This time of year predictions are always a fun part of sports. Everyone has their opinions on what will happen throughout of the upcoming season. Here at KC Kingdom, we have decided to try our hand at making predictions. We have asked each of our Knights who cover baseball to offer up their take on the 2013 baseball season. Participants include: Royals staff writer Jacob Meysenburg, Kings of Kaufman editor and KC Kingdom contributor Michael Engel, and our co-editors Ben Nielsen and Joel Wagler. There have been no consultations or comparing of notes whatsoever, just honest opinions. Click here to see our NL predictions.
American League Predictions
AL EAST WINNER
Jacob: Blue Jays- Big off season acquisitions will propel the Jays to the top of the AL East
Ben: I don’t like this division at all. There are a lot of people on the Blue Jays bandwagon because of all of their additions this offseason but I’m not sold on them as being a runaway favorite to win the division. Tampa Bay will be good but I think the loss of James Shields is going to hurt them, and I don’t think Wil Myers is the answer to their offensive problems at least in the short term. Baltimore overachieved by one-million-percent last year (that’s a mathematically proven stat), Boston is average, and Yankee players are dropping like flies. I suppose I’ll go with Tampa Bay if only because I think Joe Maddon knows how to make his team work at full capacity and take advantage of opportunities.
Joel: It is a new era in this division. The Toronto Blue Jays have strengthened their roster by way of a couple of trades that would been vetoed in most fantasy leagues. Tampa Bay’s offense just doesn’t impress me.
AL CENTRAL WINNER
Jacob: Tigers- Detroit has more elite level talent than any other team. An injury could be catastrophic because the Tigers lack depth.
Michael: Detroit Tigers – Best player and pitcher in the division and plenty of help alongside both.
Ben: Detroit Tigers. I like the Royals chances to compete with Detroit but it is hard to take them over the Tigers without knowing what Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are going to do this year. If those two guys breakout then this summer is going to be really interesting. KC still doesn’t have a “Justin Verlander” but they do have enough depth should the offense breakout. Still, there are a lot of unknowns with Kansas City unlike Detroit who we know are going to hit a bunch of home runs and strike a lot of guys out. That recipe was good enough to get them to the World Series last year and there is no reason to think it won’t be good enough to keep them in contention this year.
Joel: The Detroit Tigers just have too many weapons. I really like their rotation this year more than most people, and Austin Jackson is on the verge of being a certified star. This one is a no-brainer.
AL WEST WINNER
Jacob: This massively talented team underachieved last year and added Josh Hamilton in the off season.
Michael: Texas Rangers – They aren’t nearly as strong as they have been recently, but I don’t believe in Oakland and the Angels could be shaky if anyone gets hurt.
Ben: Let’s go Los Angeles Angels on this one. Sense my certainty? Texas lost a ton this offseason and failed to land any of their big fish targets like Shields and Justin Upton. They’ll still hit but I’m not sure they have enough pitching. I have no clue what Mr. Moneyball is cooking up in Oakland. Seattle is improved but I’m not sure they improved enough offensively to take advantage of their pitching. Houston…exists. So that leaves the Angels and their 1-3-4 of doom (Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton). Tommy Hanson is going to be the key for LAA. If he’s healthy and dealing, then they’ll have the starting pitching to make things work. Yes, their bullpen is still an issue but that is a fixable problem that can be solved in-season.
Joel: The Los Angeles Angels took Josh Hamilton from the Rangers and this is the deciding factor. Texas is going to have a hard time replacing all the production they lost this off season. It will be a tight race, and Oakland is closer in talent than many people give them credit for. The Angels have the fewest holes.
AL WILD CARD TEAMS
Jacob: Rangers;Rays- The Rangers are still solid after a few years of key departures. Yu Darvish will be good again. The Rays were another team that was probably better than their record last year. Expect Tampa Bay to make a run at another AL East title.
Michael: Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels
Ben: Texas Rangers and…Oakland. I can see about six different teams – including Kansas City – winning one of the two wild card spots. The AL is wide open.
Joel: The Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals. There is always one team that has a surprise year. The Royals have enough talent and their rotation is actually deep enough to compete this season. It has been a very long time since the Royals have been relevant for something other than a spoiler in September. The last time Kansas City was in the playoffs, some of the knights at this round table weren’t even born. This all changes this year. The Royals’ host of young, budding stars on offense will be fun and exciting to watch and Kansas City will get at least on post season game. If that happens, “Big Game” is on our side now!
AL WORLD SERIES REPRESENTATIVE
Jacob: Pujols, Trout, Hamilton and Co. have the elite talent to match the Tigers and the depth to surpass them.
Michael: Toronto Blue Jays
Ben: Detroit Tigers
Joel: I love the Tigers rotation and in a short series, that usually will win out.
WORLD SERIES WINNER
Jacob: Washington Nationals
Michael: Washington Nationals
Ben: Nationals over Detroit. Strasburg over Verlander in game seven when in the ninth inning Miguel Cabrera hits a fly ball that ricochets off Harper’s head and over the wall for a home run. 1-0 final. Greatest World Series ever played.
Joel: Detroit Tigers – I just love their pitching and incredible one-two punch of Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Jabob: Don’t expect last year’s numbers, but a huge season should still be in store.
Michael: Miguel Cabrera, third baseman, Detroit Tigers
Ben: Albert Pujols.
Joel: Look for a lot of regression with Trout and Miguel Cabrera will go back-to-back.
NL CY YOUNG
Jacob: Justin Verlander will not be as brilliant as in 2011, but he won’t need to be.
Michael: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Ben: David Price…will come in second to Justin Verlander.
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Jacob: Wil Myers- This one will sting for Royals fans. Wil should hit for decent power in his rookie year to go along with good on base skills.
Michael: Dylan Bundy, pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
Ben: Mike Olt, Texas Rangers
Joel: The Rangers need help replacing lost production and Leonys Martin will step up. In a weak year for Rookie of the Year candidates, Martin will shine.
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Michael: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
Ben: Tom Emanski, who will take over the Royals gig after Ned Yost is fired in May. Or Joe Maddon.
Joel: In for a penny, in for a pound. Ned Yost wins the Manager of the Year.