So, I promised Jester that this post was going to be up a while ago. The slipshod analysis will prove that this post would be better never than late, but whatever. It's always nice to have completely wrong predictions chisled in stone so that everyone can laugh at them later.
I've flip-flopped over whether I want to go division by division, or just give a basic overview with a couple of thoughts. The latter certainly has the benefit of being less work, while also providing me with fewer ways to look dumb. I think we'll go with one comprehensive post, rather than 6 in-depth ones.
Rangers - 90
Angels - 80
A's - 79
Mariners - 5
No, that's not a typo. The Mariners are only going to win five games. Felix Hernandez is going to have a 1.89 ERA, strike out seven hundred guys, and have a 4-27 record. All four wins will be extra inning shutouts. He will win the Cy Young award, prompting Murray Chass to lead the great "Old School Uprising", they will demand the head of Billy Beane on a platter, because they still can't remember who actually wrote "Moneyball".
The Rangers seem to be the only team in this division that's even passable. I don't see any scenario where they don't walk away from this division.
The A's will be about 5 games back at the trade deadline, prompting their management to go into "rebuild" mode for the 50th straight season.
The Angels will lead the league in spending money on outfielders who will not play in the outfield for an impressive 17th year in a row. That's certainly something.
Twins - 88
White Sox - 86
Tigers - 86
Royals - 72
Indians - 70
A lot of people seem to peg the Royals as a 95+ loss team. I don't have any particular reason to feel optimistic about them, I just want to believe.
This division will be a three team dogfight. I think that the return of Morneau (which, as a massive plus means that my wife will be much more interested in watching baseball with me) helps a lot. I think Liriano's stats should look even better this year than they did last year (he had a .335 babip last year, 20 points above his career average, and 35 above the major league average, that's not sustainable). Getting Nathan back doesn't mean as much to the closer position as one might think (the Twins ramshackle mesh of Rausch and Capps converted saves almost as often as Nathan did in years previous), but it does mean that the bullpen gets another good late-inning arm. The White Sox and Tigers look good, the Twins just look a little better.
Red Sox - 95
Yankees - 94
Rays - 88
Blue Jays - 75
Orioles - 70
How much does it suck to be the Rays?
Red Sox had seven million injuries last year, with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, they ought to pull out (but only just) a division title against the Yankees. Somehow the Twins will end up playing the Yankees, and will sweep them in the postseason. Pavano will be the MVP of that series.
MVP - Evan Longoria
Cy Young - Francisco Liriano (I know I picked King Felix earlier, but 4-27 might be a tough pill for some to swallow. He finishes second. Bloggers everywhere riot in the streets, only to be struck down within hours by severe sun stroke and exposure.)
Rookie of the Year - Jeremy Hellickson