Word on the street in the Tampa Bay area is that SI.com may have given the Rays the Kiss of Death for 2013. “Why?” You ask? Well, that’s a great question. It may be because 4/7 experts predicted the team to win the American League Championship (and the East). It could also be because two of them named Evan Longoria as their pick for the American League MVP. Or, maybe it was the fact that one of them said they believed David Price would two-peat as the American League Cy Young winner. Not to mention, 5 of the 7 experts selected Wil Myers as this year’s American League Rookie of the Year. Wait… three of the experts said that Matt Moore or Alex Cobb were going to be named as the Stand Out Player of the Year in the league? Yup. According to the experts, the Rays are going to do great things this season–which has fans a little worried that SI.com may be trying to jinx the franchise’s chances of postseason glory.
Before everyone gets excited over the matter, let’s take a look at how their 2012 predictions went. Chen… I don’t want to call you (or your editor) out, but for 2013 you listed Wil Myers as being part of the Royals organization which, along with your 2012 prediction of the Red Sox winning the AL East, that’s a joke. Boston finished in last place in the East in 2012 with a total of 69 wins. Picks for the American League Champions were split between the Angels, Yankees and Rangers–all of which seemed like popular picks heading in to the season last year. Maybe the Yankees fate may have turned out differently if they hadn’t hit a cold spell and had injuries up and down their lineup–but hey, that’s baseball. Who would have thought that the Rangers would have had the A’s snatch the West title from them on the last day of the regular season? That answer would be, “no one.” Three experts foreshadowed the Giants gaining another championship. So, the predictions can’t be all bogus, right? Eh.
No one also predicted the success of the Nationals last season. However, one of the experts believed in Miami’s signings enough to pick them as the World Series winner. We say this on our podcast frequently: the way a team performs is dependent on chemistry–not what it looks like on paper. Miami may have been a popular choice after their key signings of Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, Jose Reyes and others last year. The Marlins even rebranded themselves and had a lot of excitement which was sure to charge up players and fans alike. If we want to take a look at teams that look great on paper, let’s use the Dodgers as an example. For 2013, the team made several upgrades such as the signings of JP Howell, Zack Greinke, and Ryu Hyun-jin. Let’s not forget that the Dodgers also landed Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez last season. Depening on injuries, one would forecast the team to do well, much like the predictions for the Miami Marlins last season.
At best, these are just guesses. This year, I can’t even say that the guesses are because the Rays have had popular signings or game-changing headlines. Surely, teams like the Toronto Blue Jays (who only three of the experts picked to win the AL East–and none of them picked them to win the American League) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim seem more attractive with their big stars like Albert Pujols, Jered Weaver, Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera. Perhaps maybe the scrappy little team that trucks on like Thomas the Train will eventually prove to everyone that they deserve that World Series trophy more than any other team. Maybe. According to the experts, they feel like Zimmerman, Harper, Strasburg and company will be the lucky ones come October. But for now, these predictions are opinionated guesses by experts; a grain of sand on a very vast field of dreams.
Read SI.com’s article here: