2013 Preview: The HardballTalk staff predictions

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Oh, great Oracle. Tell us what the future holds!
source:

Actually, we’re usually way wrong with this stuff. All of us picked the Phillies to win the NL East last year and that didn’t work out too well.  But at least unlike a lot of outfits, we come back to these in October and remind everyone how wrong we were, so the wrongness of it is underscored all the more. If you can’t tell, we don’t take this exercise entirely seriously. No battle plan survives engagement with the enemy and such.

Whatever the case, it’s fun to try to predict the future, darn it, so here we are:


CRAIGsource:

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Pirates
Brewers
Cubs

NL West

Giants
Dodgers
Padres
Diamondbacks
Rockies

AL East
Blue Jays
Rays
Yankees
Orioles
Red Sox

AL Central
Tigers
Indians
Royals
White Sox
Twins

AL West
Angels
Rangers
Athletics
Mariners
Astros

NL Wild Card: Braves, Cardinals
NL Pennant Winner: Nationals
AL Wild Card: Indians, Rangers
AL Pennant Winner: Tigers
World Series Champ: Tigers over Nationals

source:  AARON

AL East
Rays
Blue Jays
Yankees
Red Sox
Orioles

AL Central
Tigers
White Sox
Indians
Royals
Twins

AL West
Rangers
Angels
A’s
Mariners
Astros

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Brewers
Cubs
Pirates

NL West
Giants
Dodgers
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Padres

AL Wild Cards: Angels, Blue Jays
NL Wild Cards: Braves, Cardinals
AL Pennant Winner: Tigers
NL Pennant Winner: Nationals
Word Series Champ: Nationals over Tigers

source:  JOE (only division winners because I sorta hit Joe up for his picks last minute)

NL East
Nationals

NL Central
Cardinals

NL West
Giants

AL East
Nobody. I’ll say Blue Jays for the fun of it.

AL Central
Tigers

AL West
Rangers

AL Wildcard: Angels and, yes, Royals. Why not?
NL Wildcard: Cardinals, Dodgers.
World Series Champs: Nationals over Rangers.


source:  D.J.

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Pirates
Brewers
Cubs

NL West
Giants
Dodgers
Diamondbacks
Padres
Rockies

AL East
Blue Jays
Rays
Yankees
Red Sox
Orioles

AL Central
Tigers
Indians
Royals
White Sox
Twins

AL West
Angels
Rangers
Athletics
Mariners
Astros

NL Wild Cards: Braves, Dodgers
NL Pennant Winner: Nationals
AL Wild Cards: Rays, Rangers
AL Pennant Winner: Tigers
World Series: Nationals over Tigers

source:  DREW

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Pirates
Brewers
Cubs

NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Padres

AL East
Blue Jays
Rays
Red Sox
Yankees
Orioles

AL Central
Tigers
Royals
White Sox
Indians
Twins

AL West
Angels
Rangers
Athletics
Mariners
Astros

NL Wild Card: Braves, Cardinals
NL Pennant Winner: Nationals
AL Wild Card: Rays, Rangers
AL Pennant Winner: Angels
World Series Champ: Angels over Nationals

source:  BILL

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Brewers
Pirates
Cubs

NL West
Giants
Dodgers
D-Backs
Padres
Rockies

AL East
Blue Jays
Yankees
Rays
Red Sox
Orioles

AL Central
Tigers
White Sox
Indians
Royals
Twins

AL West
Angels
Rangers
Athletics
Mariners
Astros

NL Wild Card: Braves, Cardinals
NL Pennant winner: Nationals
AL Wild Card: Rangers, Yankees
AL Pennant winner: Blue Jays
World Series champ: Nationals over Blue Jays

source:  MATTHEW

NL East
Nationals
Braves
Phillies
Mets
Marlins

NL Central
Reds
Cardinals
Brewers
Pirates
Cubs

NL West
Giants
Dodgers
Padres
Diamondbacks
Rockies

AL East
Blue Jays
Rays
Yankees
Red Sox
Orioles

AL Central
Tigers
Royals
White Sox
Indians
Twins

AL West
Rangers
Athletics
Angels
Mariners
Astros

NL Wild Cards: Braves, Cardinals
NL Pennant Winner: Braves
AL Wild Cards: Rays, Athletics
AL Pennant Winner: Blue Jays
World Series Champ: Blue Jays over Braves

That’s all, folks! Take ’em to the bank. Or don’t. You’ll do just as well either way.

The Nats are sniffing around for relief pitching help

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The Nationals began the year with Blake Treinen as their closer. That didn’t last long, and now Koda Glover seems to be Dusty Baker’s man in the ninth inning. He earned a save for the second consecutive game yesterday. Glover has been pretty darn good in the early going, posting a 2.35 ERA and striking out six batters and walking only one in seven and two-thirds. That obviously a small sample size, and anything can happen. If it does, Baker has Shawn Kelley as an option.

Not many household names there, which is probably why the Nationals are reported to be interested in the White Sox’ David Robertson and Alex Colome of the Rays. That report comes from Jim Bowden of ESPN, who also notes that the A’s have a number of guys with closing experience on staff and are likely to be sellers too. The David Robertson thing may have more legs, though, given that Mike Rizzo and Rick Hahn pulled off a pretty major trade in the offseason. If you know a guy well, you call that guy first, right?

As far as problems go this isn’t a huge one. The Nats sit at 13-5 and, as expected by most prognosticators, are in first place in the National League East. The Cubs had some questions in the pen this time last year too. They had the luxury of trying to figure it out before making a massive trade for a closer. The Nats do too, and likely will. But expect them to be a part of any trade rumor conversation for the next couple of months.

 

The big flaw in modern ballparks

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Travis Sawchik writes about the post-Camden Yards generation of ballparks over at FanGraphs. The ones everyone loves because they’re nice and clean and friendly and are full of amenities. And that’s true! They are nice! But they all have a huge flaw: unless you’re in expensive seats, you’re too far away from the action.

Sawchik uses cross sections of ballparks — available at Andrew Clem’s website — to show that fans sitting in the upper decks of ballparks are way higher and way farther back than they used to be at many old ballparks such as Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, Old Comiskey, Tiger Stadium and Ebbets Field.

A lot of this has to do with an admirable impulse: to eliminate the beams which obstructed the view of many seats in those old parks. If you want to move that upper deck closer to the field, you have to have the beams because one can only achieve so much via cantilever effect. But that’s not the only impulse and probably not the primary one. More expansive lower bowls — which feature more expensive tickets — push the upper deck back and up. As do the luxury suites and club level amenities in between the lower and upper decks. Exacerbating this is the fact that most newer parks are built on vast tracts of land with few architectural constraints. If you can sprawl, you will, which leaves the most affordable seats in the land of binoculars.

I don’t agree with everything Sawchik writes here. He spends a lot of time talking about how much better neighborhood parks like Wrigley Field are and how it’d be better if newer parks were built in neighborhoods. I agree, neighborhood parks are ideal, but the fact is, most places don’t have mass transit like Chicago does. In most cities you have to have a place for 40,000 people to park.

That’s a quibble, though. Mostly, it’s a good look at an important thing most folks overlook when they praise the new parks. Important because, if you don’t have an enjoyable experience at the ballpark, you’re not likely to come back. And if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to buy expensive tickets, you may not have a great experience at the ballpark.