It's time for another season of Major League Baseball. For the Phillies' fan who bring you coverage of every game, it's been a long offseason. But we're ready just like you for some great memories.
With that, it's also prediction time. So here's my predictions.
AL East winner – Toronto Blue Jays
AL Central winner – Detroit Tigers
AL West winner – Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card Teams (2) – Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox
AL MVP – Evan Longoria (TB)
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander (DET)
AL Rookie of the Year –Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS)
AL Manager of the Year – Robin Ventura (CWS)
The AL East is so wide open this season and after watching the Blue Jays' offense for quite a few games this spring, I'm convinced they have a leg up on the battered AL East. The Orioles made very few improvements, the Rays have to get everything clicking, the Yankees have half of the starters on the DL to open the season and the Red Sox are recovering from a horrible, down-on-their-luck 2012 season.
The Tigers are still far and away the best team in the AL Central. The White Sox will be the only team to compete. The Royals, Indians and Twins will round out the division, but none will truly compete just yet.
The West is still a battle between the Angels and Rangers. After a crazy season where the names were there and the numbers were not, the Angels will finally put it all together. The Rangers will fall just short of the Postseason as they get beat out in the wildcard race.
I like Evan Longoria as the MVP of the AL but trailed closely once again by the phenom that is in LA. Mike Trout will win an MVP one of these days. Will it be this year. Maybe? If someone else doesn't just flat out stun. Like the American League, and all of baseball for that matter, the competition is wide open.
It's hard to pick against Justin Verlander for Cy Young. Someone else will have to seriously impress to take that away this season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is going to be a star in this league. He had an incredible spring, good enough to earn the Red Sox starting left field job. I'm looking for a great season from this kid.
NL East winner – Atlanta Braves
NL Central winner – Cincinnati Reds
NL West winner – San Francisco Giants
NL Wild Card Teams (2) – Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals
NL MVP – Justin Upton (ATL)
NL Cy Young – Matt Cain (SF)
NL Rookie of the Year – Julio Teheran (ATL)
NL Manager of the Year – Charlie Manuel (PHI)
The Braves are loaded offensively. Justin Upton will lead that charge. He's going to be far and above what people expect and lead the Braves through a tough NL East. Three teams will compete for that division title. One will instantly enter the NLDS. The other two will have to fight through a one-game playoff.
The Central will go to the Reds simply because there is none better. The Cardinals could make a run, as could the Brewers, but ultimately these teams are still trying to discover who they are. The Brewers offense past Ryan Braun is always a mystery. The Cardinals rotation took a hit with the injury to Chris Carpenter. The Reds have the combo of pitching and hitting to win.
The West goes back to the defending World Series champs. There's no way to pick against Buster Posey and the Giants. And with Matt Cain turning in an impressive season on the mound, good enough for my Cy Young pick, the Giants will be defending their title again.
Charlie Manuel is in that situation where just leading his team back to the playoffs will be impressive. Every other team I have in the Postseason from the NL made it a year ago. If the Phillies can rejoin the group and really defy the odds, like I see it, then Manuel is a likely choice.
2013 World Series
World Series matchup – Braves vs. Angels
World Series champion and # of games – Angels in 5
The two teams with the most balance enter the World Series. After the NL took the last three crowns because of destiny, the AL has the edge this year. It won't even be close in the Fall Classic.
Total number of Phillies wins - 90
How many games will Roy Halladay win? 15
Who will spend the most games batting leadoff? Ben Revere
Which Phillies pitcher will lead the team in wins? Cole Hamels
How many home runs will Ryan Howard hit? 33
This team can win 90 games with a healthy lineup, good pitching and a bullpen. Plain and simple. Assuming the Phillies finally have all the things they lacked last season, 81-81 was subject to their shortcomings. They have none to speak of entering the season. Is Roy Halladay still a question mark? Yes, and I'm taking the highly optimistic approach in saying he will win 15 games this season.
It is no question who will lead this team in wins. He's not the ace for no reason. If Cole Hamels pitches to his ability, he could be a 20-game winner this year.
Ryan Howard won't be setting any records, but after the Phillies suffered a power shortage in 2012, Howard will lead the way with 33 homers.
Ben Revere is a talented kid. I like what he brings to the top of the order. He might just dismantle Jimmy Rollins from his usual lead-off spot. That's not a knock against Rollins. Revere has just been that impressive to me.
With that said, I'm ready for another great baseball season and excited to be sharing it with so many great baseball fans. Thanks for letting me be a part of it with you.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.