Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

Preason picks from the other guy

Since I didn't spend the better part of a month analyzing teams and giving my picks, I'm going to take a few minutes (mostly because I'm sick of doing homework) to offer my picks, predictions, awards, and totally unsubstantiated analysis (the best kind)!

AL EAST
1) Red Sox (to hell with Steinbrenner)
2) Yankees (With a payroll of x, where x is a really big freaking number)
3) Orioles (Proof that you don't need pitching to be a third place team, just a lot of guys who hit between 250-280 and knock in 100+ runs).
4) Blue Jays (Never going to contend in a division featuring the two big boys of baseball)
5) Devil Rays (Lou Pinella hates managing young talent. Tampa Bay is all young talent. Free BJ UPTON!)

AL CENTRAL
1) Twins (A point of disagreement with Marc. With Santana signed and happy, a strong bullpen, strong prospects emerging (Morneau, Mauer, and you can even still refer to Lew Ford as a youngin), I just think it's the Twins race to lose).
2) Indians (Another year away from contention. I'm skeptical of Millwood, dear god why is Juan Gone in the outfield. Indians are a bona fied ace away from dominating the AL Central for years to come.)
3) Tigers (Agreement with Marc here; this is a weak third place. Look for improvement from Bonderman, and Maroth. If Percival can stay healthy, they might be able to actually close out some games).
4) White Sox (A shot at third place, but I have a feeling, somehow, Kenny Williams will screw it up. Can anyone else foresee Rowand EXPLODING before the all star break, and then getting traded for Randy Winn? He'll do it!)
5) Royals (At least Calvin Pickering is free?)

AL WEST
1) Angels (Solid starters, solid bullpen, big bats in the lineup. DID I MENTION MVP CHONE FIGGINS?! MVP!)
2) A's (I want to wait another year to see Billy Beane prove to me again why he's Jesus with a baseball team. This time next year, if his new crop of pitchers evolves, the division is the A's again for the taking).
3) Rangers (Remember what I posted about the Orioles? About how you can hit lots of home runs, and score lots of rbis, but it doesn't matter if your pitching staff gives up just as many, and usually more? Ya, same thing here, but I like Teixeira to break out this year (and he better, I spent a third round pick on him!)).
4) Mariners (Because signing a possible one year wonder in Adrian Beltre, an elder Richie Sexson, and not addressing the problems of your pitching is a winning formula!)

NL EAST (by far, the toughest to call).
1) Braves (With all my heart I want to pick against them, but as long as Leo Mazzone is alive, and teaching pitchers the ways of the force, i'm signing with the Braves. Point of contention on Dan Kolb as a risk though (as well as Smoltz starting again)).
2) Marlins (The team I wanted to pick first, but didn't have the heart. Love the addition of Delgado. I'm looking at AJ Burnett to remind us why everyone was predicting he'd be a CY Young contender someday. Mota is a real sleeper at closer, and with all the speed and pure hitting talent in the lineup, it's too much to sleep on).
3) Phillies (Well, you aren't the Mets, that's gotta count right? This year we should finally see them begin to transition their big prospects into the lineup fulltime, and did I mention, they aren't the Mets?)
4) Mets (Saying I want to take Omar Minaya out back, string him up from a tree, and yell at him for uncorrecting the baseball market (and by yell I mean beat with a spiked club) is an understatement. They failed to address their bullpen issues, and while I expect Pedro to perform, Traschel is decaying, Glavine is a control pitcher losing his control, and did I mention they have no bullpen?)
5) Nationals (Worst. GM. Ever. Impact signings like Vinny Castilla and Jose Guillen, as well as playing in one of the toughest divisions in baseball (arguably one of, if not the most competitive) will keep them from contention to years to come, o ya, and so will Jim Bowden.
2-4 Is truly anyone's guess, and could be decided by 1-2 games.

NL CENTRAL
1) Cardinals (Did their lineup get any worse? No, I didn't think so, and Pujols is claiming perfect health now. So they addressed their biggest need, not having an ace, and they picked up Mark Mulder. Pretty good formula to get back to the WS).
2) Cubs (Ok, this pick rests on a lot of suppositions, and had the Astros not lost their 2 big bats, this would be a no brainer at number 3. Zambrano should be phenomenal, and if Kerry Wood's arm doesn't fall off, and if Mark Prior's arm stops thinking it's 40 (DUSTY'S HEAD ON A PIKE!!!), this could be a great team. Did I mention Greg Maddux? Only problem is the loss of Sosa, and the suspect closer.
3) Astros (Could have easily been number 2, but they lost their 2 big bats (in Beltran and Kent). Clemens will put up CY Young numbers, Oswalt should perform well, and they have one of the top 3 closers in baseball. Should be more than enough to keep them in contention, especially if they let some of their rookie bats like Burke and Lane get in there).
4) Brewers (Go Ben Sheets and Carlos Lee? Seriously, kudos to their gm for getting a top 15 outfielder, for Scott Podsednik. I'll take Carlos Lee over 70 steals anyday, because that 244 avg and 313 obp just gets me moist thinking about it.)
5) Reds (Look for them to do uhh, nothing special? Hopefully, for one of the better guys in baseball, it's another great year for Sean Casey. Look for lightning to strike Ken Griffey Jr. while he's in CF, fork, strike him again, lift him into the air, and sever his head, because that's the kind of luck he's had as of late.
6) Pirates (No more Giles, no more Kendall. Oliver Perez can't win 60 games).

NL WEST
1) Padres (I'm going on a limb here, and maybe it's just because I love their team, but with Bonds hurt, and the Giants lining up for Social Security, I think this could be the Padres year. Peavy is poised for a Cy Young run, the lineup is solid, and I'm expecting Giles to turn around bigtime this year. Not to mention a helahty Trevor Hoffman is still a great closer).
2) Dodgers (Couldn't bring myself to pick them to win it. A decent rotation and a great closer will keep them in contention. Who knows, maybe Jeff Kent won't suck? Not expecting anything special from them, they're just the best of the rest).
3) Giants (No Bonds, no division title. Schmidt should have another great year though.)
4) Dbacks (Shawn Green will solidify his legacy as the greatest modern Jewish baseball player. Dbacks will also commit ritualistic suicide after Troy Glaus's shoulder falls off, and they realize Russ Ortiz, is in actuality, Russ Ortiz.)
5) Rockies (I wish I didn't have to put them here, but I do. A lot like the pirates pick, except Todd Helton can't win 60 games by himself.)

AL Wild Card: Yankees
NL Wild Card: Cubs (because Dusty Baker will torment me for all of eternity, and then a few days after).

First round matchups:
Red Sox v Angels
Twins v Yankees
Cardinals v Padres
Braves v Cubs

It's 3 am, so I'll put up my ROY, Cy Young, MVP, and all the other picks tomorrow.

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