2009 MLB Predictions

April 5, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Baseball | 10 Comments

So here we are, the night before Opening Day for the 2009 Major League Baseball season.  This is the first Opening Day that I’ve had a blog.  I always make predictions about every new baseball season, and it’s fun to have a public forum for posting my predictions for the first time.  Now, at the end of the season, everyone will know exactly how incredibly horrible my predictions turned out to be…

American League East

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

The A.L. East is obviously the division that I follow most closely, and the one that I care about the most.  Strangely enough, my predicted standings are exactly the same as the final standings in 2008.  I’m sure that everybody knew that I’d pick the Rays to win it, but honestly, they’re still a young, improving team.  I expect to see better seasons from Scott Kazmir (now that his his out pitch – his slider – is back), B.J. Upton (with a healthy shoulder, he’ll hit for much more power), Carl Crawford, and Carlos Pena.  Evan Longoria is only going to get better, and I expect David Price to give a boost to the rotation in May when he returns from Durham.  I think that Matt Garza may break out as a Cy Young candidate, and I’m predicting that he’ll throw a no-hitter last year (he came close twice last year).  I also think that the bullpen is improved with a healthy Troy Percival, and the new additions of Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse, Lance Cormier, and Jason Isringhausen (when he’s activated from the D.L.)

I believe that Boston is the second best team in MLB, and they’ll easily win the Wild Card.  It’s going to be another great division race between the Sox and the Rays, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Boston ends up winning it.  They’re likely to get at least some good contributions from all of their free agent signings (most likely from Saito and Penny) and they’ve got a ton of impressive young players.  Look for Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson to break out.  Clay Buchholz should also make an impact when he’s called up.

I’m less impressed with the Yankees.  Sure, they added Teixeira, but now A-Rod is hurt, so the lineup isn’t improved – at least til A-Rod comes back.  But that demonstrates a key point about the Yankees.  Their roster is filled with old players who are injury prone.  Lots of guys are going to spend significant time on the D.L.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sabathia and Burnett on the D.L. either.  Burnett seems to get hurt almost every year, and Sabathia has thrown more innings than anybody over the last two years.

I’m picking Toronto for 4th, even though I really like the direction that Baltimore is going.  Toronto quietly gave up the fewest runs in the A.L. last year, but they lost Burnett, and Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan are both hurt.  Their rotation is very thin, but their bullpen is still very good.  I’d take Baltimore’s lineup over Toronto’s, but I still think that Toronto’s pitching is better.  Baltimore has some nice pitching prospects in the minors, but in the majors, their pitching staff is awful.  Look for Matt Wieters to have a huge rookie year for the O’s and Travis Snider to have a huge rookie year for the Jays.  They’ll be 1-2 in the Rookie of the Year voting.

American League Central

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

Chicago’s still the best team in the Central in my opinion, but it’s a very weak division.  Top to bottom, I like their lineup better than anyone else in the division, and they have pretty good pitching.  John Danks could have a huge year.  Minnesota has great pitching, but I’m not impressed with their lineup besides Morneau and Mauer (who is hurt for the first month of the season).  The rest of the division is really, really bad.  I’m picking Cleveland for third, but I don’t think they’ll win many more than 70 games.  Their starting pitching is really bad, especially if Cliff Lee comes back down to earth this year.  Two of their key players on offense, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner, both seem to be on the down side of their careers.  Detroit is similarly unimpressive, with a weak pitching staff and a lot of old guys in the lineup.  Kansas City has some decent pitchers, but their lineup continues to be horrible.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex Gordon have a break out season, but that would still give the Royals only one really good hitter in their lineup.

American League West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers

The Angels are a worse team than they were last year, after losing Teixeira and having injury issues with three starting pitchers, but they’re still head and shoulders above the rest of the division.  Oakland is an impressive young team, and the lineup looks pretty good with the additions of Holliday and Giambi.  Their pitching is very young, but they have a lot of upside.  Seattle is another team with some upside.  They’ve got some good young pitching, and Erik Bedard can make a huge impact if he’s healthy this year.  Texas continues to not have any good pitching, and I’m not as excited about their lineup as most people.  Remember that Josh Hamilton saw a huge drop in production after the All Star break.  Unless he returns to his first half form, their lineup looks a little weak.

American League Award Winners

MVP – Evan Longoria
Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay
Rookie of the Year – Matt Wieters

National League East

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

The Mets can’t possibly collapse for a third year in a row, can they?  With their significantly improved bullpen, I’d be surprised if they didn’t clinch the division a few weeks before the end of the season this year.  They’re loaded with talent, and I think it’s about time for them to return to the playoffs.  The Phillies are still a very good team, but I’m very unimpressed with the addition of Raul Ibanez, who’s a bad fielder, and yet another lefty in the middle of their lineup.  Their starting pitching behind Hamels is pretty suspect, but that didn’t hurt them last year.  I’m picking the Braves for third, mostly because the teams below them are pretty weak.  I think they’ll be about a .500 team.  They spent way too much money on an aging Derek Lowe.  The Marlins have some underrated pitchers, but they’re still pretty young all around, and they’re a couple years away from contending.  The Nationals are even further away, although Adam Dunn is a nice addition to their lineup.  Their main focus should be signing Stephen Strasburg, and then building their team around him.

National League Central

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

The Cubs still have the most talent in the division, and it’s tough to see them not repeating.  I think that the Reds will be much-improved.  Their pitching looks pretty strong, and I really like a lot of their young players, especially Jay Bruce and Joey Votto.  I believe that they’re good enough to win the N.L. Wild Card.  I’d be very surprised if they don’t have a very good season.  St. Louis is a solid third place team.  There are some question marks in their starting rotation, but they’re an all around solid team.  Milwaukee’s starting rotation looks pretty weak to me without Sabathia and Sheets, but Braun and Fielder lead what’s still a pretty good offense.  Houston is old and fading, while the Pirates should be better.  I give Houston an edge for finishing in 5th, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pittsburgh finish as high as fourth if enough young players step up for them this year.

National League West

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

I really like the Diamondbacks.  As the Rays’ expansion brother, they’ve always been one of my favorite N.L. teams to watch.  Webb and Haren are probably the top 1-2 punch on any starting rotation in baseball.  The rest of their rotation and their bullpen is solid too.  And their lineup includes many improving young players.  I think that this is the year where Justin Upton will break out as a star, and I like Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson, and Chris Snyder.  Remember how good the D-Backs were last April?  That’s how good I think they can be all year.  The Dodgers will finish in second.  They’re still a good team, but Manny can’t possibly be as good as he was at the end of last year, and their pitching isn’t that great.  I like Billingsley and Kershaw, but there’s not much after them.  The Rockies should be about a .500 team in 3rd place.  The Giants have some nice pitching, but their lineup is a complete joke.  The Padres are in rebuilding mode.  With Peavy and Young in the rotation, they won’t be horrible, but I still think they’ll finish in last.

National League Award Winners

MVP – David Wright
Cy Young Award – Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year – Dexter Fowler

Postseason

American League Division Series:

Rays over Angels
Red Sox over White Sox

American League Championship Series:
Rays over Red Sox

National League Division Series:

Mets over Reds
Diamondbacks over Cubs

National League Championship Series:
Diamondbacks over Mets

World Series:
Rays over Diamondbacks in the battle of 1998 expansion teams!

So there you have it.  Now everyone can laugh at me at the end of the season when I’m proven dead wrong.  Or shower me with praise if any of my predictions come to fruition…

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10 Comments »

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  1. Stoked to see that you picked the Reds in 2nd!! I hope you’re right.

  2. As above, I too hope you’re right about the Reds. Personally (as a Reds fans), I can’t see it.

    Good luck with your predictions.

  3. It was hard for me not to root for Tampa last year when I came back to Baseball. I have alot of affection for the city itself and their Cinderella story swept me up like everyone else. But, I like your predictions for Arizona and I think you might be right. I think they’ll have a much better season this year overall. I would have to say that the D’Backs became my favorite team last year. I hate to admit that I agree with you about my beloved from childhood Indians though. That’s depressing.

  4. Marlins are now 4-0. I resent your prediction as only better than the Nationals.

  5. Mario – my predictions are for the whole season, not just the first 4 games (which included 3 against the Nats).

  6. Touché

  7. Good to see Santana there for the Cy. He has got to be the one of the best in the game, but it’s like the hitting and defense take the day off when he toes the rubber. If we didn’t blow 7 of his wins last year he would have ended up with 23 wins. Does he still finish 3rd in voting with that stat? And he looks even better to start this year.

  8. I wish your perdiction for the Reds was correct this year. They are painful to watch.

  9. “Now, at the end of the season, everyone will know exactly how incredibly horrible my predictions turned out to be…”

    I consider that an invitation to comment.

    You got 2 out of 8 playoff teams.

    You got the Angels, and you picked the Red Sox as the wild card – despite hedging your bet by saying that you “wouldn’t be surprised if they end up winning it”.

    The Rays finished 19 games out.
    The White Sox finished 7.5 games out. Ok – this one is not TOO bad.
    The Mets finished 23 games out.
    The Cubs finished 7.5 games out (see White Sox)
    The Diamondbacks finished 25 games out.
    The Reds finished 14 games back in the Wild Card race (and 7th in the wild card race).

    So, your 6 misses AVERAGED 16 games back.

    Good luck next year!

  10. Thanks for the comment, Johnny. Wow — my picks were REALLY bad this year. It just goes to show how bad I am at predictions.


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