Tuesday, March 25, 2008
American League Predictions
As the Major League season is about to start this morning (at something like 6 a.m.), it is time for some predictions. Today, I am going to make my 2008 American League Predictions, and then I hope that many of you will take a minute and post your AL predictions here as well. It’s always fun to look back in a few months and at the end of the season to see how we did. With that, here are my predictions.
1.) Toronto Blue Jays
2.) Boston Red Sox
3.) New York Yankees
4.) Tampa Bay Rays
5.) Baltimore Orioles
The Red Sox have a good lineup and good starting pitching. They even have a couple of young guys that they will play a lot in Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz. However, they also have an aging David Ortiz and Mike Lowell. But they also have a player in Manny Ramirez who is playing for a contract. They will be a very good team. The Yankees have that incredible offense, and even with Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano in the regular lineup, they are old. They were wise in going with Brian Cashman’s philosophy on young pitching. The Yankees could be scary good because of the confidence they are showing in Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain and Ross Ohlendorf… but will it be in 2008? That’s why I have to give my prediction for AL East champion to the Toronto Blue Jays. As difficult as it is to pick a team that will have Marco Scutaro as its starting 3B at the start of the season, I think that the Blue Jays are the most well rounded in the division. They have strong pitching in Roy Halladay and Dustin McGowan, but they also have a very strong lineup starring Alexis Rios and the ever-improving Aaron Hill. The Rays have a new name and a new outlook. With a top three including Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza, that’s a good start, but then start talking about all of their young starting pitching prospects and they could keep the team in games within another year or two. The offense still is led by Carl Crawford. Jason Bartlett will help that infield defense tremendously. And whenever it is that the Rays start playing Evan Longoria, he will be a tremendous asset. Finally, I am of the belief that Andy McPhail is doing a great job dismantling the O’s. To get five players for Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, and several of them being quality prospects was remarkable. I think he’s asking for too much from the Cubs for Brian Roberts, but if he gets it, he has given the O’s a plan for the future. More importantly, it gives hope to the fans who have watched old, veteran, over-the-hill players for too long. They’ll have to do the same in 2008, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS
1.) The Blue Jays will surprise a lot of people with their success. David Eckstein will get most of the credit for his leadership qualities and ability to do the little things. He will be called the guy most responsible for the team’s success even though Alexis Rios will be the real reason they are successful.
2.) Carlos Pena will not hit 30 homers.
3.) I expect a big drop in production from David Ortiz… how about a 25% reduction in OPS?
1.) Los Angeles Angels
2.) Oakland A’s
3.) Seattle Mariners
4.) Texas Rangers
The Angels will start the season without their two top starting pitchers, John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. That certainly doesn’t help them. But they still have a lot of quality young pitchers including Joe Saunders, Dustin Moseley and we may even see Nick Adenhart. The lineup is solid even though it really doesn’t have many power hitters. Everyone seems to think that the Mariners will be good because of the money they’ve spent and really because of the Erik Bedard trade. But pitching is what wins, and this team does not have as much as they want us to believe. Just because they gave up way too much to add Bedard doesn’t mean he was worth it. Giving Carlos Silva $12 million each of the next four years doesn’t make him any better. Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista would be 4th and 5th starters at best for most teams. We do like Felix Hernandez though, but he’s still got a lot to prove. And the Mariners offense certainly is not a juggernaut. The A’s rid themselves of the fading Danny Haren and the injured and rarely able to play Mark Kotsay. Many think that they are taking a step backward, but they did well in their trade too and have some depth. I expect them to be below .500, but still ahead of the Mariners. Many are excited about the future of the Rangers, but it won’t help them a lot this year. Josh Hamilton could put up monster numbers, but they need a lot of help offensively and defensively!
THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS
1.) Howie Kendrick will win the batting title, hitting .341.
2.) Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, Huston Street and Eric Chavez will all miss time during the season.
3.) Brad Wilkerson will be the Mariners primary 1B option by the All Star break because Richie Sexson is done.
1.) Cleveland Indians
2.) Detroit Tigers
3.) Minnesota Twins
4.) Kansas City Royals
5.) Chicago White Sox
The Tigers have an incredible offense, no doubt. But… Curtis Granderson will be out for awhile, and the rest of the offense is not young. And that starting staff, after Justin Verlander, is not very good. I know many want to think that Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis are good, but they have not been. Nate Robertson is pretty Jeckyl and Hyde, and Kenny Rogers is 43 years old. That will hurt them. Cleveland has a very good offense and Travis Hafner is due for a comeback season while Ryan Garko will have a big-time breakout season! Plus, they have much more depth in their starting rotation, including 2-3 guys at AAA (Sowers and Laffey have a little experience and Adam Miller may finally get a shot). I’m going to stand behind the Twins finishing in third place. I think that they have talented young pitchers with room for improvement and if they struggle, they will have several minor leaguers that they can go to. The offense is very strong from 1-8. This is a good team. The White Sox went the veteran route in the offseason to retain the links of Buehrle, Dye, Konerko. They do have a couple of guys to watch in Josh Fields and Alexei Ramirez. The Royals have horrible #4 and #5 pitchers to start the season, but with Gil Meche, Zach Greinke and Brian Bannister, that is a good start, and Luke Hochevar could be around in no time. The offense centered around Alex Gordon and Billy Butler should produce big things in their second years.
THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS
1.) The Tigers will have the winners of this year’s major AL Awards; Cy Young (Justin Verlander) and MVP (Miguel Cabrera)
2.) Delmon Young will have a higher batting average, more HR and more RBI than Torii Hunter.
3.) Cliff Lee (and Jake Westbrook) will win more games than Fausto Carmona.
Boston and Detroit ar eboth gong to be good. Is it possible that just one of them gets to the playoffs? I think so, and I think it will be the Tigers.
1.) Miguel Cabrera
2.) Grady Sizemore
3.) Alex Rodriguez
Rookie of the Year
1.) Evan Longoria
2.) Ian Kennedy
3.) Clay Buchholz
OK, there are my thoughts, how about yours? Post your predictions in the Comments below.