Baseball Preview 2012!

UPDATE: This post was finalized on Friday but I never posted it. Instead I had to practice for this – another lip sync victory this time in the 24th Annual Sultan Lip Sync.

I know, I know. I’m a bit behind but if you read my prior entry you know why I’m a little behind. Plus, I haven’t had my fantasy baseball live auction draft yet so I didn’t want to disclose my “Called It” list, just in case the dudes in my league happened upon my blog. Then they bump up the auction price on my “sleeper” picks and, well you don’t really care.

UPDATE II: Didn’t matter anyway. I didn’t spend money on my “sleeper” picks and since the season had already started some of the “sleeper” picks off to a good start got chosen because people were able to look up their stats! Bummer!

I’m a bit disappointed in my excitement towards the start of the baseball season. I think it’s a mixture of a couple things. One, I actually have a life, and a busy one at that. Two, what’s the deal with Opening Day?!

The Mariners and A’s have Opening Day in Japan a week before everyone else. Then they play a couple of exhibition games which makes us all wonder, “Were the games in Japan legit or what?!”

Then the Cardinals and Marlins started on Wednesday, April 4. Fourteen teams were on April 5 and everyone else started on April 6.

My buddy was getting on my case because I wasn’t “cherishing” Opening Day and, “Weren’t you the guy that told ME Opening Day should be a National Holiday?” Well yes, but that’s when every team (or all but two) started on the same day and games were going on throughout the day from morning to night. But this thing this year … yuck! What a mess!

As I did last year I’m going to revisit my predictions from 2011 and see how I did. Then I’ll make my 2012 picks and name my “Called It” list. Whadda say?

Oh and this year’s baseball book is “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach. Haven’t started it yet but it’s on my nightstand waiting for me to finish Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Rum Diary”.

UPDATE III: Forget it! I kept waiting for “The Rum Diary” to go somewhere but since I fall asleep after a page and it’s not getting me in the reading mood I’m calling an audible and switching books. I’ll just watch the movie.

Last year I predicted (along with all the real “experts”) that the loaded Boston Red Sox would defeat the loaded Philadelphia Phillies. Well the Red Sox were ousted by the Baltimore Orioles in the most thrilling final day of a baseball season EVER! And the Phillies were defeated in five games by the eventual World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, who made the playoffs thanks to the Atlanta Braves on the most thrilling final day of a baseball season EVER!

So let’s see how I did overall:

National League West: I picked the Colorado Rockies, who finished a disappointing 73-89 and fourth in the division. The Arizona Diamondbacks went from worst to first and won the division.

NL Central: I picked the Milwaukee Brewers and the Brewers won the Central! 1 point!

NL East: I went with the Phillies and the Phillies won the East! 2 points!

NL Wild Card: I picked the Braves and up until September 1 they were making my predictions look real good but then they blew it and the Cardinals snuck in ruining my Wild Card prediction and my World Series prediction.

American League West: I went with the Anaheim Angels and the Angels won 86 games but finished 10 behind the eventual AL Champion Texas Rangers.

AL Central: I picked the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers ran away with the Central. 3 points!

AL East: Stinkin’ Red Sox! They had the East then lost it. They had the Wild Card then lost it thus ruining my East and Wild Card predictions (NY Yankees) as the Yankees took the East and the Tampa Bay Rays won the Wild Card.

Let’s see how I did on the individual awards! Isn’t this exciting?!

NL MVP: Since the Phillies won the East and had the best record in baseball (102 wins) then the MVP surely would come from Philadelphia. Ryan Howard, their slugging first baseman was supposed to win this award. Howard finished 10th in the voting batting .253 with 33 homers and 116 RBI. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers was named MVP though he failed a steroid test and Matt Kemp nearly won the Triple Crown. Let’s give myself 2 points since Howard finished in the top 10 in voting.

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez moved to Boston and was just going to smack balls against the Green Monster. And for the most part he did. He batted .338 with 27 home runs and 117 RBI and led the AL in hits with 213. He finished seventh in the MVP voting. Justin Verlander was just flat out sick and took home both the MVP and Cy Young awards. I’ll give myself 3 points.

NY Cy Young: Matt Cain was lights out in the 2010 playoffs. He wasn’t too shabby in 2011 posting a 2.88 ERA but a measly 12-11 record for the disappointing Giants. He somehow managed to finish 8th in the voting (1 point for me) but was no match for the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.

AL Cy Young: I went back-to-back on Jon Lester (won’t do it in 2012) and he finished 15-9 with a 3.47 ERA and 182 strikeouts. It’s OK but not good enough as Verlander was the unanamious winner. 0 points.

NL Rookie of the Year: Washington’s Danny Espinosa finished 6th in the voting batting .276 with 21 home runs and 66 RBI. Craig Kimbrel set a rookie record with 46 saves for the Braves. ‘Nuff said. 1 point.

AL Rookie of the Year: Toronto’s Kyle Drabek went 4-5 with a 6.06 and finished the season in the minors. 0 points! Jeremy Hellickson was a decent starter for the Rays and won, though my vote would’ve gone to the Angels’ Mark Trumbo (29 homers, 87 RBI).

With that all said, here are my 2012 predictions!

Let’s start in the National League:

NL West: I hate to do this but I think the Los Angeles Dodgers, behind Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are going to win the division. I want to pick the Giants but I’m just unimpressed with their bats.

NL Central: Wow … it’s a pick ’em (except for the Astros). I would love to see the Pirates sneak up but I’m going with the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

NL East: I’m going Miami Marlins. No Howard, No Utley, it’ll be tough for the Phillies. Though there are two open spots now for the Wild Card so …

Wild Card: Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals.

American League:

AL West: Angels, Rangers, it can go either way. I’m going with the Angels because of their pitching.

AL Central: Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera … and Tigers!

AL East: Gotta go with the pesky Rays!

Wild Cards: Rangers and Red Sox. Sorry Yankees! Just missing out – for this year – are the Blue Jays and Royals (they’ll be there soon!)

Behind Stephen Strasburg the Nationals win the Wild Card, defeat whoever and then advance to the NL Championship where they lose out to the Miami Marlins.

The AL is where it’s at … the Rangers defeat the Rays and Angels defeat the Red Sox before the Angels defeat the Rangers.

Your 2012 World Champions are … the Anaheim Angels.

Award Winners?

NL MVP: Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks.

NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson, Marlins. Picked him two years ago, let’s give him another shot!

NL Rookie of the Year: Anthony “I Wish the Padres Kept Him” Rizzo, Chicago Cubs.

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers.

AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver, Anaheim Angels.

AL Rookie of the Year: Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s.

Now to my “Called It” list. Most of these players are first or second year players that I think are going to have breakout years. Most of these players are players that most casual baseball fans may not have heard of but us geeks have spent time looking over mock baseball drafts and recognize the names.

Last year’s list included some winners: Starlin Castro (.307, led NL in hits with 207), Danny Espinosa (21 home runs, 66 RBI), Andrew McCutchen (23 homers, 23 stolen bases) and Mike Stanton (34 HR, 87 RBI). Madison Bumgarner (13-13, 3.21 ERA) had a decent season as did Chris Sale (8 save, 2.79 ERA). Ike Davis (.302, 7 HR, 25 RBI) was off to a hot start until he got injured. Jose Tabata (.266, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 16 SB) and Pedro Alvarez (.191, 4 HR, 19 RBI) were disappointments and John Jaso (.224, 5 HR, 27 RBI) was just a bust.

Here are my ones to watch out for in 2012:

C – Salvador Perez, KC Royals. Like Andrew McCutchen and Mike Stanton last year I’m picking a player that I snagged down the fantasy baseball stretch and ended up having a decent year for me. Perez, who’s out for a few months, batted .331 with 32 RBI in 39 games last year.

UPDATE IV:  Wishing I would’ve spent $1 and drafted him and put him on my DL.

1B – Eric Hosmer, KC Royals. Everywhere I read they tell me Hosmer is going to be a legit all-star. He batted .293, 19 homers, 78 RBI. I think he tags close to 30 this year.

UPDATE V: The only pick I really waited for and was willing to pay for. Didn’t have to spend too much. Hope he pays off.

2B – Dustin Ackley, Seattle Mariners. OK, for those of us up in the Northwest Ackley isn’t a surprise. The No. 2 pick three years ago and one of the best college hitters EVER, Ackley should hit above .300 with homers in the teens and stolen bases in the 20s.

SS – Dee Gordon, LA Dodgers. Gordon stole 24 bases in 56 games. Wow! I really wanted to pick Alcides Escobar of the Royals (mostly because he has the same first name as my father-in-law) but instead went with Gordon, who should steal … ALOT of bases!

UPDATE VI: Found out at my draft that Dee Gordon is actually the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon. Funny because Dee Gordon could also be called “Flash” Gordon because he’s so fast. Oh and Stephen King wrote a book called “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon“. It was OK. Lis just confirmed. It was OK. Ahh the days when Lis the “Friend” and I read the same books so she could practice her English. I sometimes miss those days.

3B – Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays. Lawrie batted .293 with 9 HR in 43 games. The 16th pick in the 2008 draft, he should be a stud and an anchor of the resurging Jays.

UDPATE VII: Spent $20 on him. If he hits 20 and steals 20 I’ll be glad I paid $20. Could’ve spent $40 on Longoria but cut the cost for what will be decent production.

OF – Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s. I know all the talk is about Yu Darvish, but I think Cespedes is the import to watch. I picked him as the ROY. I read that he crushed the ball in the Cuban league and he’s already homered three times this year. I expect a 30 homer year.

UPDATE VIII: Darnit! Should’ve spent the money on him!

OF – J.D. Martinez, Houston Astros. My pick for the next Carlos Gonzalez. The only thing the Astros can look forward to.

UPDATE IX: Ahh … outbid because someone had more money and noticed he was hitting well at the beginning of the season. “I never heard of this dude!” At this moment I was wishin’ we had the draft before the season.

OF – Lucas Duda, NY Mets. I don’t know if it’s the name or what but Duda is my long shot sleeper of the group. He played a full season last year batting .292 with 10 homers and 50 RBI. I think he’ll hit in the 20s and drive in close to 80 for the Mets.

UPDATE X: Got Duda. My other outfielder was Desmond Jennings from the Rays but I decided to switch him out for JD Martinez.

SP – Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays. OK … so he’s already hyped. But I really wanted to go with Stephen Strasburg so there!

RP – Javy Guerra, LA Dodgers. I think I picked him because everytime I see his name I think of Vida Guerra. Again, a late pickup in fantasy baseball that had a good close to the season for me. He should be a good closer for the Dodgers.

UPDATE XI: SEE: Martinez, JD. Same result … outbid because I waited too long and he’s off to a good start. Same “Who?” response, except they couldn’t even pronounce his name.

OK … that’s it!

Happy Baseball Season!

One thought on “Baseball Preview 2012!

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