Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Baseball Predictions, Part 3

Here's a look at the remaining two divisions and predictions for the playoffs and award winners.

American League East

1) Yankees -- New York has holes in their pitching staff, but the lineup should be good enough to overcome that until the playoffs.
2) Blue Jays -- I wanted to pick Toronto, but A.J. Burnett's injury reminded me that their high-profile moves also came with a lot of risk.
3) Red Sox -- There's Manny (being Manny) and Papi, but there's an awful lot of age on the pitching staff. Josh Beckett was a gamble worth making, though.
4) Devil Rays -- The return of Rocco Baldelli and the arrival of Delmon Young are positives, but the bullpen is a disaster. Still, Tampa Bay should get out of the cellar, thanks to ...
5) Orioles -- It's just awful, borderline criminal, what Peter Angelos has done with this team. A great baseball town like Baltimore deserves far better.

Best Starting Pitching -- Toronto. Roy Halladay is a true ace, and Gustavo Chacin, Ted Lilly and Josh Towers are solid. Burnett could be the difference as this team makes a playoff run.

Best Bullpen -- New York. This is solely based on the presence of Mariano Rivera. Boston could challenge if Keith Foulke is back to 100 percent.

Best Lineup -- New York. Adding Johnny Damon only makes the offense better, though he arguably makes the defense worse.

Best Defense -- Toronto. Despite the loss of Orlando Hudson, the Blue Jays have Vernon Wells and Bengie Molina, and they're competent at every position, which can't be said for most of their division rivals.

American League Central

1) White Sox -- If Bobby Jenks can handle a full season as the closer, the defending champions could be even better than last year.
2) Indians -- A team with great young talent will challenge the White Sox all the way, just like last year.
3) Twins -- Solid pitching as usual, but the Twins made cosmetic changes to a lineup that needs a major overhaul.
4) Tigers -- No longer a joke, the Tigers will be the spoiler in the division. Jim Leyland will get them to play hard, and the starting rotation has the potential to be very good, if Kenny Rogers doesn't implode.
5) Royals -- Reggie Sanders and Mark Grudzielanek crossed I-70 to sign with the Royals and instantly became the best players on the team.

Best Starting Pitching -- Chicago. The rich get richer. The best starting four last year added a solid fifth in Javier Vazquez, and Brandon McCarthy is waiting in the wings.

Best Bullpen -- Minnesota. If rookie left-hander Francisco Liriano is as good as advertised, he'll fill the only void in what is otherwise a solid pen anchored by Joe Nathan.

Best Lineup -- Cleveland. The scary thing is how young the Indians are. Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta can only get better.

Best Defense -- Minnesota. Newcomers Luis Castillo and Tony Batista are both strong defensively. Joe Mauer is a budding Gold Glover at catcher, while Torii Hunter can probably plan on adding to his stockpile.

AL -- Paul Konerko, Chicago. With Jim Thome protecting him in the lineup, this great clutch hitter will have a lot of chances to come through.
NL -- Albert Pujols, St. Louis. The Cardinals should win the division again, and Pujols is the best hitter in the game.

Cy Young Awards
AL -- Roy Halladay, Toronto. He might have won the award last year if not for a line drive that broke his leg. Halladay has great stuff and a winner's attitude.
NL -- Roy Oswalt, Houston. What we saw in the playoffs is only the surface of how dominant Oswalt can be.

Rookies of the Year (the toughest category to pick because often the winner is in the minors at the start of the season)
AL -- Jeff Mathis, Anaheim. Mathis has a solid bat and is already a great receiver. The Angels pitching staff will make him look good.
NL -- Prince Fielder, Milwaukee. The Brewers had no problem trading Lyle Overbay because of Fielder's powerful left-handed bat.

Playoff Predictions
AL -- A's over Yankees, White Sox over Angels (wild card); White Sox over A's
NL -- Mets over Giants, Cardinals over Braves (wild card); Cardinals over Mets
World Series -- Cardinals over White Sox


Anonymous Joel said...

Man you have really gone out on a ledge with some of these predictions. They are completly different than almost EVERY SINGLE OTHER unfunny predictions I have seen on the web.

8:59 AM  

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