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Saturday, March 12, 2011

MLB Predictions 2011

With the MLB season 3 weeks away, it's time for my predictions. I am a seasoned Fantasy Baseball buff, so I have expert level authority on these type of things. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my predictions and feel free to throw in your own.

AL West Champ: Rangers
AL Central Champ: Twins
AL East Champ: Red Sox
AL Wildcard: A's

NL West Champ: Giants
NL Central Champ: Reds
NL East Champ: Phillies
NL Wildcard: Brewers

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, BOS
NL MVP: Ryan Braun, MIL
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester, BOS
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF
AL ROY: Chris Sale, CHW
NL ROY: Aroldis Chapman, CIN

ALCS: Red Sox v Rangers
NLCS: Giants v Phillies
WS: Giants v Red Sox

A look at the AL West: The Rangers lost Cliff Lee which closes the gap, but everyone in that line-up can hit. When Michael Young is essentially an extra guy, that's what you call depth. And if Feliz successfully converts as a starter, the loss of Lee doesn't hurt as much. The Rangers should still capture the title. The A's had a sneaky great pitching staff last year. Now they have added enough professional hitters to augment it (Matsui, Willingham, DeJesus). The A's are going to surprise the AL this year. The Angels are well ahead of the Mariners but Vernon Wells wasn't the splash they needed. They'll play well but not enough to surpass the other two teams in the division. The Mariners are in rebuild mode.

A look at the AL Central: The Central should have 3 teams contending in the Tigers, White Sox, and Twins. I just don't think the Tigers have enough starting pithing to win the division. The White Sox look solid but their rotation depth isn't and I think in the end they just miss October. The Twins somehow always find a way to win (except in the playoffs) and with Morneau and Joe Nathan back, the Twins should repeat as AL Central champs. The Royals keep infusing young talent but are at least a year or two away while the Indians are the Mariners of the Central.

A look at the AL East: No Yankees in the playoffs? The Yankees are in trouble. There's no great starting pitching candidates on the trade market and the Yankees need starting pitching. Their offense is another year older. The bullpen is a strength but in a very tough AL East, where every team is improved and no team should be a pushover, the Yankees will not accrue enough victories to win the wildcard. Boston is stacked and should take the division relatively easily. The Rays lost a lot of players including their heart and soul in Carl Crawford. They'll be scrappy and entertaining (if only for the Manny Ramirez factor) and they'll contend through September but will fall short. The Jays and Orioles can't keep up with Boston yet but they are slowly building very good teams. In any other division, the Jays would have a shot. The Orioles are close to not being an embarrassment anymore but they're still a sub .500 club.

A look at the NL West: The Giants are having a great spring training and they're filled with confidence coming off their World Series title. The pitching is still intact and the offense is automatically better with full years of Posey and Ross. Pablo Sandoval looks rejuvenated and could be a monster this year and they have enough depth with DeRosa coming off the bench and the secret weapon Brandon Belt stashed in AAA. They should repeat as NL West champs. The team giving them a run should be, of all teams, the Dodgers. The Dodgers still have a decent line-up and they have balanced pitching throughout. The Rockies are always a threat but I don't see their starting pitching being able to keep up with the staffs in LA and SF. And while Tulo and Car-Go are awesome centerpieces, the rest of that offense in Denver isn't a sure thing. The Padres will still be scrappy but the chances of them repeating last year's performance minus Adrian Gonzalez are slim. And the Dbacks, while improved, are still climbing a long way back toward respectability.

A look at the NL Central: This division could be a dog fight. The Reds, Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals should all have realistic shots at the postseason. The loss of Wainwright really is a severe blow to Saint Louis however and if the old guys in Chicago's line-up can hit, then watch out. Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Pena are all guys that could hit 30+ homers if they return to form. And their pitching is pretty good with Dempster, Zambrano, and Garza. But the Reds have to be the favorite with a lot of rotation depth and a solid line-up. But I am definitely on the Brewers bandwagon this year. I think Fielder, in a walk year, is primed to go off and the benefactor will be Ryan Braun, who had a down year last year and still put up pretty solid numbers. Greinke and Gallardo are now the divisions best 1-2 and the revamped pitching staff should lead Milwaukee to the wildcard. The Cardinals still have Pujols and Holliday but in the end, they won't be able to keep up with the teams ahead of them. Pittsburgh and Houston aren't contenders at this point.

A look at the NL East: I HAD to pick the Phillies for the NL East title just due to "that historic pitching staff" but in reality I could see the Braves or the Marlins winning this division. The Phillies aren't as great as everyone wants to make them out to be, especially if Utley is out for an extended period. They lost Werth to the Nationals and both Dominic Brown and Utley are dealing with injuries that are not minor. Teams have figured out how to pitch to Victorino, Rollins, and Howard so the offense isn't as prolithic as East Coast writers would have you think. Yes, the rotation is outstanding. But the bullpen isn't. Lidge is anything but consistent and his setup guys outside of Madson don't strike fear in batters either. The Phillies are primed for a letdown which could open the door for the Braves, who are a phenomenally balanced team from top to bottom, or the Marlins, who I think are going to be right there at the end of the season. The Marlins are moving into a new ballpark in 2012 and they still have one of the best players in the game in Hanley Ramirez and one of the best pitchers (Josh Johnson). Their rotation is solid and their line-up is filled with young guys who could put up monster numbers (Mike Stanton is a star in the making). The Fish could be this year's sleeper team. The Nationals would be more entertaining this year if they had Strasburg but they don't and their pitching isn't strong enough to contend yet. The Mets are a mess and I fully expect them to come in last place and have a fire sale at the All-Star break.

And there you go, my predictions for 2011. May we revisit them in November and grade 'em out!

1 comment:

  1. as a humble giants fan, my wishes for sandoval are simple. concentrate on thinking through the game, don't hit bad pitches, and don't overthrow first base.