Friday, March 29, 2013

180 Days of Pain: A 2013 Major League Baseball Preview

I shouldn't really say "pain" per se. That might be misleading. As I lined out on a friend's blog yesterday, the New York Mets' 2013 season does have an air of anticipation and optimism about it because after many years of "rebuilding" the Mets' top prospects are finally making their way to the Majors. That doesn't mean New York is going to compete for a postseason berth this year. Doing that was already a pretty far-fetched idea before the news broke that oft-heard-of-yet-little-seen Mets' folk hero Johan Santana will again likely miss the entire season.

Devastating and sad as that news is -- and it really is on multiple levels -- it was silly to think that this really altered the trajectory of New York's 2013 campagin.

No, this is a team going somewhere and going nowhere all at the same time. The Mets are not making the playoffs. They are almost certainly not finishing 2013 with a winning record. They will probably not even finish above fourth place in the NL East. In fact, the most immediate positive to come out of this season will be the totally sweet new batting practice caps and the fantastic new alternate jerseys, finally removing black from the team's color scheme.

But there are more lasting impacts than simply an improved uniform set. Matt Harvey is getting a full Major League season under his belt, Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud will make their way to the big leagues and Ike Davis might actually be healthy for a whole campaign. There is no need for excitement in the outfield or bullpen whatsoever, but that's not the point. Those can be patched in the future with free agency if the team is actually close to real title contention. The point of this year is that we'll finally get to see just how far off we are and if the moves of Sandy Alderson and the gang are going to finally bear fruit.

From the looks of it, they are, and that means in 2014 and 2015 the Mets might actually be good. And in 2016 they might actually be World Series contenders. And as long as I ignore the fact that I'll be 31 during the 2016 World Series, it doesn't feel like it's all that far off.

But if this season doesn't exactly go well? Well, then it really will feel like pain. Kind of like the pain Mr. T brought down in Chicago this week.

Oh, but you kids aren't really here for that nonsense, right? So let's go make some Major League predictions since the season starts Sunday night, and I make the official "David Kalan Promise" that they will be made without any prior thought and entirely on the fly. The records do not entirely add up. I don't really care. Call them general ranges. And yes, I know. The Angels are calling themselves the L.A. Angels and have for several years. They don't play in Los Angeles. They play 30 miles away in Anaheim. That's where they are.

Here we go:

NL East
1. Washington - 97-65
2. Atlanta - 89-73
3. Philadelphia - 80-82
4. NY Mets - 78-84
5. Miami - 66-96

NL Central
1. Cincinnati - 95-67
2. *St. Louis - 91-71
3. Pittsburgh - 82-80 (They did it!)
4. Milwaukee - 81-81
5. Chicago - 75-87

NL West
1. LA Dodgers - 94-68
2. *San Francisco - 92-70
3. Arizona - 85-77
4. San Diego - 75-87
5. Colorado - 69-93

AL East
1. Toronto - 98-64
2. *Tampa Bay - 93-69
3. Boston - 87-75
4. NY Yankees - 83-79
5. Baltimore - 79-83

AL Central
1. Detroit - 95-67
2. Cleveland - 85-77
3. Kansas City - 83-79
4. Chicago - 80-82
5. Minnesota - 70-92

AL West
1. Anaheim - 96-66
2. *Texas - 91-71
3. Oakland - 88-74
4. Seattle - 76-86
5. Houston - 59-103

NL Playoffs
Wild Card Playoff
(4) San Francisco over (5) St. Louis

(1) Washington over (4) San Francisco
(2) Cincinnati over (3) LA Dodgers

(1) Washington over (2) Cincinnati

AL Playoffs
Wild Card Playoff
(4) Tampa Bay over (5) Texas

(1) Toronto over (4) Tampa Bay
(3) Detroit over (2) Anaheim

(1) Toronto over (3) Detroit

2016 World Series
(1) Toronto over (1) Washington

There you go, kids! The hastily-cobbled-together Blue Jays are actually pretty good, and while I was tempted to pick the Nationals over them in the World Series, well, I'd like to see R.A. Dickey on top of the world. Also, this would probably qualify as one of the best uniformed World Series of all time (though last season came close), so there's that.

You excited? I'm excited. Sort of. Bring on the pain.


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