The baseball season is just around the corner. Teams have made big changes and everyone is getting set to try and win the World Series.
There are favorites to win it all, as well as some dark-horse candidates. The 2012 season could contain some dominant teams, as well as some surprises.
Here is a prediction of how the 2012 MLB Playoffs could shape up and go down.
AL East: New York Yankees (99-63)
The 2011 AL East champions will repeat in 2012. The Yankees are a well-rounded team with a bloated offense to go along with a deep starting rotation and strong bullpen.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers (96-66)
If you can lock up one division in baseball, it's the AL Central. The Tigers could potentially win this division by more than 10 games. The addition of Prince Fielder will help fill the void that Victor Martinez's injury left, as well as giving the Tigers arguably the best power hitting combo in Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.
AL West: Texas Rangers (93-69)
The AL West division could be in store for an exciting rivalry between the Rangers and Angels. I think the division will come down to the final games of the season, with the Rangers coming out on top.
AL Wild Card: Los Angeles Angels (91-71)
The addition of Albert Pujols and C.J Wilson will not be enough for the Angels to win the division in 2012, but it's enough for the Wild Card. Expect another exciting ending to the season, like in 2011. The starting rotation of the Angels does not get enough recognition and could play a significant role in the postseason.
Just Missing Out:
-Boston Red Sox (89-73)
-Tampa Bay Rays (84-78)
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies (95-67)
The Phillies only major offseason move was signing Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. They still have a good lineup and arguably the best starting rotation in baseball. Ryan Howard's injury could play a significant role early on, but it shouldn't drop them out of first place in the East.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds (89-73)
The Reds will be back on top of the NL Central and win the division by the skin of their teeth over the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Joey Votto will be in the discussion for the NL MVP.
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks (93-71)
The Diamondbacks are the most complete team in the AL West. The Dodgers are off from where they need to be and the Giants still have holes and issues offensively. The D-Backs made some solid additions this offseason with Trevor Cahill and Jason Kubel.
NL Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)
The Cardinals may have lost arguably the best player in baseball, but they're getting back Adam Wainwright and brought in Carlos Beltran. Expect the Cardinals to just miss winning the NL Central while just winning the Wild Card.
Just Missing Out:
-Miami Marlins (86-76)
-San Francisco Giants (86-76)
Yankees vs. Angels
This series will go to five games and will be very intriguing with the new additions to the Angels. Unfortunately, C.J Wilson will continue his trend of struggling in the postseason and will be just enough to allow the Yanks to win.
Yankees def. Angels in the series, 3-2
Tigers vs. Rangers
This series will be an offensive battle with the Tigers ending the Rangers chances of appearing in three straight World Series in four games.
Tigers def. Rangers in the series, 3-1
Phillies vs. Cardinals
The Phillies pitching will be too much for the Cardinals to handle. They will sweep the Cardinals and head to the NLCS.
Phillies def. Cardinals in a series sweep, 3-0
Diamondbacks vs. Reds
This series will go down to the final game. The Reds will win an exciting game five and head to the NLCS to face the Phillies.
Reds def. Diamondbacks in the series, 3-2
Yankees vs. Tigers
This is a rematch of last year's ALDS, and this time the Yankees will get revenge on the Tigers. This series will see a mix of pitching and offense. The difference maker will be CC Sabathia, who starts three games, including a win over Justin Verlander in game seven.
Yankees def. Tiger in series, 4-3
ALCS MVP: CC Sabathia
Reds vs. Phillies
The Phillies pitching will once again be dominant, but it's the Phillies' slugger Ryan Howard who will carry the offense and bring them back to the World Series.
Phillies def. Reds in series, 4-2
NLCS MVP: Ryan Howard
Yankees vs. Phillies
The Yankees and Phillies will face each other in a rematch of the 2009 World Series. Both teams are balanced and complete teams. This will be the last time we see Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in a World Series.
Unlike 2009, this World Series will go to seven games. However, the end result will be the same. The Yankees will be able to match the Phillies pitching, and the difference will come in the offense. The Yankees lineup is stronger than the Phillies, as will be clear in the World Series.
Yankees def. Phillies in series, 4-3
World Series MVP: Robinson Cano