Major League Baseball

Looking back at my 2012 MLB Predictions – Inside The Wheelhouse

The 2012 Major League Baseball season is in the books and Postseason Baseball is upon us. 10 teams remain for the opportunity to be crowned World Series Champion. Let’s take a look back at my predictions on every division and see how I fared in what actually occurred this season. It will be alright to laugh and point at some of picks because you know I’ll be doing the same as well.

With that said here were my predictions for the 2012 MLB season from the start of the season for the Camel Clutch Blog:

National League:

Predicted NL East:

1. Philadelphia Phillies (Actual finish: 3rd in NL East)

2. Miami Marlins (Actual finish: 5th in NL East)

3. Washington Nationals (Actual finish: 1st in NL East)

4. Atlanta Braves (Actual finish: 2nd in NL East)

5. New York Mets (Actual finish: 4th in NL East)

I don’t think I could’ve predicted a division any worse then I did with the National League East this season. Honestly who saw the Nationals being this good, this early on in their franchise? I certainly didn’t just yet but it’s been one of the best stories in Baseball this season. As for the Philadelphia Phillies decline this year I didn’t see that coming either, obviously.

Philadelphia will be a team poised to return to prominence in the NL East next season, no shock there when you have the rotation and lineup they have. When it comes to the Atlanta Braves I actually thought they would’ve suffered what the Boston Red Sox suffered this season and that was still having a bad taste in their mouths from the “final day of the season collapse” in 2011. New York lived up to their expectations while the Miami Marlins did not from their busy offseason heading into this year, I’ll be shocked if Ozzie Guillen is still the manager come 2013.

Congrats to the Nationals and Braves on making the playoffs this season and glad we could all come together to enjoy a good laugh due in part to my horrible NL East predictions this season!

Predicted NL Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (Actual finish: 1st in NL Central)

2. Milwaukee Brewers (Actual finish: 3rd in NL Central)

3. St. Louis Cardinals (Actual finish: 2nd in NL Central)

4. Chicago Cubs (Actual finish: 5th in NL Central)

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (Actual finish: 4th in NL Central)

6. Houston Astros (Actual finish: 6th in NL Central)

Well at least I got the division winner right in the NL Central and for the most part I didn’t do a bad job predicting this one. Each team is close to the position I had them finishing in with the most important being the Cincinnati Reds returning to the top of this division after seeing Milwaukee and St. Louis own it in 2011. I had Cincinnati as my NL Champions for this season and still like them as a World Series contender heading into Postseason Baseball.

Cincy has the blueprint of the last two World Series Champions in the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals, both whom are also part of the National League. The Reds have a strong pitching rotation, an even stronger bullpen and a very solid lineup; all things that helped those two teams win the last two World Series Championships. They have the makings of bringing a World Championship back to Cincinnati in 2012 if the stars continue to align themselves in the Reds favor.

As for the rest of the division the Pirates were a disappointment in the fact that they trailed off at the end of the season yet again and they always seem to be getting closer but can never kick the door down. St. Louis bounced back nicely from Pujols leaving for the Angels and LaRussa retiring as they look to reclaim their World Series crown yet again in this year’s Postseason. As for the rest of the division Milwaukee needs to give Ryan Braun help if they ever want to play in Postseason Baseball during his tenure, the Cubs didn’t capitalize on Theo Epstein being there…yet and the Astros are well, the Astros.

Predicted NL West:

1. San Francisco Giants (Actual finish: 1st in NL West)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (Actual finish: 2nd in NL West)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (Actual finish: 3rd in NL West)

4. Colorado Rockies (Actual finish: 5th in NL West)

5. San Diego Padres (Actual finish: 4th in NL West)

I should’ve saved this division for last because this was the best of any MLB division that I predicted. I really liked the San Francisco Giants to return back to the top of the NL West this season and for the Los Angeles Dodgers to improve upon their final stretch of 2011. Arizona had decline written all over them and the Rockies/Padres didn’t have a bright future heading into 2012 at all.

San Francisco is poised to be potential World Series Champions again and their matchup in the NLDS could’ve been a NLCS matchup in my opinion as well. The Giants don’t have the starting pitching that they did in 2010 when they won the World Series but their bullpen seems to be very similar to that Championship team and their lineup is wiser & older as Buster Posey really showed up as a NL MVP candidate in 2012. Like the Reds, they are a very dangerous team to deal with in the Postseason.

Los Angeles was a disappointment for me this season because even before the Han-Ram, A-Gon/Beckett/Crawford deals I had them going to the NLCS. Matt Kemp could’ve been the NL MVP if he stayed healthy but because of such it slightly derailed this team for this season, they will be a strong contender in 2013 though. Arizona is like what Baltimore, Oakland and Washington are this season as they were a young team playing with “house money” heading into the Postseason, for them to keep that trend going would’ve been hard to do. Finally I didn’t expect much out of San Diego at all and Colorado needs to be “blown up” in the offseason if they want to thrive ever again, don’t be surprised if Tulo and/or C-Gon get traded at some point.

Predicted National League Division winners: Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants

Actual National League Division winners: Washington Nations, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants

I believe it was Meat Loaf who once said: “two out of three ain’t bad.” I’ll take the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants picks but will admit I was very surprised the Phillies decline happened this season. Like I said before, I expected the Washington Nationals to be good, at some point, just not in the 2012 MLB season.

Predicted National League Wild Card Teams: Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers

Actual National League Wild Card Teams: Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals

Well I got these picks completely wrong now didn’t I? I didn’t believe the Braves would be able to bounce back from the Wild Card collapse last season (instead it was Boston who couldn’t) and I thought it would be very tough for this Cards team to return to the Postseason without Albert Pujols & with a rookie manager, I was extremely wrong on both. At least this time both teams will go head-to-head with the Wild Card on the line and not have it be decided like it was last season.

Predicted AL East:

1. New York Yankees (Actual finish: 1st in AL East)

2. Tampa Bay Rays (Actual finish: 3rd in AL East)

3. Boston Red Sox (Actual finish: 5th in AL East)

4. Toronto Blue Jays (Actual finish: 4th in AL East)

5. Baltimore Orioles (Actual finish: 2nd in AL East)

The American League East is often looked upon as one of the most competitive divisions in Baseball and for a good part of 2012 it most certainly was. At one point in the season all five AL East teams had records above, at, or close to .500 heading into the All-Star break. That’s pretty impressive for an entire division to accomplish.

I was correct in picking the New York Yankees as the AL East Champions but the rest of the division was an unpredictable mess from my picks. The Baltimore Orioles, who finished 2nd in the division and made it into the Postseason I had predicted would be in LAST PLACE. Simply because I loved this team the season prior to be contending for a Wild Card position and they didn’t, so next season I need not to hold grudges when I predict divisions.

For the rest of the AL East I knew Tampa Bay would be competitive but didn’t think they’d miss the playoffs and they did as a 90 win team for 2012. I knew Toronto would be “pesky” but still didn’t have what it takes to be competitors in the AL East just yet; I like them to be like the 2012 Orioles in 2013 though. As for the Boston Red Sox I did not see this coming at all, never would I be able to predict the collapse they had, only having 69 wins while having 93 losses, trading away some of their top stars (Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford) and having this Bobby V hatred that the fans did. I don’t think ANYONE could’ve predicted that happening and not for a Baseball town like Boston.

 Predicted AL Central:

1. Detroit Tigers (Actual finish: 1st in AL Central)

2. Kansas City Royals (Actual finish: 3rd in AL Central)

3. Cleveland Indians (Actual finish: 4th in AL Central)

4. Minnesota Twins (Actual finish: 5th in AL Central)

5. Chicago White Sox (Actual finish: 2nd in AL Central)

I guess for at least the American League I decided I’d go with predicting the Division winner right but not being too close with the other teams. Detroit wasn’t a hard prediction to make simply because the division isn’t too strong but I was quite surprised with how long it took them to clinch the division and with so little wins in the process. Detroit should’ve been a 97-100 win team in 2012 in my opinion.

The White Sox finished 2nd in the division and I had them in last place. Predicting the White Sox for last place in the Central wasn’t something shocking because they blew up their team in the offseason and hired a new manager in the process. But instead of rolling over the White Sox went out there, shocked the baseball world to 85 wins and all the while contending for most of the season in the AL Central.

As for the rest of the division the Royals were very disappointing in that they didn’t contend in the year everyone figured they would, which sets them up to be a nice story for 2013 just like the Orioles, Nationals or Athletics. Cleveland is Cleveland and Minnesota is Minnesota. Both of those teams, Cleveland and Minnesota, need some freshening up for their franchises to ever be successful again.

Predicted AL West:

1. Los Angeles Angels (Actual finish: 3rd in AL West)

2. Texas Rangers (Actual finish: 2nd in AL West)

3. Oakland Athletics (Actual finish: 1st in AL West)

4. Seattle Mariners (Actual finish: 4th in AL West)

If you had the Oakland Athletics winning the AL West this season I’d like you to pick my lottery numbers for the rest of my life. While it’s an amazing story lets face it, NO ONE SAW THIS COMING! The Athletics were lost in a division with the Texas Rangers AND the Los Angeles Angels, two teams that had great teams to begin with but got BETTER in the offseason while the Athletics traded away some of their top players (Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey)!

The Texas Rangers are a disappointment because they lead the AL West from April 9th till Game #161 when they let the Athletics win the AL West in Game #162. That is a pretty epic collapse in my opinion, and the only way they can salvage it is by advancing far in the Postseason. As for the Los Angeles Angles they are an even bigger disappointment because they didn’t contend for the Postseason at all this year! They signed both Albert Pujols & CJ Wilson in the offseason, two of the biggest free agents available, called up rookie phenomenon Mike Trout to the bigs and traded for Zach Greinke forming one of the most impressive rotations on paper, all the while still failing to make the Postseason!

As for the Seattle Mariners, what can you say about them? The future appears to be bright there as they start over a new leaf without the likes of Ichiro Suzuki but there is still a lot to improve upon. At least with the Houston Astros coming over to the AL West next season they know that they won’t finish last anymore.

Predicted American League Division Winners: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels

Actual American League Division Winners: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics

Once again a wise man named Meat Loaf once said: “two out of three ain’t bad.” The only problem is the Los Angeles Angels, who I had winning the AL West, I also had winning the World Series! At least I have the chance to be half-right if Cincinnati makes it to the World Series!

Predicted American League Wild Card Teams: Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers

Actual American League Wild Card Teams: Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers

I’m proud of myself on this one because I had the Texas Rangers advancing to the AL Wild Card play-in game this season and while I did predict a AL East team would be the other Wild Card team I didn’t think it would be the Baltimore Orioles. At the start of the season had you known this would be the one-game Wild Card playoff game you’d be guessing it to be the Texas Rangers all day. I don’t know if that’s the case anymore as Texas looks to repeat for the third straight year as defending American League Champions. Baltimore is playing with “house money” and is very, very dangerous.

To wrap everything up it was fun to look back at my 2012 MLB predictions and see how good I did, while how bad I did as well. I’ve always had the great fun & pleasure of covering the MLB Postseason here on CamelClutchBlog.com for the last three years and I look forward to doing that once again here in 2012. Check out my Wild Card play-in game predictions blog coming out on Friday and my ALDS/NLDS predictions blog set for Saturday!

For more MLB talk throughout the Postseason join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck

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Jeff Peck

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheJeffPeck

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