Friday, April 6, 2007

MLB Preview - Part II

Here you go baseball fans, the second installment of the Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks 2007 Major League Baseball Preview and Predictions. Today I offer you my take on the American League Central. Tummysticks thinks it might be the strongest division in baseball. Maybe so- if you transplant New York, Boston and Toronto. The Tigers are sure to show us a big summer, and the Royals are sure they will attend all their home games- with or without fans in the stands. If you disagree with my picks, feel free to comment. I will read them and tell you why you're wrong. Enjoy.

1. Tigers- Jimmy Leyland had the good sense to reunite with Sheffield. Despite his age, Gary has the quickest bat in the game- and also uses one of the heaviest bats among big leaguers. Leyland became a fan of Sheffield when they were hanging out with the Marlins during the Series a few years back. I thought Rodney would have told Jimmy about him, but apparently Leyland didn’t even need Rodney’s help with that one. That said, the Tigers have a strong lineup and a solid starting rotation. Bonderman is experienced enough now- I look for more than his 14 wins from each of the last two seasons. Followed up by Justin Verlander who is picking up steam well for his age, the big bats shouldn’t need the wild card this season. I predict the Twinkies will need that one.

2. Twins- Your author projects the Twins to be slugging it out with the Jays at seasons end to garner the AL wild card. Fans still haven’t forgotten getting run over by Oakland in the post season, and are looking for their Twins to seek revenge this year. They would be better off had they signed an arm or two, but did nothing rash. Radke’s retirement and Liriano’s surgery might have prompted me to do something. Maybe Johan Santana can win 30+ games to make up for a lack of pitching otherwise. They do have a young arm by the name of Boof Bonser, the 21st overall pick in 2000 by the Giants, and the first time I have ever heard that name outside the context of Michael J. Fox’s girlfriend in Teen Wolf. The Twins will hit, Hunter, Mourneau and Mauer virtually guarantee that. I like them to finish stronger than some experts- I have seen them behind the Indians in third. They need to keep the big three bats I mentioned healthy though.

3. Indians- Suffering from the same plague that afflicts most teams- pitching, the Tribe needs a bullpen to show up this year. Off season acquisitions Borowski and Hernandez are better than nothing, but probably not enough to put them over the top in a division stacked with bats. Second baseman Josh Barfield, the son of former Yankee and Blue Jay Jesse, looks primed to make his big break-out. He will help the infield and could turn into some offense for the Indians this year. Grady Sizemore is a legitimate offensive threat, but the Tribe gets a little weaker after that. They are hitting the ball well so far, so they might overachieve this season, but it won’t be enough to find the post-season in my judgment.

4. White Sox- Again, pitching, pitching, pitching. Contreras is the only real veteran on the staff, and Kenny Williams continued to deal away for younger and younger arms this winter. Mark Buehrle is going to have to turn his numbers around from his 12-13 season last year to give the Sox a chance. As you can see I have them finishing just above the Royals… so it won’t happen. Konerko, Dye, Crede and Pierzynski won’t be enough to win them many games, and I doubt the starting rotation and bullpen full of holes will provide Bobby Jenks with the opportunity to match his save numbers from last year. 41 saves is no slouch- but the ChiSox are sure to disappoint many on the south side of Chi-town this year. Hey, at least the Royals are still in your division- you won’t be completely in the cellar on the last day of the season.

5. Royals- What can you say? The Royals lost 100 games last year. Sure Tampa lost 101, but I have picked the Devil Rays to improve. Could the guys in KC lose even more this year? Perhaps. They tried to go out and buy some pitching, but were denied by free agents even with the biggest offer on the board. They did land Gil Meche, 11-8 with an ERA over 4 last year for Seatle, but they gave him $11m a year for five seasons. Are you kidding? $55m for a mediocre righty who got drafted eleven years ago? Not many bats to speak of either… but they did sign Tony Pena’s kid, Tony- from Atlanta. He is a better shortstop than slugger, AND everyone likes his dad, so… Esteban German is the real deal, maybe- he hit .326 last year in 279 AB, but over 106 games. Even the Pirates won more games last year than the Royals. That said, I still like the old school powder blues a la the Bo Jackson / George Brett era. Sorry KC fans, another crap year for you.


letsplaytummysticks said...

So much work put into this just so you can rationalize a Yankees championship. Keep telling yourself that even after Andy and Moose have their arms fly off their bodies and Pavano goes back to what he does best; sitting on the DL.

letsplaytummysticks said...

And the Bucos are 3 and 0. Now there is a team that may go undefeated.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to rationalize anything. If you look at the depth chart, everywhere but first base they are starting an all-star. I hope they make a movie film to make glorious nation of South Bronx. yesh.

And yeah, the Bucs might go undefeated. That is no bullshit, they really might.