Bastian’s 2013 preseason picks
Because I’d rather focus on what I forecasted correctly last year than what I got wrong. And, by wrong, I mean, oh, so wrong. Like, super wrong. Wrong to the point that my colleagues are still busting my chops about it.
Last spring, I predicted that Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero would capture the American League Cy Young Award.
Now, I wasn’t taking crazy pills at the time, really I wasn’t. But I didn’t want to do what most writers do, which is pencil in Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez for the award. I guess I could’ve gone with lefty David Price. That wouldn’t have been too far out on the ol’ limb.
I was accused of homer-ism, considering I covered the Blue Jays for six seasons. I honestly just thought Romero was on the verge of a breakout season. From 2009-11, his win total and innings load had increased each year, and his ERA and WHIP had declined each year. Over that three-year span, he ranked within the AL’s top five in virtually every major pitching category for starters. He was an All-Star in 2011, and received Cy votes. Romero looked poised for a huge year.
Romero went 9-14, walked 105 batters, posted a 5.77 ERA and was demoted to Class A earlier this week.
“Don’t pick me for anything,” Indians closer Chris Perez said.
I think I’ll avoid any extreme darkhorse picks this time around.
That said, I did pick Cabrera to win the AL Most Valuable Player Award, and all he did was win the Triple Crown. I also picked Davey Johnson to win the National League Manager of the Year Award, which he did after leading the Nationals to a baseball-best 98 wins last season.
Those were the two major awards I correctly predicted. I also was right on 10 of the 30 team’s place in their respective division standings, including a perfect 6-for-6 for my NL Central predictions. I also had the Giants winning the pennant (though I had them losing to Texas in the World Series. Swing and a miss!).
As for your Indians, I like what they’ve done heading into this season. The offense has the potential to be really good. It had that potential even before adding Michael Bourn to lead off and take over in center field. What I’m not sure on is how well Cleveland’s rotation will hold up. Over 162 games, that group could get exposed again.
That’s why I’ve got to stick with Detroit as the favorites in the AL Central, and why I’m not ready to declare Cleveland a playoff team. The Tigers have won the division two years in a row and went to the World Series last fall. Even without a clear-cut closer, Detroit’s my team to beat again this season.
And here are all of my preseason picks for this season…
*2. Blue Jays
5. Red Sox
4. White Sox
*indicates Wild Card pick
NL Wild Card: Nationals over Dodgers
NL Division Series: Braves over Nationals
NL Division Series: Reds over Giants
NL Championship Series: Braves over Reds
AL Wild Card: Blue Jays over Rangers
AL Division Series: Blue Jays over Angels
AL Division Series: Tigers over Rays
AL Championship Series: Tigers over Blue Jays
Tigers over Braves
AL Most Valuable Player: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
AL Cy Young Award: Jered Weaver, Angels
AL Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, Rays
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Rays
NL Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto, Reds
NL Cy Young Award: Matt Cain, Giants
NL Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller, Cardinals
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Braves