Modifying this thread to be the official 2012 MLB thread. Since it's pretty active I think this is a good bet. Feel free to continue to make your predictions as the OP intended.
I'll just assume that they wont have the extra wild card worked into it by the time the season starts, even though MLB is hoping they will.
Here's how I see it going down.
1. Tampa Bay Rays. They're loaded with pitching. Carlos Pena is back. I think it really hinges on how well Desmond Jennings plays at the top of the order.
2. NY Yankees. They're an aging team that is more or less the same team as last season, which was a really good team last season. Staying healthy is always their #1 priority.
3. Boston Red Sox. They're definitely talented but in a minor suedo rebuilding process. I think they'll be in the playoff hunt for sure, but I don't see them ahead of the Yankees or Rays in the standings.
4. Toronto Blue Jays. They have some firepower on offense, but I really dont think that pitching will hold up in the AL East.
5. Baltimore Orioles. Will be lucky to break 65 wins.
1. Detroit Tigers. Loaded up with Prince Fielder. Possibly the slowest team in MLB history. Aside from Verlander all their pitchers like to use the defense, which will be shaky at best. They're pretty much World Series or bust from here on out.
2. Minnesota Twins. I don't think there's any way they can be as bad as they were last season. If both Mauer and Morneau can stay relatively healthy, and their young position players (Valencia, Revere) can be productive I could easily see them making a run for the central.
3. Cleveland Indians. They're decent everywhere, great nowhere. My guess is around .500 or a little better. They gave up a ton for Ubaldo Jimenez, if he repeats last season Indians fans will not be happy.
4. Chicago White Sox. To me they're the same deal as the Indians. Adam Dunn was catastrophically bad last year, if he can come up with at least similar to career average numbers their offense would improve greatly.
5. Kansas City Royals. They're the MLB Triple-A team. A bunch of prospects showcasing themselves to sign big money deals somewhere else. Sad too because I was a huge Royals fan when I was little.
1. Texas Rangers. I know that one other team got that Pujols guy, but Derek Holland said it best. "We're not going to suck". They're pretty much the same team as last year, trading CJ Wilson for Yu Darvish. I'd call that an upgrade. Joe Nathan is also in the bullpen now, which was already a monster bullpen.
2. Anaheim Angels. They're going to be good, no doubt. But I honestly think they'll still miss the playoffs. They're shallow at the end of the rotation/bullpen. They have three first basemen who can play, but none of them can really DH much because Bob Abreu is a statue in the OF. I'd really like to see Hank Conger make some strides as a catcher.
3. Seattle Mariners. Ichiro batting 3rd this year pretty much says it all. For them to even be competitive Smoak, Ackley, and Montero would all have to put up huge numbers.
4. Oakland A's. In rebuilding mode (again). They probably wont even attempt to compete until they get a new stadium. Manny Ramirez will possibly be cause for some amusement.
I think Yankees will end up with the wild card. Yankees vs Tigers and Rays vs Rangers in first round. Strange because that's exactly the same matchups as last season haha. In ALCS I see the Tigers vs Rays, with the Rays coming out on top. I really think the Rays pitching is going to power them through the season, it's pretty scary how good they are.
1. Philadelphia Phillies. They're so loaded with pitching it would be hard to pick anyone else. Like last year their ability to score runs will make or break their season. The middle of their lineup needs to stay healthy and productive.
2. Miami Marlins. It's really a toss up for me between the Marlins & Braves for #2 in the east. But I gave the nod to the Marlins. Their big offseason acquisitions in my opinion will put them over the Braves. But with Hanley Ramirez and Ozzie Guillen on the same team who knows what kind of implosions are right around the corner.
3. Atlanta Braves. More or less the exact same team that missed out on the playoffs in dramatic fashion last year. I see them contending this year, but coming up a little bit short down the stretch.
4. Washington Nationals. Probably the team I could be the most wrong about. They have HUGE upside. I wouldnt be surprised if they finished first...or last. Bryce Harper is an absolute monster (and a dbag). If Werth can bounce back and their pitching stays healthy, watch out for the Nats.
5. New York Mets. Are a mess. Nobody wants to play there because of the ownership fiasco. And even if people did want to play there, they couldn't afford them anyways because of the money Wilpons have mismanaged. Will probably contend for the worst record in baseball.
1. St Louis Cardinals. Even without Pujols I think they'll end up winning a pretty weak central. Wainwright coming back is huge, and Beltran can be great.
2. Cincinatti Reds. Could possibly contend for the central, if they stay healthy and consistent. They're probably the most talented team in the division but Dusty Baker has a hard time getting the most out of his players. Chapman moving into a starters role is going to be great entertainment.
3. Milwaukee Brewers. Braun sitting out 50 games is killer. They replaced Prince Fielder with Aramis Ramirez. They're going to struggle to score runs and with their soft in pitching after the top of the rotation that's not a good combo.
4. Chicago Cubs. In total payroll dump mode while Epstein grooms the team to his liking.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates. Were a nice story last year, probably wont happen again this year.
6. Houston Astros. Will probably have the worst record in MLB, maybe of all time. Me and my friends played a game where we tried to name as many players as we could from every team. The minimum we had on any team prior to the Astros was 17. For the Astros we got...7.
1. San Francisco Giants. I think they'll rebound this year and win the division. Having Buster Posey back is huge. Angel Pagan & Melky Cabrera were both sneaky good last year. Brandon Belt is an up and coming 1B. Sergio Romo's beard might overtake Brian Wilson's at some point.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks. They were already a good team, and they made some nice acquisitions. Kubel is a nice left handed bat. Cahill is an all-star and they'll have Aaron Hill for the entire season. They easily could win the west again. I dont condone gambling, but Vegas has them at 25-1 odds to win the World Series, and if I was a gambler, I'd be willing to put money on that one.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - They played extremely well at the end of last season. With the ownership fiasco mostly behind them they can all concentrate on baseball now. However I dont think they have the talent to pass either SF or Arizona.
4. Colorado Rockies. If their really young pitching can produce, they could be much better. They're going to be able to score some runs but I dont think their pitching will be able to hold up.
5. San Diego Padres. Pretty much same as last year. Great pitching, not enough scoring. Yader Alonso & Carlos Quentin will help, but not nearly enough to contend.
In the NLDS, I see San Francisco vs St Louis and Philadelphia vs Arizona. In the NLCS I think Philadelphia will beat San Francisco.
So my WS would be a rematch of a few years ago with Tampa Bay vs Philadelphia. However this time I think Tampa Bay can pull it off.
How do the rest of you think this year will play out? Like all predictions, I'm sure mine will end up being terrible.