Some people call me “Coach.” Some people call me “Jayzor.” For the purposes of this article, you can call me “Coach Jayzor.” I will present a predicted order of finish for each division, commentary on each team, and a player to watch for each team. If you don’t like my predictions, then you’re probably cheering for the wrong team. Feel free to jump on the Detroit bandwagon. Believe me: there’s room. A ton of people jumped off of the Detroit bandwagon a few years back. Remember? The city needs our support.
Commentary: It is hard for me to pick the Yankees in this division emotionally, but it’s a no-brainer on paper. Despite their mascot, yes, they are (and always have been) a group of terrorists. However, this group of terrorists is very good at baseball.
Player to Watch: Michael Pineda (He’ll start the season on the DL, but when he gets off, he’ll be untouchable. If he’s as good as he can be, the Yankees will win 100+ games.)
Commentary: Any team with David Price pitching on one day and cheering for his teammates on the other four days is bound to have a winning record.
Player to Watch: Grayson Garvin (Yes, this rookie will start off in High-A Port Charlotte, but he is a great pitcher and a phenomenal human being.)
3. Red Sox
Commentary: Will this team gel with new manager Bobby Valentine yelling at them every day? I highly doubt it.
Player to Watch: Carl Crawford (Is he the healthy CC of years past, or is he the lame CC that I drafted in Fantasy Baseball last year?)
4. Blue Jays
Commentary: There’s a lot of buzz around this team, but the fact remains: they are a team from Canada playing America’s pastime.
Player to Watch: Jose Bautista (Crazy swing, crazy power)
Commentary: This team is bad. Real bad.
Player to Watch: I’d recommend that you don’t watch the Orioles. Unless they are playing your favorite team. And even then, I might just check the box score in the morning because you probably don’t need to stress about it.
1. Detroit Tigers
Commentary: I’m picking them to win the World Series. Do I really need to justify their first place status in this terrible division?
Player to Watch: Prince Fielder. He has the best name in baseball. Hands down.
2. Cleveland Indians
Commentary: I’ve been partial to this team since the movie Major League. Though they don’t have Pedro Cerrano or Rick Vaughn, they do have Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez. Never heard of them? Watch more movies and more baseball.
Player to Watch: Ubaldo Jimenez. If you don’t watch him, he might hit you. Actually he might hit you even if you do.
3. Kansas City Royals
Commentary: This could be this decade’s (and reality’s) Cleveland Indians from the movie Major League. They are actually good this year.
Player to Watch: Eric Hosmer. What a talent!
4. Chicago White Sox
Commentary: Sorry, Barack. No Ozzie, no interest.
Player to Watch: Alexei Ramirez. He plays shortshop, and he gets a hit. Sometimes.
5. Minnesota Twins
Commentary: Unless a teenager ends up managing this team, they will end up with a losing record.
Player to Watch: Justin Morneau. I’m partial to his French-sounding last name, and yes, he was once a very good baseball player.
1. Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim)
Commentary: They paid a lot of money to acquire the services of the best player in baseball. The pressure’s on. They better win. Now.
Player to Watch: Albert Pujols. See above.
2. Texas Rangers
Commentary: This is fun team to support. Off the record, I am a Rangers fan. On the record, I think that they make the playoffs, but can’t overtake the Angels for the division.
Player to Watch: Yu Darvish. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Superman that…never mind.
3. Seattle Mariners
Commentary: Remember when the Mariners had Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner? Those days are long gone.
Player to Watch: Ichiro. Anyone with a single name is the real deal. See Madonna.
4. Oakland Athletics
Commentary: Sorry, Billy Beane. Your strategy failed. This team will play “small ball” and lose 100 games doing it.
Player to Watch: With all due respect, if you can name more than three players from this team, you watch too much baseball.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Commentary: I picked this team for the World Series, but it depends on their hitting. Their pitching is stacked.
Player to Watch: Hunter Pence. One of my top five favorite players in baseball, he did not get enough hype while playing for the Astros.
2. Miami Marlins
Commentary: Can all of the superstars and major personalities in Miami coexist? The success of the Miami Heat would point to yes, but time will tell.
Player to Watch: Mark Buehrle. Yes, they have Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Giancarlo (Don’t call me “Mike”) Stanton, but I am partial to left-handed pitchers.
3. Atlanta Braves
Commentary: I am, and have always been, a Braves’ fan. That’s only reason that I have them picked 3rd instead of 4th in this division.
Player to Watch: Mikie Minor. Yes, analysts will call him “Mike.” But when I watched him play in high school, he was “Mikie,” and he is also a former Commodore.
4. Washington Nationals
Commentary: This may not be the year, but soon (potentially very soon), this team will be scary good. That’s what happens when you get to pick 1st in the draft for seemingly ten straight years.
Player to Watch: Stephen Strasburg. Can he recover from his surgery? How good is a pitcher whose 100 MPH fastball isn’t even his best pitch?
5. New York Mets
Commentary: The Mets are as bad as the Yankees are good.
Player to Watch: R.A. Dickey. He’s from Nashville, and he’s got a sick knuckleball. Those are two things that demand respect in my book.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
Commentary: They won me $200 with their World Series victory last year, so I can’t turn my back on them now. Yes, they lost Albert Pujols, but they know how to win. And they play in a mediocre division.
Player to Watch: Carlos Beltran. A change of scenery is what he needed? Perhaps.
2. Cincinnati Reds
Commentary: They may win the division. This could be their year.
Player to Watch: Joey Votto. He does everything. He’s a power hitter who plays in a very small ballpark. He’s my dark horse to lead the Majors in homeruns this year.
3. Milwaukee Brewers
Commentary: Can they overcome losing Prince Fielder and the Ryan Braun distraction? My gut says no. I do like their pitching though, especially Yovani Gallardo (ex-Nashville Sound)
Player to Watch: Ryan Braun. How good will he be without steroids?
4. Chicago Cubs
Commentary: Rosenbagger?! Rollenhammer?! Rippensteamer?! No, Henry Rowengartner is not walking through that door. Neither is Chet Steadman.
Player to Watch: If I can’t watch either of those two, I’m not watching the Cubs. Good news: I now own Rookie of the Year, so I can watch them.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
Commentary: Facts of life. The Pittsburgh Steelers are good. The Pittsburgh Penguins are good. The Pittsburgh Pirates are bad. I don’t feel bad for the city’s fans. They can also wear the same colors to all sporting events.
Player to Watch: Pedro Alvarez. If you haven’t noticed a trend, I like players who once played for Vanderbilt.
6. Houston Astros
Commentary: The Astros might compete with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball this season.
Player to Watch: See comments about the Baltimore Orioles. The same rule applies.
1. San Francisco Giants
Commentary: Their pitching is just too good not to win games. Their hitting will determine how much winning they do.
Player to Watch: Pablo Sandoval. I believe him. I drafted him in my fantasy league. Will this be his “breakout season”?
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Commentary: The Dodgers may have some “magic” up their sleeves this season. (I had to.)
Player to Watch: Earvin “Magic” Johnson. I know that he played basketball, and I know that he’s just an owner, but they will acquire talent and get better with him at the helm.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Commentary: This team could finish anywhere from 1st to 5th, in my opinion.
Player to Watch: Justin Upton. He’s better than his brother, B.J., and his brother is very good.
4. Colorado Rockies
Commentary: If I pitched for the Rockies, I would get rocked. Many people would read that statement and think that I’m making a reference to the thin air in Denver. No, I would get rocked because my fastball is only 80 MPH.
Player to Watch: Jamie Moyer. Speaking of 80 MPH fastballs… this man is playing at age 49!
5. San Diego Padres
Commentary: They are young and talented, but I don’t see them winning for a few years. (They will not go 0-162. I just don’t see them winning a lot of games for a few years.)
Player to Watch: They will field nine players, and that’s all I can tell you about that.
AL Championship: Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim).
NL Championship: Philadelphia Phillies over San Francisco Giants.