Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 MLB Preview

The birds are chirping, the grass is getting greener, and I feel like a 10 year old kid again. That can only mean one thing: baseball season is here, and not a moment too soon. Below is my full breakdown of this season by divisions.

***= Wild Card Winner

AL East
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox ***
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

Easily the best division in baseball. The Yankees incredible offensive and pitching depth will lead them to the divisional title. The Red Sox top 3 in the rotation is nasty, and they have the best pen in the game, anchored by Papelbon, Okajima, and breakout phenom Daniel Bard who is just flat out nasty. The Orioles are a team that could make some noise, and any other division I would give them a fighting chance to ship it. Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters are primed for breakout seasons, and their young staff of talented arms including: Brad Bergeson, Brian Matusz, and Chris Tillman make the O's my favorite team to keep an eye on. 5 Years from now they could be the class of the division.

AL Central
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

As much as I love the M&M brothers in Minnesota, the White Sox' pitching depth will lead them to the AL Central title. The Twins will hang around and make their late season run as always, but the loss of Joe Nathan will hurt them a lot more than one would think, and the 1-2 of Peavy and Buehrle will be too much to overcome. Two names to keep an eye out for in this division are: Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar both of the Royals.

AL West
1. Texas Rangers
2. Anaheim Angels
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics

Texas is just flat out too deep offensively, a machine that will be unrelenting and never lets up. Josh Hamilton will rebound from a disappointing '09, and Julio Borbon will emerge as one of the game's best leadoff hitters. The big question mark will be Rich Harden who must stay healthy and be effective to anchor this young and high upside staff. Can't wait for Neftali Feliz's entry to the starting rotation, and the inevitable promotion of Justin Smoak over Chris Davis. I still like the Angels and Mariners, but the M's still don't have the power bats and with Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard facing health concerns I just can't see them supplanting the Rangers or Angels. The Halos are very very solid in every aspect of the game, but the Rangers are just better. The Halos' season really hinges on Erick Aybar. If he gets on base, steals 30+ bases, and sparks the Angels' style of baseball then they could ship it, but it will probably take 95+ wins b/c the Rangers are surely going to do that.

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Florida Marlins
4. New York Mets
5. Washington Nationals

The Phillies are in a class of their own, but the Braves are the team that I like to make some noise and make a solid wild card run. Their staff is ridiculously deep: Lowe, Juurjens, Tommy Hanson who will become their ace by mid season, and Tim Hudson as a nice bounceback candidate. Jason Heyward is a solid ROY candidate. I really like the Nationals' lineup: Dunn and Zimmerman are monsters in the middle, and they've filled out the rest of the lineup nicely, but their pitching sans Strasburg is epic garbage.

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cardinals are too deep, too experienced, and yea they have that Pujols guy. This is probably the worst division in baseball, and other than the Cardinals, there is no team that I am sure will finish above .500. The Reds are a trendy pick, but I think they're still a year or two away, although I am excited to see Chapman pitch, and Joey Votto is a superstar in the making. For the Cubbies, much hinges on staying healthy, and of course Alfonso Soriano playing to the level of his contract. Out of Pittsburgh, remember the name Andrew McCutchen, because by this time next year everyone else will know his name: an absolute 5 tool stud stuck on the worst team in baseball.

NL West
1. Colorado Rockies
2. San Francisco Giants ***
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres

The Rockies are for real and will win 100 games this season. Carlos Gonzalez is the best player nobody knows about, Ubaldo Jimenez is the most underrated pitcher in the game, their lineup is so stacked that 25HR hitter Ian Stewart will be hitting 7th. The Giants still don't have an impact bat, but with Lincecum/Cain/Zito and a very underrated bullpen you don't really one. They will be able to pitch their way to victory and a wild card berth. The Dodgers will still be a solid team, but their bench is substantially weaker than last season, and with Rafael Furcal, and their entire bullpen (their strength last season) having Spring Training problems I just don't see them supplanting either of their divisional foes.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester

NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Washington

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, but keep an eye on Kyle Blanks in San Diego who may still be rookie eligible
AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz

10 Players Primed for a Breakout Year
1. Brett Anderson
2. Carlos Gonzalez
3. Andrew McCutchen
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. Jason Heyward
6. Tommy Hanson ('09 was great but this year he will be a top 10 SP in the game)
7. Nolan Reimold
8. Billy Butler
9. Rick Porcello
10. Neftali Feliz

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