Originally posted on Is It Sports? Well here it is, our largest post ever, the 2005 baseball preview, with full breakdowns of each time by 3 different people. I'm in black, Ryan is in blue, Kevin is in orange.
Who is going to win it all this year? We'll break it down for you right hereSteve's Picks
First of all, I'm back! After weeks of senior design, exams, spring break, and more senior design I finally have time to write original stuff for this site. Don't worry though, I still managed to watch countless meaningless White Sox spring training games on Comcast Sports during that time, so I've seen a lot of different teams play guys that matter for 2 or 3 innings a game, then a whole bunch of single A players younger than me. Here are my predictions:AL EAST1. New York Yankees
- Once again, the Evil Empire has what it takes to win the division title. They have a solid lineup from 1 through 9 and a greatly improved rotation with the additions of Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, and Jaret Wright. They are definitely built for the long 162-game haul, but as they've proved the last 4 seasons, they aren't always the best pick for a 7 game series...2. Boston Red Sox
- The whiniest fans in sports finally got their World Series title last year, so now its time for them to shut up. The BoSox are going to learn very fast that everyone will be bringing their A game to oust the defending champs this season, and with Pedro's great locker room presence and the extreme pressure of crazed Boston fans to win gone, it could be a long season in Beantown. They are definitely still solid enough to be a major player in the wild card race, even if Curt Schilling's ankle is held together with children's kindergarten paste.3. Baltimore Orioles
- The O's were a respectable team last year, but no one really noticed because everyone was focused on the Yankees-Red Sox drama and the fact that the Devil Rays didn't finish last for the first time ever. Their young stars aren't great but are good enough to start and they are backed with solid returning veterans Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, and Javy Lopez. The addition of Sammy Sosa is guaranteed to inject some enthusiasm among their fans and juice up their lineup.4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
- Led by the best manager in baseball, Lou Piniella, these young Rays could surprise some people...if they had at least one pitcher I've heard of. I really like their lineup though, which features rising stars like Aubrey Huff and Rocco Baldelli. Carl Crawford, who is only 23 and hit .294 with 59 SB last season could become the best leadoff hitter in baseball for years to come.5. Toronto Blue Jays
- I'm looking at their depth chart....who are these guys? Who is their star player? Vernon Wells? Shea Hillenbrand? Wow. The pitching hopes ride on Roy Halladay who (just to put things in perspective) battled Esteban Loaiza for the AL Cy Young award just 2 years ago. It's too bad they aren't going to capitalize on their new baseball monopoly in Canada.
AL CENTRAL1. Chicago White Sox
- I obviously am a White Sox fan, so why not? I think the division will be very tight between the Sox, Twins, Indians, and Tigers but I think the Sox seriously have what it takes to win the division title. They are going to miss Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee, but Jermaine Dye is a decent replacement along with a now fit and healthy Carl Everett who has been crushing the ball so far this spring. Tadahito Iguchi is proving he belongs in the states as well and will be a major improvement at 2nd base. Throw in the fact that they have their best offensive catcher since Carlton Fisk and a 5 man rotation that contains pitchers most baseball fans have actually heard of along with a great closer and you got yourself a solid ball club that's going to win some games. Check out my full White Sox preview here
.2. Minnesota Twins (Wild Card)
- I'll say something nice about the Twins for a change. I noticed that only 3 major players on their team (Shannon Stewart, Carlos Silva, and Joe Nathan) have played for a team other than the Twins. You have to give them a lot of credit for winning 3 consecutive division titles with all homegrown talent. I also think that because of this they don't get enough respect because on paper they don't look like some crazy fantasy team made up of guys that have had success with other teams each year like the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, or even the White Sox. Big acquisitions usually cause a lot of excitement between the media and ticket buyers so they'd rather see and talk about the crappy Orioles and Sammy Sosa than see a much better Twins team with a bunch of underexposed stars. Still, I think the White Sox's small ball takes the division this year but it will be very close and the Twins will take the wild card.3. Detroit Tigers
- The Tigers keep their turnaround going with the addition of Magglio Ordonez and Troy Percival. I couldn't decide who to pick between the Tigers and Indians for 3rd, so I went with the Tigers mostly because I'll probably be seeing a lot of them this summer. I'm looking forward to some more warm afternoons at a deserted Comerica and its 32 oz. beers.4. Cleveland Indians
- I don't know...the Indians have gotten a lot of hype on TV and I'm just not buying it. The 2004 Indians reminded me a lot of the 2000 White Sox, but not nearly as good (because the Sox won 95 games and the Central title). They had a bunch of backups from other teams and their own minor leaguers put together an impressive run. So naturally, I'm going to predict that the 2005 Indians will be like the 2001 White Sox and come back to Earth. And if they have the same 12 win dropoff the Sox had, well that will make them 68-94.5. Kansas City Royals
- Overheard at Royals headquarters: "I have an idea! Let's trade Mike Sweeney and replace him with some guy that was born in 1984!"AL WEST1. Los Angeles Angels (I refuse to write Anaheim)
- Now that the A's have gone and shot themselves in the foot, they're the only team left in the division with some semblance of pitching. They lost Troy Glaus in the off-season but his replacement, Robb Quinlan, put up impressive numbers in limited play last season. I can see age related injuries plaguing this team all season and if there are too many it could cost them the division title2. Texas Rangers
- The Rangers were one of my favorite teams last year, and not just because Mark Teixeira was the biggest free agent pick up I've ever had in fantasy sports. I always back teams with tons of young talent, and the Rangers are loaded. The one problem is, they once again have absolutely no pitching and I think they'll be on the wrong end of too many 12-11 games to take the division this season3. Seattle Mariners
- The Mariners definitely improved by adding Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre to their infield, but just like the other teams in the division, they have no pitching. AARP President Jamie Moyer will be on the mound on opening day. I will however give a big Oak Lawn shoutout to Bobby Madritsch, who's from my hometown. Well at least they'll have the Royals to push around.4. Oakland Athletics
- Why?!?! Why get rid of BOTH Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder?!? Now they are left with the suddenly shaky Barry Zito and Rich Harden, along with some other young guys they acquired in Moneyball trades. Their lineup is mediocre at best, and it will be interesting to see how many games they'll win without their 2 big guns in the rotation. And just for the record, "cheap owner" doesn't mean "small market." The Bay Area has over 7 million people and is the 5th largest market in America. Would you call the Mets, Angels, and White Sox small market just because they're the newer team in town?NL EAST1. Atlanta Braves
- Until the Braves don't win a division title, its complete insanity to ever pick against them. They are better this year than last too with the addition of Tim Hudson and moving John Smoltz back to the rotation and picking up Dan Kolb as their new closer. They have a solid lineup once again and....blah blah blah I can go on and on about how good they are but isn't it amazing how whenever they lose a good player they just immediately replace him and keep going? It's kind of like the run Saturday Night Live had from the late 80s to the early 00s. We lost Chris Farley, oh well we've got Will Ferrell warming up on the bench....2. Florida Marlins
- The Marlins had a great idea after winning the 2003 World Series...they decided NOT to dismantle the team! And guess what? They had another winning season. And this year they added Pedro Cerrano, oops I mean Carlos Delgado. They are also coming back with 5 good starters featuring their young guns Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, and AJ Burnett, and the ageless Al Leiter.3. New York Mets
- The addition of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran will make the Mets better, but still not anything playoff worthy. Beltran proved last year that he's an amazing playoff hitter, but he needs to actually be in the playoffs for him to perform that way. My other note on them is that Kris Benson's model wife vowed to sleep with the entire Mets team if Kris ever cheats on her. Imagine the peer pressure that must be on him with his teammates. If some of the team goes out for drinks after the game, they're probably literally shoving drinks down poor Kris's throat and pushing him at groupies. Just something to keep in mind.4. Philadelphia Phillies
- The Phillies are a good team in a tough division. Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu highlight a pretty strong lineup but I just don't think they're quite as good as any of the teams I listed above. I think they're probably still good for about 83 wins and you can't completely rule them out of a playoff run.5. Washington Nationals
- Despite the fancy curly W hats
that I love so much, they're still the Expos, and unfortunately for Vinny Castilla, these are the Washington Nationals, not the Colorado Nationals. I have already decided that my firstborn, no matter if it is a boy or a girl, will be named Terrmel Sledge Pallotto.NL CENTRAL1. St. Louis Cardinals
- The runaway NL Champions from last year are reloaded and ready to cruise to another division crown. I fully expect Mark Mulder to dominate the National League just like he did in the American League. The only position that they are shaky at is catcher, where they are starting the unproven 22 year old Yadier Molina. But Pujols, Walker, Edmonds, Rolen, and the gang should take them deep into the playoffs again.2. Chicago Cubs (Wild Card)
- The Cubs thought it was a good idea to trade Sammy Sosa for Jerry Hairston Jr. over the off-season. Ok....They did pick up Jeromy Burnitz to replace him but they're still going to miss Slammin' Sammy. Overall they have a pretty good lineup and they have a great pitching staff as long as they can actually stay healthy for a change, which I highly doubt. They will, however win the wild card mostly because of the unbalanced schedule. The NL East and West both have 4 pretty good teams while meanwhile in the Central the Cubs will have the luxury of kicking the crap out of the Reds, Astros, Pirates, and Brewers all season. Let's not forget that they're still the Cubs so Cub luck will come into play during the playoffs and the jinx will continue for the 97th straight year.3. Houston Astros
- Unable to hang onto Carlos Beltran, the Astros head into the season with Lance Berkman on the DL and an extremely inexperienced outfield. Their infield is still pretty solid and Bagwell and Biggio can start for my 1995 All Star team any day. This 3rd place pick is contingent on Oswalt, Clemens, and Pettitte staying healthy for most of the season. If not, this spot goes to Cincinnati4. Cincinnati Reds
- The Reds are like the Rangers of the NL. They have a lot of young talented hitters let by all-time single season strikeout champ Adam Dunn but they aren't quite as good as the ones in Texas. Texas doesn't have a sputtering future Hall of Famer that will tear his hamstring if you blow on him either. The Reds actually have some pitching, but not much. I think they could surprise a lot of people this year if their young stars blossom even more. PS: I will always miss the final years of Riverfront Stadium with the 393 foot centerfield fence topped by the Mysterious Black Wall5. Pittsburgh Pirates
- Let's face it, the Pirates suck. Sometimes I forget they're even in the league. They showed a little bit of promise with strong seasons last year from Jason Bay, Craig Wilson, and Oliver Perez, but they're still a long way from even sniffing competitiveness. I guess on the bright side for Pittsburgh, they should be glad that they have a major league baseball team based almost soley on the fact that it was a major city 125 years ago.6. Milwaukee Brewers
- The smallest market in baseball, and it shows. Ben Sheets must really like Miller Beer, because any Bud fan playing in Milwaukee would have gone insane by now. They can hang their hat on the fact that they stole a motivated Carlos Lee (who's in a contract year and therefore gone from Milwaukee this winter) away from the White Sox for a .244 hitting leadoff man. Fun Useless Fact: The Brewers and Padres are the only 2 major league teams that have appeared in a World Series but never won one.NL WEST1. Los Angeles Dodgers
- The NL West will probably be the most competitive division in baseball this year. The Dodgers held a pretty good lead all season last year until their ill-fated Brad Penny trade that almost derailed their entire season. This year the Dodgers have regrouped, and although they lost their MVP candidate Adrian Beltre, they picked up Jeff Kent, Jose Valentin, and J.D. Drew and finally got rid of the overrated Shawn Green. The starting pitching is pretty good and they've got Gagne to finish off any tight games. Just like a Gagne save, the Dodgers win this division by 1.2. San Francisco Giants
- Will Barry Bonds ever play again? If not, put them behind the Padres on here, if so, they have a very good chance of winning the West. They have a solid enough team to stay in the hunt until Barry gets back in the lineup. I don't know if any 40 year old coming off a major surgery has ever been so important to their team's success and to the sport itself.
3. San Diego Padres
- This is another interesting team. They opened up Petco Park with an amazing turnaround season led by young stars such as Khalil Greene, Sean Burroughs, and Jake Peavy and backed by veteran acquisitions like Brian Giles and David Wells. They are returning basically the same 87-win team as last year except Woody Williams will be playing the part of over the hill veteran that can still be dangerous. Don't rule out the Fathers as your sleeper NL West champs.4. Arizona Diamondbacks
- When you finish a season 51-111, you need to make some changes, and the D-backs did just that. Richie Sexson and Steve Finley are gone, and Shawn Green and Troy Glaus are in. Glaus was a major signing for them and will be a key to their success if he stays healthy, and as I said earlier, I'm not impressed with Green. Even though they lost Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, they basically traded in 1 legendary starter for 3 very good starters in Javier Vazquez, Russ Ortiz, and Shawn Estes that will consistently help them win instead of counting on winning only every 5th game. They will be the most improved team in baseball, but still will be buried in 4th place in this tough division.5. Colorado Rockies
- The Rockies will be the worst team in baseball this year hands down. Good hitters become great hitters when they hit that thin air, and good pitchers become mentally unstable wrecks with 5.90 ERAs. This year, the Rockies don't even have any good hitters besides Todd Helton to become great hitters but since all their no-names get to play in Coors Field too, maybe Dustan Mohr, Clint Barnes, and Garrett Atkins will produce the stats to become household names....until they go play for a different team.Playoffs Divisional
Yankees over Twins (3-2)
Angels over White Sox (3-1)
Cardinals over Dodgers (3-0)
Braves over Cubs (3-1)LCS
Yankees over Angels (4-1)
Cardinals over Braves (4-2)World Series
Cardinals over Yankees (4-3)
So there you have it. My pick is for the Cardinals to rebound from last year's World Series sweep to come back and hand the Yankees their 3rd World Series loss of the decade. For this to happen, the playoff chokemaster, Tony LaRussa might need to be fired midseason, but he does have 1 ring with the 1989 A's, proving that anything truly can happen. Here are my award predictions:AL
MVP: Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles
Cy Young: Randy Johnson, New York
Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago
Unexpected Home Run Derby Contestant: Carlos Pena, DetroitNL
MVP: Andruw Jones, Atlanta
Cy Young: Mark Mulder, St. Louis
Manager of the Year: Dave Miley, Cincinnati
Unexpected Home Run Derby Contestant: Carlos Lee, MilwaukeeRyan's Picks
You know, this is a refreshing change of pace. I haven’t written a strictly sports column in about forever. I’ve become to Is It Sports what Tilt is to ESPN. Not really sports, but I’m still here anyways. Well, without further ado, here are my predictions for the year in baseball.
1. New York Yankees – It’s pretty hard to pick against the Yankees, ever. They’re the Duke of MLB, no matter how much I hate them, I always pick them to win it. They’ve got the best talent in the league, not just the division, so any reason to pick against them is merely speculation. Will the aging pitching staff stay healthy? Will the steroids bug bite the Yankees harder than it already has? If the Yankees lose a couple games in a row, will George Steinbrenner’s head explode?2. Boston Red Sox (Wild Card) – I don’t know if anyone has told you yet, but the BoSox won the World Series last year. And if you look at their roster, it’s impossible to fathom how. How could Theo Epstein have possibly known that David Ortiz was the answer at DH after the Twins gave up on him? Epstein is a genius. They have too many in Boston. But I digress. The Red Sox’ talent is nowhere near the Yankees, and it never has been.3. Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Wait, hear me out. The D-Rays have quite the cache of young talent, like Carl Crawford and Aubrey Huff in the outfield and a relatively solid bullpen with Dannys Baez and Jesus Colon. I know Steve doesn’t want to think about it, but this is pretty much all the Twins had when they made their turn around. The excellent defense will be a good security net for Dewon Brazelton and Scott Kazmir as they learn the ins and outs of the AL East. This is a team that will have many 3rd place finishes in the years to come.
4. Baltimore Orioles – I don’t know what the Orioles’ problem is, but I suspect it has something to do with Peter Angelos. He’s always been about signing the big bats, but I can’t remember the last time he signed a decent pitcher not named Sidney Ponson (and calling Ponson decent these days is generous). Sammy Sosa will help, sure, but he’s not going to hold opponents under 15 runs a game. If I were the GM of that team I’d try to deal for another starter, quickly, without sacrificing a competent bull pen.5. Toronto Blue Jays – Where do I start with this team? Well, they have a few qualified pitchers in their rotation, as well as Miguel Batista, who when on is nasty. On the other hand, they invited Tim Verducci to camp to help bolster the outfield and are now batting Corey Koskie at cleanup. Take it from someone who’s been there: Koskie should not be the crown jewel of your lineup. Good luck Toronto.AL CENTRAL1. Minnesota Twins – Instead of filling up space here, I suggest you read the previous posts found here and here.2. Cleveland Indians – The Indians always scare the hell out of me. They were the ones who dominated the division before the Twins got there. Then, while the Twins were on top, they were the only team we didn’t dominate at any time. Then, this season they go out and sign Kevin Millwood to be their third starter. The only thing I have against their team is Juan Gonzalez. Signing him was ill conceived. Nonetheless, with players with whimsical names and dangerous bats like Coco Crisp and Jhonny Peralta (he even spells his name dangerously!) this is a team that could make some noise this year.3. Detroit Tigers – I would have put these guys fourth, but who am I to disagree with my roommate (read below). They made incredible progress last year, but really didn’t do anything this off season. Now they have two closers perilously close to spontaneous combustion in Ugueth Urbina and Troy Percival, and Pudge Rodriguez and Dmitri Young are about their only offensive threat. Any progress they make is through the maturation of some other role players, but that’s going to take more time. At least they win more than twice a week this year.4. Chicago White Sox – The following is written by my roommate and Chicago White Sox fan Kellen, so you know there isn’t any personal bias : :As a White Sox Fan this is gonna be one hell of a year because our best player is the manager Ozzie. If that’s your best player you are gonna finish in the bottom of the division. Plus we have no pitching to help us down the road. So my prediction for the year is we are going to finish 4th in the division right behind the Tigers 3rd, Indians 2nd, and I have the Twins winning the division like they should. DAMN THIS IS GONNA BE A ROUGH SEASON”. So there you have it. I don’t think I want to say any more than that.5. Kansas City Royals – Zack Greinke is going to be brilliant someday. Is that day now? Absolutely not. Additionally, Ken Harvey and Angel Berroa will be dangerous bats somewhere. Is that time now? Absolutely not. Some day, they will get out of the AL Central cellar. Is that year now? Absolutely not.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Remember when Kelvim Escobar was a prized free agent acquisition? What a weird time that was. This year is interesting out West if a starting rotation with a history of underachieving underachieves again. If they play to their potential, the Angels run away with the division. The only hole I can find is on the bench. I’m curious to see what happens if any of their starting lineup goes down for an extended period of time. Will they start the monkey at any point during the season?2. Texas Rangers – I’m tired of hearing about how good their hitting is and how bad their pitching is. I’m tired of hearing about Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira blasting home runs and Ryan Drese and Chan Ho Park giving up twice as many. Let’s instead talk about their defense. *cold shiver* Never mind, that gets left in the vault until Halloween. Too scary.
3. Seattle Mariners – Just like the Rangers, their line-up is fairly intimidating, with Beltre, Sexson and Boone providing the heavy bat, and Ichiro and Randy Winn hitting the singles. The only problem it that they plan to start last years Little League world champs in the other positions. Except pitcher, of course, where Jamie Moyer has started throwing underhand and the average age is 45. It’s like they meant to sign up for the father son softball league. The off season they signed the bats instead of the pitchers though, a strategy that always works. Just ask Peter Angelos.4. Oakland A’s – Perhaps its karma. After this steroid hullabaloo that consumed three former A’s sluggers, they seem poised to garner last place in the division. Sports Illustrated claims that with the departure of Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, the A’s are going to focus on their offense. That’s going to be something of a problem. Their most productive players are…. Jason Kendall? Eric Chavez? Bad news in Oakland.
AWARDS AND PLAYOFFSMVP – Vlad Guerrero (LAAOA)Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia (Cleveland)HR Derby ringer – Justin Morneau (Minnesota)ALDS – Twins over Red Sox, Yankees over AngelsALCS – Yankees over Twins
NL EAST1. Atlanta Braves – They keep winning their division, but I don’t disdain them like I disdain most dynastic teams. I kinda want the Twins to meet them in the World Series because it’s pretty much a guaranteed championship for Minnesota. They don’t have any fantastic talents at the plate, but the lineup is balanced. What will win the division is their phenomenal pitching staff. They have enough pitching to overcome any hiccups or surges by teams below them.
2. Florida Marlins (Wild Card) – I have serious issues with a team that wears teal doing this well, but I’m forced to say so. They don’t go the typical three deep in their rotation, they have 4 pitchers that I would trust in a big game. They signed Pedro Cerrano … Carlos Delgado … and have a time tested line up. The fish are going to make a serious run at the Braves, which is always dangerous for whomever they meet in the playoffs.
3. Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies have always been an enigma, ever since Game 5 of the ’93 World Series. You didn’t know what would happen in Game 6. You didn’t know what John Kruk or Larry Bowa would do in the following years. This year, their status is much easier to figure out. They have a balanced, talented lineup, and their pitching sucks. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.4. New York Mets – The Mets last year had so many holes, people STOPPED making fun of them, and just felt bad. Now, seeing as they needed about fifteen new players, and went out and only signed about three players, who cost as much as ten decent players, I don’t see why so many people expect them to turn it around this season. Having Pedro Martinez doesn’t mean that David Wright can field a ground ball, and Carlos Beltran doesn’t necessarily make a team a contender (see, Kansas City Royals). This is not a team that excels in the clutch, and wont at all this year.
5. Washington Nationals – This team is like, the all star team for people to be traded in July. They have several good role players and some halfway decent pitching. They also have Nick Johnson as their starting 1st baseman and Endy Chavez starting in center. They have practically no chance to win this division, so keep an eye on them when the trading deadline rolls around.
1. St. Louis Cardinals – These guys are just like the Red Sox of the National League. They have a bunch of good role players with very few dynamic, all star, take over the game type of players. They went out and acquired Mark Mulder to bolster a rotation that was about as breathtaking as their lineup. The other teams in the division can’t even approach the Cardinals this year. The problem is, just like it was for the Mariners a few years back, that they won’t be tested down the stretch and will lose, yes lose, in the NLDS.2. Houston Astros – The Astros have a brilliant Yankees pitching staff, with Roy Oswalt to boot. In truth, the ‘Stros only got the number two spot in the division because I could have pulled names out of a hat. Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg are reliable in their roles, but Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Brad Ausmus should be withering to dust any day now. If one or two members of the rotation goes down, the ride is over for the Astros, and they are looking up at the Reds and Brewers.
3. Cincinnati Reds – This is another team that I think will open some eyes this year. It’s really Ohio’s year. They have three good outfielders in Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Ken “how many times can I tear a hammy” Griffey, and Sean Casey holding down first. Their rotation holds five guys that pitch within their capabilities and a vastly improved bullpen. Assuming that Pete Rose doesn’t come out with a book, this should be a great year for the Reds.4. Chicago Cubs – Some people like these Cubbies. They aren’t as bad as, say, the Royals, but they aren’t exactly the Cardinals either. They have, of course, the pitching, which reminds me of rubber bands wound too tight. Prior’s could snap and sideline him for the season, as could Wood’s. So much in this division depends on the health of players with historic injury problems that it’s nearly impossible to line them up in any discernable order. The reason the Cubs get dropped so low is that they actually plan on starting Jeromy Burnitz. Yes he had good stats last year, but they were in COLORADO. I had 30 dingers there in 1999! So really, it’s disbelief in Andy McPhail’s logic that leads me to this pick.5. Milwaukee Brewers – Now that this team is out of the AL and Bud Selig isn’t contracting anyone, I really like this team. I think Geoff Jenkins and Ben Sheets have been good in the last few years, and Junior Spivey and Lyle Overbay were great additions last year. Carlos Lee is another great addition to this team. They don’t have the injury history of the rest of the division, and if that holds true, they could find themselves fighting for second place, and I cant believe I wrote that either.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates – Oh those poor Pirate fans. The Bucs have very little talent, and worse, they don’t have the commodities to trade they usually do. It’s going to be a long season in western PA. But hey, they still have the Steelers!NL WEST
1. San Francisco Giants – Again, I may not be the best person to write about these guys, but I think with or without Barry Bonds, they have the pitching overtake a division full of fairly light hitting teams.2. Los Angeles Dodgers – I think the Dodgers are going to have some problems. They are going to feel the changes they made over the off season. Their rotation is passable in this division, but I don’t think Eric Gagne and the acquisition of J.D. Drew or Jeff Kent will lead them to the pennant this year. Not with Jayson Werth and Hee Sop Choi in the lineup every day.
3. San Diego Padres – I remember sitting in a hotel owned by some family friends in Rapid City, South Dakota watching the Little League World Series. One of the sons in that family, who was about 15, was watching the game with me. I’ll never forget what he said when Sean Burroughs came up to the plate, “Man, that kid is a horse!” So what happened? Why isn’t this guy slugging forty homers a year? In any case, the offense on this team is about the same as San Francisco and Los Angeles, but their pitching doesn’t quite match the 1st and 2nd place teams.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks – There is that guy from high school that went off to college and just got flat out fat. You just look at them and say, “What happened to you?!” I find myself saying the same thing about the Diamondbacks. Didn’t you just win the World Series, like, 4 years ago? What happened to you?! They need to know that Troy Glaus and Shawn Green are definitely not the answer.
5. Colorado Rockies – In case you haven’t heard, the Rockies just acquired Byung-Hyun Kim. And that was an improvement. Of course, they have good offensive stats because they play in one hell of a hitter’s park. They, however, didn’t bother with pitching or finding anyone that can hit outside of Coors Field. Sounds like trouble in Denver this year.
AWARDS AND PLAYOFFS
MVP – Carlos Delgado (Florida)Cy Young – Jason Schmidt (San Francisco)HR Derby Ringer – Geoff Jenkins (Milwaukee)
NLDS – Marlins over the Cardinals, Braves over the Giants
NLCS – Marlins over the Braves
WORLD SERIES – Yankees over Marlins (in 5)Kevin's PicksBefore I begin, a few random thoughts. First, this is the second time I am typing a lot of this. Gotta love power supply failures. Maybe someday I'll remember to periodically save what I write. Secondly, last year my preseason pick was for the Houston Astros to beat the New York Yankees 4 games to 3 in the world series. At the All-Star break all I could think about was what a bad pick that was as the Astros slipped well below the .500 mark. At game 7 of the AL and NL championship series all I could think was what a great pick that was. Even though they both lost their game 7's, it just goes to show this guy can be on target sometimes! So expect my two world series teams to lose in their championship games. Thirdly, Sports Illustrated is out of their mind. Please read their 2005 MLB preview. A few things on this. One, Sports Illustrated is nuts. Yes both will make the playoffs, but will this be the world series match up? Probably not. Two, they make this prediction of two division winners making the series (Yankees and Braves) after posting an article about how the wild card has won the world series the last three seasons. Third, way to go SI. What a bold prediction of the Yankees winning the world series. I think the last ten years SI has made that same pick. Fourth, I will be receiving a very small social security check before the Braves win another playoff series (look at the last four seasons). Fifth, its not 1999 anymore Sports Illustrated. Now that I got that out of my system, time to make some picks!AL EAST1. New York Yankees - I know, I know, what an unrisky, boring pick. I think its a safe bet they will win the division, since the Yanks finishing first and the Bo Sox second has only happened the last seven straight years. For more on safe bets, see my NL East, Atlanta Braves prediction. The Yanks pitching staff, in my view, should finally not under perform. Randy Johnson should win more then 20 games and contrary to popular belief I have Piano winning at least 15 (No bias there with both being on my fantasy team). The rest of the staff (Brown, Mussina, Wright) should put up a 5.00 ERA and win 15 games, because of the ridiculous offense in the Bronx. By the way, Gay-Rod should have a big season too.2. Boston Red Sox - I think the Red Sox will have a world series hangover this season. Its finally time for this bunch of idiots to stop over performing (I love that word). They got very lucky winning the world series last year, so the luck has to run out sometime. Schilling's ankle is an issue (now that he's no longer on my fantasy team), Clement is somewhat of a question, and they have to play the Yankees 19 times. The best way to end a curse is to compile a $120 payroll. Nobody can ever feel bad for them again, and I sure won't when they miss the playoffs. At least they will always have Fever Pitch.3. Baltimore Orioles - The Portland Jailblazers of baseball! Sammy Sosa breaks a wine bottle over his wife's head. Sidney Ponson is beating up judges on the beach in Aruba (I guess he's allowed to since he's a knight there), and Rafael Palmiero is either taking steroids or viagra...he gets them mixed up sometimes. The Orioles have one of the best offenses in baseball, but should win all 38 games against the Blue Jays and Devil Rays, and then lose all the rest by a score of 12-10. Angelos is too busy feuding over the Washington Nationals to realize his non-criminal pitching staff is too busy dealing with puberty to compete. Go O's!4. Toronto Blue Jays - A lot of pressure rests on the Jays this season. They are Canada's ONLY hope. No Expos, no NHL, no Vince Carter, no nothing. That is of course unless Roy Halladay returns to Cy Young form and Vernon Wells gets more than 200 hits. Oh wait, that did happen two years ago and the Jays still sucked. Sorry Canada, karma is a bitch. Maybe you shouldn't have printed those T-shirts with the American flag upside down after winning back to back championships in 92 and 93.5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays - When is the NHL going to come back? I love that Martin St. Louis. Seriously though, the D-Rays have no hope, and Lou Piniella will probably have a heart attack this season. They are a young team, but still are lacking power hitting and pitching. I wonder if they are going to bring the Stanley Cup to Tropicana Field?AL CENTRAL1. Chicago White Sox - What a pick. I'm tired of seeing the Twinkies in the playoffs and choking. The White Sox have assembled a better overall hitting team than the Twins, and a better overall pitching staff. They will go 14-5 against the Twins this year, losing only the 5 games Santana starts. I like El Duque and Contreras, and Freddy Garcia is pretty cool too. Look for Konerko and Thomas to have a lot of 3 run home runs with Podsednik and Iguchi hitting in front of them. Overall, the Sox are a team built to win games, not put up stats, and they should do that nicely in the weak AL Central (yeah that's right Steve and Ryan, I said it....WEAK).2. Minnesota Twins - Gotta love small market teams. Unfortunately, the Twins staff is pretty weak behind Santana. I don't think Radke deserved that 5 mil a year contract. The Twins will keep things close with the White Sox, but Jacque Jones and Torrii Hunter do not scare me as power hitters. The Twins have a nice closer in Nathan, but with them staying the same and the White Sox improving, they can't pull it off for a fourth straight season.3. Detroit Tigers - The Tigers have made some nice improvements over the last two seasons that will bump them up to third place in their division. However, they still have not added a premiere starter. They cant lure any free agent starters into the 8 mile. Its almost like they are the Colorado Rockies. They tried to get Derek Lowe, but I don't blame a guy for wanting to live in the OC instead. I like the Magglio deal. If his knee is good, and he is the old Mags, they have him locked up for a long time. If not and he misses 25 games, they let him go and forget about it. Percival is a nice pick up, but how is he going to save any games if they are always behind? Once the Tigers either sign two quality starters or their young arms perform to potential, then come talk to me about a division crown.4. Kansas City Royals - The Royals could very well play as the team they were two seasons ago. Injuries limited them incredibly last year. I think without that bad luck, the Royals will have an okay season, but they have just watched most of the teams in their division improve, and hard work and team play wont be good enough anymore. Mike Sweeny should have a great year, but I will say this many more times throughout this preview, where is the starting pitching? That's right, the Yankees and Red Sox bought it all.5. Cleveland Indians - Cleveland. The arm pit of America. My thoughts on last years Indians: Over performers. They will all sink back down to reality this season, especially with all the hype ESPN is giving them. I think last place is deserving for this team. Travis Hafner wont hit 30 home runs again. Jake Westbrook wont win 15 games again. And the Indians wont beat anyone. I'm sorry Drew Carey, but Cleveland does not rock.AL WEST1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - What a team Anaheim has put together. Vlad Guerrero is the best player in the American League. I like the addition of Finley and Cabrera. I like Byrd joining the pitching staff. I don't like letting Troy Glaus go. He won them a world championship, they will miss him. Escobar and Colon pitched below potential last year...look for improvement this year. Finally Francisco Rodriguez, F-Rod, K-Rod, whatever you want to call him is the best reliever in baseball. He will average two strikeouts an inning this year, and the Angels will run away with the division. By the way, now people that live in Los Angeles and cant see Disneyland from the windows can finally start rooting for you. Good job on the name change Anaheim.2. Seattle Mariners (Wild Card) - The Mariners had a rough season last year. Everything went wrong for everyone except Ichiro. This year they should return to form, especially with the additions of Sexson and Beltre. Their pitching staff has questions, but as the Angels in 2002 did, I think this staff can survive a playoff run. Moyer is a great veteran for young guys like Pineiro and Meche. I really like this team to make a deep playoff run, because all the offensive pieces are there, and their pitching has great potential. However, they wont be able to outpace Anaheim, making the playoffs instead because of a late season push.3. Oakland Athletics - Being formerly from the Bay Area, I am also an A's fan, but not as much as my love for the Giants. It really hurt to see Mulder and Hudson go. I thought they could have got the same from St. Louis for just Zito. I don't understand it, but I have never understood Billy Beane, and it has usually worked out for them. The A's finally missed the playoffs last year, and they should do the same this year with a very inexperienced pitching staff. I like Charles Thomas, Byrnes, and Chavez on the offensive side, but there's only so much they can do to carry this team. Oakland has been demoted to rebuilding mode again. Ah, how I loved the late 90s. I want the Bash Brothers back! Maybe Randy Moss can join the staff. That leads me to a correction: I like the A's to finish third, unless Moss joins the A's in memory of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Then I like them to finish first.4. Texas Rangers - Everything I said about the Indians can be cross applied here...expect for the whole armpit of America thing. Arlington aint that bad. But then again, what is? The Indians have a lovable, young, monster offense. The only problem is I don't know if Kenny Rogers can carry the team and win 15 games again. If only one of these young guys like Mench, Texieria, or Blalock under performs, they will find it difficult to compete in a competitive AL West. Back to the cellar for Mr. Bush's Rangers. Maybe they should all get on roids again. I guess that means I'm believing Canseco.NL EAST1. Atlanta Braves - I really don't want to pick them. I don't think anyone ever does. But thirteen straight seasons as division champ? I guess I have to. Why couldn't they have stayed under .500 after May last year and fallen off the face of the baseball world? Instead they played very well, and because of that have been able to add Hudson and Kolb. Smoltz will rock as a starter again, but it doesn't really matter because the Braves get any starter to do great. Offensively, the Braves will be weaker without Drew. The only problem is no one is scared of the tomahawk chop in October anymore. To be honest I don't even know why I am picking them to win the division, I think every team in this division will do better than them, but I have to, because even though it doesn't make sense, they will win the division. Don't ask me how.2. Florida Marlins - I love Florida's off season moves. Carlos Delgado is an amazing player, and actually has protection and quality players around him. The Marlins have the best middle of the order in baseball, with Cabrera, Delgado, and Lowell. Not to mention two impressive front men in Pierre and Castillo. I think Florida will get a grand slam almost every game. Pitching wise, the mystery of Josh Beckett continues. If he doesn't put a good full season together soon, he will become that forgotten World Series MVP in a few years. That game 6 in Yankee Stadium was the greatest individual sports performance I have ever seen. They added Al Leiter, but lost Carl Pavano. Both are great pitchers. With the addition to the lineup, they will be a playoff bound team. Who needs 13 straight division titles when you have two world championships in the same span? Plus, if I go to the University of Miami law school this fall, Ill be a fish fan.3. Washington Nationals - I may be the only one, but I love this Nationals team. It is much better than any team Montreal has had in the last decade. Livan Hernandez and Esteban Loaiza should perform great with little pressure. I also like the lineup with Jose Guillen, Vinny Castilla, and Christian Guzman. This team very well could finish better than the Mets and Phillies, it just depends on how they deal with playing in a new town in a football stadium. Ill take a gamble on this one, but don't remind me about this come September.4. Philadelphia Phillies - A lot of people think this team will be a lot better without Larry Bowa bringing them down. I just don't see how they can compete in this division with that pitching staff. Thome and the rest of the offense is great, but they did lose Kevin Millwood and Eric Milton, and only replaced them with Corey Lidle. A 4th place finish should open the eyes of management to what a mistake that was. I really don't have anything else to say about the Phillies.5. New York Mets - Hahaha. Here's the thing, the Mets can keep spending money, but its never gonna turn into a winning ball club. Not anymore. That's what the trends have shown. From a fire sale to spending way too much money on Beltran and Pedro, all over a TV Network? Nuts. They have a nice pitching staff, and some quality offensive players, and I could go through each of them and tell you how good they performed with other teams and together that means the Mets will make the playoffs, but it really doesn't matter because they are Mets now, and as Mets they will be overpriced, under performing players.NL CENTRAL1. St. Louis Cardinals - This team just did themselves a huge favor by trading for Mulder. They answered the only question I had about them repeating as division champs. Their staff perhaps over performed last year, but well see how they do. If anything, they can win games late because of their monster offense, and Mulder should be a good number one. I am skeptical if Carpenter and Marquis will have years as good as last, but it could happen. They lost Renteria and Matheny, but with an offense like that they should have no problem running away with the central again.2. Chicago Cubs - Oh, those poor Cubbies. All Cubs fans will tell you that on paper the Cubs have the best team in the NL. That may be true, but it doesn't really matter when Wood and Prior are always injured, and their star players choke in the clutch. They don't have a closer, they are counting on Burnitz to put up Colorado type numbers, and Todd Hollandsworth should not be a starting left fielder in the majors. At least they will sell out every game. I almost feel sorry for the Cubs. Wait, no I don't. The Cubs can look forward to an entire year of bragging from the south siders.3. Houston Astros - As much as I want to seem like a genious for picking the Astros to win the world series last season, they only made it as far as they did because of a midseason pickup known as Carlos Beltran. Without him, they aren't the same team. I like Pettite to return to his Yankee form, but they don't have a true 4th and 5th starter, and Berkman is still a question because of an off season injury. As the Cubs, the Astros have the potential to win the division. Unfortunately, the team keeps getting older, and their are too many missing pieces for them to overtake the Cardinals.4. Milwaukee Brewers 5. Pittsburgh Pirates 6. Cincinnati Reds - Do I need to say anything about these three teams? No I don't.NL WEST1. San Francisco Giants - I cant say much without being a homer, but I like the Giants chances of winning their division this year. With or without Bonds, they have a nice offense with Alou focused on producing runs. Everyone over performs on the Giants, but they never stop or have a bad year as long as they have that SF on their hat. The pitching staff is decent, with arguably the best pitcher in baseball Jason Schmidt, two veterans in Tomko and Reuter, and two up and coming youngsters in Williams and Lowry. Once Bonds does come back, the team should be terrific. I also love the off season acquisition of Benitez. The Giants were a closer away from the playoffs last season. They may be old, and only have one year left to make a push at a title, but they still have time. Yeah I was pretty biased in what I just wrote. Oh well.2. Arizona Diamondbacks (Wild Card) - Don't laugh, but this Arizona team improved tremendously this off season despite losing Randy Johnson. They've instead replaced him with three decent starters in Ortiz, Vazquez and Estes, a nice addition to the young arm of Webb. Offensively, they have the best player in baseball Troy Glaus, so they are guaranteed to win. Shawn Green could hit anywhere from 15 to 40 homers. Overall, Arizona has the players to either dominate season long or get hot at the end and steal the wild card. Ill take the latter. And yes, there is life after Schilling and Johnson.3. San Diego Padres - The dads did a real nice job last season of coming back to prominence. The only problem is that's as far as I see them getting. The staff is great with Peavy and Williams, but they are relying on has-been bats of Klesko and Giles. I see the Padres finishing around .500 this year, realizing they will never be a playoff team. They will probably blame their oddly shaped Petco Park for the lack of home runs. Either way, San Diego is not as good as the ESPN hype.4. Los Angeles Dodgers - I can't believe the Dodgers won the division last year. That is evidence of how I could be wrong this season. Jose Lima? Wilson Alvarez? Last years Dodgers were crazy. I don't think they are as bad after the off season as everyone says they are. They added JD Drew and Jeff Kent..thats almost 60 home runs. Sure, they lost Beltre, but he only had one good season. The problem lies within the starting pitching. They cant rely on washed-up starters to carry the team. Odalis Perez and Wilson Alvarez just don't cut it for me. The Dodgers will sink back to reality. Believe in blue.5. Colorado Rockies - What a horrible off season. The Rockies lose Vinny Castilla and Jeremy Burnitz. Then added no one. I don't know why Todd Helton wants to stay so bad. They are paying Jason Jennings nearly 5 million a year just for getting to the 4.00 mark in era, which I guess isn't bad for playing in Colorado. This is one of those teams I just cant see making the playoffs, for a long time. Oh how the Marlins are showing them up in the race to be the best 1993 expansion team.That's it. Just some unbiased, balanced predictions. Now for the playoff picture:AL East: New York Yankees AL Central: Chicago White Sox AL West: Anaheim Angels Wild Card: Seattle MarinersNL East: Atlanta Braves NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals NL West: San Francisco Giants Wild Card: Arizona DiamondbacksALDS: Seattle Mariners over New York Yankees (3-2) Anaheim Angels over Chicago White Sox (3-0)NLDS: Arizona Diamondbacks over St. Louis Cardinals (3-2) San Francisco Giants over Atlanta Braves (3-2)ALCS: Seattle Mariners over Anaheim Angels (4-3)NLCS: Arizona Diamondbacks over San Francisco Giants (4-2)World Series: Arizona Diamondbacks over Seattle Mariners (4-3) Wild cards...game 7s...such safe bets.World Series MVP: Troy Glaus, ArizonaNL MVP: Barry Bonds, San FranciscoNL Cy Young: Mark Mulder, St. LouisNL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, ArizonaNL Comeback Player of the Year: Larry Walker, St. LouisAL MVP: Vlad Guerrero, Los AngelesAL Cy Young: Randy Johnson, New YorkAL Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen, ChicagoAL Comeback Player of the Year: Sammy Sosa, BaltimoreIts in writing now. Don't let me tell you in October I had the Yankees wining it all.
Labels: Cliff Floyd, Crazy Predictions, Is it Sports, MLb