Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Brief, but somehow too long MLB preview

It's that time of year again! The time where I put a precious little thought into an MLB season preview. I will go division by division, making my picks for winners and subsequently pick the post season. I will not come anywhere close to correct, and you can take THAT to the bank!

NL WEST
The Giants won this division last year, and eventually took that party to the World Series. The pulled in a bunch of castoffs who performed admirably. It's almost as if there is some sort of drug that the Giants have access too to make them better at baseball.... I think the Padres and Diamondbacks lack the overall talent to be competitive, while the Dodgers are in financial ruins. The only challenge the Giants get is from the Rockies, but the Giants should squeak out the division. WINNER: GIANTS

NL CENTRAL
What a mess this division is. I will say this... I don't think the Reds were a flash in the pan last year and will ultimately compete for the Central crown again this year. The Cardinals are going to be offensively strong, but they need depth in their rotation, and the Cubs, well, I think they will be better. The Astros and Pirates will be distant afterthoughts. Who is left, then, to compete with Cincinnati? Oh right. The Brewers. Still an offensive machine, their rotation will be better even without Zack Greinke. Remember, they added Shawn Marcum and still have Yovani Gallardo. WINNER: BREWERS

NL EAST
People are trying to tell us how the Phillies won't run away with this division. Well, they have a bottom of the rotation that would be competitive as a top of the rotation on many teams. Even without Jayson Werth and Chase Utley, they will score their runs. I think the NL Wild Card will come out of the east, probably the Braves, but I don't see them coming too terribly close to the Phillies, who will win about 96-97 games I think. The Marlins will be interesting, and the Nationals will be improved. Most fans would be happy with the Mets, I think, but they play in New York and everything will seem horrible. WINNER: PHILLIES

AL WEST
I don't want to keep picking the obvious choices, but I think in the AL West, you have to go with the Rangers. The Angels are without a dynamic threat in the middle of the order outside of Torii Hunter, and their rotation isn't really all that intimidating. The A's will likely finish second in the division thanks to young pitching that may or may not regress this season. I bet they will, but it won't matter much in a weak division. The Mariners will remain bad, and the Rangers will keep plugging away with a good offense and an uncharacteristically strong rotation. WINNER: RANGERS

AL CENTRAL
I don't want to spend too much time talking about the Twins, so instead I will tell you about the other teams. The White Sox really haven't lost anything in the past couple of years, and what they have they have replaced with quality players. This offseason it was Adam Dunn. The Tigers collapsed last year, no doubt, but this offseason they added Brad Penny and Victor Martinez. The Twins, frankly, were really lucky last season, not only with their successes but the failures of the Tigers and Sox. This is about those two. The Twins will be competitive like always, but won't make the post season. Nor will the Royals or Indians. The difference between the Royals and the Tribe is that the Royals have hope. WINNER: TIGERS

AL EAST
This is, of course, the most important and worthwhile division in baseball. The Red Sox offense got markedly better at the expense of the Rays. I think this is going to be a two horse race now, even though the Rays and perhaps the Jays will be above average. Whichever team doesn't win the AL East crown will win the Wild Card, and I have to side with the Yankees. The Red Sox weren't very good last year, mostly due to injuries, but it's hard for me to ignore. I will give this one to the Yankees. Also, the Orioles play in the AL East.WINNER: YANKEES

Divisional Series: Braves over Brewers, Phillies over Giants, Red Sox over Rangers, Tigers over Yankees
Championship Series: Phillies over the Braves, Tigers over the Red Sox
World Series: Phillies over the Tigers.

I am going with the theory that any time a team that isn't the Twins comes out of the AL Central, they actually succeed in the postseason. I'm hoping, of course, that I am wrong and the Twins pull off another great season.

Baseball starts freaking tomorrow!

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