It’s that time of year again – baseball season is here! Owning the DirecTV MLB extra innings that last few years has given me the opportunity to watch A LOT of baseball. Notice I capitalized a lot. I watched so much baseball last year it wasn’t even funny. My dog would cower underneath the kitchen table sometimes when the Tigers were on because I would be going bonkers 3 feet from the TV. My girlfriend, who recently moved in with me (bless her heart), is going to hate me for the next 7 months because I will once again be 3 feet from that TV every night hootin’ and hollerin’. Now onto my preview of the upcoming season.
I’m going to start with my American League East and National League East predictions. Each day this week I will give you my analysis of each Leagues divisions. Tuesday will be the Central and Wednesday will be the West. On Friday we will put up the authors predictions for the 2010 MLB Season. I’ve put a lot of thought into this years picks and here she goes….
Obvious pick of the Yankees and Red Sox at the top. Both flexed there checkbooks again in the offseason spending money and trading for players. The Yankees, unfortunately, have the better staff. CC, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez, and Joba or Hughes is tough to beat. You know about A-Roid, Texeria, Jeter, but here’s a guy to watch out for having a career year: Robinson Cano. Cano’s been around for a few years now and everyone knows the name, but it’s time for him to break out. I’m talking 30 homers break out. That’s a tall order for 2nd basemen, but the kid has one of the sweetest strokes in the game.
The Red Sox have a nice staff too – a lot of eyes will be on Lackey (heard he’s fat as hell these days) who was there big offseason signing. He will be grouped with Josh Beckett (filthy) Jon Lester, Dice-K, and 67 year old Tim Wakefield. I envision Clay Bucholz being in the rotation this year at some point – there future should shape up nicely with he, Lester, and Lackey under contract. They flashed all kinds of money in the offseason for their offense too but I don’t think it did a damn thing for them. Adrian Beltre is washed up, Mike Cameron is all-glove, no bat and Scutaro had a career year last year, but he is better then any other SS option they have. They lost power threat Jason Bay as well, and David Ortiz will surely not revert back to form. Still a dangerous team, but not good enough to hang with the Yankees.
Rays are an interesting team going from worst to first a few years back to stuck in the mud last year. They were so successful in 08 due to their bullpen and they were so bad in 09 due to their bullpen. They added Rafael Soriano in hope of not squandering so many leads like they did last year. They have a great young pitching staff, and two of the biggest power threats in the game in Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena, who are also flanked by Carl Crawford, Bj Upton and the surprise of them all, Jason Bartlett. Don’t forget Ben Zobrist was also an all-star last year as a utility guy. Rays are a sleeping giant. Will they wake up in 2010?
I’ll go ahead and say that the Orioles are my favorite team……to play MLB 2010 The Show with. Their starting lineup is chuck full of some of the sickest young talent ever. Guys like Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Weiters are some of the most exciting young players in the game – Jones won a gold glove last year at the age of 24, Markakis was among the league leaders in OF assists and hit .300+ to boot, and Weiters is being called the next Joe Mauer. Toss in Brian Roberts, who lead the league in doubles last year, as your leadoff guy, Nolan Reimold who was 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting, and you have a solid offense. But, notice I didn’t mention any pitching there. 2 former Indians round out the front of their rotation in Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie. Millwood is very experienced and still talented while Guthrie has all the intangibles in the world but he just can’t seem to figure it out. After them, it’s really a mystery. They used so many rookies last year to pitch it wasn’t even funny. Orioles will be a top notch team in 2 or 3 years. Be patient O’s fans.
Remember when the Blue Jays were leading the division after April last year? Neither did I. They lost Roy Halladay and they can’t trade Vernon Wells $100 million dollar contract for a bucket of balls. Wells financial burden has put them in a bit of a rut. Someone has to be last and it will be the Jays.
All signs point to a 4th NL East title in a row for the Philadelphia Phillies. They were able to be successful last year and reach the World Series despite the collapse of closer Brad Lidge. They’ve added Danny Baez to the bullpen and they have Ryan Madsen who is a flame throwing set up man. From an offensive standpoint, the Phillies are pretty much a juggernaut. Four guys had 30+ homeruns last year, and they add Placido Polanco, one of the toughest outs in baseball, to their lineup. Guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Werth and Jimmy Rollins should power the offense to another division title.
Polanco wasn’t the only addition…enter Roy Halladay who dominated the
The Rays were my sleeping giant in the
Right behind the Marlins will be the Atlanta Braves.
Mets fans want to forget 2009, that’s for sure, but what have they done to upgrade? Was signing
Last place is a foregone conclusion for the Washington Nationals. Everyone will be anticipating the call up of Strasberg. For fantasy baseball purposes look for Ryan Zimmerman to have a solid season, Nyjer Morgan is a speedster centerfielder and Ian Desmon is a fast rising shortstop for the Nationals. I will be surprised if the Nationals get to 70 wins.