Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 MLB Predictions

In all of these projections, we are looking at potential regression or improvement off the last couple of seasons, for each team. We can get into more of the math in future posts, but this is really just supposed to be a fun way to start the blog and look forward to the next seven months of baseball.

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals
- Any of the top 4 teams here can compete. I have the Mets as the Wild Card, and wouldn't be completely shocked if the Braves won the division. The Marlins have a chance, but it would take a lot of injuries from NY, Philly, and/or Atlanta to put the Florida in the top 2. Incidentally, I think the Nationals are much improved. I love their Outfield, Corner Infielders, and their rookie Starting Pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann.

NL Central
Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates
- This is almost too easy to pick. It makes me nervous as a Cubs' fan, but really the other five teams have too many question marks. If the Cardinals can get over 50 starts from Wainright and Carpenter, combined with solid bullpen work from Jason Motte & Chries Perez, they could approach 85 wins. Colby Rasmus and Khalil Greene are a couple of variables that could really impact their offense and defense, as well. Milwaukee and the Reds are not great, and the Astros and Pirates are bad. Of course, you never know when the 'Stros can go on one of their famous 2nd Half runs of winning 30 of their last 35 games. It's doubtful that the Wild Card will be from the Central.

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
- I think the Dodgers offense is good enough to carry them, but I have my doubts about this division because (a) LA is potentially counting on young pitching too much to replace Derek Lowe, (b) can the D'backs pitchers stay healthy/effective & is Felipe Lopez the answer at the top of the order?, (c) the Giants can pitch - great Starting Five, great closer, and a manager who's always been able to have a strong bullpen, and (d) are the Rockies closer to the '07 or '08 clubs? The top 4 teams in this division can/should compete, somewhat.

The Padres are horrible. They should lose close to 100 games. They have a terrible offense, and their two best pitchers, Peavy and Young, could very well be injured.

NL MVP: Jose Reyes, Mets
NL Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
NL R.O.Y.: Tommy Hanson, Braves
NL Manager: Bruce Bochy, Giants

AL East
Boston Red Sox

Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
- Here the Top 3 teams are the class of the league. The Yankees could win the division and the Sox could finish 3rd. I'm going with the Red Sox to win because of their pitching staff. They have enough starters (maybe 9?) that can pitch well, so they are insured in case of injury. Their offense is excellent, and they have more money available to complete trades during the season. I think the Rays can maintain their success from '08 because of their defense, youth, and the fact that none of their hitters had "career years" last year. The Blue Jays seem a little lost and only capable of fighting for .500. Lastly, I like the direction the Orioles are headed, but it will probably not be until 2011 that they can get a sniff at meaningful September games.

AL Central
Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
- This is the toughest division for me to forecast. I could see the Royals win the division, and really only expect the top team to be ahead of the last place team by about 10 games. A real wild card here is the club from Minnesota. They have an outstanding manager, great defense, consistent pitching, and maybe the best closer in the game. I'm really worried about the Mauer injury because he is such a great fielder & hitter, but also because he handles the pitching staff. I am worried that their pitchers will drop a bit in effectiveness from missing him. The Indians hopes hang with a shaky pitching staff, and I really have no idea who wins this one. (If I had an editor, here is where he/she would tell me that this makes no sense.)

AL West
Oakland A’s
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
- Here is another tough division for me. The Angels looked like the best team, but the injuries to Lackey and Santana look like a death blow. The A's are the most improved team, so I'll go with them. I could see this as a great division in the next few years because the A's, Mariners, and Rangers are getting better, while the Angels seem to continuously reload with the help of Arte Moreno's line of credit.

AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, Indians
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
AL R.O.Y.: Matt Wieters, Orioles
AL Manager: Bob Geren, A’s

Postseason Predictions
Cubs over Mets
Dodgers over Phillies
Cubs over Dodgers

Red Sox over Indians
Rays over A's
Red Sox over Rays

2009 World Series
Red Sox over Cubs (Ouch!)

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