Friday, April 01, 2005

American League Predictions

Tomorrow the NL:

Baseball's most depressing division. Three teams that, no matter what they do, can't compete. Very sad.

1. Boston, 101 wins. Loss of Pedro doesn't hurt so much I don't think. Not sure how long they can maintain their extremely loose mentality. It's also a very white mentality I should mention which I guess fits in real well in Boston. Still a great hitting team. Ortiz and Manny should have big years. Millar, Bellhorn, Renteria, Mueller, Nixon, Damon, etc a very solid supporting cast. Starting pitching very good. Relief pitching also quite good. And they'll buy whoever they need to fill their gaps in July.

2. New York, 100 wins. Satan was vanquished last year. And they don't seem like a Series team to me this year either, though they could do it. Randy Johnson could be a great pickup. Or he could start 15 games. The team is old. Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, Wright. Could be a great rotation. But probably not. Johnson will probably get hurt. Mussina is not the pitcher he once was. Pavano was great last year but hasn't pitched for the Yankees before and we'll see how he does. He's only had 1 really good season. I wouldn't have touched Wright with a 10 foot pole. How many Bobby Cox/Leo Mazzone reclamation cases do anything after they leave Atlanta? Hitting side of things: solid but aging. Matsui should be great again. Sheffield could be though it will be interesting to see if the steroids scandal affects him. Bernie is old. Giambi, well.... Womack, old. Jeter, solid as of course is A-Rod. Posada should still be good but is aging too.

3. Baltimore, 80 wins. No good moves for them in the offseason. Sosa should hit some HRs but that wasn't their problem last year. They have no pitching. Is Rodrigo Lopez their best pitching? Ouch.

4. Tampa Bay, 75 wins. I like this team a bit. They have some great young players. Lou Pinella is the wrong man to manage them. He doesn't like playing rookies. So he'd rather sign Roberto Alomar to play 2B than give it to Jorge Cantu who hit .300 in his callup. With Crawford, Baldelli, Huff, Brazelton, Cantu, Delmon Young on the way, etc. they would have some potential if they didn't play in this division.

5. Toronto, 71 wins. Probably a little better team than last year, but not much. Signings of Koskie and Hillenbrand were decent. Halladay should be healthy and so should Vernon Wells. Russ Adams is a nice young SS. But the pitching is still pretty shaky, playing in this division kills this team, and they are a year or so away from being a plus .500 team.

An improving division thanks to some good management. Glad to see more competition here than in years past.

1. Minnesota, 91 wins. Solid team all around. Great farm system. Morneau is going to be a great slugger. Loss of Guzman and Koskie doesn't hurt them that much. Lew Ford played a huge role last year and needs to step up again this. Solid OF with Ford, Koskie, and Jones. Mauer should be a great catcher if he can stay healthy. Maybe the most important person to this team is Kyle Lohse who needs to pitch to his potential to go with Santana and Radke. J.D. Durbin should play a nice rookie role at some point this season.

2. Cleveland, 87 wins. Solid young team. Like most, I really like their future. Broussard, Blake, Crisp, Martinez, etc provides a really nice young core of players. Pitching should be better than average with Westbrook and Sabathia. Relying on Bob Wickman to close is not very reassuring. Maybe Brandon Phillips will show up this year. Anyway, not quite at the level of the Twins, but solid.

3. Detroit, 81 wins. I like what the Tigers are doing. They're not a great team. But Bonderman and Maroth should take one more step this year to become solid starters. Picking up Percival seemed a bit unnecessary since they had Urbina but maybe they can trade Urbina to improve somewhere else.

4. Chicago, 78 wins. I don't really like what the White Sox are doing. Speed is great but you don't trade Carlos Lee for Scott Posednik. Bad move. They should be interesting to watch if you like watching guys get thrown out trying to steal 3rd with one out.

5. Kansas City, 55 wins. Terrible team. Terrible franchise. Sad considering how great they were in the 70s and 80s. But they have nothing.

Maybe baseball's most interesting division. All 4 teams could win the division but I think that 3 are significantly short. Maybe a bit of a down year for the division.

1. Anaheim, 94 wins. Very solid team. They could have some pitching weaknesses but they'll buy someone to fill them. Colon needs to step it up this year and Chone Figgins needs to hit like he did last year. Dallas McPherson not becoming the next Russ Branyan is important to the future of the team. Why they're still using Erstad at 1B over Casey Kotchman is a mystery. OF is strong if they don't get hurt.

2. Texas, 82 wins. Great hitting team. Wonderful infield. Rangers have really turned the team around. Teixiera, Blalock, Young, Soriano, Mench, Nix--great young core. Pitching though is still rough. Drese could be OK, Rogers 18 wins last year was a fluke though. If Ricardo Rodriguez could ever stay healthy it would help.

3. Seattle, 80 wins. Picking up Beltre and Sexson should bring them back to respectability. Pitching staff is as bad as Texas though. Moyer, Madritsch, Pineiro, Meche, Franklin. Not exactly a playoff staff here, is it? Bullpen should be solid and at least Ichiro will score more than 105 runs if he breaks the hit record again.

4. Oakland, 78 wins. They got good value for Hudson and Mulder and should be fine long-term but this year, that's a big loss. Zito should be better and Harden should be a quality pitcher. Relying on Haren and Blanton though is a little much now. Next year, yeah. This year, I don't think they can do much. Hitting is OK. Chavez is solid, Crosby is a rising star. But they are still using Scott Hatteberg at 1B. And there you go.

MVP: Hideki Matsui, Yankees
Cy Young: Johan Santana, Twins
HR leader: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
Rookie of the Year: Brandon McCarthy, SP, White Sox