We did some internal preseason predictions, which Bob Timmermann has summarized here. Most people just predict the standings, by measuring the relative team strengths and talent levels. I, on the other hand, do RealSeason Predictions™. Real seasons don't play out to the true talent levels of the teams involved. RealSeason Predictions™ come complete with injuries and trades and surprises and magic and luck, both good and bad, just like reality. So here we go:
AL West: Angels, A's (WC), Rangers, Mariners.
Everyone thinks the Angels will have great pitching but have trouble scoring. The converse will be true. One or more of their top 7 pitchers (5 starters, Shields, KRod) will get hurt, and the dropoff will be painful. So they'll trade Adam Kennedy for a pitcher, promote one or more of their young studs, and then they'll be better than ever. The A's and the Angels will end up tied for the best record in the American League, but the A's will lose the tiebreaker. The Rangers will be in the race until August when they'll suddenly go on an untimely losing streak and fall out of the race. The Mariners will be respectable, as well, but their total lack of pitching depth will doom them. They're in the wrong division.
AL Central: Tigers, Indians, Twins, White Sox, Royals.
The Indians will lead the division all year until September, when once again, they will choke down the stretch. The Tigers, Twins, and White Sox will all be lurking, hanging around, waiting for their opportunity. One of them goes on a lucky hot streak at just the right time, and it's the Tigers. The Twins and White Sox will be muttering wouldifs all winter, both thinking they should have won the division, if only that one little bad break had gone differently. The Royals...forget it.
AL East: Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Devil Rays, Orioles.
The Yankees will win 94 games, and win the division by eight games. The Blue Jays and Red Sox will battle for second place, but not for the division title. This race will be over early. The Red Sox collapse will be surprising. Their pitching will not perform up to expectations, and their ability to hit in the clutch will magically disappear. "Oh no, not another strikeout with the bases loaded!" will be groaned throughout New England all summer. Tampa Bay will almost, but not quite, catch up to Boston at the end, while the Orioles will finish dead last, after they trade half their team away in July.
The division will be close until July, when the Dodgers call up some of their young pitchers to round out the bullpen. After that, they'll go on a long hot streak and bury the competition. The race will be over by September 1. The Dbacks will finish just a tad over .500, the Padres and Giants just a tad under. The Rockies will be the Rockies.
The Brewers and Cardinals will be neck and neck until July, when the Cardinals make a couple big trades that boost them to the title, while the Brewers stick to their young knitting. Still, the Brewers will eke out the wild card over the Mets. The Astros will start out very slowly, leading Roger Clemens to decide to stay home for good. The Astros come back, but it'll be too late. The Cubs will fall victim to Murphy's Law, as usual. The Pirates won't win, but they won't be embarrassing to watch, which is more than we can say for the Reds.
The Braves will win by default. Pedro Martinez will get hurt, and the Mets pitching will suck, as will their defense. Too bad. The Phillies will win the division if you measure by Pythagorean records, but mysteriously finish in third place in the real thing. Mike Carminati will run 54 different SQL queries trying to figure out how this could happen. The Marlins and Nationals will be punching bags.
ALDS: A's vs. Yankees: Normally, the A's would win, because the team with the fewest errors in the regular season wins 2/3 of all Division Series. This is a 1/3. Some A's player will find yet another creative way to commit an unbelievable brain fart, and the Yankees will win in five.
Angels vs. Tigers: Tigers are just happy to be here. Angels win.
NLDS: Cardinals vs. Dodgers: By the time the playoffs come around, Scott Rolen is at full strength. The Dodgers can't hit a single ball past him. Cardinals win.
Brewers vs. Braves. The Braves new home vs. their old one. The Brewers give away one out too many in the field. Braves win.
ALCS: Yankees vs. Angels. Angels win, just because the Angels always beat the Yankees in the playoffs.
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Braves. Cardinals. Just because this is what happens to the Braves in the playoffs.
World Series: Cardinals vs. Angels. Tony LaRussa-managed series never go the distance. Sweep or be swept. This time, the Cardinals come out on top in their spiffy new digs, in the bloodiest looking World Series of all time.