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Cullen: MLB win totals, award and playoff picks

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Scott Cullen
3/30/2013 12:22:09 AM
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Before the first pitch is thrown for the 2013 Major League Baseball season, a look at some season win totals that may provide some value, along with my picks for playoff teams and postseason awards.

CINCINNATI REDS OVER 91.5 WINS (-105)
- Last year was the first time since 1999 that the Reds finished with more than 91.5 wins, but they won 97 even though their best player, 1B Joey Votto, missed six weeks of action in the second half and didn't hit a home run in his last 40 games of the season. More Votto, a dominant bullpen with Aroldis Chapman closing again, and a starting rotation that is led by Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos should be enough to win 90-plus and, in the NL Central, 95 is more like it.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS UNDER 82.5 (-130)
- Not thrilled with two-thirds of their starting outfield (CF Adam Eaton, RF Cody Ross) opening on the DL, nor is it encouraging that last year's star rookie LHP Wade Miley has been battling through arm trouble in spring training and, to top it all off, they traded RF Justin Upton in the offseason and while Upton was a disappointment last season, the Diamondbacks had a higher ceiling with him than they appear to have without him.

BOSTON RED SOX UNDER 83 WINS (-130)
- Coming off their worst season since 1965, the Red Sox are surely not going to be as bad as last year's 69-win team, but there's regression and there's 15-game improvement and for all their additions (RF Shane Victorino, LF Jonny Gomes, 1B Mike Napoli, SS Stephen Drew, SP Ryan Dempster and closer Joel Hanrahan), there isn't enough to warrant that kind of optimism.

SEATTLE MARINERS UNDER 77.5 WINS (-110)
- The Mariners haven't topped 78 wins in four of the last five seasons, though they were close with 75 wins last season. They made some moves to upgrade the offence, getting LF Michael Morse and DH Kendrys Morales and their power could really help, especially if young players like C Jesus Montero and 2B Dustin Ackley develop, but it's also fair to question the rotation after Felix Hernandez and perhaps Hisashi Iwakuma, so another season in the mid-70s isn't out of the question.

CHICAGO CUBS UNDER 72.5 WINS (-105)
- A franchise with a storied history based on being lovable losers, the Cubs won 61 games last season, their .377 winning percentage the fourth-lowest in the franchise's history and worst since 1981, but there aren't any grand additions to think that an extra dozen wins are on the way this year.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS UNDER 77.5 WINS (+110)
- Yes, the Royals ought to be improved. They added three legitimate starters in James Shields, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis and they have a lineup with promise. DH Billy Butler and LF Alex Gordon have established their credentials, but they could be much better off if C Salvador Perez and 1B Eric Hosmer peform to their potential. All that said, the Royals have won more than 78 games once in the last 18 years.

CLEVELAND INDIANS UNDER 77.5 WINS (+120)
- The Tribe could have a reasonably formidable lineup, but the major question is that starting rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Brett Myers, Zach McAllister and Scott Kazmir have upside, and could be fine, but more than a couple of them could flop and a team that has won fewer than 70 games in three of the last four seasons could miss that threshold again.

COLORADO ROCKIES UNDER 70.5 WINS (+110)
- The Rockies had more than 71 wins for six straight seasons before settling at 64 last season. A healthy Troy Tulowitzki will certainly help, but it's hard to get behind a starting staff headlined by Jorge De La Rosa, who has made 33 starts total over the last three seasons. Young starter Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio have potential, but both had a WHIP of 1.62 last season, so there is potential for them to blow up and, if they do, there isn't enough support behind them.

HOUSTON ASTROS UNDER 59.5 WINS (-130)
- That's a low total, yet it seems blindly hopeful to think that the Astros, who have won 55 and 56 games in the last two seasons, will win 60 games, moving to the American League West. Their highest paid player is RHP Bud Norris, who is making $3-million. While money isn't everything, it's hard to ignore just how much of a rag-tag outfit this is.

I don't know just how much I like the Toronto Blue Jays over 89.5, but I like them enough to prefer over to under; just not enough to recommend it.

(Lines via www.bet365.net)

Some other picks for this season:

AL MVP:
Mike Trout, LF, L.A. Angels of Anaheim

NL MVP:
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati

AL Cy Young:
Justin Verlander, Detroit

NL Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles

AL Rookie of the Year:
Wil Myers, RF, Tampa Bay

NL Rookie of the Year:
Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta

AL Playoff Teams:
Detroit, Toronto, Tampa Bay, L.A. Angels of Anaheim, Oakland

NL Playoff Teams:
Washington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta

World Series:
Washington over Detroit

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Joey Votto (Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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