Red Sox: Have loads of talent. Why shouldn’t they? They have the second highest payroll in baseball. I expect Drew to tear it up this year, having a year similiar to the one he had in 04′ if not better. 5th starter until Lester’s return is now in question.
Yankees: They have the most patient lineup in baseball. Highest payroll. The question marks would be 4th and 5th starters. Good for 90+ wins though.
Blue Jays: Back end of the rotation has question marks. Lineup should be deadly. Ryan is very very good.
Orioles: Have the potential to have two aces. Which would have them compete if that were true. But they may or may not have a productive enough offense. Too many questions to have them any higher.
Devil Rays: Bunch of talent and speed. Trouble is, it is all young and on the offensive side. Pitchers are a few years behind.
Tigers: OBP should improve at least a little. Pitching is solid. Leyland may be the best. Pudge is a winner and true difference maker for a team’s success.
White Sox: One of the best 3/4/5’s in the game. Rotation should improve a little by default. The fifth starter will be the biggest question mark.
Twins: I am not underestimating the Twins as someone stated. I feel from their past they could very well surprise us and even win this division. Mauer is great, Morneau is very good, Santana is the best. A lot of it hinges on unproven pitchers.
Indians: I am not sold on them. I know they had a good run differential last year and their offense will be very good. Hafner and Sizemore will be superstars this year. Any time you have two superstars you will have a chance, seemingly. This division is so hard to pick. But how much did they really do to their bullpen? It should be better, but by how much? Cliff Lee is already hurt, and I guess Carmona is taking his place. Which means they have a question mark in the rotation right now. It seems like every team has a question mark at the back end of the rotation. Which is why having Papelbon there would have given the Sox a distinct advantage. I mean Wakefield would have been our fifth starter. You know what you are going to get out of Wake, not on a daily basis, but from a season’s standpoint. We would be one of the few teams who would have confidence in the fifth spot in the rotation. But seriously, back to the Indians. They better platoon their platton outfielders properly so they can maximize the corner outfield positions. They as well as the previous three teams could win the division but I have to pick someone here, right?
Royals: Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Angel Berroa? I hear about these guys all the time. Neyer says Berroa is the worst player in baseball. The other two are potential stars with Gordon seeming to be a definite superstar. Gil Meche has the stuff of an ace, but the stats of a fifth starter. I dont know what to expect out of him, but he pitches against the Sox on opening day. I hope he fares well for the Royals fans who obviously don’t have much. I criticized signing him when the deal went down, as did every other expert. But then I read a very touching article, about how one fan had tears in his eyes because the franchise made a move that showed that they actually cared. Then I felt that it was more than just a move the involved a pitcher with a 4.40 ERA and $11 million in his pocket for five years.
Angels: Well I would definitely have thrown the money at Carlos Lee, that would have made them as good as any team in baseball. I am not saying that Carlos Lee is an incredible player, but they desperately needed someone in the middle of the lineup to help Vlad. Especially in the postseason where Vlad had not fared well. They could have DH’d Lee also seeing how he cannot play defense. And they still probably could have signed a capable center fielder, or maybe just resigned Erstad and threw him in center. Either way, they have arguably the best rotation and bullpens in baseball. And I believe in pitching more than hitting. So they have a chance, especially if Kendrick can win that batting title the experts are saying he will win. That is obviously a long shot this year though.
A’s: If there is one team that digressed I believe it is them. There are others though. I have "Moneyball" sitting in my room, but haven’t read it yet. But honestly, Piazza will not fill Thomas’ role as the only scary hitter in the lineup. Which means there is nothing scary about this lineup. Chavez is good when he is hitting good. Crosby has the talent but has been injured. Harden could be the best starter in the majors or he could be sidelined with reoccuring injuries. Now they do not have Zito to fall back on if he gets hurt. Haren should be good though. Injuries will plagues this team, and unless Stewart, Piazza, and Bradley all hit 25+ homers, then I do not see them winning more than 86 games.
Rangers: Micheal Young is good. Teixera is good too! Padilla has the talent to be an ace but his work effort is in question. Mccarthy should be interesting. I still do not know why Kenny Williams traded him. But he should know better than I right? He is the GM. They should score some runs and have decent pitching. But .500 seems like a ceiling this season.
Mariners: Ichiro is great. Adrian Beltre better show everyone that he is worth the money. Or better yet even worth half of the money he received. This is an interesting team though. Because if, and this is a big if, Beltre hits well and King Felix can be an ace right now, then they have a chance. But realistically, they probably won’t all come together.
Mets: Here is a perfect example of why I believe pitching is more important than offense (a lot of people share the same opinion). The Mets O could very well be the centerpiece of why they win more than 90 games, and beat up on weaker NL opponents. However unless Pedro comes back or they swing a trade. The postseason will end in failure. I think they should have thrown the money at Zito just about as much as I feel Anaheim should have signed Lee. Because in my opinion it is the difference between a World Series ring or not.
Phillies: Another team that is very intriguing. Ryan Howard is one of the best. Chase Utley is the best second baseman right now. Cole Hamels and Brett Myers could be devestating. They have six starters, which cannot hurt. I think they are better bulit for the playoffs than the Mets are. I do like their chances. But every year they fail to meet expectations. However with every new season there is hope.
Braves: Bobby Cox is good, but Leo Mazzone is still gone. I don’t really know what to expect out of them. Hudson has to bounce back. The bullpen like the Tribe’s should get a little better if nothing else. In the back of my mind they could win the division. In the front however they finish third.
Marlins: Josh Johnson is hurt. They are young and very talented. have the "talent" to win but the youth to lose. New manager. Who knows? Should be an exciting team to watch though.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman is good. Nothing else on this team seems to be very good though. Maybe over a 100 losses. If this team somehow had a winning record, it might be the most surprising team in the history of sports
Cubs: I feel Ted Lilly will fare well. If they were to bat Soriano third they could have one of the best 3/4/5’s in the game. Granted a good right handed pitcher would be very hard for that lineup to vercome, but there offense should be good this year. If Prior can win 13 or 14 games it would help very much. I am not sold on the Cubs, but feel they will fare well. And these are my predictions, so back off.
Cardinals: The best position player in the game. A weak rotation but they have an ace! I mean really they cannot win less than 83 games, can they? Worst team to ever win a World Series by far.
Astros: Is Jason Jennings going to be a good pitcher? Can Oswalt’s new changeup make him better than he already is. They have a legit middle of the order now with Lee and Berkman. Loretta as I stated in a past blog is very underrated. Don’t see them doing too much, but the division is pretty open. Oh yeah, if Clemens returns they have a shot.
Brewers: Seemingly good rotation hinges a lot on Sheets being healthy, first and foremost, and good. Once again the division is good but I don’t really know that the Brewers can win it. Could we have five teams win 81 games? And the Pirates win 75?
Reds: Here is what I think. Arroyo’s second half last year was not nearly as good as his first. His stats shoudn’t be quite as good this year. He got his contract so he can go spend the money and amps and picks. He may disappear and be a number 3 or 4 starter rather than a 2. Harang should be good though. Griffey should hit some homers but maintain a relatively low OBP. Dunn should blast some homers but strike out 4 times as much. They shouldnt be too bad, but not too good either.
Pirates: Sanchez, Bay, Laroche is a pretty good start. Duke? Snell? How good are some of these guys going to be this year. See them in the cellar. Not that fa in the cellar though. They could be sitting atop the stairs saying "Bronson, Pearl Jam wants you to tour with them. You in?" And fifth place is theirs.
Dodgers: Loads of depth this year which is why I like them. And of course because my favorite player is Nomar. They have six starters, tons of young talent. They just have to live up tot their talent.
Diamondbacks: Speaking of young talent…and past talent. They could win the division and if they don’t they should win it pretty soon. Its kind of like the Marlins except for more veteran talent. Randy Johnson should be a little above average as far as NL starters go. Webb is an ace. And guys like Stephen Drew should be fun to watch because of his ceiling that extends to the moon.
Padres: I will tell you this, fans should be excited to watch Maddux and Wells on the same team. And those two vets could be the number 3 and 4 starters if Peavy bounces back. Lineup is solid but far from spectacular.
Giants: Very, Very old lineup. If Bonds stays healthy and produces they should be dedent. Have a lot of young pitching that needs to be good now for them to have a chance. I thin Zito will be good as I am a firm believer that the first year a pitcher is in a new league, then they have a distinct advantage.
Rockies: They have some pitching now at least and should score some runs at least at home. Barmes was just sent down to the minors. Don’t know what that means. I thought he was supposed to be good. In fact, Ozzie Smith raved about him sometime recently.
Al Playoffs: Red Sox over Tigers in 4
Angels over Yankees in 5
Red Sox over Angels in 6
NL Playoffs: Cubs over Mets in 5
Phillies over Dodgers in 5
Cubs over Phillies in 7
World Series: Red Sox over Cubs in 5
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero- He puts this below average offense on his shoulders and carries them to average.
AL CY Young: Daisuke Matsusaka-He better be great this year. No hitters have seen him, he should get his wins because we have a very good offense. That seems to mean a lot in the voters minds. Wins, which is a very overrated stat.
NL MVP-Albert Pujols-He is the best position player in baseball, just hitting his prime. Should have won last year.
NL CY Young-Ted Lilly. JK but I do think he will be better than many expect. Barry Zito. New league. Lower ERA. He has a chance right?