Earlier this week, I posted the Wezen-Ball MLB Predictions 2010 community spreadsheet for everyone to fill out with their predictions for the season (and I even offered a prize to the person who makes the most accurate predictions at the end of the season). It seems to be going pretty well as we’re up to over 20 entries now with a few days left. Not too shabby.
What I didn’t do at the time, though, was give any reasons for the predictions I made. But the season officially starts tomorrow night, and I might be kicked out of the baseball bloggers club if I didn’t spend at least one post giving my thoughts on the upcoming season, so here we go…
One caveat: I’m absolutely atrocious at making predictions, and my World Series favorites typically end up in fourth or fifth place. Read at your own risk.
(Click “Read More” to continue reading.)
(You can see my full predictions on the spreadsheet here.) The top three teams in this division are so good that they could finish in any order and I wouldn’t be surprised. The Yankees, though, are still probably the best of the three teams. Their stars have to age sometime, but, until they actually show some sign of mortality, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. The Sox and Rays will battle for second place, and it’ll probably come down to whoever gets the better breaks. If I have to make a choice, I’ll take the Rays. The O’s are really getting better and better with their young talent, but it’s not going to be near enough in this stacked division. The Jays, sadly, are not going to be doing a lot to win back their fans after trading Doc Halladay.
The Twins are still the class of the Central, and locking up Joe Mauer for 25 years or whatever it was only helps their cause. But it is the Central, so we probably can’t expect many more then 87 or 88 wins from them. The Indians and Royals are both terrible (even if they both have some top-tier talent on their rosters), so second and third places kind of default to the Tigers and White Sox. Chicago seems to be on a bit of a decline, so I’m taking Detroit for second place.
We all love the moves that Daddy Warbucks has made in Seattle this offseason, but the truth is that they still aren’t a 90+-win team. But who is the best team in the division? The Angels and Rangers both have their cases, but I’ve got to give it to the Angels. Mike Scioscia has been able to do great things with that club year-in and year-out, so I feel a little more confident in him than, say, Ron Washington. Oakland still has some nice young talent, but they aren’t nearly a complete enough team to rise to the top.
The Phillies are still the best team in the National League, and Roy Halladay makes them even better. The Braves are getting better and better, with their young pitchers and the addition of superstud Jason Heyward. I give them the lead over the Marlins, who are better than most people seem to realize. The Mets were my World Series pick last year, but injuries let them down big time. That won’t be the case again this year, but there’s something about the organization that makes me doubt them right now. That probably means they’ll win 110 games and sweep the playoffs, but whatever… Strasburg is going to be exciting this year and Zimmermann is pretty darn good, but the Nationals aren’t finding their way to .500 any time soon.
I said some of this before over at Baseball Analysts, so excuse me if I repeat myself too much. The Cardinals are clearly the best team in the division, but, like the Twins, I’m not convinced that means 90 wins. So much went right for St. Louis last year and they only managed 91 victories. For the Brewers, I’m calling second place and 86 wins. It might be a bit homerrific, but it doesn’t seem crazy to me. The pitching staff just can’t be as bad this year as it was last, so that should be good for a few extra wins. The Cubs should be a good team, on paper, but I thought the same thing last year, and they were terrible. Considering their best players are Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez, all of whom have serious questions, it’s hard to predict more than 82 or so games. The Reds are young and getting better – and Aroldis Chapman is an exciting addition to the rotation – but they’re still a few years away. The Pirates are still terrible, but I do like the direction they’re going. The Astros, however, are in a scary nosedive.
My buddy swears to high-heavens that the Giants are going to easily walk away with the division, but that offense is scary. Sure, they’re nominally better than last year, but Aubrey Huff and Mark Derosa aren’t going to give them 80 extra runs or anything this year. I’ve had a bias against the Rockies the last few years because of the way they’ve squeaked into the playoffs, but they have a lot of talent on that team and it looks like everyone’s aging at the right time. Considering the downslide the Dodgers have taken this offseason in the wake of the McCourts’ divorce, and the fact that the Giants are going to have to fight a lot of luck to even replicate last year’s win totals, that should be enough for Colorado to take the division. The Padres will once again find themselves in the cellar, leaving the Diamondbacks in fourth place.
The playoffs are a crap-shoot every year, as we all know, so I like to mix up my predictions every year. It has the added benefit of letting me choose someone other than the Yankees to win it all. This year, I’m going the Rays’ route. The ALCS matchup against the Yankees will be memorable, but Tampa Bay will prevail and then take it the Phillies in the World Series. I know it’d be Philadelphia’s third straight trip to the Series, but that’s not exactly unheard of.
There’s no greater shot in the dark with these pre-season predictions than the award categories, but I’ll give it a try anyway. In the AL, we’ll finally see King Felix get the glory everyone has been predicting of him for the last four or five years. For MVP, I’m going with Evan Longoria in Tampa, who might actually be better than we realize. My ROY pick is Detroit’s Austin Jackson, though I honestly have no idea. In the NL, I’m predicting that the change in leagues will go swimmingly for Roy Halladay (as it did in year’s past for Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens). The MVP pick is a little more in the air for me, so I decided to throw a random homer pick in there. It doesn’t hurt that Ryan Braun is an awesome offensive talent entering his age 26 season. For the ROY, I’m sticking with the pre-season hype of Stephen Strasburg. Heyward has a good shot, too, but I think voters might stick with Strasburg.
There you have it. I guarantee about 15 or 20 mis-predictions in this piece. Show me that you can do better. Make your predictions on the Wezen-Ball MLB 2010 Predictions community spreadsheet (remember that the winner gets 2 free tickets*), and then leave your reasonings below. Or, you know, you can tell me why I’m so wrong.
Either way, at least we don’t have to wait any longer for the season to arrive!