Friday, March 23, 2012

Season 19 Regular Season Recap

I made some predictions to start the season. Let's see how those panned out.

American League

North: I picked Cleveland to beat Columbus, but it was a close call, and I thought both teams would be major WS contenders. Columbus added Rondell Dorsey, though, and proved to be tougher down the stretch. They've won their last 10 games.

East: As predicted (and as usual), the Nationals were dominant with Syracuse coming in second and safely earning a wild card berth.

South: Charlotte took the South by 32 games. Wow.

West: San Francisco took the title in the ALs weakest division.

Analysis: It wasn't hard to make these picks, so I won't be congratulating myself too much. I expected some surprises out of Seattle and Philadelphia, but the Suckerfish decided to rebuild some more, and Philly still has a ways to go. Perhaps capitalizing their mascot name would help for next season.

National League

North: While it was pretty wide open, I expected Iowa City would come out of the North with Pittsburgh challenging, but Burlington proved too much. Pittsburgh's drop, meanwhile, was precipitous, and they'll have one of the first three picks in next season's draft.

East: Toledo and Kansas City looked be too close to call, and it pretty much is, with the teams tied for the lead with one game left in the season. Fortunately, the loser will get a Wild Card slot.

South: I thought Monterrey would run away with the National League, especially after they spent the season gobbling up every bit of talent they could in the trade market (the Bryan Webster trade, especially, should've put them over the top). I was a little shocked they didn't break the 100 win mark, but they earned the top seed easily and I expect them to run the table. I didn't expect much from New Orleans, who finished with the second Wild Card spot.

West: Wichita looked like the favorites, and I may have been overly humble in saying so, because my Timbers looked pretty strong, too. Instead, Salem was the biggest surprise in the National League, winning the division. Wichita was a big disappointment, finishing lower than .500. What's interesting is the Advanced Standings. According to expected winning percentage, Wichita was the second unluckiest team in the league, finishing 50 points under their expected percentage. Only Cleveland was less lucky, finishing 57 points under (but still earning a Wild Card spot). Considering Wichita has two MVP finalists, and a Silver Slugger/Gold Glove winner at shortstop, I expect them to take the West easily next season.

Analysis: While the NL is weaker overall and lacks the strength of the AL's best teams, it's my opinion that the talent is more evenly distributed. We may not produce a World Series contender outside of Monterrey for a while, though.

Luckiest Teams According to Expected Winning Percentage: Tacoma, San Francisco, Mexico City

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