2012 is going to be another interesting season, as every MLB season tends to be. We’ll see guys breakout and we’ll see guys fall apart. Fantasy players will look at their rosters and think they are untouchable, only to realize that Ubaldo Jimenez may have just made you lose your first week when he hit Troy Tulowitzki’s elbow, and Corey Hart, you last resort for outfield help, is starting the season with the Brewers instead of the DL while getting time off instead of rehabbing in the minors. Thanks guys. Below you’ll see some of those bold predictions that probably won’t come to fruition, some guys to monitor during the season, and guys to watch as they come up through the minors this year.
AL East Champion:
New York Yankees
AL Central Champion:
AL West Champion:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, USA, North America, Earth, Milky Way
AL Wild Cards:
Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays
NL East Champion:
NL Central Champion:
NL West Champion:
NL Wild Cards:
Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers
Tigers over Reds in 6 games
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 3B
AL Cy Young:
Justin Verlander, Tigers, RHP
AL Rookie of the Year:
Matt Moore, Rays, LHP
AL Manager of the Year:
John Farrell, Blue Jays
Jay Bruce, Reds, RF
NL Cy Young:
Cole Hamels, Phillies, LHP
NL Rookie of the Year:
Bryce Harper, Nationals, RF
NL Manager of the Year:
Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
1. Alex Rodriguez rebounds and is an elite 3B again.
2. Kendry Morales posts better overall numbers than Albert Pujols.
3. Drew Stubbs doesn’t strike out 150 times and he goes 30/30 for the Reds.
4. Jason Heyward FINALLY hits the way that everyone expected him to, carrying the Braves while Larry Jones battles injuries in his final season.
5. Allen Craig becomes more valuable to the Cardinals than offseason signing Carlos Beltran.
6. Eric Thames never gives up the LF job in Toronto and the Jays deal Travis Snider for relief help in July.
7. Hanley Ramirez moves back to short and Matt Dominguez takes over third when Jose Reyes suffers a season-ending hamstring tear in June.
8. Matt Cain establishes himself as the Giants best pitcher not named Madison Bumgarner, meaning…Bumgarner is their best pitcher in 2012.
9. Rick Porcello starts throwing his four-seam fastball again and finally develops into the pitcher the Tigers drafted, not the guy they screwed up with for the last four years.
10. Justin Upton hits 40 HR in 2012.
Lorenzo Cain, Royals, CF: Power, speed, improving lineup = solid investment.
Chris Parmelee, Twins, 1B: On-base skills, slightly above average power, sudden opportunity due to Morneau’s move to DH = definition of a sleeper.
Nolan Reimond, Orioles, LF: Power like crazy coming out of college, he just hasn’t stayed healthy. He should get a majority of the starts in a hitter’s park, so he is worth a look.
Henderson Alvarez, Blue Jays, RHP: He turns 22 in mid-April and he posted 110/26 K/BB over 160 innings between Double-A and the Majors in 2011. He has a mid-90’s sinker that he, clearly, has dominant control over. He could control the AL East hitters with it, too.
Ike Davis, Mets, 1B: Many will forget him due to his injury in 2011, but Davis was on pace to be an All-Star for the Mets. He had some health issues this spring, which may further drop his fantasy draft position, but he is a legitimate power threat in a lineup that may look dreadful at times. He isn’t far from being a 30 HR-100 RBI type of player.
Todd Frazier, Reds, 3B/OF: One name…Scott Rolen. Rolen is 37 and hasn’t been healthy and productive in years. The Reds just traded the alternative to Rolen, Juan Francisco, so WHEN Rolen gets hurt in 2012, Frazier will get a look…once Dusty Baker gives Miguel Cairo one too many starts (did you know he likes veterans?). Frazier may not hit for much average, but he certainly has some power, and he plays in a bandbox.
Juan Nicasio, Rockies, RHP: Nicasio hit 97 mph with his fastball late in the spring and looks like he is developing into a Ubaldo Jimenez-lite type of pitcher for the Rockies. He has beat odds before, coming back quickly from a frightening injury in 2011, an injury that many thought could have ended his career.
Prospects on the Rise in 2012:
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, RHP
Manny Machado, Orioles, SS
Anthony Rendon, Nationals, 2B/3B
Bubba Starling, Royals, OF
Christian Yelich, Marlins, OF
Rymer Liriano, Padres, OF
Josh Bell, Pirates, OF
Jake Marisnick, Blue Jays, OF
Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals, 3B
Jonathan Schoop, Orioles, INF
Taijuan Walker, Mariners, RHP
Matt Davidson, Diamondbacks, 3B
Wil Myers, Royals, RF
Mikie Mahtook, Rays, OF