It is time for the first annual Melvin non politically correct, barely censored and more than likely mildly controversial baseball season preview. I have kept track of the off season moves and machinations, watched the preseason games, reviewed rosters, tracked the statistical reviews and read the scouting reports. I am now ready to issue my thoughts and predictions about the year that will be which only an absolute fucking moron would use a source for predictions or betting purposes.
There are lots of questions going into this year. Can Trout and Harper reprise their rookie years? Does Pujols return to form? How many games can a healthy unchecked Strasburg win in 2013? Does the Toronto spending spree pay dividends in the always intense AL East? How many more Yankees will go on the injured list? Is it preordained that the Cubs must suck again this year? When does Dylan Bundy come up to the majors? How about Wil Myers? Will the Upton brothers show turn up the heat in Atlanta? Will A-Rod do the classy thing and retire so the Yanks can move on? Please God can Boston suck again this year?
Note that I left out any questions about the alleged use of PEDS. I am tired of it all and wish Selig and the union would just make it simple. Use them and be banned for life. Period, no exceptions. Beyond that I don’t really care. If these dimwits are dumb enough to use steroids and shrink their nads and render their winkies ineffective to wring out a few more hits and homers a year I just don’t give a shit. I’m not sure that testosterone and HGH should not be legitimized or at least heavily researched for injury recovery purposes but gain I don’t really care. Its easy to end it. Quit fucking around and make it a lifetime ban. That will stop in in its tracks in the minors and the steroid era will finally and really be over.
Now onto the game and the year ahead. I am going to start with the National League East and work my way around the AL East and my much beloved Orioles of Baltimore. The NL East may now be the toughest division in all of baseball. There are 3 teams that could win in any other division and even the Mets might look good in one of the other divisions. The Marlins this year might struggle in a good high school league but behind the controversial player dumping is a lot of young talent.
Here we go in predicted order of finish.
This may one of the best looking baseball team I ever seen assembled. They have pitching, solid defense and outstanding pitching. Their manager is one of the best in the history of the game. If the Braves and Phillies had not improved so much in the off season I would call this team a guaranteed lock to break the record of 116 wins. If they dominate the series with those two clubs they may make Jason Werth look like a damn genius with his perfection of 120 wins.
The stats services have them at 90 to 93 wins and Vegas has it at 91.5 wins on the over under right now. They are too low in my opinion. There is no real weakness in the lineup. Harper is knocking the shit out of the ball in spring training, Werth looks like he is permanently back to form, Span may hit .300 in the leadoff spot because of who is behind him in the order. They can set the table and clear it quickly.
The pitching staff is solid with Dan Haren the only possible weak spot in the rotations. His strikeout and ground ball ratios have slid the past few years and that could be problematic. However if he can keep his ERA below 4.5 he should still win some games as the Nats averaged 4.51 runs a game last year and that probably goes up next this year. The rest of the rotation is a threat to win 20 games this year. The bullpen is solid and should hold most of the leads they are given.
Its Davys last year and there is a big chance they send him home with a ring.
They got better but not good enough. The pitching staff is formidable as always and should get better when Brandon Beachy comes back in the second half of the season. Adding the Uptons to Freeman and Heyward should give the lineup some extra pop. In any other division I think they would run away with the title. To top it off they get the shit end of the stick in interleague and have to play the much improved Toronto squad four games in a row at the end of May.
The stats services have them at 86 wins right now and the Vegas total is also 86. I think they may actually win 90 at the expense of Miami, the Mets and the NL central but that still going to be along damn way behind the Nationals. This is a really good baseball team but they are in the division with what may be the best team in baseball right now as well as what could be a resurgent Philadelphia squad.
The knock here of course is that these guys are getting old but they have a lot of talent. Utley, Howard and Rollins make one hell of heart of the lineup. If Michael Young can swing the bat as he has in the year past they will put some runs on the board. They were 8thin the majors in home runs last year and averaged 4.2 runs per game. If the lineup stays healthy they should improve on that a bit especially with a full year of a healthy Ryan Howard. Unfortunately the pitching staff is a year older and will be lucky to match last year’s sub 4 ERA. The stats and bettors line of 81 to 82 games looks solid to me
That’s right I am picking the Marlins over the Mets. First you need to understand that I hate the goddamn Mets. These evil fuckers messed up a perfectly good summer for me back in 1969 and I have never forgiven the bastards. The only way I would ever pick the Mets to win anything other than a syphilis catching contest at a roadside whorehouse is if ever they had the occasion to pay those rotten evil masters of fucktardation Red Sox in the World Series again.
Second there is some good hungry young talent on this team. Ginacarlo Satnton is a monster and he will get his hits and homer even with Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre batting in front of him. I think Logan Morrison can revert to form under the watchful ass kicking eyes of hitting Coach Tito “why does this fucker always homer against the Orioles” Martinez. We could see Yelich, Fernandez and Zack Cox up in the majors before too long and this will be a very young very hungry baseball team that can steal a few wins they aren’t supposed to. The odds makers and stat services have them at 65 wins but I think they get closer to 70 with help from playing the Twins in interleague games a couple of times.
The New York Motherfucking Metropolitans
I hate the Mets as I may have perhaps causally mentioned so I would pick them last if they still had Tom Seaver pitching and Davey Johnson as manager. Even my close and lasting friendships with many Mets fans cannot overcome my aversion to this baseball team. However I get an assist with this year’s dire prediction for these rat bastards because this truly a bad baseball team. I feel bad for David Wright as he is a class act and good ballplayer stuck in the middle of a nightmare squad. The team hit just .249 last year and will be lucky to match that this year. Other than Wright the only other power on the team comes from Ike Davis and he lessens the impact by hitting in the low 200s.
Other than Johan Santana the pitching staff is largely untested and I have little doubt the team ERA comes in closer to 5 than last year’s 3.83 for starters and 4.65 for the bullpen. Odds makers and stats types have them at 74 to 76 wins on the year but I think they have their heads firmly up their own asses on this one. They will be lucky to win 65. This is a horrible team and I intend to enjoy every moment of their pain.
This is division with one very good team and some also rans, old guys and want to bes that will provide many extra wins for the rest of the league. The class here is easy to spot
This is the class of the division and a very good baseball team. I have ulterior motives for picking the Reds as well. Back in the dark ages the Orioles started the AL season and the Reds the National League with both first pitches allegedly thrown at the same time. It was cool. In addition we kicked their ass in the 1970 World Series turning the Big Red machine into the Toothless Pink Unicorns. Thanks to the wonders of national television the rest of the world finally recognized Brooks Robinson for the baseball god he was back in the 60s and 70s.
They can set the plate with Choo and Phillips at the top of the lineup and that gets better fast if they can get Billy Hamilton up quicker with his .400 on base percentage and minor league record 155 steals. Votto and Bruce have the power to clean the plate at any time. Ludwig hit 25 bombs last year and that will go up if he stops chasing the up and in heat.
The pitching staff is solid even if they leave Chapman as the closer. That’s the smart thing to because they do not need him and he prefers t the closers role. The guy saved 28 games with a sub 2 ERA last year so just leave him where he is. That’s how Dusty Baker wants to play out and if management has a brain in their cute little heads that’s how they will play it. Cueto , Latos and Arroya got the job done last year and Homer Bailey looks to be even better this year. The rotation is slid and the bullpen is one of the best in the majors.
The odds say 91 games but this team is a threat to win 100 given the weakness of the division.
They are still paying some bills for their rent a ballplayer gambit a few years back but they have the offensive firepower to get the job done. Braun, Hart and Ramirez can all hit 30 dingers and drive in runs. Hart will miss about a month of the season so they need an adequate bridge in the short run to fill that gap
The pitching is a little suspect once you get past the workhorse of the staff Yovani Gallardo but they have some decent young arms that could surprise some folks. Mark Rogers is having a horrid spring so it looks like youngster Wily Peralta will make the squad and we could see Thornburg up from the minors before too terribly long if performs well in Nashville.
The numbers and gamblers say 77 wins but I think they turn in a winning record with 83 to 85 wins on the year.
St. Louis Cardinals
The smart thing would have been to pick the Cards to finish second but like some other teams in the game I think this is the year that age has to pay the bills. Furcal is 37 and already gone for the year with Tommy John surgery,Beltran is 35 and basically has no knees left. Freese is already dinged up in spring training. Chris carpenter is out at least for the year and said this week he doesn’t think he will ever pitch again. If any of their other regular starters or every day players experiences an injury of any lasting nature this team will struggle mightily. John Jay is probably the most important player on the team right now because the corner outfielders are not exactly speed machines capable of covering much ground. We may see Oscar Taveras in an everyday role in the outfield sooner than many anticipated.
This is a great baseball team playing on one of the great baseball cities in the United States but they just have too many issues to match the projected win total of 85 games. I suspect they will be lucky to turn in a winning season. The may get an assist from what looks to be a very weak interleague schedule.
While it is true that the Pirates beat the orioles in two world series even coming back from down 3 to 1 in 1979 I do not harbor the same hatred as I do for those rat fucking Metropolitans. I was a much more mature man of 10 when we lost to the Pirates the first time and was more capable of dealing with the loss in a mature fashion and not harbor intense hatred and anger for 40 + years and counting. Although I would probably punch you dead in the face if you were to bust out singing We Are Family that was a very good Pirates team we lost to in 1979 and by then I have discovered both girls and alcohol and that took some of the edge off the pain of losing.
The Pirates have their mitigating factors as well. They gave us Roberto Clemente one of the finest ball players and gentleman the game has ever seen. How can you hate a team that produces Willie Stargell, Bill Mazerowski, and Manny Sanguillen? They have also paid a penance of being a really bad team for the better part of the last two decades while wearing some of the ugliest uniforms in the history of the game. Guys ask for trades not to avoid playing in Pittsburgh but to get out of wearing that hideous fucking outfit. Besides ,as Mencken pointed out all sane men from time to time feel the urge to hoist the black flag and comment to slitting throats, so how you can hate a Pirate. You can’t.
The front end of the rotation is solid with AJ Burnett and Wandy Rodrigues and by years end we could see super prospects Cole and Taillon come up to the majors and give the Pirates a strong starting staff. The bullpen shows premise and the staff should be better than last year.
McCutchen has star power and should continue to hit well. If Alvarez develops plate discipline he has the potential to hit 40 this year. This has the makings of a formidable young lineup. This is not the year they come to full potential but they are closer. I think the numbers guys are right with the Pirates winning 75 to 76 games.
Everybody loves the cuddly Cubs and I am sure Wrigley Field will continue to sell out all summer even as the team struggles to not lose 100 games. Personally I hope the story never ends and my Grandkids are sitting around talking about the streak and making plans to go to Chicago for a day game in the bleacher seats. It’s a damn baseball classic complete with a billy goat. The Cubs find more ways to lose than Lindsay Lohan does to get arrested and is just compelling as hell. Theo will get this team turned around over time but for now this is just not a good baseball team.
I am a huge fan of Jeff Samardzija and admire his intelligence for choosing baseball and his patience in developing into a solid major league pitcher. He has 20 game stuff but he doesn’t play n a 20 win team by any stretch of the imagination. The rest of the rotation is suspect and you can expect offense production to decline further this year. If only someone would take the quickly aging Soriano off the hands or the NL would adopt the designated hitter.
The team will be blessed to hit the prediction of 75 wins and I think 65 is a more likely number for the team. Great Story, bad ball club for now.
THE NL WEST
This a lopsided division with two very good teams and three so bad they are barely worth mentioning For the most part I barely mention them
For the sake of the game I hope I am right about this one. The game needs the boys in blue playing in the fall. The new ownership group has spent the money to make it happen. The talent is there and I think they have the right manager in place. The rotation is one of the absolute best in baseball with two serious preseason Cy Young candidates at the top. The bullpen was one of the best last year and the main components are returned. If the lineup produces up to capability you could have Murders Row the 2013 version. Lets hope for a close race with their arch rivals that ends up with the Dodgers in the dance. The team should win the 90 games projected with ease.
San Francisco Giants
I have finally figured out the Giants winning ways. They make the exciting look ordinary and the exceptional an ever day practice. They have excellent attention to the fundamentals of the game and have every square inch of their home filed memorized. They do just enough to win and bore the living fuck out of their opponents until they go into a stupor and lose a 1 run game. Its fucking brilliant baseball.
This year I think they will have the rotation once again but bot the bats to take out the Dodgers. With Lincecums haircut and the departure of Brain Wilson they have lost some of their personality as well. They will be just boring enough to surpass the odds maker projections of 86 games by one or two. That's going to be good enough for a wildcard in this league.
These snakes do not have a lot of bite. The best thing they have going for them is manager Kirk Gibson and second baseman Aaron Hill. Beyond that it falls off pretty quick. Kennedy is a solid number 1 pitcher but the rest of the rotation strikes me as questionable although Brandon McCarthy wife has a great twitter count. Gibson is a great manager and his determination and skill will keep them from being a laughingstock but the tools just are not there right now. The math boys are optimistic at 76 wins is closer to the reality.
The stadium is the best player on the team. Walt Weiss may turn to heavy scotch consumption or possibly heroin before the season is over. 65 wins maybe.
San Diego Padres.
The only real question with this team is when do they trade Chase Headley for some prospects and prayers? The new pope is expected to request team change name t Protestants before the year is out.
Tomorrow we will walk around the American League and see what we find.