Saturday, April 03, 2010

So it begins...

The regular season begins tomorrow night. And what an opening night, Fenway Paak, Boston and NY going head to head, Yankees coming off their 28th Championship, while Boston is trying to re-make their team with the signings of Lacky, Cameron, Beltre and some others.

So what better time than now for predictions...

AL East: Yankees
Yes I'm bias, but I really think the Yankees are the class of baseball. Even the Red Sox added the big name pitcher, and improved defense, they won't be able to put up enough offense. And last year everyone was saying Boston's pitching was better than NY's despite the big signings the Yankees made and it seems the same thing is happening now, but guess what they're wrong again.

The race for second in the AL East is going to be real good this year and will most likely determine the wild card. I think the Rays are in position to get back to the post-season this year. They didn't make any major moves with the exception of getting a legit closer, which totally reshapes that bullpen. And with guys like Crawford and Pena in their walk year they could put up good years. They could be real good.

Orioles are moving in the right direction with a ton of young pitchers, with an offense that should be real good for several years. I think they should be improved but just under .500.

The Blue Jays just suck. They'll be lucky to get 60 wins.

AL Central: Tigers
The Twins will be good again, they always just find a way to win but losing Nathan really hurts them. The Tigers added Damon, Austin Jackson, and Max Scherzer. and just dealt Nate Robertson. The Tigers were in control for most of the season but lost in that one game playoff to the Twins. The bad taste in their mouth will work as motivation this year. I'm really undecided on the White Sox they could surprise people (either way, winning a lot or losing a lot), KC improves but not by much.

AL West: Texas Rangers
Texas hung around last year late into the season before fading to the Angels. Their pitching has really taken shape under Nolan Rolan and should be improved with another season if development under their belt. They have plenty of offense, a good closer, and young rocket arm kid Neftali Feliz to hand it off to the closer. They will go as far as their rotation takes them. Angels lost their #1 starter and key offensive guys, but I have too much respect for Mike Scocia to think they won't be in contention. Mariners were the talk to the baseball world adding Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins, and signing Hernandez to a long extension, but they'll need more than that. Should be a great race but Texas pulls it out. Oh yeah the A's are their just to play spoilers at the end. Sheets will be Sheets, half way decent numbers but will get hurt.

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
Should be a battle till the end of the season between Boston, Tampa, and LA.

NL East: Phillies
Much like the AL East the NL East is at least 3 teams deep, with Phillies, Braves, and Marlins all fighting for the division. The Marlins pitching is real good and they can hit. Same with the Braves great pitching so much so they felt they could deal Javy Vazquez, who finished 3rd in the NL CY Young to the Yankees (thank you!!!) But to be the man you have to beat the man. Phillies are the team to beat. Nationals are definitely moving in the right direction it wouldn't surprise me to see them right around .500 this year. Sleeping in the basement that team from Queens.

NL Central: Cardinals
Cardinals are the team to beat in this division. Great pitching and the best hitter in the game, and they re-sign Matt Holliday to protect him. No brainer here. Pirates may be the worst team in baseball, Houston will be right above them. Team to watch out for is the Reds. I think they finish in second place in the division above the Cubs and will battle for the wild card.

NL West: Rockies

Rockies just looked real good last year, and I think they will continue to play solid baseball. They Jeff Francis back in their rotation, and that will help them a lot. I think they may need a closer though, Street is not looking good and may be on the DL. Dodgers are a mess because of the owners divorce and Manny's side show will get tired real quick this year. I really want to like the D-Backs but without Brandon Webb they just don't have that solid pitching. This means new comers Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy need to move up a spot, I like them better as #3 and #4 starters, not #2 and #3, respectively. The surprise team may be the Giants. The Padres are in the basement.

NL Wild Card: Braves
This will be a real battle between a bunch teams that include the Braves, Marlins, Giants, Dodgers, and possibly the Reds and/or Cubs. I look for a nice send off for Bobby Cox.

Yankee win the AL Pennant
Braves win the NL Pennant
Yankees win #28


Middle Relief said...

(Thanks for picking up the slack)

I think the only thing missing would be a real shocker type thing as it always happens every year - unless you're saying its the Rockies but that's not that big of a deal coming out of the West.

AL East and Wild Card - agree - Yanks / Rays

AL Central - Tigers (look for KC to challenge this is underrated division)

AL West - Mariners


NL East - Braves

NL Central - Cards

NL West - Rockies

And here's my biggey:

- The NL Wild Card -

The Washington Nationals!

They'll start slow, they'll be written off, then pre All-Star break they'll rise with Wang and Strasburg coming back.

Middle Relief said...

More Predictions:

AL MVP - Rob Cano (solid Spring, he's 5 seasons in, and if he can hit in the clutch, he'll finally get the respect he deserves)

NL MVP - Pujols (perhaps my greatest of all time fantasy baseball pick, perhaps the greatest of alltime hitters)

AL Cy Young - Mo Rivera (yes, always controverial talking about a reliver, this will be more like a life time achievement award - look for Javier V to win 20 games)

NL Cy Young - Halladay (new league might be a problem)

Jeter and Mauer battle to the AL Batting Title again

Wang wins 15

CC, AJ, and Javier win 20

Andy and Hughes win 15

Crash said...

Not a great start for the Yankees last night. Jorge and Granderson tried starting it off on a good note. Gardner had a great AB last night, the whole bottom of the lineup had a pretty good night.

Bullpen really coughed it up though. I think the only one who didn't have an ER was Robertson, but he had an inherited runner score. CC looked good through 5 and then really struggled in the 6th. I think Joba looked good at times and not so much other times.

Day off then AJ and Lester go at it.

By the way can I say how much I hate games that start at 8pm on the east coast. I'm on my second cup of coffee and still feel like I could sleep another couple of hours.

Crash said...

Hughes is down in Florida still, he pitched a simulated game today, going 8.3IP striking out 12 and allowing 3 hits. If he can do that next week against LA that would be quite impressive. Though I think LA will be a little better than the ham 'n eggers left back in camp.

Middle Relief said...

I cannot stand games that ESPN gets their hands on - its like the avg. game they do is 4 plus hours every time.


Posada should have definately gotten at least one of those passed balls.


I think it is good that Hughes targeted first start is LA - good tough hitters in that lineup

Crash said...

So it's game 2 today. And Jon Lester is starting for the Sox. Girardi has already left open the possibility that he will sit Granderson for Thames because Granderson has problems hitting lefties. Here's what ticks me off about this...the Yankees knew this fact going into the trade. If Girardi is going to sit Granderson against lefties, why would you trade your top prospect and bucket load of pitching for what is essentially a platoon player?

I really hope this is the NY media making a story from nothing, because this would be bad. By the way I think saw both Damon and Jackson had RBI's in the Tigers win. Matsui had a couple big hits for the Angels including a home run.

Crash said...

Good won for the Yankees last night. Beating a tough lefty in Fenway. Thought AJ was a little too pumped up, he really needs to learn how to harness his emotion. Thought it was interesting to see that Robertson got the ball in the 8th for a batter then Marte, who has just been terrible, then Joba. I would have liked to see Joba in at the start of the inning. And to be honest that's one of the good matchups in the "new" rivalry, Yukillis/Joba.

They should be able to take the series tonight.

This is a touch opening week or so for the Yankees, Red Sox, Tampa, and LA? Ouch!

old professor said...

Back from Virginia and can comment on a couple of items - (a) it is absolutely insane having the Yankees and Red Sox open the season playing each other. Some where in the distant future, MLB is going to figure out it is better to have the teams that play in the East visit warm weather sites for the first week or two of the season.

(b) Marte is awful. He had a bad spring and has carried that over to the spring. Both Logan and Ring had better springs than this guy and should have travelled north.

(c) Gardner was declared the everyday leftfielder and then sits game 2 of the Boston Series. If he were in left instead of Thames, Ellsbury's hit would have been caught.

(d) the Yankees are thin on the bench if they expect to relay on Wynn and Thames to produce.

Crash, to excuse AJ's performance by saying he was too pumped is lame. The guy is a professional ballplayer with several years of experience. He should know how to keep under control.

By the way Virginia was very warm and pleasant.

Crash said...

I don't think I made an excuse for AJ's performance. I said he needs to harness the emotion, make it work for him, rather than overthrowing his fastball and missing his mark by 3 feet.

As far as the warm weather's 85 in Boston today and was 75 on opening night, even with yesterday being the "cold" day it was in the 70's. To steal your line, they're professional ballplayers, if it's cold deal with it. It was a lot colder on October 23rd 2009, they had to deal with it then. Not a big deal.

Crash said...

So after the first series, Granderson is batting .300 with 2HR, and Park played a critical role going 3IP, 0R and only 1H. A little different than opening day when he clearly didn't have command and gave up the HR to Pedroia. Last night Park made Ortiz look foolish. Gardner stole a base in a key spot yesterday too. I'll take 2 of 3 from the Sox in Fenway any time.

Yanks get an off day then 3 with Tampa with Vazquez-CC-AJ starting. Not sure who Tampa is starting when but I do know Price is scheduled to start and he is a "tough lefty". Let's see how Girardi handles the lineup.

Crash said...

The Yankees pickup Chad Huffman off waivers from the SanDiego Padres. That could be the Kevin Towers effect. Paul DePodesta, Padres AGM, really thinks Huffman will be a good major league hitter. He's an OF/1B that has some power, his splits say he's better against right handed pitching than left.

old professor said...

Crash, what does Huffman offer the Yankees that Juan Miranda doesn't.

It will be interesting to see how Vasquez does in his second go around. Expectations regarding his performance this time are a lot less - he is the number 4 versus being the stud ace that will rebuild the Yankee staff.

Crash said...

Miranda is strictly a 1B. He is essentially a DH at the big league level with the occasional spell for Teixeira at firstbase. And given the contracts of Teixeira, Swisher, and Johnson I would say there is a greater chance of trading Miranda than seeing him with the Yankees. And Miranada has been killing AAA, they should be able to get decent value for him if he continues that kind of performance.

Huffman offers greater flexibility defensively. I would view him as a younger Swisher(though he's not a switch hitter) with less power and higher average.

Yeah I'm very interested in Vazquez's performance tonight. I think it was good to get his feet wet on the road too. If you want to watch another young Ray become a star, watch their second baseman Sean Rodriguez...he will be a real star by the end of this year.

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