As a site we released our 2012 MLB Predictions just last week with division rankings, World Series outcome, and our top two players for each major award. Colleague Mikey Schwartze also brought us his 11 Bold Predictions for 2012.
I decided to reveal some of my predictions, in more depth, as well. I will have at least one positive and negative prediction for each team and I will include my final predicted standings for the division. I will be releasing mine by division and here is the AL East:
Chris Davis will make his best Mark Trumbo impersonation and flirt with 30 homeruns but post an OBP below .300 in 2012. He has the opportunity to get plate appearances and his power is still legit. But he still cannot hit left-handers and strikes out way too much. The AL East is not a fun place if you have contact issues with the division carrying four of the seven pitchers who eclipsed 200 strikeouts in the AL. And none were on the Orioles.
Jim Johnson was tied for 8th among relievers in the AL in fWAR last season and he will, again, be in the top 10 and be a great trade chip come July.
Boston Red Sox:
Kevin Youkilis will make people wish they drafted him in their fantasy leagues much earlier. Sure, he turned 33 this month, but he hit .308/.404/.560 the past three seasons prior to 2011 and he seems to be fully healthy and batting cleanup in a potent lineup. I don’t quite think he will hit those averages but I could see a .285/.390/.500 season with 20 homeruns and 100+ runs and RBI.
Josh Beckett was aided by a career career bests .245 BABIP and 80.2% strand rate last season and had his lowest HR/FB rate in four years. His strikeout rate has slightly decreased four consecutive years and his 40.8% groundball rate was his lowest total since 2002. I expect some major regression and wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he has an ERA more than a full run higher than last year’s.
New York Yankees:
Andruw Jones will hit 20+ homeruns and post a positive UZR in the outfield. Jones has increased his rate stats three consecutive seasons and he absolutely crushes left-handers. His contract will look like a major bargain once the 2012 season is over.
People who are worried about Michael Pineda‘s struggles with velocity will not have worried for no reason. He will see a lowered strikeout rate, increased homerun rate, and might spend time on the disabled list. He is an extreme fly ball pitcher and losing velocity mixed with pitching away from Safeco will turn some of those warning track outs into homeruns.
Tampa Bay Rays:
Matt Moore will win rookie of the year and be the first rookie since Daisuke Matsuzaka to strike out 200 or more hitters. Also, Sean Rodriguez will start at shortstop in over 60% of the games and be a 15 HR/15 SB player at a premium position for fantasy owners. We already know he will hit everyday against left-handers but he will prove to be good enough against right-handers and on defense that he will get more than enough playing time this season. Oh, and Evan Longoria will win the AL MVP and the Rays will win the World Series.
Jose Molina will do a fine job behind the dish but the Rays catchers, unless they make a trade, will post a wRC+ below 75 and force Maddon to have to call up Stephen Vogt to carry a third catcher and get some much needed offense at the position.
Toronto Blue Jays:
Kelly Johnson will hit at least .270/.355/.450 with 20+ homeruns and 15+ steals while posting a positive UZR and being worth at least 4.0 fWAR. Colby Rasmus will put up nearly identical numbers. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos will continue to look like the genius most of us already believe he is.
Ricky Romero will find that the Luck Dragons are not on his side this year. After posting a ridiculously low .242 BABIP, especially for a ground ball pitcher, he will add close to a run to his ERA and pitch closer to his 3.80 xFIP than his 2.92 ERA. Still a very valuable pitcher but some of his rates are unsustainable.
1. Tampa Bay Rays (93-69)
2. New York Yankees (92-70)
3. Boston Red Sox (88-74)
4. Toronto Blue Jays (84-78)
5. Baltimore Orioles (60-102)
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Fantasy Tagged: | Alex Anthopoulos, Andruw Jones, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chris Davis, Colby Rasmus, Jim Johnson, Jose Molina, Josh Beckett, Kelly Johnson, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Moore, Michael Pineda, New York Yankees, Ricky Romero, Sean Rodriguez, Stephen Vogt, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays