America’s Pastime is back.

2 04 2010

Baseball on Easter just seems so perfect…even for this Jew

Yankees vs Red Sox to open up 2010 –  AWESOME.

So no this post isn’t about the bringing together of these hated rivals.  Instead its PSD’s MLB 2010 predictions.  I’ll run down how I think the divisions will end up.  Lets start with the American League and those Defending Champion Yankees and the AL East…

27th World Series, 40th AL Pennant, 16th AL East Division Title, and now 19 seasons with at least 100 victories.   Yeah there is no doubt money wins and the damn yanks are always here to prove that point.  I see no reason why they won’t repeat as Division Champs in 2010.   Its hard to not like a team with C.C., A.J, Pettitte, and now new pitcher Javier Vazquez.  They replace Matsui’s loss in the line-up with superior athlete Curtis Granderson.  They’ll creep close to the 100 win mark with that pitching rotation (throw in youngster Phil Hughes for the fifth starter).
Its so hard not to go NYC and BOS #1 and 2 (flip flop every once and a while).  Both these teams just reload so often.  John “Big” Lackey is now part of one hell of a lethal line-up (he’s the third pitcher for gosh sakes!!).  Victor Martinez won’t be the new guy and should be a lot more comfortable in the Red Sox uni (watch out for MVP talk!!) Also don’t be shocked when Adrian Beltre finds his home run power in Fenway (bounce back year for sure).   They’ll fight for the wild-card berth all year, but i’m saying this year they don’t win it.  (BOOM!)
This young team has so much talent and in 2011 they should slid into that number 2 hole, but they still are a few moves  from really contending.  The big hold up for me is whether Rafael Soriano is legit or not.   He’s on my fantasy team, but i’m not completely comfortable with the thought that he is the MAN.   They’ll remain close to last year’s 84 win mark.
Yep my first shocker pic – the O’s drop Toronto to the bottom.  They have been one of the worst teams the last decade or so, but this off-season they brought in some nice vets and with Toronto having a huge FOR SALE sign in the off-season, expect the O’s to jump in front.  Keep your eyes on Nolan Reimold the young LF that should breakout fuller in 2010 (with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis one of the best young outfields in all of baseball).
I’ve always had a soft-spot for the Jays, but when you have a second year player as your ace and a Tommy John surgery guy as your #2 you can’t be to freaking optimistic.  Don’t get me wrong I like Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum, but talk about scary.   Aaron Hill and Adam Lind should be two salty players that give clean-up hitter Vernon Wells a great chance to thrive.   Good group of young talent, but the Halladay loss is just two significant to not see them drop to the cellar.
The Prodigal Son will stay in Minnesota!!

Its really simple if they didn’t sign the reigning AL MVP then the Tigers would easily steal back the central.  With the M & M’s (Mauer and Justin Morneau) they have the necessary one-two punch to repeat as division champs.   I still think they need one top end pitcher to actually be true World Series contenders.  A new stadium should also amp up the club and the fans.  Like last season it’ll go down to the wire with the Tigers and don’t count out Ossie’s White Sox.
The Tigers sure looked like the Central champs in September of 09′ then crazy stuff started happening.  Most could argue they looked better then Minnesota before there epic meltdown.  Losing Curtis will hurt them for 2010 but 2011 and 2012 should be wonderful years for the motor capital of the world.  Austin Jackson is the stud they got from the Yankees in the Granderson trade.  This local Denton product has the ability to be a five-tool player and a legitimate lead-off for El Tigre.  But the Johnny Damon pick-up seems a bit weird to me and honestly they’ll need to add one more bat if they really want to oust the Twins from first place.
The White Sox have a solid rotation with Peavy healthy and a full off-season with the club.  The question about the Chi town side is simply where will the runs come from?  They don’t have that marque hitter that every contender seems to have.  Ossie is crazy and says the most wheels off things, but the guy is a winner.  I see a jump up into the 80 win range, but still not enough pop to push the Tigers down a notch.
Cleveland surely doesn’t ROCK anymore.  Rebuilding process shouldn’t mean race to 100 losses, which they almost reached last season (97).   Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo should make a great #2 and #3 hole combo.  The offensive question all year will be how well Grady takes not being the lead-off hitter.  The pitching is still pretty crappy, but Jake Westbrook (back from 09′ Tommy John surgery) could gain back his 15 game form.  Overall they are going to get worse before they get any better.
The comments begin and end with Zach Greinke and his Cy Young arm.  They did bring in some vets to round out the line-up like Rick Ankiel.  He’ll be in the 5 spot and if he can regain his power then they may actually have a decent year.  Don’t see that or any of the other problems with the team correcting themselves this year.  Greinke should be in a new uniform by 2011.
Hey Ron why you so happy?  Insert Drug Joke here.

Yeah I’m going with the home town boys.  Yeah I do think this young ass bunch can oust the Angels.  It’ll be really difficult and they’ll need to crack 90 wins to do it, but you watch and see.  I still respect the hell out of the Angels, but you don’t lose that type of veteran leadership (two big vets joining division rivals – big no no).  The Rangers have the power, the depth in pitching (ha when they get fully healthy that is), and wild-card (nope not Cocaine Ron) Chuck Greenberg.  The new owner has a real chance to regain the fan base.  Finally the devil sold the team so he could put all his effort to ruining Liverpool soccer and Dallas Stars hockey. GOOD BYE SATAN!!! Nice to meet ya Chuck.
I really think the Rangers have the pieces to succeed, whether its Nolan Ryan running the ranch, Mike Maddux awakening our pitching, Ron Washington making us giggle, Josh Hamilton smacking balls in the ol’ ballpark and not in clubs with half-naked girls, and a good group of young talent coming into there own.   Watch out for Nelli Cruz to be a legitimate power threat home and away and also once WE (yeah i’m biased) get back, my doppleganger, Tommy Hunter the rotation will have its depth.  Also make sure to get to know CJ Wilson, he’s a hoot.  Give this team 94 wins and the West title!!
YEAH I just pulled that switch on ya.  The Mariners, not the Angels, will slide into second place with 92 wins and a…..wait for it…..wait for it…….WILD CARD BERTH!!! OMG, WTF are you talking about Gadi?  Well I know everyone thinks this team is still sorry and predicting 3rd or 4th place, but seriously this team will be better then you think.  They’ve changed there mindset to “Defense wins” and in that change they brought in some real talent.  Cliff Lee (once he’s healthy he’ll be great), Chone Figgins adds defensive help @ 3rd, and Milton Bradley might be the extra bat they need to actually pull off 92 wins.  Hey this team jumped from 61 wins to 85 last year, why is a jump into the 90s so hard.  I really think the Angels allowing Vlad to go the Rangers and Chone to the Mariners will be horrible mistakes on a mental level.  Teams will not fear the Angels and that’ll make all the difference.
I like them signing Godzilla and love the Morales kid.  Hell I’m one of those baseball fans that thinks Bobby Abreu has been one of the most consistent all around players over the last decade.  But how do you lose four major leaders on the team and expect to keep hold of the title.  Its not just about pitching line-ups and stats in the good ol’ game.  The mental makeup of a team is important and the California club just isn’t going to shine brightly though all this movement.   Don’t get me wrong I still see them winning at least 86 games, but they won’t crack 90.   2011 though could see the best manager in baseball yielding a tight team (Jered Weaver needs another year under his belt to fully see how good he can really be).
Its really simple the A’s are STILL rebuilding.  Money ball or not it feels like they rebuild ever half-year or so.  They move talent so often, how the heck can they be stable enough to actual win games?  When you have rotation with an ace who hasn’t seen a full season since 05, the stud youngster missed time cuz he was depressed (give a call to Ron Washington he’ll hook you up with happy “remedies”), and then they let there offensive stud, Eric Chavez, go bye-bye.   They don’t spend money, they trade away all there talent, and they just continue to be the last place team in the West.  They have the biggest drop in wins in the entire AL.  They won’t crack the 70 win column.
Switching to the other league…
Lets face it as long as the Marlins act like money doesn’t exist the Phillies will take home the division title (and the pennant they’re hoping).  All the talk is Roy coming to town.  Halladay and Hamels look like a legit one two punch.  If they can just figure out if Blanton is a top end pitcher then this team will easily be in the run for the world series.  The offense is still rock solid, but expect a big rebound year for Jimmy Rollins.  That guy is such a hardworking talent that he’ll want to prove last year was the fluke season.  They’ll hover in the low 90 win total and clinch the division pretty easily.
This team has tons of talent and they know how to win (87 wins in 09′).  They’re much more talented then the Braves and yet EVER year their lack of spending keeps them on the same level as Atlanta.  That level being – not good enough to actually worry Philly.   If they went out an got one top end pitcher and a proven closer then just maybe they’d crack 90 wins and get back into the world series discussion.   The only certain thing about this team is no one will care to watch them play.  I’m with most pundits – get baseball out of Florida!!! How the hell are Miami and Tampa Bay so terrible at putting people in the seats (the Marlins have won it all in this decade and Tampa has been maybe the most exciting baseball team of the last 3 years).  Are these Floridians to busy becoming the prescription drug capital of the world to realize they have quality ass baseball?
Yeah i’ve seen Heyward (he looks like a stud), yeah I still love Chipper, and yes the rotation looks great…BUT?  This is as simple as I can get – THE ATLANTA BRAVES WILL NOT WIN A DIVISION TITLE AS LONG AS TROY GLAUS IS THE CLEAN-UP HITTER!   That’s it.  Florida has just as much talent, Philly has better pitching, and hell the Mets will actually surprise people this year (yeah I understand i’m the ONLY ONE who thinks that).  All of those things are true.  Its really simple this team will flirt with the wild card race, but like -09′ the berth is going to a team out WEST or the Marlins.  They bring in a proper clean-up and I’ll change my mind about them.  Till then 82-89 wins is there range.
Gosh how the heck do you still suck?  I mean they have been the most baffling team in baseball history the last few years.  Jason Bay aint the answer either!! The return of Reyes should really help out (David Wright sure as hell loves seeing his usual3 hole buddy).  The problem stems from there being NOTHING behind Johan Santana in the rotation.  Also the horrible season K-Rod had was just…well BAFFLING.  Will they be as bad as last year, nope.  They just won’t be much better then that – they’ll be lucky to crack 80 wins.
This team is intriguing they have the Strasburg story to hold onto all-year and they stole away a really good Yankee in Chien-Ming Wang (for real he’s good).  This team is so heavy with crap players, Cristian Guzman and Elijah Dukes already lost there starting jobs to unknowns (how freaking stupid are those two?).  Up and down this line-up are big  question marks.  They’ll still be in or just around the 100 loss club.
Those darn Cub fans…they do have a lot of HOTTIES!!!
O come on – who honestly picks the Cubs to win (well outside of Cubs Fans).  The Cards are just that good, Holliday has been there Messiah and how hard can it be to hit behind freaking ALBERT.  They have power, they have pitching, they have a great manager, they have the die-hard fans, and they already know how to win the division.  Easily the best of the NL Central.  The Cubs will keep it interesting, but they’ll drop into the Wild Card race sooner then they wish.  Cards reach the 90 mark and prepare for post season baseball.
I think them sending nut-case Milton Bradley away and bringing in Marlon Byrd was a GREAT move.  Lou has enough parts to make this into a playoff team, especially pitching.  Randy Wells is the next big pitching name to keep an eye on.  They know what it is to be top of the NL Central (07-08 anyone) and last year I’m sure was a shock season.  They need to realize that St. Louis is legit with Holliday and that they are still a piece or two away from being Lou’s perfect team.  They’ll keep us entertained and excited, but expect them to die off in the end.  Before they do that though I’ll have a blast watching them from the lower level of Minute Maid park in Houston (thanks Astros for sucking and tickets being available – ROAD TRIP FUN in JUNE).
The Brew Crew really disappointed last year and most people see them in third place.  I have to agree, they aren’t on Cubs and Cards level…YET.  With Prince, Ryan Braun, and a future Cy Young winner in Yovanni Gallardo they have the top end pieces to build a legit contender.  They have luxury of Houston SUCKING and the Reds still not making enough moves to be good enough.  If they play there cards right they’ll be in the Wild-Card race long enough not to start selling there young talent away.  They just have to realize that going from 80 wins to 84 is fine (hell 4 straight seasons of 80 win ball in  a row is worth it!).  2011 and 2012 should be the seasons where they can actual contend (by then that trio above will have figured it all out).
O Cincy!  They stole the Cuban with the rocket arm (BRAVO!) and they already have a stacked young group of pitchers that should start to come into there own in the next few years.  They can’t decide between building there future around the young stud pitchers or bring in one-year deal players like Orlando Cabrera.  Orlando is a stud, but boy he seems like TRADE bait for mid-season.  Maybe that’s the plan come out storming and they’ll get something nice for OC and then 2011 and 2012 will be there breakout year?  It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Those pesky pirates are young and dumb enough to not realize they should be in last place.  I doubt they’ll struggle with injuries like last season (and allow a crappy Astro team to pass them up).  This team is so intriguing with what they could be in a few seasons.  Whether you like McCutchen, Doumit, LaRoche, Milledge, or the slew of young pitchers.  I don’t think they’ll figure it all out this year, but that line-up is solid.  They should switch places with the Astros and get into the 70 win club.
Gosh they have a new manager and the same ol’ crap team.  They honestly need to make moves now to get some talent in the next few years.  Berkman is about had it and the same thing can be said about Roy Oswalt.  And riddle me this who is there closer – Brandon Lyon (wow really, a setup guy).  That screams DESPERATE.  But I do hope to see them turn it around, they have such a nice stadium in the heart of the city.   They really need to clean house and start over if they intend to turn the ship around sooner then by the next decade.  Really I see them having a tough time winning 60 games.
And now we jump out WEST!!!
A lot of people are picking the Rockies to win the title this year.   Do people not realize the Dodgers still won the division last year?  They have legitimate Studs in Matt Kemp and Andre Either.  All they need to be in world series talks is Manny actually showing up for a full season and not half of it.  The pitching staff isn’t on San Fran level, but boy is it good.  Kershaw is on the verge of being a star and Kuroda being healthy will give them the necessary 94 games to win the division.  Don’t get me wrong the race will be exciting (maybe the best in the Majors).  But LA will repeat as division champs and don’t be shocked if they have a big move up there sleeves.
They have all the right parts to beat out the Dodgers, but one.  A LEGIT #2 starter!!! How can they steal games from the Giants, Diamondbacks and Padres when the only pitcher they have is Jimenez.  Jorge De La Rosa showed signs of being a legit pitcher, but he’s perfect as a number 3 and a big stretch as a #2.  They’ll lose 5 or 6 games because they are out pitched and that’ll be enough for LA to win again.
The only thing they needed to do in the off-season was get a legit hitter.  They didn’t do that at all.  They’ll still win 80 plus because they have the best rotation in baseball, but that aint enough.  Expect them to be all the talk during trade deadline.  If they can bring in a real presence in the line-up they can beat out LA and Colorado.  It’ll be exciting just to see the pitching.
The diamondbacks rebound from a HORRIBLE 09′.  Mark Reynolds is one of the best 3B in the game and Upton is turning into a lethal 3 hole hitter.  The staff is pretty darn good with Haren up top, Jackson in the 3rd slot and (when he returns from the DL) Webb is a solid #2 starter.  Giving some patience this team will blossom in 2011 and 2012.  They just can not do what San Diego is going to do (be sellers in the market).
Poor Padres, a few seasons ago they looked like CONTENDERS.  Then they go trade there freaking ace, Jake Peavy, and they’ve not brought in his replacement.  I like there rotation they just don’t have that #1.  Chris Young’s size could give him a menacing presence and that may help them win a few games.  The real problem is they’re going to be “bullied” into trading Adrian Gonzalez.  Hell they could look at the White Sox again for a potential trade partner or just look at exhibit A and B of the evil empires (that would be NYC and BOS).  I lost all respect and hope when they got rid of Peavy (his healthy return in Chi town hopefully will STING!!).  At least we have a Gwynn in a Padre uniform.  Jr. is not to far off being a lead-off capable hitter.   The old man is by far my favorite player EVER.  (well minus Sandy Koufax maybe).
Greatest hitter since Ted.  It’s a joy just to see Jr. keeping the old man in the spot light.
So here’s the run down.  Division Champs
AL EAST – Yankees
AL Central – Minnesota
Wild Card – Mariners (anyone thinking Adrian’s big bat wouldn’t look bad up in Seattle – Griffey retiring?)
NL East – Philly
NL Central – St. Louis
NL West – Los Angeles
Wild Card – Marlins  ( Rockies and Cubs die off and Marlins do it in front of empty crowds so who cares.)
Hope you enjoy my pre-opening day prediction.  Especially the wild and crazy AL WEST!!!



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