Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baseball Predictions 2009

AL East-heavy edition.

AL East

New York

Check out the difference between the '09 Sox, and the '03 Sox. That other team was a mind-blowing collection of mashers that set the all time MLB record for team SLG. Six years later, Boston's transition to a run-prevention team is nearly complete. They have plus defenders at nearly every position, and pitchers who won't give the guys standing behind them much to do. Their weakness is offensive depth, as they will be hurting for answers if/when Lowell/Drew/Ortiz goes down. Expect a lot of local attention on Holliday or Fielder if their teams fall out of contention.

The Yankees made a lot of noise, but they honestly didn't get loads better. CC essentially replaces Mussina, and I think I'd rather have Moose in a big game. Giambi and Abreu were replaced by Tex, who consolidates their offense while providing a huge D upgrade. Their only true "add" was AJ, who isn't exactly the guy you want to count on if it isn't a walk year. Their defense continues to circle the drain, and they're counting on way too many guys (Matsui, Damon, Jeter, Posada, A-Rod) either beginning or well into their career slides. Their bullpen is stellar, but it won't be pretty watching all those ground balls slip through the infield. If A-Rod is out longer than projected, or if Posada can't catch 120 games, it's going to be a *very* long summer in the Bronx. There's a non-zero chance of the Yankees collapsing like the Tigers last year.

Tampa is probably the 3rd best team in the game, and the fact that they could struggle to reach 90 wins is only a testament to the fact that they play in the toughest division in the majors. They obviously have a much higher upside than New York, but they had a lot of things go right last year (bullpen, BABIP, etc) and there will be some regression. Outside the AL East, they take any of the other 5 divisions with ease.

Toronto had their window last year, and couldn't make their move. Now it's probably too late, as they have too much money tied up in millstones like Wells and Rios. Remind yourself that 2010 is the last year of Halladay's contract, and imagine how much he'd be worth on the trade market. Now squint and try even harder to imagine the Jays trading him within the division. No, I can't see it either.

Baltimore has finally started doing it right, after years of foolish FA signings. Not that it will do them any good, not here, not for another 3-4 years at least. They sent Wieters down to start the season, causing wails of grief among fantasy players everywhere.

AL Central

Kansas City

Nobody has noticed, but the Central has been almost as stratified as the East the past few years. Minnesota has the better pitching, but the Indians have the better everything else, and that's what will do it for them.

AL West

Los Angelheim

Not much to say here. The Angels overplayed their talent by about 13 games last year, and their high-strikeout/singles-happy offense will being them back to earth this year.

NL East

New York

No, I'm not big on the Phillies; why do you ask? Of course, the Mess will probably fold down the stretch just like the last 2 years, but you can't predict that sort of thing, you know?

NL Central

St. Louis

I think Milwaukee will come back to earth too, just like Tampa and the Angels. Chicago isn't as good as a lot of people predict, but they're good enough to win this division. Pittsburgh might somehow find a way to finish seventh.

NL West
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Dan Diego

Signing Manny probably gave the Dodgers the division.


AL MVP: Sizemore
AL Cy: Matsuzaka
AL Rookie: Wieters

NL MVP: Pujols
NL Cy: Santana
NL Rookie: Maybin

Wild Cards: New York Yankees, Atlanta

Pennants: Boston, Atlanta

World Series: Boston

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