Spring Training isn’t even here. Pitchers and catchers haven’t reported yet. And there are still top named free agents who still haven’t signed. And yet, I’m ready to name my divison winners and award winners. So bare with me as I make a few mid-January predictions that won’t be answered until October. Here we go….
AL West- The West never amazes me. But then again, who does it amaze? Like how to Ranger fans make it through a 162 game season without a breakdown? The Angels are the favorite every season to win the divison. And you really can’t argue it. Best pitching in the divison but they did take a hit losing K-Rod, and without there being another big name bat in the divison (other than newly acquired Matt Holliday) its hard to say another team has a better lineup 1 through 9. Yes the Halos did lose Tex to free agency this offseason, but that lineup was already set before Tex made his way to LA. Brian Fuentes won’t be K-Rod but he definatly will fill the role fine enough. As long as Ervin Santana can keep up the winning on the road, and Escobar can come back in 09′ with a healthy body and keeps the talk of retiring shh, then the Angels will once again clinch the AL West by mid-August.
AL Central- How do you go from a 95 win team in 06′ to a 88 win team in 07′ and then trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis and go on to finish dead last in the divison behind the Royals? Well, the Tigers sure did it. The ChiSox won the divison last season by only one game to the Twins. But I don’t look too much into that. Had the Twins had Francisco Liriano the entire year, you could argue the Twins would of edged out the Sox. I don’t see either team winning the divison this year. While I would love to say the Tigers are going to bounce back out of their funk, I just don’t believe it. My surprise pick: Cleveland Indians. With the addition of Mark DeRosa as their super utility player, and a full season with a healthy Victor Martinez, why couldn’t the Indians surprise us all? Cliff Lee will definatly need to pitch somewhere close to last years Cy Young season. Carmona did come back to earth last year after his great 07′ campaign. It might be close, but I think the Indians will pull it out
AL East- Well if you know me, you know who I’m going to pick. It should be an exciting year with the Yankees probably starting the year out slow, maybe losing 15 of their first 25 games. I wouldn’t count it out. I think the Rays and Red Sox will be fighting for the divison crowd for most of the season and then one of them will die out around July-August. I refuse to pick the Yankees to win the divison. I just refuse. Everyone predicts them as World Series winners after huge signings of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeria, and AJ Burnett. Age doesn’t always win it. The Rays have the least of that. With David Price and Wade Davis waiting to get their shot in the rotation, they will have one of the best rotations in the league for years to come. Joe Maddon and company didn’t make many changes to the club in the offseason. They did make one addition for DH as they signed Pat Burrell for 2 years. Evan Longoria should break out this year and might become bigger than his AL East counterpart, Alex Rodriguez. It’s going to happen one of these years. Why not this year? Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, David Price and Wade Davis are the future for the rotation and is better than any rotation the Yankees or Red Sox could buy. Rays will win the divison, but the WC should definatly come out of this divison as well.
AL Wild Card- Ok so we have our 3 divison winners. But who will be that lucky 4th team to make it? Plently of teams should have a shot. Red Sox, Yankees being the favorites. But ChiSox, Twins and Tigers all could make some noise for that final spot. Who’s my pick? The Yankees of course. While I’m not overly impressed with their outfield, their infield’s offense is going to be great. Arod and Tex together can only generate good things. And as I said, their pitching was upgraded with CC and Burnett. But you can’t forget Wang and Phil Hughes were injured most of 2008 a Joba Chamerlain will be fighting for a spot this spring. If he does get it, the Yankees will definatly win the WC and without any major injuries, should make some noise in the playoffs.
I’ll post the National League and Award winners in a few days in seperate post. Until then, lets hope Derek Lowe finally realizes that hes not worth 16 million dollars a year. That *******.