Today, as you all began your day; there was baseball in the desert and near the beach. The Red Sox, Cubs and Rockies all had their first workouts of the 2013 season. What do those three teams have in common? They all missed the playoffs in 2012. How will they fare in 2013? The Sultan is here to break it all down for you over the next few weeks. Division by Division we will look at the 30 teams in MLB and I will give you my predictions (complete with win-loss total).
I have implemented a new formula this year into my Sultanmetrics™ and I am hoping that it will only help me improve on last year’s performance. How did I fare last year? Here are the results. Teams are listed with a single number, indicating how far off in wins my predictions were. A +1 indicated that the team earned one more win than I predicted, a -1 means they won one fewer game than I predicted and so on.
Los Angeles (NL) +1
San Francisco +1
St. Louis -1
New York (AL) +2
Los Angeles (AL) -2
Chicago (AL) +4
Tampa Bay -5
Kansas City +8
Chicago (NL) -8
New York (NL) +9
San Diego +13
Baltimore +24 (flipped record)
Oakland +26 (flipped record)
Baltimore and Oakland were my Kryptonites last year. I predicted 69-93 and 68-94 respectively and they ended up flipping the wins with losses. (I should get points somewhere for picking the right numbers at least).
Last year, I was able to predict over half of the teams to within +/- 5 games. I overestimated Detroit and Miami and underestimated Washington, San Diego and the aforementioned Orioles and A’s. I won’t disclose my exact method for coming up with the numbers I get, nor will I disclose the basis for the formula I use. I am after all, hoping to get paid to do this someday, once the media outlets start seeing that my predictions are year after year more accurate than most, if not all of the experts.
Yes I am getting a bit cocky, I apologize. But it is my blog.
But in all seriousness, here are my fearless predictions for the AL East for 2013.
1. New York Yankees: 91-71
The Yankees take a small step back in the record this year (95-67 last year) due in part to the improved Blue Jays and the simple fact that Boston can’t be as bad as they were a year ago. They are another year older but they will score runs. I feel this offense can still end up in the Top-5 in the Majors in run production.
The pitching staff will be the saving grace or the Achilles heel. If the rotation can stay healthy, they have the ability to post their lowest runs allowed total of the past decade. If the injury bug pops up, there are plenty of talented teams in the Division waiting for their chance to strike.
Schedule: The Yankees get a fairly easy interleague schedule this year with games against the Dodgers (who I feel are vastly overrated), Diamondbacks, Mets, Rockies and Padres. A 3-game series at home against San Francisco ranks as their only real challenge. The Yankees have a 17-game stretch against the Orioles, Twins, and Royals. They could feasibly go 14-3 on that stretch.
2. Toronto Blue Jays: 85-77
Vegas’ odds-on-favorite to win the World Series at 7/1 odds (depending on where you bet). They spent a lot of money on free agents and raped the Miami Marlins for some more talent. What do they get for all their trouble? An 85-win season and a trip home afterwards. I don’t feel R.A. Dickey will have a Cy Young season up north. Mark Buehrle will probably miss his family too much and more importantly, didn’t the Blue Jays learn from the Marlins or the Red Sox of the past few years?
Schedule: The Blue Jays play a combined 39 games against the Yankees, Tigers, Braves, White Sox, Rangers and Giants all before the All-Star break. Their schedule lightens in the 2nd half (9 games against the Yankees and none against the other aforementioned teams), if they aren’t eliminated by that point.
Fun with Promotions: July 28 vs. Houston, Mr. SUB Cooler Bag Day- You would think that the Blue Jays front office would come up with a bigger giveaway for a Sunday game against the Astros to try and bring in fans.
3. Boston Red Sox: 82-80
Can they actually be worse than the 69-93 season they had last year? I think not. I am not sure what will change. Perhaps just having Bobby Valentine out of the dugout will be enough motivation for this team to pull its head out. They are not a great team; they will not make the playoffs. But they are way better than 69-93. I think the team reached .500, but just barely.
Schedule: The winnable games are sprinkled throughout the schedule. The first 29 games should all be winnable. Only six games against Texas, three against the White Sox and four at Detroit (not counting the Yankee games in which anything can happen) are viewed as much of a challenge before the All-Star break. The season opens at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks come to Fenway for the first time on May 31.
4. Tampa Bay: 80-82
I have actually read some paid writers suggest that the Rays will not only win the AL East, but contend for the World Series. Yes, the Rays lose James Shields AND B.J. Upton and they are going to get better. Hold on while I take a minute to LMAO. Look, I know Houston is in the American League now, but you only play them seven times. The Rays take a step back this year.
Schedule: Seven games against Houston and seven more against Kansas City, not to mention three against San Diego and seven against Minnesota. But even if they win all 24 of those, they still have to play a combined 65 games against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, White Sox, Rangers, Angels and Giants. Good luck.
5. Baltimore Orioles: 73-89
I know, I know. I just showed you earlier how I completely underestimated the Orioles and they caught everyone by surprise. They were 2012’s darlings. They will be 2013’s “Fall from grace” story. Even Vegas has them at the worst odds to win the World Series of any team in the AL East (40/1). It was a nice story but they simply won’t be able to keep up with the Yankees and the improved Blue Jays.
Schedule: There are several stretches in this schedule where it’s hard for me to find a win. There is a period in which the Orioles play 14 games against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals and Tigers. After a six game break (Astros and Rays) they play 13 games in a row against the Angels, Red Sox, Tigers and Blue Jays. Then a short four game reprieve (Indians) sends them on a 19-game stretch against the Yankees (twice), White Sox, Rangers (twice) and Blue Jays. Find the wins in this schedule. They just aren’t there.
There you go….one division down, five to go. See you soon with a preview of the AL Central. Thanks for reading.