For the last couple of years, we've asked some of our favorite writers and contributors and known baseball fans to "predict the season," a kind of Hobart version to an expert's panel of predictions on, say, ESPN or Sports Illustrated. You can see last year's here, and 2011's here. This year we are going to space these out some, a different expert or two every Monday, throughout April. First up... Stewart O'Nan!
Baltimore Orioles - Not the most talented roster in the division, but the best team. They know they can win, and their fans are learning.
Toronto Blue Jays - A fine collection of offensive weaponry, and a whole pitching staff that will benefit from it.
New York Yankees - Every day is Oldtimers' Day.
Boston Red Sox - We're going to try to get to all your calls, so please be patient.
Tampa Bay Raymonds - Technically not baseball at all, played in that crashed spaceship.
Detroit Rock City Tigers - Last thing standing in the city.
Chicago White Sox - Overachievers or bottomfeeders?
Cleveland Indians - Made a ton of off-season moves to create a club crappier than last year's.
Kansas City Royals - Best Royals team in years. Still under .500.
Minnesota Twins - Just sad, and after finally getting a new stadium too.
Los Angeles Angels of Texas - Can't beat the Rangers? Sign their best pitcher and their best hitter. And make sure Albert takes his pills.
Texas Rangers - Still enough left to take advantage of the new parity.
Oakland A's - Cinderella out past midnight
Seattle Mariners - Best team in baseball every fifth day.
Houston Astros - From the worst team in the NL to the worst in the AL.
Philadelphia Phillies - They're ba-ack.
Atlanta Braves - Again, they'll fall just one game short, but when?
Washington Nationals - Coach, it's my shoulder.
New York Mets - Ask the Yankees how to move the fences in.
Miami Marlins - Bringing back that Marlins tradition: an empty ballpark.
Cincinnati Reds - They underachieved last year. And the year before. And the year before.
St. Louis Cardinals - Best catcher, best ex-catcher manager.
Pittsburgh Pirates - .500? Maybe. But chickety-check Starling Marte's Dave Parker-like arm.
Milwaukee Brewers - Ryan Braun's name has been associated with them. (Though he denies it.)
Chicago Cubs - Turn Off Cellphones: Blasting in Progress
L.A. Dodgers - Now that the custody battle's over, they finally get their money's worth out of their roster.
San Francisco Giants - Caaaaaaaaaaain! Buuuuum-gaaaaar-nerrrrrrrr!
San Diego Padres - You gotta watch 'em, Mr. Torrance. They'll creep on ya.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Not a bad division, if they're fourth.
Colorado Rockies - The whole team should be kept in a humidor.
Wild Card: Rangers over Jays.
DS: Tigers over Rangers. Angels over O's.
CS: Tigers over Angels.
Wild Card: Giants over Braves.
DS: Reds over Giants, finally. Dodgers over Phillies.
CS: Dodgers over Reds.