Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

The Baseball season is practically upon us so it's time for the most anticipated event of the spring; my annual baseball predictions. Last year I predicted a subway series between the Mets and the Yankees. I also predicted that Arod and Pujols would win MVPs. I was wrong, but that's the risk you take in making predictions. I am willing to do it because I know that I provide an invaluable service to my reader(s) (I'm being optimistic). Anyway, on to the picks.

AL Division winners:
Boston, Cleveland, Angels

Wildcard:
NY Yankees


The Yankees have won the east for 10 years in a row and I think it's only fair that the Red Sox win one. The Red Sox have superior and younger arms on their pitching staff and one of these years, the breaks are going to go their way. I'm guessing that this is the year. Anyone one can win the central (except for the Royals), it really is a toss up between the Indians, Tigers, White Sox and Twins. The Twins pitching is fairly suspect after Santana, but they did somehow manage to win the division last year. The Tigers will probably suffer a letdown after last season although adding Gary Sheffield to the lineup certainly can't hurt. The White Sox led the majors in home runs last year, but it's their pitching that will let them down in the end. If the Indians can figure out how to find someone to close their games, they should be the last man standing at the end of the season. The Angels have gotten better by subtraction. They've finally gotten rid of the albatross that was Darrin Erstad, who turned one great year into a $40 million dollar mistake by the Angels. Bringing in Gary Matthews Jr. will help and they also probably have the best staff in the Division. The A's lost Frank Thomas but they added Mike Piazza. The best they can hope for is that the exchange turns out to be a wash. Thomas put up MVP caliber numbers last year and they are hoping that Piazza, without the burden of catching, can do the same. Rich Harden has the best arm in the AL, but he has to stay healthy in order to anchor a fairly inexperienced staff that lost Barry Zito over the winter.


Award winners:

MVP
Arod

I know I picked him last year, but the fact that is essentially in a "contract year" will give him added incentive to put up huge numbers. I also think that regardless of what happens in NY this year, he's definitely going to test the free agent waters.


Cy Young
Rich Harden

It would be silly to bet against Santana, but that's exactly what I'm doing. I am once again picking Rich Harden, who has the best pure stuff in the AL. He just has to stay healthy.


NL Division Winners:
Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers


Wildcard:
NY Mets


I think that the Mets lack of pitching is going to hurt them in the long run. They are relying on a lot of older arms and legs to carry their staff. This is a recipe for disaster. Their offense is so good that they should be able to overcome some of their pitching issues, but it's probably going to cost them the division. I don't think that the Phillies are any better than last year, but they have a great young nucleus of talent and they should better prepared to handle a pennant race this year. I picked the Brewers to make the playoffs last year and then they went out and managed to finish under .500 for the 15th straight year. Their bullpen exploded on them last year and cost them a lot of games. As long as they have those problems sorted out, they should finally be able to make a serious run at the playoffs. The Cardinals aren't any better than the 83 win team that somehow managed to win the World Series last year. The Astros lost Andy Pettite to the Yankees and they might lose Roger Clemens as well. They added Carlos Lee to bolster their offense, but they have gaping holes in their rotation. The West will be won by the Dodgers this year. I hate to say that because I always root for the Padres. The Dodgers spent their money well in the offseason and I think they may be the most balanced team in the NL. The Padres didn't exactly set the world on fire during the offseason and, if anything, they may have taken a step backwards. I expect that Jake Peavy will have a much better year than he did in '06, but he alone won't be enough to beat back the attack from the Dodgers.


NL MVP:
Pujols

Who else? He can legitimately make the argument for the MVP every year that he has been in the league.


NL Cy Young:
Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt. I read somewhere that he's added a change up to his video game like arsenal of pitches. NL hitters are in trouble.


So that's the forecast. It's probably just as reliable as your local weatherman's is. Almost forgot the World Series will be an old fashioned affair. The Dodgers vs. The Yankees. It's been awhile since this former city mates have faced off. I'll take the Yankees in seven.


That's all for now. Enjoy the season everybody. I know I will.

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