Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Baseball predictions.

With the 2007 baseball season kicking off tomorrow night, I have decided to do the same as my boii Davey and post my baseball predictions. Last season, well before I started this blog, I picked my Atlanta Braves to win the World Series over the New York Yankees. And well that worked out about as well as Norbit did at making me laugh. Obviously seeing how Norbit sucked donkey balls, my picks didn't quite work out. The Braves streak of 14 straight Division Championships snapped as they went 79-83 and finished third in the East thanks to a horrid bullpen. The New York Yankees on the other hand finished 97-65 and won the AL East but were knocked out of the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers. Well, here you go, my predictions.

NL East:

1.Atlanta Braves
2.New York Mets
3.Philadelphia Phillies
4.Florida Marlins
5.Washington Nationals

Yes, yes, I am a homer and I love every bit of it. Last year, the biggest reason why we didn't at least win the wild card is because of our abysmal bullpen. We didn't have a "real" closer until the All-Star break when we traded for Wickamania(aka Bob Wickman) and even then guys like Ken Ray, Jorge Sosa and Tyler"Kali"Yates to name a few, still found ways to fuck up our season. This year John Schuerholz number one goal going into the offseason was to fix this bullpen. And he went beyond the call of duty so to speak. First he traded often injured and overall mediocre starter, Horacio Ramirez to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Rafael Soriano, who is one of the best young pitchers in the game(when he's not getting hit in the head by Vlad) with a fastball that can reach upwards of 98 mph. The Mets have the highest powered offense in the National League yet again this year but their starting rotation is in shambles with the loss of Pedro Martinez due to injury. The Phillies, much like the Mets, have a great offense with the reining MVP(should have went to Pujols), Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley but their problem isn't the starting staff, it's more so the bullpen. And if I learned anything from last season it is if you don't have a solid pen, you won't win anything.

NL Central:

1.Milwaukee Brewers
2.St.Louis Cardinals
3.Chicago Cubs
4.Houston Astros
5.Cincinnati Reds
6.Pittsburgh Pirates

Wow, talk about a tough division to predict. There isn't a great team in this whole division but there are plenty of good teams and teams that have all the potential to be serious contender this year and years to come. I think the Brewers are the latter, they have instilled a plethora of young talent such as Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Bill Hall. And now they have a respectable starting rotation and bullpen. Look out for this team, they can be something special. I have the defending World Series Champions missing the playoffs this year for many reason. Primarily their pitching. They lost a lot this offseason, guys like Jeff Suppan, an d Jason Marquis and they replaced them with two relievers that have slim to no starting experience in Adam Wainwright and Brandon Looper. Wainwright was a starter converted into a reliever and then a closer so he should be just fine, but Looper is a career closer/set-up guy and I don't know how well he will take to going 6+ innings instead of 1 to 2 innings like he's done his entire career. The Chicago Cubs are tired of losing so they decided to break the bank in hopes of returning to playoffs. It's a shame that with the millions upon millions that they spent this offseason all they have to show for it is Mark DeRosa(career utility guy), Ted Lilly(never has had an ERA under 4.05 and more than two games over .500 as a starter) and the aforementioned Jason Marquis(who is more of an average spot starter than a #3 starter which he will be this year.)

NL West:

1.San Diego Padres
2.Arizona Diamondbacks (Wild Card)
3.Los Angeles Dodgers
4.Colorado Rockies
5.San Francisco Giants

The San Diego Padres have the best rotation in the National League this year. With returning starters, Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Clay Hensley and David Wells and then the signing of Greg Maddux only bolsters that staff. The outfield, primarily left field is a bit of a question mark, I don't know if Terrmel Sledge can handle the job, but we will have to wait and see. They have Adrian Gonzalez at first, who had a terrific season, newly signed second baseman, Marcus Giles and his twin brother, Brian Giles along with rookie of the year candidate, Kevin Kouzmanoff at third, the Padres are a good pick to have the best record this season. I have the Arizona Diamondbacks as the team that will represent the wild card this season partly because of their starting rotation, which is great with stars like the returning Cy Young, Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson. They also have a great team filled with young guys like Chris Young and Carlos Quentin in the outfield and Chad Tracy and Conor Jackson at the corner infield and rising star Stephen Drew at shortstop. I feel they may be a year away from being a deep playoff type team. The Los Angeles Dodgers could be a team that will finish anywhere from first to maybe even last. With the injury of Rafael Furcal, it could go a long way to setting this team back.


Cy Young: John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

Smoltz had this honor snatched from him last year because the bullpen cost him 6 wins but with a solid bullpen he should win it this year. I also wouldn't be surprised if Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs or Jake Peavy of the Padres snuck in and won it.

MVP: Albert Pujols, St.Louis Cardinals

He should have been awarded the NL MVP the past few years but has been edged out by the likes of Barry Bonds and Ryan Howard but I think he'll get it this year. But watch out for my guy, Andruw Jones, he's in a contract year this season and you can count on him having 40+ HR and 120+ RBI's.

Best Reliever: Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres

After having the second best season of his historic career last season, I look for him to have about the same season this year. Also, you can never count out Billy Wagner, the guy is amazing and if the starting staff can hold the lead for him, he'll shut it down 40+ times this year.

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Kouzmanoff, San Diego Padres

They traded highley touted second baseman, Josh Barfield to get him and he'll show everyone why this season. He'll probably hit 25+ homeruns even though he plays in Petco. If I had to take a runner up this year it'll probably be Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves

He announced that after next year he might call it a career and this year he has the best bullpen that he's has ever had in his illustrious career and with the Braves looking at the 2nd best record in the NL(in my opinion), he may get it. The only other guy that comes to mind would be Bud Black of the Padres.

AL East:

1.Boston Red Sox
2.New York Yankees
3.Toronto Blue Jays
4.Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5.Baltimore Orioles

I actually like what the Red Sox have done this offseason with winning the bidding war to get prized Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, the signing of J.D. Drew and the fact that they decided to keep Jonathan Papelbon as the closer. Add in Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the Red Sox are looking like they will avenge their third place finish from last season. They New York Yankees are a pretty popular pick to win the East too, due to their powerful offense and the fact that they are the Yankees. But this season the Yankees starting staff is bad, even though they signed former Yankee, Andy Pettitte. Their current rotation consist of Carl Pavano(he's also the opening day starter, why? I have no idea), Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Japanese pitcher, Kei Igawa and they had Jeff Karstens but he has just been placed on the 15-Day DL. So, they have the offense and defense to win a championship, but the pitching doesn't appear to be there. Also, the Toronto Blue Jays are always going to be around and could spoil things for the the top dogs so to speak.

AL Central:

1.Detroit Tigers
2.Cleveland Indians (Wild Card)
3.Chicago White Sox
4.Minnesota Twins
5.Kansas City Royals

The American League Central is by far the best division in baseball, four of the five teams could easily win the division but I see the Tigers winning it due to their pitching. They have a great starting staff and a very good bullpen. They did lose starter, Kenny Rogers for the first three months of the season due to a blood clot in his shoulder, but they have super prospect, Andrew Miller that can step up and fill his spot in the rotation so I don't think that will hurt them that much. Plus they filled a big move when they got Gary Sheffield from the Yankees, Sheffield will the Tiger's designated hitter and should supply some much needed power from the right side of the plate. The Cleveland Indians were a strong pick to go to the World Series last season but fell apart due to a horrible bullpen and no closer after they traded Wickman. But all that is fixed now, they signed Joe Borowski to close and their young guys like Fausto Carmona and Fernando Cabrera are developing quickly and should be great. To go along with that they have a very solid starting rotation with C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and rising star, Jeremy Sowers. And to add even more they have MVP candidates in Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, so the Indians are stacked. Why didn't I pick them again?

AL West:

1.Oakland Athletics
2.Los Angeles Angels
3.Texas Rangers
4.Seattle Mariners

Originally I had the Angels winning the division for the lone fact that the Athletics didn't re-sign Barry Zito and Bobby Crosby just can't stay healthy. But since looking at their staff which has Cy Young candidates like Rich Harden and Dan Haren and then Joe Blanton, Esteban Loaiza and Joe Kennedy, I have decided to go with the A's. The A's closer, Huston Street should be near the top in saves and along with Justin Duchscherer and Kiko Calero Oakland's bullpen looks to be strong. The only thing that will stop the A's from winning this year is their offense, well more so their power. But then again, I don't think Billy Beane gives a rat's ass about power numbers, he's all about on base percentage and stuff like that. But only Nick Swisher appears to be able to hit 25+ homeruns because Eric Chavez seems like he's not really the player he used to be and Mike Piazza is nearing retirement, but then again he did hit 22 last year as a catcher and this year he will be strictly the DH, so there is a chance. I like the Angels for a number of reason, they have great veterans like Vladimir Guerrero, John Lackey, Garret Anderson and Scot Shields plus they have great young guys like Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana. They have good offense, good pitching(both starting and relieving) and they have a great farm system the only thing they need is another power bat added in the middle of their line-up. As much as it pains me to say, that "power bat" may be Andruw Jones. Jones is in the final year of his contract and the Atlanta Braves will likely not re-sign him so they will probably trade him for some young pitching. If I had to put my money on it, I would say the trade would be something similar to this.

LAA: CF Andruw Jones
ATL: P Nick Adenhart, P Ervin Santana and maybe someone like OF Terry Evans.

This is just in my opinion of course, Nick Adenhart is a great prospect, easily the Angels second overall and their top pitching prospect and Santana is a young starter that has potential to be very good. Evans is listed as the Angels 10th best prospect and first among outfielders.


Cy Young: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins

It seems like Santana wins the award just about every year, and he deserves it. He's the most dominating pitcher in baseball right now and I don't think he's gonna stop embarrassing hitters with his fastball and change up anytime soon. Another player to look out for would be Rich Harden from Oakland. If he is able to stay healthy he's as good as anyone in the AL.

MVP: Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians

At first I had Vladimir Guerrero but since I changed my mind about them winning the West, i'll change my mind about the MVP. A lot of people are picking Grady Sizemore, but I feel his teammate, Hafner, puts up more "MVP like" numbers, such as homeruns and RBI's. Plus he had what, five grand slams last year? So yeah, I think it's a pretty solid pick.

Best Reliever
: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

I'm glad the Red Sox decided to keep him as the closer, and this decision should prove it was a good one. He had an ERA of 0.92 and 35 saves last year and I see him putting up similar season this year, but maybe more saves. Don't look past Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all-time is still throwing that devastating cutter and if his starting staff can pitch well he can still save 45+.

Rookie of the Year: Delmon Young, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

The kid can rake it, plain and simple. He'll hit 25+ HR's and should have around 80 RBI's. He's a great pick and with him, the Devil Rays have one of the best, young outfields in all of baseball and it will only get better when Elijah Dukes comes up in a couple of years. I don't really know if Daisuke Matsuzaka is considered a rookie, but if he is then he may very well win it, I see him winning 13-15 games this season and have a sub 3.30 ERA.

Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge, Cleveland Indians

If my predictions work out, then he will have lead a very, very young team from a 4th place finish all the way to a second place and a playoff birth in just one year. With that said, he'd definitely deserve every bit of this honor if this sequence of events plays out. Billy Beane would be my second choice to win.

NL Playoffs:

1st round-

The Atlanta Braves over the Arizona Diamondbacks

The San Diego Padres over the Milwaukee Brewers

2nd round-

The Atlanta Braves over the San Diego Padres

AL Playoffs:

1st round-

(4) Cleveland Indians over the (1) Boston Red Sox

(2)Detroit Tigers over the (3)Oakland Athletics

2nd round-

(4) Cleveland Indians over the (2) Detroit Tigers

World Series:

Atlanta Braves over the Cleveland Indians

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