Is 2013 the Year that the Glory Returns to Toronto?
The start of every baseball season brings renewed joy and optimism, and of course, predictions. The Blue Jays first series of the year is in the books, so it’s high time that I share my official predictions for the 2013 season. I’ve thrown around a few numbers for the Blue Jays total wins, but at the end of the season, these will be the predictions we can look back on, and prove that I was the one who called Josh Johnson for Cy Young and Jose Bautista for the AL MVP…. If that’s my prediction! So let’s get to them. I’ll only give a record for the division winner for the most case, because I’ll definitely mess up the math.
This will clearly come down to a battle between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. What each team does at the trade deadline will be key, but because of the Dodgers’ deeper pockets and their new owners, I’ll give the NL West title to the Dodgers. Here’s how the rest of the NL West will shake out.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (93-69)
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- San Diego Padres
- Colorado Rockies
The NL Central has become a hotly contested division in recent years and in 2013, it has the potential to remain undecided to the very last out. Four of the five teams in the division could clinch this title as the Chicago Cubs don’t have a chance as they continue their rebuild, and everyone loses with the departure of the Houston Astros. Last year the Pirates remained in the hunt for the NL Central crown late into the season, only to fall apart as the season drew to a close for the second year in a row. As much as the Pirates have improved, and as much as everyone would love to see Travis Snider succeed, I don’t think the Pittsburg Pirates are on the same level as the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals or the Milwaukee Brewers. As far as the NL Central crown goes, I believe it’ll come down to the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals, and if the Reds can remain healthy. The Cincinnati Reds have a phenomenal team, but if any of their key players go down, they don’t possess the same type of MLB ready depth that the St. Louis Cardinals do. Reds take the Crown again in 2013 though.
- Cincinnati Reds (95-67)
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Pittsburg Pirates
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Chicago Cubs
Home of everyone’s favorite National League team, the Montreal… I mean the Washington Nationals. They were the best team in the National League last year, and most expect them to do even better this year. They feature an impressive core of young superstars and are complimented by seasoned veterans and play in a division that is not as strong as it once was. The Miami Marlins and New York Mets will be fighting it out for last place, and while the Philadelphia Phillies have the potential to surprise and reclaim what was once theirs, there is little doubt the only team that could challenge the Nationals is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves may have lost Chipper Jones and Martin Prado, but they were able to add both of the Upton Brothers, but the Nationals are truly a powerhouse and I think will again be the team to beat in the National League.
- Washington Nationals (97 – 65)
- Atlanta Braves
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Miami Marlins
- New York Mets
Thanks to a surprising finish to the 2012 season, the AL West may have taken the title as the AL’s most talented division away from the AL East. The Los Angeles Angels have made a habit of stealing the offseason’s headlines, and it hasn’t translated to an post-season berth just yet, but after stealing Josh Hamilton from their division rivals and a whole season from 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP Runner-up Mike Trout, I think the Angels will finally return the playoffs. Oakland had a terrific season this year, but I don’t believe they will have the same sort of success, but I do believe they are a much bigger threat than the other storybook team from the 2012, the Baltimore Orioles. This division also benefits from the addition of the Houston Astros, who look to lose many (MANY) games as they attempt to adapt to becoming an AL team.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Texas Rangers
- Oakland Athletics
- Seattle Mariners
- Houston Astros
Long regarded as baseball’s “easiest” division, many expect the 2012 AL Champions to run away with the AL Central Crown this year, and it’d be tough to see the Detroit Tigers not doing that. While the Tigers didn’t exactly run away with the division last year, and really were only able to capture it when the Chicago White Sox fell apart, they are a much better team in 2013. I don’t expect them to be the powerhouse the rest of the baseball world seem to however.
- Detroit Tigers (89-73)
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Kansas City Royals
- Minnesota Twins
The Division you’ve been waiting for! What can I say about the AL East for 2013 that hasn’t been said? After the offseason Alex Anthopoulos orchestrated, the situation in the AL East has turned into the perfect storm to return the Blue Jays to postseason play. The New York Yankees seem to be leaning on their last leg and haven’t been this vulnerable since the early nineties, and the Boston Red Sox seem to be falling into a similar pattern as the Yankees as they begin to age and slow down. The Baltimore Orioles had an incredible year last year, but I can’t see them repeating the same type of success, as I chalk most of it up to a season-long fluke. As far as the Tampa Bay Rays go… well, they always seem to find a way to compete. So, here are my boldest predictions yet…. The entire AL East.
- Your Toronto Blue Jays (100-62)
- Tampa Bay Rays (91-71)
- Boston Red Sox (82-80)
- Baltimore Orioles (78-84)
- New York Yankees (74-88)
Yes, I am predicting the Blue Jays to win 100 games in a season for the first time in franchise history, and perhaps more surprisingly, for the New York Yankees to finish in the basement of the AL East after winning more games than any team in baseball last year.
The Wild Cards
I think the AL is an easy one to call, and I’ll give the two spots to the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers, and I’ll give the one-game play-in to the Rangers. After Yu Darvish almost threw a perfect game in his first start of the season, I expect big things from him over the course of 2013.
The NL Wild Card spots are a much tougher call, but I believe it’ll come down to three teams. The San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Atlanta Braves and despite all of their moves in the offseason, I have to cut out the Braves. The Cardinals and the Giants will duke it out in the play-in game and thanks to the Giants impressive pitching talent, I’ll give them the win.
Nationals vs Cardinals
Reds vs Dodgers
Reds vs Nationals
Blue Jays vs Rangers
Angels vs Tigers
Blue Jays vs Angels
2013 World Series
Toronto Blue Jays vs the Cincinnati Reds
So it all comes down to the Blue Jays and the Reds and Bam the Prognosticator predicts that in Game 6, the Cincinnati Reds will win the 2013 World Series. I know, how could I? What with all of the impressive moves that Alex Anthopoulos made, there is one area that the Blue Jays roster is really lacking in and that is playoff experience. It took the Blue Jays three post-season berths before they finally made it to the World Series the first time around, so I don’t expect the World Series crown right away… that will come next year. This year will bring post-season baseball back to Toronto for the first time in 20 years and see them establish a new franchise record for wins, beating the old record set the very first time they won the AL East in 1985. And much like what happened in 1985, I expect the Blue Jays to come up short for a World Series Crown as Joey Votto will play heartbreaker in his own backyard!
Just in case I make some mistakes along the way, I’ll throw in my picks for the individual awards for bonus points! Here they are!
AL MVP – Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
AL CY Young – Josh Johnson (Toronto Blue Jays)
AL Manager of the Year – Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays)
AL Rookie of the Year – Jurickson Profar (Texas Rangers)
NL MVP – Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)
NL Cy Young – Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals)
NL Manager of the Year – Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds)
NL Rookie of the Year – Oscar Tavaras (St Louis Cardinals)