The Ball Four-cast is our look at the 2012 MLB Season where we provide a bet for every single baseball team. Opening day is April 4th so use these resources to enjoy your summer, knowing full well you’ll have a return on your investment come October.
The AL West made a few headlines this offseason, with some guy from the Cardinals joining the L.A. Angels of Anaheim. Also, the Oakland A’s were featured in a major motion picture (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Josh Hamilton of The Rangers got drunk. Here are your team-by-team bets for the 2012 Season:
L.A. Angels of Anaheim
Besides Fat Albert, the Angels also signed C.J. Wilson to beef up their rotation and have an uber-prospect in Mike Trout. Add these newcomers into the mix with experienced veterans such as Torii Hunter, Jered Weaver, Vernon Wells and a healthy Kendrys Morales and you can see why the Angels are -125 odds to win the division. The 86-76 record last season was only good enough for 2nd behind the Rangers but Vegas thinks the new additions (not to be confused with New Edition) are good enough for at least 6 more wins as the 2012 total is set at 92.5. While the Angels probably will win the West this year, Texas could still be a formidable opponent. I think the pressures of a new contract will get to Albert Pujols and he won’t have the benefit of hitting 25 home runs a year against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Season Bet: Albert Pujols under 35.5 HR’s.
The Rangers are quickly morphing into the Buffalo Bills of baseball after losing two consecutive World Series battles. With prolonged success, turnover is inevitable and ace C.J. Wilson has left Arlington for greener pastures. These Rangers don’t rebuild, they reload and have added Japanese sensation Yu Darvish to join the pitching staff. The Rangers haven’t exactly been tearing up the Spring but they could be focused on ramifications of the 26 dollar, 2-foot hot dog they plan to offer fans this year. Vegas is confident in another successful season as they’ve listed Texas as even money bets to win the Division this year. If Josh Hamilton can stay off the sauce, he’s poised for a big payday in a free agent year and his HR total is set at 25.5 after hitting 25 a year ago. Personally, I don’t think Darvish replicates Dice-K’s 15 win rookie season and with Hamilton walking on thin ice and new closer Joe Nathan’s arm being suspect, I’m predicting a down year.
Season Bet: Under 92 wins
The Mariners were 67-95 last year which put them in last in the division. Things normally wouldn’t look too promising for MLB’s worst ranked offensive team but Seattle actually has a bright young rotation. It’s hard to believe Felix Hernandez is only 25 (Vegas total 14.5 Wins in ’12) and he’s joined by 23 year old Blake Beavan and 25 year old Hector Noesi. When you think of the Mariners, you instantly correlate Ichiro Suzuki and the 38-year-old outfielders hits dropped from 214 in ’10 to 184 in ’11. His odds for this year are at 187.5 even though he’ll be hitting in the 3 spot. Although I like the win total for the season going over 71.5, I’m looking for Ichiro to keep regressing as his fountain of youth begins to dry up.
Season Bet Ichiro Suzuki under 187.5 regular season hits
The A’s garnered a 3rd place finish last year with a 74-88 finish. If they even win half that many games this year Hollywood is going to green light ‘Moneyball 2.’ Besides Yeonis Cespedes and maybe Brandon McCarthy, most baseball fans won’t recognize a single member of the A’s. The payroll for 2012 is $40 million dollars, which Pujols makes per at-bat. I think we could be looking at a historically bad team here…which is why they’ll defy the odds and take down L.A. and Texas to win the division.
Season Pick under 71.5 wins.