MLB 2012 Predictions
Miami (Wild Card)
Washington (Wild Card)
The Phillies are getting old, but can still get it done, with Hunter Pence ready to spark the offense the way he did for the latter part of last year. Miami's offense might be a little better, but their pitching is somewhat worse unless a lot goes right. Washington is the team I see most regularly, and their bullpen is impressive this year, as are their possibilities to start. However, they need more offense from somewhere, even if we see a reversion to form by Jayson Werth. I don't have a good read on Atlanta, and someone has to be fourth in this division where everyone can beat the Mets.
Cincinnati has the best offense and lots of good pitching pieces, even if they don't yet know how to use them. That will be enough to overcome being managed by Dusty Baker. Milwaukee won't fall back as far as everyone says, especially if Zack Greinke can win on the road. St. Louis has the best pitching staff, but I'm guessing their performance during Pujols's early 2011 slump is a reasonable proxy for how they'll do without him. Pittsburgh isn't as bad as they used to be. I had to check and make sure Chicago was actually better than Houston. Now I'm sure.
Arizona's additions will enable them not only to defend their division title, but make them a legitimate World Series contender. San Francisco will be better than last year, but it won't be enough. Los Angeles has too many holes. Some of the people San Diego picked up will be better at Petco Park. The Rockies remind me of an older version of the Brewers teams from early in my graduate school career.
Tampa Bay (Wild Card)
I understand the logic of those who are picking Tampa Bay in this division. I'm just not going to do it. Toronto will finally pass the slipping Red Sox and be in a wild card race. Baltimore will be in their usual basement slot.
The Tigers simply don't have competition in this division. Cleveland is probably the best of the also-rans, if Casey Kotchman can repeat his 2011 performance. Kansas City is coming on, but Chicago is shedding rather than rebuilding. Minnesota's season will not be as disastrous as last year's.
Los Angeles (Wild Card)
Los Angeles's additions will nab them a wild card spot, but Texas is still the better team. Oakland's starting pitching is now a major construction site, but their offense will still score more than Seattle's.