MLB Preview: The editors’ regular season roundtable
NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants
Metro New York
AL East: Rays
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL wild cards: Yankees and Rangers
NL wild cards: Marlins and Diamondbacks
Which team will lead the majors in wins during the regular season?
Greger: Detroit. They already had perennial Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander. Now the Tigers throw Prince Fielder’s 40 home runs into the mix. We’re betting on 100 wins and a cigarette endorsement deal for Jim Leyland.
Osborne: Angels. Sure, everyone knows they added Albert Pujols, but look at their pitching staff. Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana could be the best top 4 in the entire majors. Oh, also, they signed Albert Pujols.
Burke: San Francisco. The offense was dreadful last season, but the return of Buster Posey in the middle of the lineup should help reverse San Fran’s fortunes.
Which hitter will have the best regular season?
Greger: Joey Votto. The 28-year-old sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, but with Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols changing leagues, it’s his time.
Osborne: Jose Bautista. Forget all the nonsensical steroids talk. This guy should have won the AL?MVP?last year. He batted .302 with a .447 OBP and clubbed 42 home runs to give him the best OPS?in the majors as well. He’s real people.
Burke: Miguel Cabrera. Reported to camp in the “best shape of his life.” That’s not saying much, but all signs point to an otherworldly season.
Which pitcher will have the best regular season?
Greger: Roy Halladay. Silence all the Stephen Strasburg talk right now. Doc spent his offseason wrestling snakes and polishing his two Cy Young awards. Mark the Phillies’ ace down for 22 wins and 240 innings. Another ho-hum season.
Osborne: Clayton Kershaw. It was Kershaw, not Halladay or Verlander, who had the best ERA?in the majors last year. He had 248 strikeouts in 233 1/3 IP.
Burke: Justin Verlander. Still the gold standard. Could the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner possibly match his 2011 output?
Which team will be a surprise — good or bad — this year?
Greger: Pittsburgh. They haven’t had a winning season since 1992 and are throwing out Erik Bedard on Opening Day. Still, in a weak division, we like the Bucs to do some damage. Andrew McCutchen is a five-tool talent.
Osborne: Atlanta. This is going to be an ugly surprise. The Braves have Matt Diaz and Tyler Pastornicky in their lineup and they just signed Livan Hernandez as a possible starter. I can’t believe people think this team is an actual playoff contender.
Burke: Tampa Bay. Every year, people count out the Rays and it’s always hard to understand why. With lefty Matt Moore, the most experienced rookie in the majors, Tampa Bay could easily win the AL East outright in 2012. Here’s saying they will.