Monday, April 5, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions

This post was started on March 29th, on a Path train to Hoboken, and a NJ Transit train from Hoboken to Millburn. It was continued on a Metro North train roundtrip between Grand Central and North White Plains. My thumbs and blackberry have never been so agreeable.

We're hoping it'll be a fantastic season, filled with intrigue, joy, and fair competition. It's hard being a Cubs fan these days because I can't get psyched about Marlon Byrd and Ryan Dempster types anymore. We're in the middle of a 101+ year quest for another World Series title. Our team is getting worse, while getting older. The window of opportunity to win a World Championship with this core of players is just about completely shut. Is it unreasonable to be a little perturbed at this point? I'm downright distraught.

Enough about me, though. We have a lot to look forward to with 2010 baseball, including but not limited to... the Major League Debuts of Aroldis Chapman, Jason Heyward, Mike Leake, & Stephen Strasburg, the probable debuts of Michael Stanton, Noel Arguelles, & Desmond Jennings, the emergence of Ian Stewart, Matt Weiters, & Buster Posey, and as always, the daily tribulations of America's greatest reality soap operas. I'm looking forward to the drama of teammates competing for jobs, veterans trying to salvage their careers, and young players establishing themselves as stars.

National League
NL East

Back-to-back reigning NL Champs don't usually have a brand new Ace, who's favored by many to win the Cy Young Award. I like the Braves, Mets, and Marlins to all compete for the Wild Card, with pitching and health being the most important variables, as always. The Nationals will get another good draft pick and look to compete around 2014.

NL Central

If Cub fans are force fed more than 21 innings of Carlos Silva, we may find a reason to unite a civil protest. For there to be peace on Addison and Clark, fans may need to channel the energies of lost seasons in the '80s and '90s when all that mattered was drinking beers, listening to Harry, and looking at bikini tops in the bleachers. Sadly, the Cardinals should coast to an easy divisional victory, as long as an intoxicated Tony LaRussa doesn't take his players on a Barrett Robbins tour of Tijuana. The Reds could be about as exciting as the 2003 Cubs, if Chapman, Leake, and Harang pitch as many expect. Dusty Baker should be a fun manager to follow this season.

NL West
SF Giants
Colorado Rockies
LA Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers and Rockies are the more popular picks to win the West. I'm counting on a strong 1/2/3 with Lincecum, Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez. All in all, I think the National league is in good shape. The worst teams are the Pirates and the Nationals, but they're improving. It feels like the only teams getting worse are the Cubs and Astros. Sigh.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Ricky Nolasco
NL RoY: Jason Heyward
NL Mgr: Bruce Bochy
NL Comeback PoY: Tim Hudson

American League
AL East
NY Yankees
Blue Jays

The Orioles are getting better and a year or two away from making this division very interesting. Currently, there is a fantastic argument to make in keeping Boston or New York out of the postseason, like they did in 2008. I just think that the Red Sox and Yankees are the teams to pick in 2010. If Desmond Jennings, Mark Hellickson, or Tim Beckham get called up early and make an impact, we could be jumping on Cinderella's bandwagon with full force. In the meantime, I love several additions made by the Red Sox (Scutaro, Cameron, Beltre, & Lackey) and defending champion Yankees (Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, and Chan Ho Park).

AL Central
White Sox

The AL Central is a bit of a jumbled, perhaps below average, division. At the same time, I have tremendous respect for all five front offices. The Twins seemed to upgrade their infield and depth, by adding Orlando Hudson & Jim Thome. It sounds like Delmon Young could actually have a breakout season, hitting .300 with 40 or 50 extra base hits. They need to solidify the pitching staff and make up for losing the best regular season closer of the last five years. A revitalized Francisco Liriano, with steady performances from Scott Baker and Carl Pavano, will go a long way to get them close to the 89 wins it could take to win this division. For the fans, there is a lot to like in this division. Greinke & Verlander will likely be in another Cy Young conversation. Jake Peavy is trying like crazy to win in the post-season while he has a chance. The Tigers seem like they are another year away from being really dangerous. Still, they have a punchers chance; gambling on Max Sherzer could pay off in a big way. I think I placed the Royals above the Indians because I simply have no faith in Fausto Carmona's spring training numbers being legit. The Royals are a fascinatingly confusing organization that can be followed by some of baseball's best writers. Stay tuned.

AL West

I hadn't made up my mind on this division until about 5 minutes before first pitch in Washington, DC today. I don't know why I'm taking the Angels. I have a lot of faith in Mick Scioscia, I suppose. A few weeks ago, I thought the Mariners' fantastic offseason was going to get them the division title. Then, I saw that their offense was really poor last season, and projections don't show much improvement. So, they have very good pitching & great defense, but how far will that take them? I think the A's could win the division if blog favorites Ben Sheets, Trevor Cahill, and Gio Gonzalez pitch up to their capabilities. The Rangers have been doing a lot of things right, but someone has to finish 4th. Actually, I really want to take the A's to win the Division. This is going to be a close one.

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
AL RoY: Brian Matusz
AL Mgr: Joe Girardi
AL Comeback PoY: Ben Sheets

Post Season
NL Div Srs
Giants over Phillies
Braves over Cards

AL Div Srs
Yankees over Tigers
Red Sox over Angels

NLCS: Giants over Braves

ALCS: Yankees over Red Sox

World Series: Yankees over Giants
World Series MVP: Mariano Rivera

Enjoy the action with today's openers and this opening week of the National Pastime. We'll try to be back as often as possible with observations, thoughts, and questions as we witness living history. Please submit thoughts, updates, requests, and inquiries to our comments section or email me at baguilera[at]gmail[dot]com.

Let's go Cubs; let's do it for Harry!

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