I figured with the use of this site, we can make predicitons and then refer back to them at the end of the season.
1. Yankees – $200 million dollars can’t be wrong.
2. Blue Jays – Taking a step forward, not so much for Burnett, but Ryan helps them where they have had no closer. Also, with a healthy Halladay, Towers and Chacin make progress giving them a formidable rotation. If Halladay stays healthy they’ll be in the WC mix. They can match up in a short series.
3. Red Sox – I certainly can envision this team falling to 4th if Ortiz or Ramirez go down for any period, or if they are out of it for all intents and purposes on Sept. 1 – they will lose interest. I couldn’t really pick them for 4th. It’s amazing how some people think that age only affects teams located in NY. Why are Johnson and Mussina old while Schilling and Wells not? Clement was terrible last season, Beckett is a good addition but he’s no Santana or Oswalt. Wakefield is the only guy you can lock into 200 innings. The infield is not that good and Foulke is a question mark. Papelbon can’t set up and close for himself in the same game.
4. Devil Rays – Pitching is still suspect especially in the pen, but their position players are hungry and come ready to play. I can certainly see them playing hard down the stretch if they are in a position to overtake the Red Sox.
5. Orioles – They have sown the right seeds for their pitching, but it will take at least a season for the roots to take hold.
1. White Sox – They have the best pitching, but they will find that repeating is harder than it looks.
2. Indians – It’s tough to pick against the Champs, but the Indians are ready. They have learned that you cannot run out of steam in the final week. This may shape up to be a terrific division race, I consider the Indians the frontrunners for the wild card.
3. Tigers – This pick is out of respect to Leyland, he can mean the difference in about 6-8 games, but it’s really dead even with the Twins.
4. Twins – Dead even with the Tigers, only because of their starting pitching and the back of the pen. Are they capable of scoring 3 runs per game?
5. Royals – I can’t find any reason not to pick them last. Sad is the only word to describe the state of this club.
1. A’s – The starting pitching is too good. Their closer is up and coming. I’m not a believer in the addition of Frank Thomas, but he doesn’t pitch, they should score just enough.
2. Angels – No one would like to see the end of this thing more than me. There’s not enough offense, and to be honest, I don’t know how they get by every season with their rotation, but they do. This year it doesn’t work.
3. Mariners – The young phenom will take additional steps, but will have his growing pains as well. The hitters have to enjoy better seasons than last year. This is “neck and neck” with the Rangers.
4. Rangers – There is no real awful team in this division like the O’s or the Royals. The Rangers and the Mariners are .500 clubs but cannot go toe to toe with the A’s and their pitching. The story remains the same, their talented hitters will be frustrated losing 9-8 every night. I enjoy watching Michael Young play though.
1. Mets – This order of teams is similar to the conventional wisdom. It’s a real toss up between the Mets and the Braves. They’ve spent the money and The Mets are better in the pen and lineup, but their rotation is fragile. The problem here is relying on Victor Zambrano to potentially be a significant starter behind Pedro and Glavine in a huge series in Sept. I don’t know if he’s capable. They may need to go out and get someone in June or July.
2. Braves – Their rotation is quality and deep. Their lineup is better than it looks on paper. As long as Smoltz stays healthy, I assume Hudson adjusts to the NL further, I believe a very competitive division race is on tap. The Mets and Braves will battle it out.
3. Phillies – They should be better, shouldn’t they? They are one pitcher short – maybe if Myers starts walking the walk, instead of just talking they could jump into the deep end of the pool. They won’t stay there that long, Gordon is closing for them.
4. Nationals – Frank Robinson makes a difference here make no mistake. The players respect him but with the teams in front, it’s too tall an order.
5. Marlins – Who’s worse, these guys or the Royals? Girardi should focus on getting his program in place and get used to being a manager on a daily basis for a couple of years, then look for the exit door.
1. Cardinals – It’s hard to pick against the Cardinals. It’s as if they were given the first two choices on the playground. “I’ll take Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, who are you guys taking?” The best pitching in the majors can be found in this division. They are a little like the Patriots in that they plug the spare parts in. No Reggie Sanders? Plug in Encarnarcion. No Womack or Mark G.? Plug in Junior Spivey…..
2. Brewers – I wanted to buck conventional wisdom. Their rotation is very good and since the game is about pitching there is no reason to think they cannot finish second in this division and even compete for the WC. If only they could field the ball now….
3. Astros – Oswalt, Pettitte, Lidge and Berkman. Four players do not make a team. The Astros magic ride comes to an end. Pettitte might not even finish the season with this team. I can see him being traded to NY, but not to the Yankees….
4. Pirates – Good starting pitching. Do they have the inclination to build around it, or just go through the motions and sell their 2 million tickets and go home?
5. Cubs – I’m done with hearing about Prior and Wood. Sure they can be good, but when was that? 2003 is a long time ago already. The real Zambrano can’t do it alone – no wonder why he’s a head case his best years are being wasted.
6. Reds – This team is the exception to the good pitching rule in this division – although it’s better than last year. Maybe now with a new GM, they can turn the ship around.
1. Padres – This is either the most entertaining division or the most frustrating depending on your idea of fun. The degree of separation among the first three teams is very marginal, but you have to pick an order. The Padres are the most well rounded team, but they don’t blow anybody away. They have the best pitcher and the best manager.
2. Giants – They have the best young pitching. Can Bonds stay healthy long enough? It’s going to be a struggle. If Schmidt starts acting like an ace again, perhaps….
3. Dodgers – This team is always undergoing a makeover. I’m not as impressed with their pitching as in years past. Gagne returning to form is not a given. Their infield is good, but their outfield is ugly when one considers that Drew can’t stay on the field.
4. Diamondbacks – The only reason why this team does not finish in last is they are in the same division as the ……
5. Rockies – I’m speechless and that’s not in a good way. A half of notch above the Marlins and Royals only because they have a good home field advantage.