Thursday, April 5, 2007

MLB Preview - Part I

We, the Bastards, do try devote the entirety of this page to all things West Virginia. However, my affair with baseball will not let me contribute to this site and not recognize the MLB season.

While I have been promising my predictions and preview for some time, I realize it is somewhat overdue- I like to take into account spring performance. This is part one of a seven part series. One part for each division and a final playoff prediction. That seventh part is going to be all bullshit speculation, but isn't any playoff prediction published during the first week of the season? So, without further fanfare I give you American League East.

1. Yankees- Mussina and Pettite, despite age, will anchor this staff. Harboring hopes of Clemens return to the club in June to improve the pitching even more, the bombers can always hit the ball. Expect big things from Jeter, an even stronger season from Robinson Cano as compared to last season. Good seasons from Melky Cabrera and Abreu may help fans forget about the absence of Sheffield, who was injured much of last season. The Yanks will squeak out another AL East pennant, but it will be close down the stretch.

2. Blue Jays- Some may be surprised to see the Jays picked to finish the season ahead of the BoSox- and I did not do this just because I am a Yankees fan. Halladay is as strong a starting pitcher as any team has had over the past couple years. The perennial Cy Young candidate will anchor the staff, which is a little inexperienced and will need big things from AJ Burnett and Gustavo Chacin. Acquiring Frank “the tank” Thomas from Oakland to hold down the DH spot adds greatly to the Jays bats- which will get another 35+ homers from Troy Glaus and a solid year from Vernon Wells. If everyone stays healthy- they will be chasing the Yankees late into the season, and will have a good shot at the wild card.

3. Red Sox- The BoSox, I predict, will trail the Jays at years end, due to what else… pitching. Unlike everyone else, I am not that impressed with Daisuke Matsuzaka. Yeah he throws thirty different breaking pitches and his fastball breaks the sound barrier. He seems much like the Reggie Bush of baseball. If it weren’t for Bonds’ chase for the record and the fact that he can’t pitch everyday- he and his price tag might be all we ever heard about. The Sox need a career year out of J.D. Drew to compliment the usual production from Manny and Ortiz. They will definitely put up a ton of runs this year, but so far their ace- Curt “fake blood on a sock” Schilling is 0-1 with an 11.25 era. Why? Because he played the Royals. Admittedly I despise Boston in the summer, but I look for them to disappoint the legions of new fans they have gained the past few years.

4. Devil Rays- At least Tampa will have Baltimore to look back at. Life is tough in the AL East and the D-Rays just aren’t quite ready yet. (At least from where I am sitting.) Elijah Dukes made a great first impression on Monday with a MLB debut homer to centerfield. Carl Crawford will anchor the lineup with solid numbers, and if Dukes pans out he will be some help. But don’t look for Ty Wittington to drive in enough runs to keep them competitive. Scott Kazmir seems to be the starter in the one slot. Too bad he has yet to earn more than 10 wins in a season at the big league level. Wait, they don’t have a starter who has.

5. Orioles- Unfortunately, Miguel Tejada can’t win games all by himself. He will need stellar seasons from former Astro Aubrey Huff, and Melvin Mora. They desperately need Brian Roberts to return to his 2005 form. Nick Markakis has shown some promise in the outfield, but is too young to be depended upon that heavily- maybe in a year or two. You know your in trouble when Jaret Wright shows up in the rotation. Trust me, the Yanks had him for a while. He did finish up last year 11 and 7, with an ERA under 5- but that won’t win very often with the lineup Baltimore is throwing out this year. I look for the O’s to round out the bottom of what might be the toughest division in baseball.


letsplaytummysticks said...

Toughest division in baseball? Maybe in 2001. The AL Central is by far the toughest division in baseball. You could make an argument for the Twins, Tigers, Indians, or White Sox to all be representing the AL in the Series. And one of them will.

Anonymous said...

Good pick with the Blue Jays. This Jays team reminds me of the teams from the Joe Carter era. Bring on Mitch Williams...

Brave Sir Robin said...

The Tribe will hit the ball early then faulter. The ChiSox are primed to disappoint many this year. The Twinkies and Detroit will battle it out again with the same result. Shit- I just ruined the suspense of MLB Preview II.