I am continuing my 2012 prediction series by revealing my NL East standings and adding a few positive and negative predictions for each team. In case you missed it, I have already revealed my AL East Predictions, AL Central Predictions, and AL West Predictions and we, as a staff, revealed some of our overall MLB predictions. Enjoy.
My prediction for Comeback Player of the Year award goes to Jason Heyward. I predict that he will not only rebound but establish himself as one of the best players in the National League. I see 30 doubles, 20 homeruns, 15 stolen bases, and a triple-slash somewhere in the .290/.390/.490 range while posting a +10 UZR. Mike Minor will break out in a big way and post an ERA around 3.50 over 190 innings with 175 strikeouts and only walking 50 batters.
Michael Bourn will let most fantasy owners down by hitting close to what he hit in Atlanta last year, which was .278/.321/.352 and steal under 50 bases for the first time since 2008. Jair Jurrjens will not be as lucky as last year when he posted a 2.96 ERA with only a 5.3 K/9. I foresee the K/9 staying the same but the ERA going up at least a full run.
The new name for Giancarlo Stanton also brings with it the National League homerun crown as he tops 40 homeruns in 2012. Hanley Ramirez will return to offensive form and hit .310/.390/.500 with 25 homeruns and 25 stolen bases and he will not complain once about playing third base. He will get more MVP votes for his “team player” attitude than his stats. Steve Cishek will be the team’s most valuable reliever according to fWAR.
Gaby Sanchez will continue to struggle like he did in the second half of last season and have his worst triple-slash line of his career. Carlos Zambrano will not find success and will again post an ERA at least a full run higher than his career mark. Josh Johnson spends some more time on the disabled list.
New York Mets:
Jonathon Niese will take a huge step forward. He will pitch at least 190 innings and post an ERA closer to his 2011 FIP of 3.36 and strike out 150+ batters with a groundball rate above 50%. David Wright will return to form and hit .300/.380/.510 and play at least 145 games. Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be called up when Jason Bay hits the disabled list, again, and hit .280/.350/.450 the rest of the way and establish himself as a solid Big Leaguer.
Ruben Tejada will not come anywhere near his 2011 stats and struggle to SLUG .300 this year. Andres Torres‘ 2011 was closer to his norm than the previous two seasons and he will struggle to hit .230/.310/.360 and the Mets will rush outfield prospect Juan Lagares to the Majors way too early where he will struggle to hit .200 and have to be sent back down.
This may not be much of a stretch but Roy Halladay will again lead the league in complete games and win his third career Cy Young award. He will lead the league in innings pitched, ERA, ERA+, FIP, xFIP, BB/9, and K/BB. Jim Thome gets enough at-bats to not only pass Sammy Sosa on the all-time homerun list but he will hit 18 homeruns with an OBP near .390.
While Freddy Galvis‘ glove be welcomed his bat will leave much to be desired as he struggles to hit .200 and the Phillies anxiously await the return of Chase Utley. Domonic Brown will be dealt near the deadline for an outfield bat to help a lineup that will be in the bottom half offensively. Brown will then flourish with his new club and make for some angry Philadelphia fans.
Jayson Werth is another player who will receive some support for Comeback Player of the Year as he finished with a line close to .275/.370/.500 with 25+ homeruns and 15+ stolen bases. Gio Gonzalez will love facing National League lineups and set a career high with 215 strikeouts. Bryce Harper will be called up in late June and hit 15+ homeruns and steal 10+ bases while taking over as the full-time center fielder. The Nationals, with a late surge, take the final Wild Card spot.
Ian Desmond is, again, horrible and the Nationals will move Danny Espinosa over to shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi will become the everday second baseman. John Lannan will post an ERA over 4.50 but the Nationals have to keep him as insurance for potential disabled list candidates and to make sure they do not throw their innings limit cap out the window on Stephen Strasburg.
1. Philadelphia Phillies (89-73)
2. Atlanta Braves (88-74)*
3. Washington Nationals (88-74)*
4. Miami Marlins (85-77)
5. New York Mets (66-96)
-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: | Andres Torres, Atlanta Braves, Bryce Harper, Carlos Zambrano, Chase Utley, Danny Espinosa, David Wright, Domonic Brown, Freddy Galvis, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth, Jim Thom, John Lannan, Jonathon Niese, Josh Johnson, Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Miami Marlins, Michael Bourn, Mike Minor, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Ruben Tejada, Stephen Strasburg, Steve Cishek, Steve Lombardozzi, Washington Nationals