Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prediction Time - Yankees vs. Giants

Yankees and Giants meet in the WS for the first time since 1962

Yes, it's that time to semi-stick the neck out on the line to make predictions for the upcoming season and where better to start then in the AL East.

You have already read (hopefully) my concerns over the Red Sox rotation and bullpen. And though they will score 1,000,000 runs (probably according to ESPN), they are going to have to outscore their opponents most of the time to win.

While the Yankees also have rotation questions, they will end up with someone in the back end (Boy that didn't sound right) to help out. I don't believe Kevin Millwood will be that answer.

The Rays have a great starting rotation and nothing else. Evan Longoria will be pitched around like crazy and the bullpen is awful.

AL East
Red Sox (Wild Card)
Blue Jays
Orioles (sorry Buck)

Al Central
White Sox

You can never count out a Ron Gardenhire team; they play fundamentally sound baseball and I like their rotation and bullpen. They'll have trouble scoring runs as usual, esp. if they can't keep Justin Morneau on the field, but they will find ways to win. Delmon Young repeating his 2010 season is a key.

The White Sox are going to be strong, but outside of Matt Thornton will they get consistency in the pen? Love the lineup, and feel good about the rotation. This should be a race that goes down to the final weeks of the season.

AL West

The Rangers starting rotation looks pretty ugly on paper with no Cliff Lee and the mistake of putting Neftali Feliz back in the bullpen. He could have given them a huge boost. C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis need to repeat or near repeat their seasons from last year and it's finally time for Derek Holland to step up. Another lineup that will score plenty of runs, though you saw what happened the last time Adrian Beltre was given a big contract ("Hitless in Seattle").

The Angels have a nice rotation with Weaver, Haren, and Santana starting things off. The lineup is a bit shaky and the bullpen is a mess. Fernando Rodney is not the guy to close and it wouldn't surprise me if Kevin Jepsen took over at some point.

The A's are being picked by a lot of people to win the west because of their solid starting rotation. But this is a team that can't and won't hit. They don't have one intimidating bat in the lineup. Their main source of power will be Hideki Matsui and he may only hit 20 home runs. It's time t drop Moneyball.

The Mariners should be playing in the PCL right now. When does King Felix get dealt.


Alex Rodriguez: He's so incredibly locked in right now and will have a monster season. Whether or not the BBWAA holds his steroid past against him remains to be seen.

CY Young

Justin Verlander: His stuff is filthy; he just needs to get off to a good start.

Rookie of the Year

Jeremy Hellickson: His short stint in the Majors last year certainly gave the impression that he is the goods. Also looking forward to seeing how Kyle Drabek performs in Toronto

Comeback Player of the Year

Jacoby Ellsbury: He's healthy and with Crawford leading the way on the bases (70 steals?), I can see Ellsbury swiping 50.

Manager of the Year

Ron Gardenhire: Unfortunately for him the Yankees will knock him and the Twins out in the first round again.

* * *

The National League East will indeed be a runaway. The Philly Phab Phour (Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels) will dominate the NL. The bullpen is a mess and eventually the Phillies will probably have to make a move for another set up man or closer. Chase Utley's injury could take a toll on the line up, but that rotation speaks/shouts volumes.

They won't catch the Phils, but expect the Braves to have a good year under new manager Fredi Gonzalez. (How strange will it be to not see Bobby Cox in the dugout?) The Braves have a good rotation, decent bullpen, though they still need to figure out the closer role. If soph. Justin Heyward and rookie Freddie Freeman have big years, look out.

The Mets are getting bashed left and right, some of it deservedly so, but I think they can still finish at .500.

NL East

NL Central

Dusty Baker and the Reds should build off of last year and take the central again. The Brewers with Greinke, Marcum (both need to be healthy) and Gallardo form a formidable front of the rotation. The Cards will take a step back without Adam Wainwright.

NL West

People seem to be jumping off the bandwagon of the defending champion Giants, but I love their rotation. Granted Brian Wilson needs to get healthy fast (strained oblique; this year's trendy injury) to solidify the bullpen, and the team needs another bat, but they will take the division.

The Rockies need Ubaldo Jiminez to repeat and Jorge de la Rose to step up and be worth his contract. Good offense, decent pen, just not enough to overtake the Giants. They will battle the Brewers and Braves for the Wild Card.

The Dodgers have a pretty good team with a newbie manager (Donnie Baseball; still can't get used to that uniform), but the team still is in disarray with the battling McCourts.

Bud Black and the Pads won't get off to that tremendous start with no Adrian Gonzalez, and Mat Latos hurting.

The Diamondbacks can join the Mariners in AAAA.


Ryan Braun: Combines with Prince Fielder to help Brew Crew back to post-season

CY Young

Cliff Lee: Back (if it holds up) to dominating the NL

Rookie of the Year

Freddie Freeman: Proves the hype is right

Comeback Player of the Year

Jason Bay: If he stays healthy the home runs will return.

Manager of the Year

Ron Roenicke: First year manager leads team to playoffs


Yankees and Red Sox meet in the ALCS for the first time since the disastrous (depending on whose side you're on) 2004 series.

Giants topple the Phillies in an exciting seven game series in the NLCS.

Which leads to a series that has been 49 years in the waiting. For the first time since Bobby Richardson snared Willie McCovey's line drive in Game 6, the Yankees and Giants will meet in the Fall classic. Unfortunately I am going with the Giants in 6.

Join me in November to see how good or bad these predictions are.

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