Rowland’s picks

Last year our namesake correctly predicted the downfall of the Phillies. He also picked the Fish to finish first.

* denotes WC 

NL EAST

1. Washington: Its impossible to pick against the Nats.  They’re healthy and deep, and if JV is out for a significant amount of time their ‘pen could be as good as the Bravos’ late innings crew.

2. *Braves: They’re neck-and-neck w/ the Redlegs as the NL’s second-best team. Unfortunately, they play in the same division as the Nats, which means another trip to godforsaken Wild Card game.

3. Phils: Aging sucks.

4. Mets: Their starting OF (Duda, Cowgill, Byrd) is beyond atrocious.

5. Marlins: Pitching phenom Jose Fernandez may be the only reason to watch the Fish.

NL CENTRAL

1. Reds: If Latos and Bailey pitch as they did in the second half, Cincy will be a beast.

2. *Cards: They always seem to find a way, but injuries will test them. Oscar Taveras may end up being their MVP.

3. Brewers: Their window is closing.

4. Pirates: They’ll make it to .500, and with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon on the way, they’ll be contenders in 2014.

5. Cubs: Contenders in 2015.

NL WEST

1. Giants: Offense will be better, pitching will be worse.

2. Dodgers: Still plenty of holes.

3. D’backs: Better than you think.

4. Padres: They could’ve surprised but injuries to key pieces like Headley will hold them back.

5.  Rockies: Worst pitching in baseball.

AL EAST

1. Blue Jays: Josh Johnson had a terrific spring. I’d slot Dickey in between him and Brandon Morrow, which would conjure up memories of the old Astros’ staffs. With Mark Buehrle as Bob Knepper.

2. *Orioles: Baseball’s second-best manager makes them contenders, along with their pitching depth.

3. *Rays: Baseball’s model franchise has promise but Matt Moore’s struggles should trouble Tampa’s 25 fans.

4. Red Sox: Shane Victorino’s contract was the offseason’s worst. Lester and Buchholz have looked good this spring, giving Boston a glimmer of hope.

5. Yankees: No hope in the Bronx, who’ve suddenly become the poor man’s Phils. Maybe they’ll re-hire Stump Merrill.

AL CENTRAL

1. Tigers: The class of the league even without a closer.

2. Royals: Their offseason moves were questionable but they will be better, at least in the short-term.

3. ChiSox: Decent pitching, but a franchise adrift.

4. Indians: Their bandwagon seems to be growing, but their starting pitching still sucks.

5. Twins: Their starting pitching sucks even more.

AL WEST

1. A’s: A full season of Brett Anderson makes their rotation the division’s best, which isn’t saying much.

2. Rangers: They were right not to re-sign Hamilton, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be missed.

3. Angels: Tommy Hanson is their third starter. Enough said.

4. Seattle: Like Pittsburgh, they’ll contend once their talented young pitching corps matures.

5. Houston: How could I forget the worst team in baseball?

AL champ: Toronto

NL champ: Braves

World Series: Braves over Toronto in 6

Drug test PECOTA

Baseball Prospectus’ 2013 PECOTA projections are a joke, and not just because they view the Braves as a .500 team.

According to BP, the Yankees will win four more games than the Nats. Boston will win four more than the Braves, projects BP, and will finish ahead of the Jays and Rays.

The Braves, at 82-80, are just two games better than the Mets, Phils and Indians (and that was before the Michael Bourn signing). And only 88 wins for the Nats? Seriously?

That’s about as likely as the Yankees winning 92.

National League

East

  1. Washington Nationals – 88-74
  2. Atlanta Braves – 82-80
  3. New York Mets – 80-82
  4. Philadelphia Phillies – 80-82
  5. Miami Marlins – 66-96

Central

  1. Cincinnati Reds – 92-70
  2. St. Louis Cardinals – 84-78
  3. Milwaukee Brewers – 79-83
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 79-83
  5. Chicago Cubs – 77-85

West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 93-69
  2. San Francisco Giants – 85-77
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks – 84-78
  4. San Diego Padres – 76-86
  5. Colorado Rockies – 72-90

American League

East

  1. New York Yankees – 92-70
  2. Boston Red Sox – 86-76
  3. Tampa Bay Rays – 86-76
  4. Toronto Blue Jays – 85-77
  5. Baltimore Orioles – 74-88

Central

  1. Detroit Tigers – 92-70
  2. Cleveland Indians – 80-82
  3. Chicago White Sox – 77-85
  4. Kansas City Royals – 76-86
  5. Minnesota Twins – 66-96

West

  1. Los Angeles Angels – 90-72
  2. Texas Rangers – 87-75
  3. Oakland Athletics – 83-79
  4. Seattle Mariners – 79-83
  5. Houston Astros – 63-99