Thursday, March 31, 2011
2011 MLB season preview and predictions
With spring training finally coming to an end the start of the Major League Baseball season has finally arrived. Baseball is unique unlike any other sport where you have a six month grind in the season which spans over 162 games. Then to determine the best team in the sport the postseason is condensed to just who can get hot for three weeks and win 11 games. Typically in baseball the team with the best record doesn't win the World Series. The baseball playoffs is a crapshoot much like the NCAA mens basketball tournament. So while many will predict the two best teams to meet in the World Series that often doesn't happen.
In this following post I'll catch you up on the offseason by breaking down each division. I'll talk about each team although some teams don't have much to talk about. Some teams made some noise this offseason and like usual the rich got richer while the small market teams took a hit. That is how baseball works in the regular season but in the playoffs still comes down to timely hitting and great pitching. At the bottom several other people will give their predictions along with myself. Hopefully in six months from now my predictions weren't totally off. Now I'll breakdown each division in order of last years standings starting with the National League East.
National League East:
The four time division champions Philadelphia Phillies won the offseason World Series. The Phillies brought back Cliff Lee this offseason signing the ace to a five year 120 million dollar deal. The Phillies even though they lost Jayson Werth are the heavy favorites to return to the World Series like they did in 2008 and 2009. The Phillies hope to avoid what happened to them last year when they were upset to the San Francisco Giants in six games. The signing of Lee has brought comparisons to the Atlanta Braves of the 1990's. The Phillies feature Cy Young award winners Roy Halladay(21-10,2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP with 219 K's) and Cliff Lee(12-9,3.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP with 185 K's) along with Roy Oswalt(13-13,2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP with 193 K's) and their fourth starter is 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels(12-11,3.06 ERA, 1.18 WHIP with 211 K's). Safe to say the Phillies will be a tough draw in October.
This will be an interesting year for the Atlanta Braves as manager Bobby Cox retired after the Braves were eliminated in four games in the NLDS. The Braves a franchise who was in the postseason 14 years in a row made it last year for the first time since 2005 last year. The Braves a busy offseason trading for second baseman Dan Uggla(.287/33/105 with 100 runs scored) which helps a lineup which features mostly left handed hitters. The Braves feature a young pitching staff with Tommy Hansen(10-11,3.33 ERA,1.17 WHIP with 173 K's) and Jair Jurrjens to go with veterans Tim Hudson(17-9,2.83 ERA,1.15 WHIP) and Derek Lowe(16-12, 4.00 ERA, 1.37 WHIP). The Braves lineup is strong with Uggla, Jason Heyward(.277/18/72 with 83 runs scored), and Brian McCann(.269/21/77). In any other division in the National League the Braves would be the huge favorites to win their division.
The Florida Marlins once again slashed payroll by trading away Dan Uggla. The Marlins do feature a nice pitching staff in staff ace Josh Johnson(11-6, 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) along with young superstar Hanley Ramirez(.300/21 Hr's/76 RBI's/92 runs/32 steals). The Marlins do have some young talent and went 80-82 last year. They could be a sleeper team this year but are just in the wrong division.
New York Mets:
Look up mess in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of the New York Mets. The Mets despite being in the biggest market in the United States haven't won a World Series since 1986. The Mets lost Johan Santana(11-9,2.98 ERA,1.18 WHIP with 144 K's) before the season even began. The Mets are hoping for a bounce back year from Jose Reyes. The Mets still feature David Wright who is an elite player in the game. The Mets pitching staff is troublesome and look for them to miss the playoffs yet again.
The Washington Nationals were horrible last season yet again. The bad news for the Nationals was pitching franchise Stephen Strasburg(5-3,2.91 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 92 K's in just 68 innings) going down for 18 months. The Nationals did sign Jayson Werth(.296/27/85 with 106 runs scored) in the offseason to give the fans some excitement. With Ryan Zimmerman(.307/25/85 with 85 runs), Werth, Ian Desmond and #1 pick overall Bryce Harper on the horizon the Nationals could be a factor in a year or two down the road.
National League Central:
The Cincinnati Reds surprised everyone by winning the NL central for the first time since 1995. When the Reds made the playoffs however they were given a rude welcome when Roy Halladay no-hit them in game one. The Reds were eventually swept by the Phillies in three games having been shutout in two of those games. The Reds feature a nice young core on their roster. The young stars are Jay Bruce(.281/25/70 with 80 runs score) and MVP Joey Votto(.324/37/113 with 106 runs and 16 stolen bases). The Reds also feature the electric Aroldis Chapman who has thrown over 100 miles per hour than any pitcher in baseball last season combined. Chapman only pitched for a month by the way. Chapman struck out 19 batters in just 13 1/3 innings, he'll most likely start the year in the bullpen. People sleeping on the Reds are making a mistake as they are primed for a run.
No team had a more disasterous offseason than the St.Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals lost ace pitcher Adam Wainwright(20-11, 2.42 ERA, 213 K's, 1.05 WHIP) for the entire season. You think that was bad what followed up next was even worse for the Cardinals. The Cardinals failed to reach an extension for Albert Pujols(.312/42/118 with 115 runs and 14 steals) meaning Pujols will be a free agent at the end of the season. There is no way a mid market like the Cardinals will be able to compete with some of the bigger markets. So the moment the Cardinals start to slump there will be whispers about Pujols possibly being traded. This will be a season long distraction. If the Cardinals can get past that distraction they still have Pujols the best hitter in the game along with Matt Holliday(.312/28/103 with 95 runs) and Lance Berkman. They still have Chris Carpenter(16-9,3.22 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) as the staff ace. The Cardinals will definately be a team everyone will be keeping their eye on.
The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Brewers made two pitching moves in the offseason trading for Shaun Marcum(13-8,3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) from the Toronto Blue Jays then traded for 2009 Cy Young award winner Zach Greinke(10-14,4.17 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) from the Kansas City Royals. The Brewers are hoping Greinke can be like he was in 2009 where he went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. The Brewers have always had the hitters with Prince Fielder(.261/32/83 with 94 runs) and Ryan Braun(.304/25/103 with 101 runs scored). The Brewers finally have the right mix of pitching and hitting. The Brewers are my sleeper in the National League.
The Houston Astros are quickly becoming an irrelevant franchise. The Astro's feature no stars on their roster. The one brightspot is staff ace Brett Myers(14-8,3.14 ERA, 1.24 WHIP with 180 K's) who in his first 32 starts of the year pitched six innings or more. That is the defination of a horse pitcher.
The Chicago Cubs still looking to break the over century hump of winning a World Series. The Cubs haven't won he World Series since 1908 and it's not looking like that streak is going to end anytime soon. The Cubs were a huge disappointment last season and are hoping for some bounce back years from Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and free agent signing Carlos Pena. The lovable losers seem destined to have yet another disappointing season.
If you are depressed about your current baseball team be thankful you aren't a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. A once proud franchise that has featured such greats as Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Barry Bonds(pre-steroids) has fallen off a cliff. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992 when Sid Bream's memorable dash home eliminated them from the NLCS for the third straight year. The Pirates had the worst record last year at 57-105 and look for them to be terrible once again. The one bright spot is Andrew McCutchen(.286/16/56 with 94 runs and 33 SB's).
National League West:
San Francisco Giants:
The San Francisco Giants last season won the division title on the last game of the season. Then the Giants won their first World Series in San Francisco during that playoff stretch upsetting the Phillies and then Texas Rangers. The Giants still feature a strong pitching staff with two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum(16-10,3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 231 K's), Matt Cain(13-11,3.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP with 177 K's), Jonathan Sanchez(13-9, 3.07 ERA, 1.23 WHIP with 205 K's) and youngster Madison Bumgarnger who went 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP in the postseason last year. The Giants once again are the only team who can go toe to toe with the Phillies in the playoffs when it comes to pitching. The Giants once again will struggle with the offense losing World Series MVP Edgar Renteria in the offseason. The Giants will still be the favorites to win this tough division which features four quality teams.
San Diego Padres:
The San Diego Padres surprised everyone last season winning 90 games which saw manager Bud Black take home the manager of the year award. The Padres like most small market teams have to do traded away superstar Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox. The Padres already have a poor offense and without Gonzalez one has to wonder where are they going to get their runs from? The Padres will feature a strong pitching staff which as a team had a 3.39 ERA. The Padres are hoping the pitching staff can carry them once again and this time not fall apart down the stretch.
The Colorado Rockies had a strange season for them. Normally the Rockies catch fire down the stretch but last year they were 83-79 finishing the year 1-9 in their last 10 games. The Rockies are another team primed to make a splash this season. The Rockies feature stud hitters in Carlos Gonzalez(.336/34/117 with 111 runs and 26 SB's) and Troy Tulowitzki(.315/27/95 with 89 runs scored and 11 SB's). The Rockies also feature staff ace Ubaldo Jimenez(19-8,2.88 ERA,1.15 WHIP with 214 K's) who started last years All-Star game. The Rockies have a staff ace and dominant hitters which makes them a dangerous club.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are replacing hall of fame manager Joe Torre with hitting coach Don Mattingly. The Dodgers coming off a disappointing 80-82 season still feature a strong pitching staff. The Dodgers feature staff ace Clayton Kershaw(13-10,2.91 ERA,1.18 WHIP with 212 K's) who is followed by Chad Billingsley(12-11,3.57 ERA, 1.28 WHIP with 171 K's) and Tedd Lilly(10-12, 3.62 ERA, 1.08 WHIP with 166 K's). As you can see the Dodgers have a good pitching staff to compete in this division. The Dodgers are hoping Andrew Eithier can have a big breakout season for them to carry the offense. This division features four good teams and any of these four teams wouldn't surprise me if they won the division.
It was just four years ago the D-backs had the best record in the national league and appeared to be the team destined to go on a run. Flash forward to 2010 where they went 65-97 you have to wonder what happened to this team. The D-backs even tried to trade away young superstar Justin Upton who is only 23 years old and is already an all-star. The D-backs with the strength of this division appear headed for another long season.
American League East:
Tampa Bay Rays:
The Tampa Bay Rays fresh off their second division title in franchise history saw some major shakeups on their team. The Rays lost closer Rafael Soriano in division to the New York Yankees, long time all-star Carl Crawford in division to the Boston Red Sox, Matt Garza and Carlos Pena to the Chicago Cubs. In fact the Rays bullpen will be entirely different from last season. So after all that it would be easy to assume this is going to be a bad team which would be a mistake. The Rays went out and signed two veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Both guys will be motivated going against their old teams the Red Sox and Yankees. The Rays also feature staff ace David Price(19-6,2.72 ERA,1.19 WHIP with 188 K's) along with star hitters such as Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton. The Rays should still be able to compete in this division.
New York Yankees:
The New York Yankees were surprisingly quiet this offseason failing to land any of the big free agents. You add in the fact they didn't add Cliff Lee last year at the trade deadline one has to wonder what is going on in the Bronx. Even with the quiet moves the Yankees still feature a strong offense if not the best offense in baseball. The Yankees still have Mark Teixeira(.256/33/108 with 113 runs), Robinson Cano(.319/29/109 with 103 runs), Derek Jeter the Yankees captain(.270/10/67 with 111 runs) and Alex Rodriguez(.270/30/125 with 74 runs) which is pretty amazing for an infield who with the exception of Cano had "down" years. The Yankees still feature a staff ace and former Cy Young award winner in C.C. Sabathia(21-7,3.18 ERA,1.19 with 197 K's) at the top of the rotation. Outside of Sabathia the Yankees staff is pretty weak with A.J. Burnett as the second starter, Ian Nova is the fourth and Freddy Garcia(yes that Freddy Garcia) as the fifth starter. The Yankees bullpen should be strong with Soriano and Mariano Rivera. The Yankees aren't built for the playoffs unless they can somehow trade for another front line starter.
Boston Red Sox:
The favorites of the American League the Boston Red Sox had a big offseason. Had the Red Sox made no moves at all they would be in good shape as they won 89 games last year despite Kevin Youkilis missing 60 games, Dustin Pedroia missing 87 games, and Jacoby Ellsbury missing all but 18 games last season. The Red Sox basically acquired three all-star bats for nothing. Now you add in the free agent signings of Carl Crawford(.307/19/90 with 110 runs scored and 47 stolen bases) and Adrian Gonzalez(.298/31/101 with 87 runs scored). The Red Sox lineup will make pitchers work this season as they basically went out and snagged five all-star calibar bats to a team that won 89 games last season. The Red Sox also feature a strong pitching staff in Jon Lester(19-9,3.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP with 225 K's), Clay Buchholz(17-7,2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) along with veterans John Lackey and Josh Beckett. Pretty easy to see why despite being in a strong division the Red Sox stand out amongst everyone in the American League let alone the East.
Toronto Blue Jays:
The Toronto Blue Jays are coming off an 85 win season despite trading away staff ace Roy Halladay in the offseason. Nobody hit more home runs last season than the Blue Jays who hit 257 home runs. The Blue Jays were led by Jose Bautista(.260/54/124 with 109 runs) last season as Bautista had just 59 career home runs entering the season. The Blue Jays feature a young pitching staff led by Ricky Romero(14-9,3.73 ERA,1.29 WHIP with 174 K's) who will be the staff ace. The Blue Jays will once again be a good team stuck in the wrong division which has hurt them this whole decade.
The good news for the Baltimore Orioles is that they finally have a quality manager in Buck Showalter. The better news is the Orioles once they get rid of Showalter will make the World Series as the three previous teams who have fired Showalter have gone on to the World Series shortly after. The Orioles this offseason made some nice moves picking up Derek Lee, J.J. Hardy, and Vladimir Guerrero to go with their young core. The Orioles will put up some runs but the problem is they won't be able to get anybody out.
American League Central:
The Minnesota Twins won the divison last year and for the fourth time since 2003 were eliminated in the ALDS to the New York Yankees. The Twins losing streak has gone to 12 games against the Yankees as they were once again swept in the first round last year. The Twins once again will try and get over the Yankees hurdle this season. The Twins return all-star closer Joe Nathan. The Twins still have a solid offense featuring former MVP's Justin Morneau(.345/18/56 in just 81 games) and Joe Mauer(.327/9/75 with 88 runs). The Twins feature staff ace Francisco Liriano(14-10,3.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP with 201 K's). The Twins are hoping this is finally the year for them to get by the mighty Yankees.
Chicago White Sox:
The Chicago White Sox who has missed the postseason the last two years are hoping to return back to October. The White Sox resigned Paul Konerko(.312/39/111 with 89 runs) and signed power hitter Adam Dunn(.260/38/105 with 85 runs). Dunn has hit 38+ homeruns the past seven seasons in a row and will be going to a launching pad. The White Sox also traded for Edwin Jackson who threw a no-hitter last season. The White Sox made some moves in a winnable division. Look for the White Sox to light up the scoreboard this season.
The Tigers are coming off an 81-81 disappointing season. The Tigers did make a big signing bringing in Victor Martinez(.302/20/79 with 64 runs) to go with slugger Miguel Cabrera(.328/38/126 with 111 runs score) who has had some offseason problems but can still hit. The Tigers still feature flame thrower Justin Verlander(18-9,3.37 ERA,1.16 WHIP with 219 K's) to go with their young staff. The Tigers who haven't been to the postseason since they made the World Series since 2006 will be hoping to end that streak.
Like the Arizona Diamondbacks the Indians fortunes have change quite a bit in four years. The Indians were just one game away from the World Series in 2007 but blew a 3-1 series lead against the eventual World Series Champions Boston Red Sox. The Indians have since traded away two Cy Young award winning pitchers(Sabathia and Lee) and seen two young promising stars nosedive(Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner). The Indians who haven't won a World Series since 1948 appear to continue the sports trend of Cleveland sports sucking.
Kansas City Royals:
The Pittsburgh Pirates of the American League the Royals who once were a great team from 1976-1985 haven't been to the postseason since that 1985 World Championship season. The Royals have had just one winning season(2003) since 1995. During that time the Royals have finished last place in their division nine times in probably the weakest division in the American League too. The Royals after trading away staff ace Zach Greinke appear headed for another losing season and if not for the Cleveland Indians would finish in last place.
American League West:
The Texas Rangers who prior to last season had never won a postseason series found themselves winning the American League Pennant over the New York Yankees. The Rangers lost Vladimir Guerrero to free agency and most importantly staff ace Cliff Lee as well. The Rangers did sign Adrian Beltre(.321/28/102 with 84 runs) to help offset the loss of Guerrero. The Rangers feature MVP Josh Hamilton(.359/32/100 with 95 runs), Ian Kinsler and Michael Young. The Rangers will still have C.J. Wilson(15-8,3.35 ERA,1.25 WHIP with 170 K's) who stepped up big time last season and will now be the staff ace. The Rangers are hoping their hitters can carry them throughout the season as the pitching behind Wilson appears to be thin.
The Oakland A's finished last season at 81-81 and is kind of everyone's sleeper pick to win the west. The reason for that is once again in the Billy Beane era the A's feature a strong pitching staff led by Trevor Cahill(18-8,2.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) behind Cahill you have Brett Anderson(7-6, 2.80 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), Gio Gonzalez(15-9,3.23 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) and Dallas Braden(11-14,3.50 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) who threw a perfect game last year. The A's also have Rich Harden on the DL who could be their fifth starter. The A's on offense went out and signed Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus. The A's are the exact opposite of the Texas Rangers which should make this AL West race interesting.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
Many are sleeping on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who prior to last season had won the American League West five of the previous six seasons. The Angels went out and acquired Vernon Wells(.273/31/88 with 79 runs) to bolster their offense. Like the A's the Angels will be led by their pitching which saw a breakout season last year from Jered Weaver(13-12,3.01 ERA, 1.07 WHIP with 233 K's) who will be joined with Dan Haren who was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while he was with the Angels. The Angels have the 1-2 punch in their rotation so if they make the playoffs that is a team that nobody wants to draw in the first round. The AL West will have a terrific three team race that will come down to the last week.
The Seattle Mariners who I previewed earlier in the week look to be rebuilding this season. The Mariners feature Cy Young award pitcher Felix Hernandez and appear to be going in a youth movement. The Mariners have had just two winning seasons since 2004. If you want to read more about the Mariners just read my season preview where I give an in depth look at the Mariners.
Well that is all for my previewing on all the teams in baseball. Now here comes the fun part where several people including myself will make our predictions. Should be interesting whose predictions turn out the closest and whose predictions turn out way off.
Patton Richard: Contributer to Seattle Sports Blog
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Texas Rangers
AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox
ALCS: Rays over Red Sox
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds
NL West: Colorado Rockies
NL Wild Card: Florida Marlins
NLCS: Phillies over Marlins
World Series Champ: Tampa Bay Rays
NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez
AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Cliff Lee
AL Rookie Of The Year: J.P. Arencibia, Catcher, Toronto
NL Rookie Of The Year: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
Korey Payne: Blogger and contributer to SSB
AL EAST- New York Yankees
AL CENTRAL- Chicago White Sox
AL WEST- Los Angeles Angels
NL EAST- Philadelphia Phillies
NL CENTRAL- St. Louis Cardinals
NL WEST- San Diego Padres
AL WILD CARD TEAM- Boston Red Sox
NL WILD CARD TEAM- San Francisco Giants
ALCS- New York Yankees Vs. Boston Red Sox
NLCS- Philadelphia Phillies Vs. San Diego Padres
WORLD SERIES- New York Yankees winning against Philadelphia Phillies
AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay
AL MVP- Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP- Albert Pujols
100 Loss Teams- Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians
Michael Hourigan: Contributer to SSB
AL East - Red Sox
AL Central - Twins
AL West - Angels
NL East - Phillies
NL Central - Brewers
NL West - Dodgers
AL Wild Card - Yankees
NL Wild Card - Braves
ALCS - Red Sox vs. Yankees
NLCS - Dodgers vs. Phillies
World Series - Red Sox vs. Phillies, Phillies win
Mark A. Miller: Contributer to SSB and leader of FANS!
1. Philthydelphia Phullies
2. Notlanta Native American Ax Wielders
3. New Yawk Muttsb
4. Florida Marlints
5. Washington Gnats
1. Shitcocko Flubs
2. St. Loser Crudinals
3. Milwaukee Boozehounds
4. Ho'stown Assholes
5. Cincinnati Commies
6. Pissburgh Buttpirates
1. San Fransicko Gay-ants
2. Los Angeles Doogers of Los Angeles
3. San Diego Fathers
4. Colorado Rookies
5. Arizona Gardnersnakes
1. Baaaawston Deadsox
2. New Yawk Spankers
3. Toronto BlowJays
4. Tampax Bay D-Gays
5. Baltimoh Oreos
1. Minnehaha Twinks
2. Shitcago Whitesux
3. Det-riot Le Tigres
4. Kansas Shitty Royal Pains
5. Cleveland Native Americans
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem of Orange County of California of the United States of North America of Earth of the Milkey Way of the Universe of Infinity
2. Texass Lamegers
3. Cokeland Asslickics
4. Seattle eMbarrassers
AL Jokers: New Yawk Spankers
NL Jokers: Los Angeles Doogers of Los Angeles
NL CHAMPIONS: Philthydelphia Phullies
AL CHAMPIONS: Minnehaha Twinks
World Series Champions: Minnehaha Twinks
AL Cy Young: David Price
NL Cy Young: Tim Licksthecum
NL MVP: Ryan Howard
AL MVP: Gay Roid
AL MOY: Gardenhire
NL MOY: Mattingly
AL ROY: Ackley
NL ROY: Chapman
AL HR LEADER: Gay-Roid
NL HR LEADER: Fielder
Adam Lispie: Moderator of Seahawks Huddle
Wild Card: Braves
Wild Card- Yankees
AL champs- Red Sox
NL champs- Phillies
WS champs- Red Sox
AL- Adrian Gonzalez
NL- Ubaldo Jimenez
AL- Jon Lester
NL- Fredi Gonzalez
AL- Terry Francona
NL- Bryce Harper
AL- Michael Piñeda
AL- Adam Dunn
Michael Clouse: Friend of SSB and poster on SSB group page
AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Card: Twins
ALCS: Red Sox over White Sox
NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Rockies
NL Wild Card: Braves
NLCS: Rockies over Phillies
World Series champ: Red Sox
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
NL MVP: Carlos Gonzalez
AL Cy: Lester
NL Cy: Lincecum
Jonah Hobson: Standout outfielder for LCC Red Devils(2005-06) and HPU(07-09)
AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: A's
AL Wild Card: Twins
ALCS: Red Sox over A's
NL East: Braves
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Phillies
NLCS: Braves over Phillies
World Series Champion: Red Sox
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL CY: David Price
NL CY: Cliff Lee
AL ROY: Jeremy Hellickson
NL ROY: Freddie Freeman
Three crazy predictions:
1. Pirates and Royals both finish within five games of .500
2. No one hits more than 43 HR's
3. At LEAST four 20 game winners this season
Kris Shellenbarger: The owner, gm and coach of Seattle SportsBlog
AL East: Red Sox( Too much hitting and pitching)
AL Central: Tigers( Verlander is a horse, Love the Victor signing)
AL West: A's(Amazing pitching plus I think Rangers fall back)
AL Wild Card: Yankees(Pitching is terrible but still great offense)
ALCS: Red Sox over Tigers(Sox are head and shoulders better than everyone in AL)
NL East: Phillies(Great starting staff although keep an eye on early injuries)
NL Central: Brewers(When Greinke comes back look out!)
NL West: Giants(The Champs still have a great staff, will clinch on last day)
NL Wild Card: Braves(will have second best record in NL)
NLCS: Braves over Phillies(payback from 1993 when Phillies upset the Braves)
World Series Champ: Boston Red Sox(Unless they get bitten by the injury bug they are going to be very tough).
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez(Look at his numbers last few years. He was at Petco with no protection. Now in Fenway)
NL MVP: Dan Uggla(He is exactly what the Braves need and will have a monster season)
AL CY: Verlander(He'll have a monster year to carry the Tigers)
NL CY: Lee(He'll announce being back to the NL with a CY Young award)
Well guys that is all for the predictions. I hope you enjoyed the predictions I'm sure some you disagree with. Keep in mind that in baseball not everything is played according to paper so each of us took some risks in our picks. I'll be looking forward to seeing how we all did on our predictions come October.