Sunday, April 02, 2006

Prediction Time

Busy weekend of baseball to catch up on - we've got pictures from Saturday's Phils-Sox game, David Dellucci joining the team (more on that to come, the timing of the deal made a more in-depth post on it tough), and an unfortunate end to the Tomas Perez/Chris Coste roster spot battle. We've also got real life baseball to worry about tonight (Jim Thome and the White Sox vs. Jason Michaels and the Indians) and, most importantly, predictions to make. I'm never right when it comes to predictions, but they are undeniably fun to make. So, let's see what

NL East: Phillies, Braves (WC), Mets, Marlins, Nationals

The Phillies are my homer pick...hey, I may disagree with management nine times out of ten, but they are still my team and I can still suspend logic and pick them to finally unseat the Braves and win the division. I can't totally pick against the pains me to have them finish second as is, so they'll earn the NL's wildcard birth into yet another postseason. The Mets suffer from injuries and a lack of pitching as they finish in third, the Marlins surprise people (to an extent) with Joe Girardi leading the youth movement in Miami, and the Nationals combine a lackluster roster with a slew of bad in-season moves to drop to the NL East cellar.

NL Central: Astros, Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Pirates, Reds

I have no strong opinions either way about the Central or the West...Houston's pitching is still top notch and a full season of Lance Berkman will mean a lot to that offense. Plus, I think Roger Clemens will be back around mid-May or so. The Cardinals fall back a bit...I'm not sure about some of their additions to the lineup (their outfield is sub-par and their middle infielders can't hit a lick), plus any team with Sidney Ponson in the rotation needs to be downgraded a notch. I get the feeling their rotation as a whole is perceived as being a lot better than it really is (Carpenter is legit though) because of that great lineup that provided so much run support over recent years...we'll see how the pitching looks on a team with Larry Bigbie and Junior Spivey getting regular at bats. The Brewers are the sexy pick to surprise, but I think they'll need one more year before they take over this division. I have no idea what to expect out of the Cubs, all I know is that their dopey fans will sell out Wrigley every game no matter what kind of product is on the field. Will the Pirates finish ahead of the Reds? Or vice versa? Flip a coin, both teams stink.

NL West: Dodgers, Padres, Giants, D'Backs, Rockies

Any of the top four teams in this division could win it (sorry Colorado, it'll be your turn someday...). The Dodgers are older and less geeky, but I don't think they are any better than last year...I know they won't be any better over the long haul even with a top-3 farm system in all of baseball (forgive me for still being upset over the DePo firing)...Ned Colletti will find plenty of ways to screw that franchise up before he is finished, mark my words. The Padres went out and traded for Vinny Castilla this offseason...less said about that move the better. The addition of Piazza is a wildcard (I fear it'll end in disaster), but adding Mike Cameron and Josh Barfield to the lineup makes them better. There just isn't enough in that rotation (outside of Jake Peavy and to a lesser extent Chris Young) to get excited about. The D'Backs are extremely close to unleashing a whole slew of offensive talent that will get people talking - they are building things the right way in the desert and could very well begin to surprise in '06. The Rockies have some intriguing building blocks for their future, but the present looks sad. All they can do this season is pray UNC lefty Andrew Miller falls to them when they pick second in the June amateur draft.

AL East: Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Orioles

Yanks, Sox, Jays...the more things change, the more things stay the same.

AL Central: Indians, White Sox (WC), Twins, Tigers, Royals

The Indians and White Sox are the class of this division...the Twins should be right up there based on their pitching, but Terry Ryan seems clueless when it comes to putting together a competent major league lineup. Ron Gardenhire is even worse when it comes to actually writing out that lineup card...true story - Gardy actually had players bat in the same spot in the lineup as the player they replaced. So, if the second baseman normally hit third, the player who fills in for the second basemen on his day off (assume he is a far worse player - Tomas Perez filling in for Chase Utley, for example) would still hit third in the lineup. Why? Nobody knows. The Tigers have some fun young pitching breaking camp with the club (Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya), but are still at least a year away from competing. The Royals better not let UNC lefty Andrew Miller fall to the Rockies come draft day...they'll regret it if they do, believe me.

AL West: Athletics, Angels, Rangers, Mariners

The A's are the deepest, most well rounded team in baseball. The Angels can pitch, but that lineup needs work - perhaps a serious injection of youth (Casey Kotchman at first, Dallas McPherson at third, and eventually Kendry Morales at DH, Howie Kendrick at second, and Brandon Wood at shortstop) will put a little life into the old school Angels. The Rangers spent cash to improve their pitching, but their staff doesn't look all that improved - especially with the Adam Eaton injury. Too bad...I would have loved to have seen a Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, Vicente Padilla, Robinson Tejeda front four of that rotation. The Mariners are in a bad spot right now - not rebuilding, but not contending. They are in 70-85 win purgatory for the forseeable future.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols (how creative)
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez (ditto)

NL CY: Roy Oswalt
AL CY: John Lackey

NL ROY: Ryan Zimmerman
AL ROY: Kenji Johjima

NLDS: Phillies over Dodgers, Astros over Braves
ALDS: Yankees over White Sox, A's over Indians

NLCS: Phillies over Astros
ALCS: A's over Yankees

World Series: A's over Phillies

Last season, my predicted World Series matchup was Twins over keep that in mind before running out and putting all your hard earned money on my picks...

Pick some winners of your own in the comments...if you dare.


Blogger John Hudome said...

go phillies!!!

3:22 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

Now that's a prediction I can get behind!

5:01 PM  

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