that featured 33 starts and a 3. Behind him, veteran Derek Lowe, Josh Tomlin and Kevin Slowey will likely round out, what appears to be, a solid rotation for the Tribe in As for the position players, Cleveland seems to have the infield of the future in place.
Bounceback years from Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo could potentially help Cleveland pose a threat to the Tigers in the AL Central, but when all is said and done, it will be Detroit's division crown to lose. Despite being plagued by injuries, the Twins managed to stick around in the AL Central until the late summer months sent them into a downward spiral landing Ron Gardenhire's club in last place. After a relatively inactive offseason, the Twins hope that a winter-long doctor's visit will help them return to playoff contention.
With mostly minor injuries, it is expected that everyone will arrive at camp percent healthy. And now, all Twins fans can ask for is that the two injury-prone superstars finish a season together.