Tuesday, 27 March 2007

MLB 2007 Predictions

I just had my first fantasy baseball draft of the season on Monday, so in my world that officially means that it's about time for the baseball season to start. First off, if you still want to be led astray some fantasy baseball help, you can check out some of my rankings:

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Starting Pitching

Now that that's covered, some predictions of standings, awards, and my long-awaited pick to win it all.

* denotes wildcard

1) New York Yankees
2) Boston Red Sox
3) Toronto Blue Jays
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Comments: Ho hum, another division title for the Yankees. In reality, this will be a tight race between the Yankees and Sox, but I like the Bronx Bombers a little better here, especially if/when Carl Pavano gets hurt and Phillip Hughes joins the rotation. I think the Yankees lineup is a little better, and there are fewer concerns in the bullpen. Elsewhere, business as usual. The DRays are better than ever, but still not good enough to get out of the cellar.

1) Cleveland Indians
2) *Minnesota Twins
3) Detroit Tigers
4) Chicago White Sox
5) Kansas City Royals

Comments: I suspect this will be the most controversial choice, but that's ok. As far as the top 4 teams go, this is the best division in baseball. At the top, I really like the Indians. For the second straight year, they were a lot better than their record would indicate. They have an explosive offense led by Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, an improving rotation, and the bullpen should be better (it can't be worse). Up next, I'll take the Twins slightly over the Tigers... largely dependent on the fact that I figure at some point early in the season at least a couple of the Carlos Silva, Ramon Ortiz, and Sidney Ponson trio will be replaced by some of the talented youngsters.

I'm not a huge fan of the Tigers offense, and Sheffield has a bad shoulder and has been declining for 4 years now. I would bet money that Kenny Rogers ERA will not be as low as 3.84 again, and the bullpen has some questions. I think the Tigers will have a White Sox like dropoff this year... which is to say they'll still be good, but not as good as they were in 2006. As for those said White Sox, I have a hard time seeing Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye replicate their great seasons from last year. Another minus is that Ozzie Guillen is batting Darin Erstad 2nd instead of Tad Iguchi... it's almost like they're trying to lose.

1) Los Angeles Angels
2) Oakland Athletics
3) Texas Rangers
4) Seattle Mariners

Comments: I don't have a lot of confidence in this pick... mostly a gut feeling. If Rich Harden remians healthy all season long, he can be a Cy Young candidate and the A's can be back in the playoffs, but I'll believe that when I see it. As it is, as long as the Angels let some of the young guys play, I think their rotation will be enough. But again, I wouldn't put any money on this.

1) Philadelphia Phillies
2) *New York Mets
3) Atlanta Braves
4) Florida Marlins
5) Washington Nationals

Comments: Certainly a large gap here between the top 3 teams and the last 2... the Marlins overachieved some, and I'm not sure they can compete with the top 3. The Nationals should be really bad, so we can discount them. Up top, it's the pitching concerns of the Mets that have me putting them at #2. I'm not in love with this Phillies team, but I think the stellar young pitching of Cole Hamels and Brett Myers (if he can, um, stay out of trouble) will be enough for the Phils to take the East.

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

Comments: To be blunt, this division sucks. Which isn't really a surprise, since it sucked last year, but not much has changed. I'll take the Cardinals as long as Carpenter and Pujols stay healthy. Brewers are young and talented but I don't think they're quite there yet. After that, it's anyone's guess. I feel confident that the Reds and Pirates will take up the rear, but I don't feel confident about much else.

1) Arizona Diamondbacks
2) San Diego Padres
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
4) San Francisco Giants
5) Colorado Rockies

Comments: I like the DBacks here... their pitching is not as good as the Pads, but they have a look of good hitters. Brandon Webb will anchor the rotation, I think the Big Unit will bounce back some, and Livan Hernandez improved a lot once he came over to Arizona. A lot of the offensive guys are a year away from becoming household names, but I like the direction Arizona is taking. They're my pick.

AL MVP: Grady Sizemore (CLE) - The most underrated player in the MLB, if only because people don't realize that he's the best CF in the MLB.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols (STL) - Still the best hitter in the MLB.

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana (MIN) - Should be taking aim at his 4th consecutive Cy Young.

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb (ARI) - With Arizona a winning team, it's Webb's turn to take home the hardware.

AL Rookie of the Year: Alex Gordon (KC) - All the hype, finally time for him to produce.

NL Rookie of the Year: Chris Young (ARI) - Could be a 20/20 man as a rookie.

Yankees over Twins in 5
Indians over Angels in 4

Mets over Diamondbacks in 4
Cardinals over Phillies in 5

Yankees over Indians in 6
Mets over Cardinals in 7

Yankees over Mets in 6

World Series Champion: New York Yankees.

So... where do you disagree the most??