Baseball: 'The System' Says Watchout For Texas

Writer Martin Johnson explains his 'System,' which predicts Torre in the West, Cubbies in the Central and familiar horse races in the East. And watchout of Texas.

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The system sees Anaheim winning the AL West, but by a much smaller margin that most folks anticipate. Their potential decline could open the door for Seattle but the Mariners also figure to decline some from last season's 88 wins. Oakland is rebuilding, so Texas (the system's pick as a surprise team) has a small chance to claim its first division crown in almost a decade.

The National League Eastern Division is a toss up between the Mets and Phillies and it will come down to team health and which GM makes better in season deals. The System likes the changes in Nationals lineup but I wonder how much the move from RFK Stadium, a strong pitcher's park, will affect their run prevention.

According to the system, the Cubs are going to repeat as Central Division champions with ease (as a native Chicagoan, I was surprised by this and tripled checked the numbers). They have no players on the downside of the careers and quite a few emerging stars. Milwaukee and Cincinnati will vie for second, but won't get close enough to make the Cubs see ghosts.

Beware, we may be on the verge of a Joe Torre love-fest in the media, since my indicators say that the Dodgers are the team to beat in a very close National League West. The D-Backs, Rockies, and Padres all figure to be formidable, but the Dodgers collection young talent and solid pitching should push them ahead of their rivals.

So what happens next? I don't know; the system doesn't work the playoffs. Winning as many games as possible over the course of a six month-162 game season is one thing, but beating the same team three or four times in a week is a different skill set. It usually requires rock solid starting pitching, a stingy bullpen and players who can hit for power. Check back in six months when the field has narrowed to eight teams and we'll see how they stack up then.

Martin Johnson is a regular contributor to The Root.

Martin Johnson writes about music for the Wall Street Journal, basketball for Slate and beer for Eater, and he blogs at both the Joy of Cheese and Rotations. Follow him on Twitter.

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