Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baseball Predictions, Part 7: Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark polled 18 MLB executives and scouts (I assume they're from the MLB; to be fair, he didn't specify). And based on his poll and his gut, Stark has the Dodgers achieving one of the eight 2013 playoff spots:

Los Angeles Dodgers

Why they'll win: In case you hadn't noticed, they're all in. Heck, in the history of all-in-ness, there might never have been a team more all in than this. They have a $217 million payroll. They can run a Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu/Beckett rotation at you in a short series. They have a bunch of potential impact bats in Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and (one of these months) Hanley Ramirez, with the dazzling Yasiel Puig lurking. And as one NL scout so eloquently put it, "they've got more money than anyone. They can go buy anything they need to buy in July. So it's hard to keep them off the list." Exactly. Maybe the most fascinating team in the sport.

Why they might not: One after another, the folks I polled talked about how much this mix of players and personalities basically terrifies them. Among the reviews: "They're like an All-Star team, except they'll be together for 162 games. Can that much money and that much ego fit together on one team?" … "Too many stray pieces thrown together for me." … "Not the kind of team you'd think you'd see for $220 million. They're like the land of misfit toys." … "A lot of different personalities and a lot of different injuries. I just don't see it working." … And, finally, "They scare the hell out of me," said one exec. "But if they win 97 games, I'd totally believe it."

Stark also has the Giants sneaking in with a playoff spot, too. And the Nationals to win it all.