2012 MLB Wild card predictions

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Getting ready for the Major League Baseball season?  Who are your division winners?  Some seem obvious, like the Detroit Tigers, while other divisions seem to be a complete tossup between two elite teams.  Truly, can anyone decide whether the Los Angeles Angels or Texas Rangers are better?  Now, there are two wild cards so the losers will have plenty to play for. So, which teams will be the wild cards in the 2012 MLB season?

Guest post from Paul Grossinger

American League: Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays

Texas could well win the American League West division.  The Rangers are a complete team with elite hitting, a deep pitching rotation, and a strong relief corps.  But, with Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Mike Trout (rookie), and Kendrys Morales (injured in 2011) joining an already strong Angels roster, Los Angeles has to be the division favorite.  But it will be a shock if the two time World Series runner-ups don’t clinch a wild card spot.

For their part, the Rays will be locked in a two-way battle with the Boston Red Sox for the second wild card.  The Yankees are the clear division frontrunners with their exceptional hitting and deep pitching rotation.  Boston is a good team but they don’t have any elite power hitters left (no disrespect to an aging David Ortiz), many of their top players are injury prone, and their pitching rotation is very, very thin.  By contrast, the Rays have the best young pitching in Major League Baseball with James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and Matt Moore and their hitting (with a healthy Evan Longoria, Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, and Luke Scott) will be underrated.

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National League: San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins

            The Giants’ pitching looks as good as ever with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Baumgartner in the fold.  With the return of Buster Posey and a good performance from Brandon Belt, the Giants should score enough to secure a wild card spot.  The Marlins also look like a more complete, contending team than many suspected.  Mark Buerhle will be rock solid in the National League, Josh Johnson looks healthy, and they will have elite hitters in Jose Reyes, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, and Gaby Sanchez.  In fact, that may be the best hitting lineup in baseball.

So there you have it.  Who are your wild card picks?

Paul Grossinger writes for The Best Sports Blog.

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