AL East: New York Yankees: I wanna pick Tampa but I can't. Tampa might have the most talented offense in the AL East, but I can't hang my hat on their pitching. Boston has a ridiculous one-two punch in Beckett and Lackey and the defense should be better. The offense will always be a threat with Pedroia, Bay, and Youkilis. If Ortiz can have a year more like '08 than '09, the Sox will be serious contenders not just for the division but for the World Series. Toronto and Baltimore are still a couple of seasons away, but don't count out the Orioles. They have a bunch of young guns just like when the Rays shocked the world in '08. I'm not saying the Orioles are gonna go to the World Series, but fans in Baltimore should be excited about this team.
AL Central: Minnesota: This could be the year the Twins break through and win the AL pennant. Mauer, Cuddyer, and Morneau are tremendous players and should have big years in their new hitters' park. Also the O-Dog and Delmon Young provide the speed a pop that gives this team the perfect blend of speed and heavy hitters. Pitching is their biggest concern. Nathan's injury does not help and the pitching rotation would do wonders if Liriano could get back on track, whether it is as a starter or a closer. The Tigers still have a tremendous batting line-up, but I don't trust them the same way I trust the Twins. If Ordonez improves from last year's disappointing year and if Cabrera can stay away from the booze, then they have a good shot of having the best offense in the division. The Tigers probably have the best pitching in the division, but honestly that's not saying much in this division. It's kind of amazing to think that the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. This team is a shell of that team. The offense is mediocre at best and the pitching is as erratic as their manager. The Indians are still a season away, but the future could be now. Matt LaPorta should be a guy to look out for this year as the Indians offense should continue to improve this year. The starting rotation is top heavy with Fausto and Jake Westbrook but after that there is not much to rely on. Kerry Wood is a shaky closer, mainly due to injuries. If (and this is a big if) he can stay healthy the Indians have a good chance to challenge for the division. The Royals....well if Zack Greinke could pitch everyday, and if he could hit like Albert Pujols then I'd give them a shot.
AL West: Seattle: They should win the division, but I can see why they won't. Lee and Hernadez are amazing and having Ichiro and Figgins at the top of their line-up basically guarantees them two men on base. If Milton Bradley focuses on hitting the baseball and not fans and if they can get great bullpen production, Seattle should win this division for the first time since A-Rod left. The Angels can easily win this division, but I think losing Lackey will hurt them. Also gaining Matsui and losing Vlad is a lost to their lineup. The Rangers will be a tough out in this division, but they do not have as good as pitching as the Mariners, although the offense will keep them in many games. I wouldn't be surprised if they made the Wild Card. The A's fit into that category of being a couple of seasons away.
Wild Card: Boston: It was tough to choose between the Red Sox and the Angels but I give the edge to Boston because they have Lackey.
AL Champ: Yankees
NL East: Philadelphia: The Phillies will have the best offense in the division hands down, but don't count out the Braves and the New York Mets. The Phillies must improve their bullpen if they plan to make it four straight division titles and three straight pennants. Florida has an ace pitcher in Josh Johnson and an ace batter in Hanley Ramirez. Their bullpen will be their Achilles' heel and as good of an offense that they have, it's not as good as the Phillies, Mets or Braves. The Nats are in the same position as the Royals. It will be interesting to see how patient they will be with Stephen Strasburg as he will be the only thing people in Washington will spend money on to go see.
NL Central: Cardinals: I would like to choose the Brewers, but I am playing it safe and I am choosing the Cardinals. A deep pitching rotation and a deep lineup disappointed in the postseason last year, but they should be much better this year. I don't think having Big Mac back as their hitting coach will vastly improve their hitting, but I think having him around will provide some energy to that lineup. The Brew Crew have a dangerous line-up and the pitching rotation got much deeper with Randy Wolf as their third starter. I am still worried about their bullpen, and once you get past the number five hitter the batting order does not seem as daunting. The Cubs got much deeper in the outfield and if Big Z can pitch like the All-Star pitcher that he is the Cubs should be a contender. The Reds and Astros will be dangerous teams in the division. Carlos Lee cut himself in half and is in the best condition of his life. Chapman should help the Reds pitching rotation, but the Reds fall into that dreaded year away category. Pittsburgh has been a year away for nearly two decades. Players like Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutcheon, and Akinori Iwamura show that Pittsburgh is going in the right direction. Their offense should be much better than last year, but the pitching is dreadful.
NL West: Rockies: Dodgers are good, but the Rockies are better. If they can avoid the slow start that they had last season I see them running away with this division. The window of opportunity for the Dodgers is still open but it's barely open. Clayton Kershaw is a great young pitcher but losing Randy Wolf hurts their rotation. They still have potent batting lineup with Manny, Kemp, Loney, and Ethier, but I don't think that will be enough this season. The Giants have the best pitching rotation in baseball and a sneaky good offense led by Pablo Sandoval. However, I think their offense is not consistent enough to take the division away from the Rockies. The Padres and D-Backs are on a level below those other teams. The D-Backs have to deal with injuries already in their pitching rotation and the Padres can't hit.
Wild Card: Braves: I like this team very much. Jason Heyward has a lot of hype surrounding him and I think he'll live up to it and the pitching is not quite 1995, but it's pretty darn good. In addition, this is Bobby Cox's last year as a manager and you have to figure the players will be playing hard for the best baseball manager in my baseball viewing life time.
NL Champ: Cardinals
World Series Champ: Cardinals: I think they have the most complete team. I want to pick the Phillies but I think they have serious bullpen issues. The Cardinals are solid all around-- and did I mention that they have the best baseball player in the world? I would like to see the Cardinals play the Yankees in the World Series just so Pujols can prove once and for all that he is a better baseball player than A-Rod.
AL East: Of course, it's the Yankees. Like Jordan, I'd love, love, love to pick the Rays, but I don't think they're the team this year. The Yanks are just too deep. Thankfully for Baltimore, they may not finish in last this year. It seems like that hasn't happened in a long time. Last will go to Toronto, because apparently they have no idea how to run a baseball organization. It's even less fortunate for Cito Gaston, who did a great job with no talent last year. And, by the way, you can stick a fork in the Red Sox-- they're done. Third place for Boston this year.
AL Central: Now, while I live in Minnesota (and root for the Twins, as long as they're not playing my Brewers), it's not just hype making me say that the Twins will win the division-- rather, it's that they are, de facto, the best team in the division until someone else can prove a capable contender. While Jordan likes Cleveland, I don't see them making the move yet. Cleveland pitchers seem about as stable as Tiger's marriage (please see Lee, Cliff; Carmona, Fausto; Sabathia, CC; et all). The good news for the pitchers, at least, is that they always seem to succeed once they leave Cleveland (Leaveland? No-- that pun is just awful). Interestingly, it's also great news for Seattle and New York. Anyway, I don't particularly like the Tigers. Good rotation, not much else to offer, unless you believe that their hitters are going to hit like they did three years ago. Chicago is interesting, simply because there isn't one consistent player on the roster, so they could win 89 games if it all works out, and 59 games if it all breaks down. More likely, it'll be somewhere in between. Finally, Kansas City is great because of Greinke, but one more emotional breakdown from him and they're the worst team in the majors. They spent last year starting the majors' worst player every day at shortstop. These are the things that good organizations simply don't do.
AL West: This is a toughie, so I'll start at the bottom. The A's are still a decade away. I'd like to say a year, but a team that may now be run by Al Davis (who else would pay $10 mil for a guy who hasn't played in a year and had an injury history even before then?). I don't get it. Just a bad, bad roster. And I think it's a good sign of the atmosphere when a player (like, say, Matt Holliday) can succeed everywhere else except in that place. Factor in the Raiders (remember how Randy Moss was exactly the same as Holliday?), and I understand why Oakland fans are surprisingly pitiable. Well, they would be if they weren't such @$$holes. The top spot in the division will be a three-team race. I see the Angels as the odd-team out. I should know better than to doubt Scioscia, but they're clearly slipping, and they're definitely aging. Of course, with a manager like that, would I be surprised if they were the team celebrating in November? Well, yeah-- but only a little. As for the division crown, I see it going to Texas. They're a pretty deep team, and I think (with absolutely no evidence to support this) that Josh Hamilton will revert to 2008 form. If that happens, they'll win over 90 games. Regardless, I think they're the team to beat, even given Cliff Lee in Seattle. I like Seattle-- I just don't think they have the hitting to win the division.
AL Wild Card: Here's where things get interesting. I don't think there's anyone coming from the Central, but I think we'll see those three competitive teams from the West battling with the Rays for this spot. Obviously, one of the teams from the West will win the division, so the other two will be fighting for this spot. Personally, I like the Rays. They're a quality team, and I see this as a time when they can make a return trip to the playoffs.
ALCS: Yankees over Rays. I love this matchup. As for the four playoff teams, I see the Twins going out to the Yankees (a very, very familiar site this past 10 years), and the Rays shocking the Rangers. However, I think the Yanks take this one. Like I said, I think they're just too talented.
NL East: It's got to be the Phillies again. While I think there are a lot of other talented teams, I don't think there's anyone to match the Phillies. I think it's pretty obvious that the Nationals (who are getting better) and the Marlins (who are getting worse) can still be pretty competitive, I think it's even more obvious that they aren't the competitors. The Mets, who are a talented team, have built themselves a stadium which isn't going to help them. Additionally, I don't think they're as good as they were a couple of years ago. I, like Jordan, like Atlanta a lot. The Braves have the best young prospect in years, and I think they're going to be a great team in a couple of years. I just think things will need to fall into place, and they will be the team to beat in two or three years-- or maybe even in 2011. Just not yet. The point is, the man who gets Bobby Cox's job will be the luckiest man in baseball.
NL Central: The Cardinals, the Cardinals, the Cardinals. You have to love the team with the best player in baseball. They have the #2 and 3 pitchers in the league, they have Matt Holliday, who may have cost them a playoff series last year, but is still a solid player. There's too much talent here. You know that old saying, "those who can't do, teach." Well, Mark McGwire sure couldn't hit for average, so this whole team should hit about .450 this year. Seriously, though, I do think McGwire could be a good addition. You have to remember that he was a very good hitter in a lot of ways. No matter what steroids can do, I'll tell you this much-- they can't make something out of nothing. And Big Mac clearly had something. I like the Astros-- to finish last. They were just sooooooooo old last year, and then they went out and made themselves even older. That's called bad strategy. Then, there are the Pirates. They'll be bad, too, but I think they'll be better than the Astros. The Reds are a huge question mark. They could be .500 (or even a bit better), and they might finish in last. I have no idea. So I'm going to say fourth place, but they could be anywhere from 2-6. Now the Cubs. Why on earth do people still think this is a viable major league team? I think that Chicago is still solid enough for third place, but I can't see a playoff push. This leaves my Brewers in second. They should be about as good as last year-- maybe even better, because there are so many young guys. There are a lot of question marks, though, given the rotation, the bullpen, and over half of the starting lineup. But yes-- Fielder, Braun, Gallardo, and Wolf are good enough for second place.
NL West: I think it's the Dodgers, but solely because it's the safest pick. I don't like the Padres and I don't like D-Backs (although I wouldn't be shocked if they were a little better than some people are expecting). You can't help but like the Lincecums... I mean, Giants. They have a decent rotation, in spite of Barry Zito. The Rockies, though, are the major challengers. I don't think their level of play from the second half of last year is sustainable over a whole season, like people are saying. I think the Dodgers are in, but I don't really see anything coming out of this division.
NL Wild Card: Well, it looks to me like a team from each division (Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Colorado) will compete for the Wild Card. As fun as it would be to pick the sentimental favorite (like that sap Jordan did), I'll take the Rockies. I like the team-- I just don't think they'll win 120 games. They'll be right there, but I expect a quiet playoff exit. I do think Atlanta will be in it until the end, and Milwaukee should be competitive until the last 2 or 3 weeks-- unless a couple of players really outperform their expectations, in which case they could be in it until the end, as well. Again, though, I'm going to go with what I perceive as the "safest" pick, which is the Rocks.
NLCS: I imagine the Cards with the best record in the league, and that they'd defeat the Rockies easily. I also see the Phillies topping the Dodgers-- this year, in the first round. That sets up the dream matchup of the two best teams in the National League. Like Jordan, I see the Cardinals taking this one. Too much pitching, and I fear for Roy Halladay's health. Without him, the Phillies don't have too much in the way of pitching, besides a shaky bullpen (a feature the Cardinals share). I think the Cards are, for now, the more complete team.
World Series: The best part of every fall is watching the World Series, and I can't help but love a matchup between the two teams who have been there the most. I think this one could go the distance. It has compelling matchups-- the best 1Bs in each leagu;, the best two players of the last 6 or 7 years; a great bullpen in New York versus great starters in St. Louis; East Coast-Midwest-- everything you could ever want. You know what I don't like? I don't like that the Yankees have gone to the last two Series, I don't like that they're so consistently good, I don't like that they have a stadium that cost more than the GDP of several countries in the Western world, and I really hate New York baseball fans (the worst in the world). Mostly, then, I don't like the Yankees. And that's why I can't bring myself to pick them. Seriously, though-- they have some advantages, but I think the advantages in starting pitching is most likely to be the difference, and while Sabathia is great, the thought of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain starting a World Series game against Albert Pujols makes me laugh. I say, bring it on Yanks-- but the Cardinals will win it all.
Well that's it folks. Any questions?
Despite all the Kenny Florian-esque jabs that David threw at me, he still followed the leader and picked the same World Series participants and the same champ.
Well let's see if David can keep up as I tell you who will be the award winners for the 2010 MLB season.
NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward: This might be the easiest choice. Jason will obviously improve the Atlanta Braves offensively and defensively. He will carry them into the playoffs ( Yes I said they are going to the playoffs David.) and will revive one of the best baseball franchises in my life-time.
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox: This is his last year and he's going down swinging. Bobby Cox is the best manager that I have ever seen. The man won the NL East division eleven times in the row. He won the NL Pennant five times and won a World Series. Bobby Cox's departure from baseball is a huge lost to the league. Uncle Charlie Manuel should get a vote or two and Tony LaRussa should get a vote as well, but this is the year of Bobby Cox.
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay: Go ahead call me a homer. The fact of the matter is the best pitcher in the AL will no longer have to face a DH in the batting order. If you thought Cliff Lee was amazing when he came to the NL wait until you see Roy Halladay. He's a ground ball pitcher which is important for pitching at Citizen's Bank Park. He has a terrific curve ball and his recently added change up will do wonders after he destroys his opponents with his four and two seam fastball. Tim Lincecum will be a contender, and don't forget about Josh Johnson and my dark horse Clayton Kershaw.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols: Albert is the best player and baseball so he should be penciled-in for this award every year. Prince Fielder is in a contract year so he should have an outstanding year and if the Brewers can win the division I think the voters would give the award to Prince over Pujols. Also pay close attention to Ryan Howard. He's batting above .300 this spring and if he bats .300 this season he'll be the runaway MVP in the NL.
AL Rookie of the year: Austin Jackson: I usually think that pitchers have an advantage when it comes to the Rookie of the year award. Because it does take time for hitters to get use to a new pitcher which can lead to a successful first year. However, I think a player that plays everyday has more opportunities to leave a lasting image and that's why I went with Austin Jackson over Brian Matsuz. Austin Jackson will replace Curtis Granderson and I believe he'll be a good defensive player and will bat pretty well for the Tigers. He batted .353 in spring in 68 ABs and he had 40 total bases. I think Brian Matsuz will have a good year for the Orioles but I question if he can stay healthy all year since he's a young pitcher.
AL Manager of the Year: Don Wakamatsu: Seattle will win the division and Wakamatsu will make history as the first Asian-American manager to win this award. Ron Gardenhire will make a strong push especially since he has never won the award before. Joe Giradi is also another good choice.
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia: He is a bull. He might go down as the most durable pitcher in my generation. He brought a World Series back to New York and was able to remain composed in the post-season. He slayed the post-season demon and I think with that off his mind I think he'll be an even better pitcher this year. Zack Greinke will be solid but I think he will not be able to have the kind of year that he had last year. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez will be strong contenders and my sleeper is Fausto Carmona.
AL MVP: Carl Crawford: He has the best combination of speed and power in the AL. I think he'll have a breakout year and he'll be the reason the Rays will have a winning record this year. Evan Longoria may steal votes from him and A-Rod always has a shot at the award. Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter are two other guys that the world should keep their eyes on.
Well that's the list....David....you're up!!