Saturday, April 11, 2009


Now I know the Major League Baseball season is a week old, but I still wanted to give out my predictions for the upcoming season, so here goes!


AL East: Tampa Bay Rays Last season, Tampa Bay shocked the baseball world by not only going to the playoffs and winning the American League East, but they shocked the Boston Red Sox in seven games en route to American League crown. What's scary is...all five of their starting pitchers are heading into their primes, along with a great farm system, so despite not having the Red Sox's and the New York Yankees' money, they can still compete as a small market, with all the right decisions. The Red Sox and Yankees will battle for second, with Boston edging New York for that spot. The Toronto Blue Jays might be one of the best teams that you've never heard of, and
with their Cy Young candidate of an ace, Roy Halladay, but since they are in a very tough division, they can't seem to get over the hump, and that will hold true this year as well, while the Baltimore Orioles will be in a rebuilding mode and finish in last place.

AL Central: Cleveland Indians
This division is possibly the toughest to decide upon, given that all five can either finish in first if everything goes right or last if everything goes wrong, but Cleveland can win this division thanks to two good starters (Fausto Carmona and Cliff Lee), a good line-up, and now a good closer in Kerry Wood. The Minnesota Twins will be a close second, as they can match what Cleveland can do, but their starting pitching is suspect. The Kansas City Royals will be the surprise decision to finish third, because of this team's young talent and finally a clubhouse leader in Coco Crisp that has the World Series experience to guide them in the straight and narrow. The bottom two teams will be the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, with Detroit slightly having the edge. Losing Gary Sheffield hurts, but they have the defense to do well, while the White Sox are a decent team, but nothing jumps out at you when you look at the lineup, rotation, and bullpen.

AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
They have been a constant as the kings of this division in this decade, and it really shows that owner Arte Moreno, really has his finger on this franchise, building a harmonic clubhouse along the way. The loss of closer Francisco Rodriguez will sting, but newly acquired Brian Fuentes is capable of filling the task, along with a veteran squad around him. Call me crazy, but the Texas Rangers are good enough to finish in second thanks to the reencarnation of "Roy Hobbs", Josh Hamilton. However, every it's the same thing with the Rangers...they have a ton of offense, but it's their pitching that makes them inconsistent. The Oakland Athletics will be in third as basically a dull team, and the Seattle Mariners will be in last, despite the fact that Ken Griffey, Jr. is back.

AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox
Give me one good reason on why they can't make the playoffs...I don't have one either. Boston still has the clubhouse to do well when it matters the most, David Oritz is still Mr. Clutch, and Josh Beckett is still a big game pitcher. The Yankees and the Twins can challenge for the spot but they neither have the rotation or the lineup to come away with it at the end.


NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are finally are a champion for the first time since 1980, but it still hasn't quenched the average Philadelphia fan's thirst. They will win this division for the third year in a row thanks to their three MVP candidates (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley). The New York Mets have a new stadium and a new closer, but if they might would be better off if the season ended in September, instead of October, in large part of their two momumental collapses over the last two years. However, with K-Rod (along with J.J. Putz for 8th inning insurance), David Wright, and Jose Reyes, they have the talent to win now, but can they make diamonds out of pressure, without allowing it to bust their pipes? The Florida Marlins and the Atlanta Braves will vy for the third spot, with the Marlins having the edge. Florida appears to be a team on the rise with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, but they need to surround him with more talent as well. Atlanta is not the team that ruled the 90's and the first half of the 2000's, but with young pitching and ace Derek Lowe, they can do well in the future. The Washington Nationals will be the celler dweller in this division, as Adam Dunn will mash homeruns but will strike out a lot.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs
The hands-down favorite in the Central are the lovable Cubbies, who should be able to breathe a lot easier with the Milwaukee Brewers losing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. Getting to the postseason isn't the problem with solid pitching and hitting, but it's winning in the second season that counts and the Cubs haven't done that since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS, in other words, nine straight playoff losses. The St. Louis Cardinals will be first in line for second place, and the comeback of Chris Carpenter should really boost the rotation, along with perennial MVP candidate Albert Pujols to help out the lineup and to bring fears to it. The Cincinnati Reds are a young team, but could be really special in the future. Right now, a third place finish is great for the youthful team of Jay Bruce, Edison Volquez, and Brandon Phillips, but watch out for a team that will be flying around the basepaths. The Houston Astros will finish fourth, but Wandy Rodridguez and Roy Oswalt can provide a nice 1-2 punch in pitching, with Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee still crushing the ball into the built-in railroad in Minute Maid Park. The Brewers will be a disappointment this year, without their pair of aces in order to slip to fifth, and the Pittsburgh Pirates will have another last place finish, possibly reaching 17 seasons under .500.

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
March 4, 2009, sealed the fate for the Dodgers and the NL West as Manny Ramirez signed back with Los Angeles, and practically gave them the legs up on the other four teams of the West. In recent time (except 2007), the West has been anemic as far as offense and wins, but signing a guy who can hit .300, with 30 homeruns, and 100 RBIs certainly makes things easier. The Arizona Diamondbacks can be the closest to challenge L.A., seeing as Brandon Webb still is an elite pitcher, but Orlando Hudson helped create offense for them, and seeing as that he's with the Dodgers now, good luck. The Colorado Rockies don't have the magic anymore from their memorable 2007 World Series run, but they'll finish in a strong third, while the San Francisco Giants are a fourth place team at best with great pitching but horrible offense. The San Diego Padres, on the other hand, could be on a fire sale, and if that happens, look for the Jake Peavy sweepstakes to officially begin, which will equal to a last place finish.

NL Wildcard: New York Mets
This team can't choke in three straight years, can they? A National League playoff bid is theirs for the taking, seeing as the Brewers aren't a factor, and the Cardinals and Marlins don't have the firepower to stop them. So basically the Mets only competition is themselves...again.

World Series: Cubs beat Red Sox
If you were saying this before 2004, you would be predicting for hell to freeze over...especially on a 3-2 game in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7, and with bases loaded on a full count and two outs. Now, it can beat a Cubs dream or nightmare. Anyways, the addition of Milton Bradley gives the Cubs a much needed lefty bat, and especially if the Cubs win the Peavy sweepstakes, they would be the favorites in the NL and the MLB. The Red Sox are stinging from their Game 7 loss to the Rays last year, but they return a good lineup and pitching staff...however the Cubs will win and snap their 100 year drought.

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