Friday, February 22, 2013

Baseball Over-Unders

Here are the lines released by Atlantis Casino sports book director Steve Mikkelson as well as my personal take on each team. Consider this my abbreviated preseason preview:

Detroit Tigers: 90 wins: Over
Detroit disappointed with "just" 88 wins last year, but full seasons from Anibal Sanchez, Victor Martinez, and Torii Hunter (assuming the later doesn't fall off a cliff at age 37) should push this team over the top.

Los Angeles Dodgers: 90 wins: Over
The Dodgers have baseball's largest payroll after stockpiling an insane amount of talent. GM Ned Coletti has assembled a super team of sorts; Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier patrolling the outfield, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez in the infield, and a starting rotation headed by a pair of former Cy Young winners in Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

Washington Nationals: 90 wins: Over
Winners of 98 games last year, the Nats more or less held their ground this winter. Dan Haren's going to have a big bounce back year, and Rafael Soriano makes a great bullpen even better. Bryce Harper is a superstar in the making.

Los Angeles Angels: 89½ wins: Over
The Halos were the best team in baseball after calling up Mike Trout last year.

Cincinnati Reds: 88½ wins: Over
The Reds remain the team to beat in the NL Central, especially if they get a full season from Joey Votto.

Texas Rangers: 87 wins: Under
That lineup looks a lot less imposing without Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and Michael Young

Toronto Blue Jays: 86½ wins: Over
The Jaybirds look like World Series favorites (on paper, at least) after completing two blockbuster trades to bring in Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Don't underestimate a clean Melky Cabrera, either.

New York Yankees: 86½ wins: Over
They may be old and banged up, but they're still the Yankees, meaning that they always find a way to win. Excluding the strike-shortened 1994-'95 seasons, New York hasn't won fewer than 87 games since 1992. 

San Francisco Giants: 86 wins: Over
Even if Tim Lincecum's days as an elite hurler are behind him (and I don't think they are), the defending World Series champs still have more than enough starting pitching with Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and the ever-improving Madison Bumgarner. Their offense is nothing to write home about, but they'll put runs on the board so long as Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence, and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey perform up to their standards.

Atlanta Braves: 86 wins: Over
Atlanta added B.J. Upton and Justin Upton, two former first overall draft picks who desperately needed fresh starts. Both could be primed for career years.

Tampa Bay Rays: 86 wins: Under
The Wil Myers for James Shields trade will pay big dividends in the future, but not in 2013.

St. Louis Cardinals: 85½ wins: Over
Their Pythagorean W-L says they should have won 93 games last year and their lineup is stacked from top to bottom. 

Oakland Athletics: 83 wins: Under
As fun as last season was, I think the A's caught lightning in a bottle. A host of solid players (Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew) left Oakland, the infield is a mess, and the offense is too dependent on Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, each of whom has exactly one good season under his belt.

Philadelphia Phillies: 81½ wins: Over
Roy Halladay returns to form, Ryan Howard has a solid rebound year and Michael Young isn't done yet.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 81½ wins: Over
I'm thinking big bounceback years from Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson.

Chicago White Sox: 80½ wins: Under
Their best hitters (Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Alexei Ramirez) are all on the wrong side of 30, and I'm skeptical Chris Sale and Jake Peavy can repeat their success from last year.

Milwaukee Brewers: 79½ wins: Under
The Brewers boast a strong core of position players but failed to do anything to improve their ballclub in the past four months.

Boston Red Sox: 79½ wins: Over
The Red Sox did enough during the offseason to at least field a winning ballclub in 2013, if not contend for a postseason berth.

Kansas City Royals: 79 wins: Under
They'll be better than last year, but still don't have enough pitching to climb over .500.

Pittsburgh Pirates: 79 wins: Under
The Bucs have strung together 20 consecutive losing seasons since Barry Bonds blew town, so forgive me if I'm not too optimistic about their chances.

Cleveland Indians: 77½ wins: Over
I loved what the Indians accomplished over the winter. New manager Terry Francona doesn't have all the pieces he needs to contend, but bringing in Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, and Trevor Bauer is a good start.

Baltimore Orioles: 76½ wins: Under
The Orioles are going down. Hard. 

Seattle Mariners: 76½ wins: Under
Despite re-upping Felix Hernandez and importing several bats (Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay, and Raul Ibanez), the M's don't have enough starting pitching beyond King Felix.

San Diego Padres: 74½ wins: Over
The Padres went 48-36 after June 29th last year and could be a .500 team if their young talent continues to mature. 

New York Mets: 74 wins: Under
The Mets won 74 games last year despite MVP-caliber seasons from David Wright and R.A.  Dickey. With Dickey pitching in another country, New York will be hard-pressed to improve upon its record in 2013.

Chicago Cubs: 72 wins: Over
After piling up 101 losses a year ago, the hapless Cubbies have nowhere to go but up. Their starting rotation is much improved after welcoming Edwin Jackson Scott Baker, and Scott Feldman. Now if they could just find somebody willing to take Alfonso Soriano off their hands...

Colorado Rockies: 71½ wins: Under
The Rockies have a dynamite offense spearheaded by two of the league's best young position players (Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez), but their pitching staff and defense are downright atrocious.

Minnesota Twins: 64½ wins: Over
There's not a whole lot to love here, but give the Twins credit for filling out their rotation with a slew of solid arms (Kevin Correia, Rich Harden, Vance Worley, and Mike Pelfrey).

Miami Marlins: 64½ wins: Under
I don't care how many home runs Giancarlo Stanton hits--this one's a no-brainer. There's no way this team doesn't lose 100 games in 2013,

Houston Astros: 59½ wins: Under
Moving to the toughest division in baseball spells doom for the Astros, who are trying to start from scratch after shedding all their established big league talent in recent years.

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