Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2008 MLB Projections

It seems that almost everybody is doing theirs, so I thought that I'd male mine. One day, or actually like five days in to the season shouldn't really be a problem.

American League

AL East-Boston Red Sox
It would be really hard to pick against the division champs, especially when they may be better this year now that Ortiz is healthy and Manny Ramirez is ready to go. If this team had acquired Johan Santana or even Erik Bedard for that matter, they would be almost unbeatable. Solid rotation, great backend of the bullpen, amazing lineup, all the tools for a champion. There's a reason that the BoSox have won two of the past four World Series', and their team has hardly changed since 2004.

AL Central-Cleveland Indians
I really want to pick the Detroit Tigers, but their pretty much non-existent bullpen was too hard to turn the other cheecl to their rotation and lineup. The Indians have two Cy Young caliber starters in CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, and as we've learned, a player (CC) in a contract year shows up more. Their lineup is solid with Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner in the middle. The bullpen is good with Joe Borowski leading the league in saves (45) last season.

AL West-Seattle Mariners
I wasn't going to clearly pick the Mariners for the ALW a month ago, but injuries to the Angels' pitching staff help ease my decision a little. A little bias helps too. The Mariners rotation is one of the best in the league, and so is their bullpen, as long as it doesn't get burnt out again. The lineup has some question marks, but nevertheless has all of the potential needed to be a great one. If the Mariners can get off to a fast start and bury the Angels in their injuries, then maybe they could have the division locked up by May-June, like in 2001, the Mariners last postseason appearence, and division title.

AL Wild Card-Los Angeles Angels/New York Yankees
This is a tough pick for me because of all of the factors that need to be considered. If the Angels can get healthy quick enough, then maybe they will have a shot at the playoffs. It's hard to imagine a post season without the Yankees. Why would they not want to give fans one more thing to celebrate at Yankee Stadium before they leave? They have the lineup, and maybe a bit of a starting rotation depending on what the kids can do. But other than Mariano Rivera and maybe Joba Chamberlain, their bullpen isn't much. I want to pick the Tigers, but unless something significant happens in the bullpen, then... I've just put myself in to a bit of a jam here. I said that the Yankees don't have that much of a bullpen, but still have them picked. Hmmm, to get my way out of this one. The Tigers and Yankees lineups are going to put up runs, that's for sure. And they both have bullpen concerns. Maybe it's just Rivera that makes me favour the Yankees. I don't know. Joel Zumuya is out for who knows how mmuch longer, and Todd Jones doesn't have much left. I want to include the Toronto Blue Jays in the mix here, and if they are healthy, then they will be really good. It's just that they have to play like 40 games against Boston and the Yankees, and how knows how good they'll be. Sleeper pick is Toronto. They won't fall out of the mix unless the injuries start piling up again.

Sleeper-Toronto Blue Jays
How much longer are the Jays going to slip under the radar? They have an almost healthy team, and compared to last season is a blessing, and what they do have is pretty good. Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett is or a little while ago was considered one of the best 1-2 in the rotation in the MLB. How the mighty have fallen. Burnett has spent more time on the DL these past few years then in the shower, and Halladay has had to endure some freek injures (apendicities) that knocked him out for weeks at a time. Dustin McGowen and Shaun Marcum are two of the best up and coming players in the league. Because of injuries last season, both got a chance to shine. McGowen even carried a no hitter in to the ninth inning of a game. This year may see them both break out. Their bullpen is one with the stuff, but health is the main issue. BJ Ryan was a top closer, but hasn't pitched since 2006, after missing all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and is on the DL again. Newly acquired 3B Scott Rolen is on the DL for a month with a broken, or ripped apart finger. Alex Rios is slowly becoming one of the elite, and Vernon Wells is now healthy and ready to prove that he isn't overrated after a very poor season at Wells standerds. I really like this team, and hope that they don't go away (unless both teams are fighting for that Wild Card spot).

National League

NL East-NY Mets
It's hard not to pick a team that just landed one of the best pitchers in the world, adding to an already playoff capable team. The infield is to die for, and Pedro is back, and healthy for a change. John Maine is turning in to an elite starter. Billy Wagner is was an overrated closer, but now I think that he's underrated. Same with Carlos Beltran. Brian Schneider is an alright catcher, but I would have expected better. Again, hard to argue against a team with a payroll of over $150M.

NL Central-Chicago Cubs
My lack of NL knowledge is starting to come in to effect, but I'm learning as I go. The Cubs are ready to end their drought, and some more then others (Ryan Dempster) think that they can end the curse of the goat or whatever. They have a very capable team that looked solid in Spring Training. The Brewers aren't going to go away in discussion of the NLC because their offence is so good. But there's too many other holes on the roster to have them in serious, serious consideration (no more Francisco Cordero, surpless of starting pitching now getting hurt, not great bullpen).

NL West-Arizona Diamondbacks
The NL West is a crapshoot between the D-Backs, Dodgers, Padres and Rockies. The D-Backs look to be a cut above after adding Dan Haren to the rotation. Brandon Webb and Dan Haren make a very solid 1-2 rotation. If Randy Johnson can get healthy... No Jose Valverde will hurt. Their young, explosive offence is not one to mess with. Let's see what Justin Upton can do in his first season. I want to see what this guy has. This division may need to be decided by 163 games, and a run that shouldn't have counted because Matt Holliday didn't touch the plate, but I was happy for the Rockies, and to see Jeff Francis pitching in the World Series, because of how many teams are in on it.

NL Wild Card-Whoever doesn't win the NLW
I'm going to make a broader prediction, and say that one of the three other teams who didn't win the NL West will win the Wild Card. The Dodgers already have the pieces there, but health is a problem. Andruw Jones will fill the power gap, and Joe Torre should be a boost. The Rockies have one of the best teams in the MLB, and could go back to the World Series again. Matt Holliday is too good, and Tulo and the rest of the young guns have already proved what they're worth. Jeff Francis leads an up and coming rotation, but like a few teams, the Rox have a couple bullpen questions. I want to pick the Padres for the division because Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Gregg Maddux make up an amazing rotation, and Trevor Hoffman is one of the best closers, maybe ever. The Pads may score enough runs to get by, but I really don't like their outfield. Edmonds is hurt, and Brian Giles and Jerry Hairston aren't much.

Sleeper-Atlanta Braves
I'm going to say that the Braves will sneak under the radar and maybe steal a playoff spot. I really like Brian McCann and Mark Teixeria is in a contract year, and is an amazing offensive talent. Rafael Soriano (thanks to Bill Bavasi) is turning in to a dependable closer in Atlanta. Jeff Francoer started fast, but cooled off a bit, but may be able to break out again this year. John Smoltz and Tom Glavine may be able to rekindle some magic. Tim Hudson. What to say. He went from the penthouse as a memeber of the Oakland A's rotation a few years back, to basically the outhouse with all of his injury problems. In fact everyone for Oakland's infamous 'Big 3' of Barry Zito, Hudson, and Mark Mulder have all had problems after leaving Oakland. If a few of the young guns can step it up, then the Braves will be a serious contender.


AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera Runner Up: Alex Rodriguez
How can I pick against A-Rod? I don't know. I'm not sure if A-Rod will hit another 50 homeruns now that he has his new contract. If Cabrera gets his team in, or close to the playoffs, and A-Rod doesn't, it's Cabrera's.

AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia Runners Up: Roy Halladay, Erik Bedard
CC has a new contract on the line, and has the same team around him. Another amazing season looks to be in line for Sabathia. Roy Hallday is an interesting case. He won the Cy Young in 2003 I think, and has been close pretty much every year since. The reason he hasn't won it again, is that he keeps getting hurt. But it's the good kind of hurt. A line drive off of his shin and appendicities are better then any arm trouble, that Doc has never had. We'll see what his team can do for him. Bedard, I have explained before I think, but he's in a pitcher friendly park, has a solid defence behind him, and more offence then in Baltimore. He should be here for a whole season, and has pressure put on being in Seattle, and pressure taken off, knowing that King Felix is the number two behind him.

AL ROY: Clay Buchholz Runners Up: Evan Longoria, Jacoby Ellsbury
It was almost a toss up between the two Boston teamates, because of how good they are. There's a reason why the BoSox didn't want to give them up, even for Johan Santana. Buchholz will be in the bigs for a whole season, and has the offence behind him to get him a ton of wins. Ellsbury proved in last year's playoffs what he can do, and should do so again. Longoria starting in the minors is why I didn't have him winning. He'll be good though, that's for sure.

AL Comeback: Lyle Overbay
He's coming off thumb surgery that disabled him from getting anything going last season, but hit .312 with 22 HR and 92 RBI the year before. He got his new contract last year, so that monkey is off of his back. Health can be a very helpful thing to some players, and now that Overbay is there, he should prove that 2006 wasn't a fluke.

NL MVP: Matt Holliday Runner Up: David Wright
Holliday was ranked the number one fantasy outfielder this year, and should produce stats similar to last season's stellar performance. He'll get noticed even more this season now that the Rockies have proved that they don't suck anymore. If David Wright doesn't win, he'll be a close number two. He should have won last year, but politics or something got Jimmy Rollins the MVP.

NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy Runner Up: Johan Santana
Hard to pick against Santana considering that he is in a winning city, had a better team around him and is in the NL. But Jake Peavy has been there (in the NL) for a little but longer then Santana has, and knows exactly what the advantage is. Peavy should lead the league in strikeouts and shutouts. He's pitching in the ever so friendly Petco Park (beautiful stadium by the way).

NL ROY: Kosuke Fukudome Runner Up: Geovany Soto
Hard to argue with the Japanese import. He he shows up and pans out to around half of what we've heard he is, then forget about the other rookies in the NL. Soto is going to have a good year, but I feel safer taking Fukudome.

NL Comeback: Randy Johnson Runers Up: Nick Johnson, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt, Pedro Martinez
Yes the Big Unit is 44, but he's got some solid help in the rotation, not to mention everything else, and if he's healthy, could surprise many. Garciaparra and Schmidt aren't ready yet because of injuries, but could turn their luck around. A Nationals 1B (Dimitri Young) won last year, could Johnson take it this year? Why not through Pedro in to the mix? He's healthy, and has Santana in the rotation. The rest of the Mets will help too. A lot of others could be considered.

This is a disgustingly long post, and I didn't plan on it being like this, but that's how it goes. Who are your picks? Leave your selections in the comments.

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