(UPDATE: Below in red is a recap of the 2012 preview. Keep a lookout for the 2013 preview, which will begin shortly…)
The beginning of April gives us one of best sports “transitions” of the calendar year. With the promise of spring comes a sharp switch in our overall mentalities from the squeeking of sneakers on the hardwood to the cracking of bats on the diamond. BSB feels this transition as much as anything, as we have always focused most of our attention on 3 sports – college hoops, baseball, and football. So, with the college hoops championship game occuring usually within days of MLB’s opening day, we usually take an about-face on the site and switch over to the sights and sounds of our national pastime. And, no better way to make that transition than to kick off our 2012 MLB Preview.
As followers of the site know, we do season previews in a much different way than anyone else out there. We like to do team-by-team previews, but spice them up by adding in a touch of strategic competition. What we do is to take each team’s win totals from a year ago and set them as the “over-unders” for their win totals this year. Then, we make these over-under picks in draft order, depending on how confident we are in the team either going over or under their total from last year. Then, at the end of the year, we add them up and see how we did. Bry won the first three times we ran this preview (by narrow margins in the first two, 2008 and 2009, and then a wider margin in 2010), and then Doogan got on the board last year, winning the 2011 Preview in a tiebreaker, so he has the momentum.
We will add our picks to this post periodically throughout the week leading up to opening day.
Having picked first last year, Bry defers to Doogan to take the #1 choice this year…
1. DOOGAN – Miami Marlins – OVER 72 wins: Teams always like to make a splash (no pun intended here?) with their first year in a new ballpark, but the Marlins seem to have taken that to a new level going into 2012. Not only have they totally changed their uniforms, changed the name of the team, and brought in a new manager, but they’ve also remade the roster with three high-priced free agents. Jose Reyes takes over at short, Mark Buehrle joins the rotation, and Heath Bell takes over as the closer. Those three veterans join an already talented group of youngsters led by Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton (now, amazingly, known as Giancarlo Stanton), Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Josh Johnson, and Anibal Sanchez. If they stay healthy, they should definitely push for a playoff spot.
FINAL RECORD: 69-93. Point Bry, 1-0
MADNESS! History is made here, as never before has anyone missed their #1 pick. But, it’s much more of a testament to just how disappointingly horrible the Marlins were in 2012 than anything else.
2. BRY – Houston Astros – OVER 56 wins: Is it me or do the “gimmes” get fewer and fewer every year we do this? You would think that with 29 teams to choose from, I would feel more confident than this pick. But, there is an old adage in baseball – you’re going to win 60 games and lose 60 games, and everything is decided in the other 40. Well, I guess I’ll stick with that adage and assume that even if this terrible team loses all 40 of them, they will still hit the Over here for me. Then again – I bet on them to win their division last year and they lost 106.
FINAL RECORD: 55-107. Point Doogan, 1-1
MORE MADNESS!!! Wow! What an unbelievable season if the top two picks are both wrong. Bry mentioned that the “gimmes” are few and far between, but really? 56 wins looked easy. Not for the ‘Stros. What a pathetic franchise. Have fun in the AL West, boys.
3. BRY – Milwaukee Brewers – UNDER 96 wins: With Prince Fielder gone, Ryan Braun‘s appeal of his 50-game suspension may end up being the biggest victory of the Brewers 2012 season. It’s hard to imagine them competing without 210 games of Fielder and Braun. As it is, they still lost 162 games of Fielder, so this team should take a step backwards. Now, honestly, I don’t think they are that much worse, though, I just don’t think anyone in this division will win 96 games. They Brewers still have a pretty solid rotation and their defense should be a lot better – particularly on the left side – as they went from Yuniesky Betancourt and Casey McGahee to Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez. That is about as big of a defensive upgrade as I can remember one team making on the left side of an infield. Also, if Ramirez can regain some of his offensive prowess, his bat could help defray some of the loss felt in the middle of the order by Fielder’s departure. In short, I may be in the minority, but I still feel like this is the team to beat in the NL Central, so it’s strange to pick the Under with the #3 pick – I just think 96 wins is way too many.
FINAL RECORD: 83-79. Point Bry, 2-1
The Brewers weren’t terrible in 2012, but they weren’t that good either, giving Bry the first correct pick of the contest.
4. DOOGAN – Minnesota Twins – OVER 63 wins: A couple of standard BSB MLB preview strategies go into this pick. Mainly, 63 is a low number. This pick shouldn’t be taken as a vote of confidence in this Twins team. But also, there are some teams that you just tend to go over on, based on the history of the franchise, and the Twins are one of those teams. One horrible season won’t change that. Here’s hoping that Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau can stay healthy to power the middle of the line-up. The rotation has no ace, but it is fairly deep, with a good number of solid guys like Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, and Scott Baker. In a pretty middling division, they should be able to hit 70 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 66-96. Point Doogan, 2-2
It wasn’t easy, but Doogan eked out his first correct pick here. It’s hard to believe that such a well-run franchise with a couple of bonafied stars has lost 195 games in the past two years.
5. BRY – New York Mess – UNDER 77 wins: This team is not very good at all. And, since they can’t spend any money, they have to fill holes as cheaply as possible. And, they created two pretty big holes up the middle when they traded away Carlos Beltran and let Jose Reyes walk in free agency (two moves that I actually agree with in the long-term, but we’re not “previewing” the long-term). The hole at short is going to be filled with fringe prospect Ruben Tejada, while the hole in center is filled with a guy that didn’t hit enough to stay in the anemic Giants offense – Andres Torres (who will bring his .221 batting average to the Mets leadoff spot this year). Oh, and not that they will have all that many “save opportunities,” but it looks like their cheap replacement closer, Frankie Francisco, might be having shoulder issues. The one thing that gives me a little pause is that Johan Santana looks like he might actually be healthy, so they could have a horse at the top of the rotation. But, with this offense, how many wins does Johan – even at his peak give you – 15? How will this offense win 65 games with Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, and Mike Pelfrey on the mound? In the NL East? They won’t.
FINAL RECORD: 74-88. Point Bry, 3-2
Far be it for me to give any compliments to the awful team to our north, but there is some promise in this organization. Their offense needs a total makeover, but there are some good young arms in this organization. But, they are still several years away from relevance…which is fine with me.
6. DOOGAN – Philadelphia Phillies – UNDER 102 wins: Let’s take the suspense out of this one early. I’ve been a believer in the Phils and the Over every year we’ve done this, but 102?? Amidst all that has gone wrong for the team this spring, it’s important to remember that they still run out the best 1-3 pitchers in the game, by a LONG shot. Still, a team that struggled to score runs at a lot of times over the last couple of years will continue to struggle a lot of the time. Jimmy Rollins looks like the Opening Day 3-hitter, with Ty Wigginton at first base and batting 5th or 6th. I have so much faith in Halladay, Lee, and Hamels though, that this still looks like the cream of the crop in the NL, if not the whole game.
FINAL RECORD: 81-81. Point Doogan, 3-3
Doogan sold his soul for this point, but I’m sure he was hoping for a little more of a sweat with this pick. Let’s just chalk up the 2012 Phillies season as getting all the health issues and general bad karma out of the way in one season. Back to winning division titles, guys.
7. BRY – New York Yankees – UNDER 97 wins: Can’t really blame you for taking the Under on the Phils – hell, I did it last year at 98. And, right after you take the Under on the best team in the NL, I’ll take the Under on, quite possibly, the best team in the AL. I like what the Yankees have done with their rotation, but the offense continues to age, and the “ageless one” at the end of the bullpen just has to show signs of mortality at some point, right? Even so, I still think this is probably as good a team as there is in the Junior Circuit, but 97 is a big number, and this division is loaded. I think the 1927 Yankees might have trouble hitting this number, and the 2012 Yankees are not exactly their counterparts from 85 years ago.
FINAL RECORD: 95-67. Point Bry, 4-3
Just how these Yankees keep churning out 95-win seasons is amazing, but they didn’t win enough to cost Bry the point here. It will be interesting to see when (and if) this team stops dominating the best division in baseball.
8. DOOGAN – Los Angeles Angels – OVER 86 wins: Just looks like a really good team, on paper. Obviously, Albert Pujols thrown into the middle of the order doesn’t hurt, though the offense still looks suspect with the over-the-hill Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells penciled in as starters and Kendrys Morales trying to comeback after missing most of the past two years with injuries. What makes this team a definite contender is the rotation, where C.J. Wilson joins Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. With Mike Scioscia pulling the strings and most likely some money to burn if they need to make additions in July, they should get 90-92 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 89-73. Point Doogan, 4-4
Many people see the 2012 Angels as a disappoinment, and for the most part, I guess that’s true. But, they did win 89 games – which is more than NLCS participant, St. Louis, and World Series participant, Detroit. Then again, adding Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to an already good team, and then getting MVP stuff from Mike Trout should have equated to more than 89 wins.
9. BRY – Arizona Diamondbacks – UNDER 94 wins: When looking for a team that you think will take a step backwards, you would think that one would probably look for either (a) an aging team likely in decline or (b) a team that has lost a couple key pieces either through free agency/trade or injury. The Diamondbacks don’t even come close to fitting into either category, as they are a young team that is pretty much completely in tact from the team that won 94 games a year ago. So, this might be a dangerous pick, but I just do not see this team in the mid-90s. I think last year everything kind of fell right into place – they won a lot of close games, got seemingly career years from several pitchers (most notably Yankee castoff, Ian Kennedy; fringe bullpen prospect turned starter, Josh Collmenter; and resurrected closer, J.J. Putz), and benefitted from a surprisingly down year throughout the division. So, even though this team comes back as a whole and a year older (which is a good thing), I still don’t see them matching last year’s success.
FINAL RECORD: 81-81. Point Bry, 5-4
Bry cruises to a point here, as the guys have hit 7 in a row after their embarrassing starts.
10. DOOGAN – Texas Rangers – UNDER 96 wins: A big win number and a lot of question marks makes for a fairly easy Under pick. Sure, there’s a TON of talent on this roster, but they’re really counting on Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz to be high-quality starters, and both of those are definite question marks, mainly because neither has ever actually started a Major League game yet. They’ll score runs, but Josh Hamilton gets hurt a lot and is already slowed by injuries this spring. When does Michael Young start to show his age with the bat? Just too many questions to expect so many wins.
FINAL RECORD: 93-69. Point Doogan, 5-5
This pick was in jeopardy until the final week, when the Rangers swoon gave Doogan the point here. What a disappointing end to the Rangers careers of Josh Hamilton and Michael Young.
11. BRY – Kansas City Royals – OVER 71 wins: Since I always end up making this pick, at some point, might as well get it over with early, then I can stop “almost” picking it. I should just copy and paste what I’ve written for each of the past 4 years. This team has an amazing farm system…blah, blah, blah. They will be up in the bigs at some point…blah, blah, blah. The division isn’t very good…blah, blah, blah. 71 isn’t a huge number…blah, blah, blah. Ready for something new: Eric Hosmer is a total stud and will be an MVP candidate within the next three years – maybe as early as this year. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid that this team is going to compete for a playoff spot, but I do think they can flirt with .500 and probably finish somewhere in the mid-70s.
FINAL RECORD: 72-90. Point Bry, 6-5
A 4-2 win over the Tigers on the second-to-last day of the regular season gave the Royals the 72 wins needed to reward Bry’s loyalty. Will this team ever be good?
12. DOOGAN – Cincinnati Reds – OVER 79 wins: No National League team has scored more runs over the last two years than the Reds, so you know they can swing the bats. Joey Votto has established himself as one of the game’s premier hitters, and Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips produce as well. They added Mat Latos from the Padres in the offseason, and he has a lot of ability despite not having a great 2011. The loss of Ryan Madson gives me a little pause here, but this team was better than their 79 wins suggest last year, and with the Cardinals and Brewers most likely taking steps backward, they should be ready to step it up themselves into, let’s say an 86-win season.
FINAL RECORD: 97-65. Point Doogan, 6-6
An easy point here for Doogan, as he makes a really nice pick at #12. It’s probably time for this collection of solid players to win a playoff series, huh?
13. BRY – Oakland A’s – UNDER 74 wins: Last year’s A’s were not that competitive, but they at least had a somewhat decent pitching staff. This year’s A’s? Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon are their #1 and #2. Trevor Cahill is gone. Gio Gonzalez is gone. Even Dallas Braden might miss the whole season with shoulder issues. And, this is a team with Kurt Suzuki hitting in the middle of the lineup. There is a chance that this is the worst team in baseball, so I’ll take them for 70 wins at the most.
FINAL RECORD: 94-68. Point Doogan, 7-6
As bad as the first two picks were, this one is shameful. To miss a pick by 21 games is unacceptable…then again, did ANYONE see this coming?
14. DOOGAN – St. Louis Cardinals – UNDER 90 wins: This feels like a pick I often make and lose on, so like Bry and the Royals, I’ll keep the momentum going. Pujols is obviously a huge loss, but this team led the NL in runs scored by a healthy margin last year, so they’ll still score runs, especially with Carlos Beltran joining Matt Holliday (though Lance Berkman could be headed for a downturn). The main reason I’m somewhat comfortable going Under is that Chris Carpenter is down for the first couple of months of the season and Kyle Lohse is making their Opening Night start tomorrow.
FINAL RECORD: 88-74. Point Doogan, 8-6
Doogan “consolidates his break” by eking out a Cardinals point here. The Redbirds took two of three from Cincy in the final series to give Doogan the lead.
15. BRY – San Francisco Giants – OVER 86 wins: Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, and Zito. Oh, and arguably the best bullpen in the game. And, while Brandon Crawford may not be ready for the bigs with the stick, he sure can field the shortstop position. And, coming off of a year of Miguel Tejada there, they upgraded the most important defensive position about as much as is actually possible. They’re not going to score many runs, but their pitching and defense is as good as anyone. In a potentially weak NL West, this team seems poised for 90 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 94-68. Point Bry, 7-8
Your 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants…weird. Wait…they won two years ago too? Very weird.
16. DOOGAN – Colorado Rockies – OVER 73 wins: I don’t like taking Overs on teams with pitching staffs as suspect as this team’s, but the offense could be scary good with Tulowitzki and CarGo, Helton still swinging it, and two proven veterans joining them in Michael Cuddyer and Marco Scutaro. I’d worry about Cuddyer playing the outfield in Coors, but other than that they have + defenders all over the diamond, which will be needed with the pitchers allowing the ball to be hit all over the place most of the time. I don’t see them winning half their games, but 78 wins seems reachable.
FINAL RECORD: 64-98. Point Bry, 8-8
The Rockies are in a rough place right now, as a franchise. They have a franchise player at an elite position and they have NOTHING else – and nothing coming
17. BRY – Toronto Blue Jays – OVER 81 wins: It embarrasses me sometimes how easily I buy into the hype machine. With the state of the AL East, there is no reason to believe that the Jays can be over .500 this year, but I can’t ignore the hype. And, no, I don’t put any stock whatsoever in spring training records, so I am not even going to mention the fact that they are 19-4 this spring. I won’t even mention it. But, there is just too much talent across the border to ignore. Ricky Romero is poised to be a certifiable ace. Jose Bautista has been the best player in baseball (by a pretty wide margin) over the past two seasons. And, Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencebia, and especially Brett Lawrie are all poised for breakout seasons. If Kyle Drabek can find the strike zone, he could join Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, and Dustin McGowan in a solid, if not stellar, starting rotation. Oh, and I love the fact that they brought back their old unis and logo. This is dangerous territory, I know, but gimme the Jays for 83-86 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 73-89. Point Doogan, 9-8
Doogan takes the lead back after Bry’s bad pick of the Jays. This team wasn’t good and we will see if their “new look” is that much better.
18. DOOGAN – San Diego Padres – OVER 71 wins: This is one of those picks where it’s getting late in the game here but I’ve suddenly talked myself into this one as very safe pick. It’s a low number for a team with a capable manager and a fair amount of young talent, if no stars. They won’t score many runs, but Yonder Alonso could be a breakout hitter, and they have Carlos Quentin when he returns from injury. They’re a good defensive team up the middle, with Jason Bartlett at short, Orlando Hudson at second, and Cameron Maybin in center. They have some pretty solid young arms in the rotation as well, with Edinson Volquez, Cory Luebke, and Clayton Richard.
FINAL RECORD: 76-86. Point Doogan, 10-8
Doogan stays ahead with a nice pick of the Padres. It didn’t look good for a while, but the Pads always seem to surprise late in the season. What a frustrating organization to be a fan of, though, right?
19. BRY – Detroit Tigers – UNDER 95 wins: This feels like a strange pick to make, considering they are one of the handful of legit contenders for a World Series title. They won 95 games last year AND added one of the game’s premier power hitters in Prince Fielder. Add in the fact that yhey are HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than the rest of this division and this pick starts to get suspect. However…95 is a really big number, and last year’s 95 was a bit hollow. They got a perfect season from their closer and a dream season from Justin Verlander. Not saying that Verlander isn’t great (in fact, blasphemous or not, I would consider him on par with Mr. Halladay as the best pitcher on the planet) – I am saying, though, that that was a dream season for anyone and may not be duplicated. But, even if it is, the addition of Prince Fielder is mitigated by the fact that he’s really just a moderate offensive upgrade to Victor Martinez, who was lost for the year. And, one has to question their decision to make Miguel Cabrera (a below average FIRSTbaseman) into the everyday thirdbaseman. Last year, they had Brandon Inge – one of the game’s best at the hot corner. Add in the fact that they got the best of guys like Tim Fister, Alex Avila, and Ryan Raburn (not likely to repeat their ’11 numbers this year). I am, in no way, saying that the Tigers are not going to contend – in fact, they might be the best bet in baseball to win the World Series because they are the biggest favorite (by a huge margin) to win their division and avoid the 1-game playoff. But, I just see them being in the same position with 88-90 wins as they would be with 96-100. And, I think 95 is just too tough for a team that does still have some flaws.
FINAL RECORD: 88-74. Point Bry, 9-10
Bry gets the point by picking the Under on the AL Champs with the best pitcher and hitter on the planet. But, the dirty little secret is that the Tigers – in the regular season – weren’t all that good.
20. DOOGAN – Washington Nationals – OVER 80 wins: This is a classic “taking the bait” pick on a team that’s made a bunch of veteran additions to a young core, but still may be another year or two away from being legit. The rotation has a chance to be really good, but its far from guaranteed, with Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson, and Jordan Zimmermann. The line-up looks like it could be average, with Jayson Werth probably having an improved season and Bryce Harper waiting in the wings. And they’ve also added arms to the pen. In a lesser division, I’d feel confident with this Over, but they very well could be a 4th place team. Still, the talent is on board for 84 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 98-64. Point Doogan, 11-9
Doogan “took the bait,” and it paid off big-time. He won this one by September, as the “best team in baseball” cruised to an NL East title…and a division series flameout. Oops…
21. BRY – Atlanta Braves – UNDER 89 wins: As Doogan explained in the last pick, the Nats are probably going to be better than they were a year ago. And, with the Marlins Over going off the board at #1, it’s safe to say that this division is much improved. And, while there is still a lot of talent on this Braves roster, the health and mental makeup of that talent is seemingly revealing a lot more questions than answers. The two most accomplished players on the roster – Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson – are out to start the season – possibly a bad omen for players on the downside of their career arcs. And, the rest of the pitching staff has been actually rather awful this spring. Jair Jurrjens doesn’t look healthy, and all those “young arms” look either overrated or not ready. And, then there are the questions surrounding this offense. It wasn’t very good last year and, possibly, the two most important bats in the lineup – Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman – don’t exactly look like a pillar of mental fortitude. They do still have absolute horses in the ‘pen, but Fredi Gonzalez has proven rather inept at utilizing a bullpen. The reason I didn’t make this pick earlier is because I wouldn’t be shocked for any result from 80 all the way to 100 wins. But, all in all, I disagree with your statement above, Doogan, and I think that this might be the 4th-place team you speak of, and, if so, they won’t even come close to 89 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 94-68. Point Doogan, 12-9
Doogan is taking control of this, as Bry misses another pick. That Bravo bullpen was incredible and, while Bry was right on Jair Jurrjens, he clearly didn’t consider the all-powerful Kris Medlen.
22. DOOGAN – Chicago White Sox – UNDER 79 wins: I’ll declare this the point of the draft where I won’t feel remotely sure about any picks from here on. The White Sox do have a potentially above-average rotation with John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, and Philip Humber, who had a quiet nice season last year. Though Peavy is not close to what he once was and neither Danks nor Floyd resemble an ace. The offense struggled to score runs a year ago and can expect more of the same. Even if Adam Dunn rebounds (which he almost has to do), Carlos Quentin and his 24 homers are gone. Kenny Williams looks like he wants to rebuild, and as arguably the most aggressive GM in the biz, he could get very aggressive with unloading veterans in a couple months.
FINAL RECORD: 85-77. Point Bry, 10-12
A very important point here for Bry, as Doogan underrated the ChiSox. It’s hard to blame him, though, 85 wins for this team seems like overachieving.
23. BRY – Boston Red Sox – UNDER 90 wins: I have almost pulled the trigger on this one for about 10 rounds now, but I kept thinking about how much talent they have on this team. They have 5 elite offensive players and two elite starting pitchers. But, in a division this tough and a town this brutal, seasons can unravel quickly. Add to the fire a spitfire manager and a bullpen that is in complete disarray, I could see this team slipping towards .500. This isn’t an easy pick, but you can’t expect them to be easy around this time in the game.
FINAL RECORD: 69-93. Point Bry, 11-12
For the 23rd pick, this one was rather stress-free. The worst Red Sox team in a decade or so (and, not coincidentally, the first without Terry Francona), limped to the finish line with 69 wins. 69 wins?!? With that talent and payroll? Ouch…fire the manager! Oh wait…
24. DOOGAN – Baltimore Orioles – UNDER 69 wins: A bad team, a bad organization, that’s just spinning its wheels in a beastly division. They haven’t topped 69 wins since 2006, when they won, you guessed it, 70. With the improved Blue Jays really only making this an even tougher division and no noteworthy additions to the roster, I don’t see why anyone should expect this year to be one where they win more than 67 games.
FINAL RECORD: 93-69. Point Bry, 12-12
Three in a row for Bry, as Doogan misses BADLY on this pick. Again, it’s hard to blame him because who saw this coming, but wow. Think about it. Everything Doogan said in the above paragraph seemed right on – at the time. As crazy as the A’s season was, that Orioles season is mind-boggling.
25. BRY – Seattle Mariners – OVER 67 wins: A bad team, a bad organization, that’s just spinning its wheels…in a division that isn’t as beastly as the AL East. Yes, the pickins are getting slim here, but 67 is a pretty low number, especially when you get to play the A’s 19 times. Is it that big of a stretch to think that the Mariners might not hit 95 losses? Well…like I said, the pickens are getting slim.
FINAL RECORD: 75-87. Point Bry, 13-12
Four straight for Bry to take the lead down the stretch. Even now, though, looking back, I’m still surprised that that god-awful Mariners team managed 75 wins. The only thing more surprising is that people are kind of calling them contenders in 2013.
26. DOOGAN – Tampa Bay Rays – UNDER 91 wins: You have to love the pitching staff, especially since their sixth-best starter would probably #3 in a lot of rotations. Looking for chinks in the armor, I’d say that Evan Longoria is the only sure-thing hitter in the lineup, with some other guys that go up-and-down or haven’t lived up to expectations yet. The bullpen has guys that were great last year but not guys that have long track records, so that could be a place where they take a step back, as well.
FINAL RECORD: 90-72. Point Doogan, 13-13
Doogan stops the winning streak with a “skin-of-the-teeth” win on the Rays. One of the biggest surprises of the Orioles season is that they kept a phenomenal Rays team out of the playoffs. Just a crazy year in an AL East where Baltimore was 24 games better than Boston.
27. BRY – Cleveland Indians – OVER 80 wins: Okay, we’ve officially reached the “I have no idea range,” so this is more of a shot in the dark than anything. It’s probably a bad pick, considering the Tribe didn’t exactly add anyone from a team that probably overachieved last year, but this division stinks and there is some room for improvement from a year ago. You have to expect Shin-Soo Choo to rebound from a terrible year to be more like his career before the DUI. And, they did play most of the season without their best player – Carlos Santana – who is now healthy and could be a superstar. Plus, Justin Masterson has a chance to be a true ace – and by “true ace,” I really mean “reliable starting pitcher.” So, I guess I’ll take them to finish .500 or better, why not?
FINAL RECORD: 68-94. Point Doogan, 14-13
A big miss here by Bry puts Doogan a game away from clinching at least a tie. This pick looked good for a while, but an absolutely DREADFUL July for the Tribe ended any hope for this pick.
28. DOOGAN – Los Angeles Dodgers – OVER 82 wins: They have at least an average rotation, with reigning Cy Young winner Kershaw backed up by solid arms like Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley. The line-up is a bit of a mess, but Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are a 3-4 combo that a lot of teams out there would take in heartbeat. The bullpen doesn’t look too formidable, but I’ll take the positive vibes they’re feeling from the end of the McCourt fiasco and say they can ride their two young super-stars to 83-85 wins.
FINAL RECORD: 86-76. Point Doogan, 15-13
Doogan clinches at least a tie, as he takes a Dodgers team that looked a lot different at the end of the season than the beginning. That being said, they didn’t play that much better after all those crazy trades. This was a really nice pick this late, particularly upon citing the “end of the McCourt fiasco” as a step in the right direction.
29. BRY – Chicago Cubs – OVER 71 wins: So, left with two teams from the NL Central with O/Us of 72 and 71. Hmm… I’ll go with the Cubbies and the Over because 71 is a pretty low number for a team with such a high payroll and a really good General Manager. Granted, they do have an extreme dearth of talent, so Theo’s got his work cut out for him. Not surprisingly, considering it’s the 29th pick, but this seems like a total toss-up to me. So, I guess I’ll take the Cubs to avoid 91+ losses…I guess. Have fun with the last one, Doogan…
FINAL RECORD: 61-101. Point Doogan, 16-13
Doogan clinches his second straight baseball preview title, as Bry misses by TEN games. The Cubbies lost 101 in 2012…WOW!
30. DOOGAN – Pittsburgh Pirates – OVER 72 wins: Well, they just wrapped up a series win over the Phils, so if I went Under it would probably just look spiteful. I don’t want to be spiteful. Good job this weekend, Buccos. You can surely win 71 more games in 2012.
FINAL RECORD: 79-83. Point Doogan, 17-13
Doogan ends it in style, picking up the last 5 points to defend his championship. The Buckos are still looking for a winning record, though, so we’ll see who takes that in 2013…