Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010 League Predictions

The 2009 offseason was very uneventful in that not many teams got much better or worse. All of the top the teams in both leagues should have similar success in 2010. The NL teams did almost nothing to change the outlay of their roster and the AL was almost as boring with the exception of Seattle and Boston. Without the Lee/Halladay trades, this offseason would have been completely nonexistent due to the horrible collection of free agents. The most impressive offseason easily goes to the Mariners as they acquired Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins while retaining Eric Bedard at a very reasonable price. They are really the only non-playoff team that really put themselves in an opportunity to seriously contend in 2010.

Since there were not many big contracts given out there really were no true losers in the offseason. With that being said, the Mets still appear to be lost. The Mets did acquire Jason Bay who is a quality middle of the order hitter as he provides some much needed power to their lineup, but everyone and their mother agrees that they overpaid. Bay is also known for being a notoriously bad defensive outfielder and putting him in the cavernous outfield of Citi Field will make him look like Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump.

So after it is all said and done, here are my 2010 predictions. Nothing too surprising outside of one or two teams in each league. As I feel it is a bit more relevant I have gone into more depth on the NL East teams. I have also put the team MVPs and their surprise player who are either impact rookies or just players who have significantly larger impact than expected.

NL East

1. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are easily the best team in the National League and anybody that disagrees needs to stop being a pretend baseball fan and go back to watching that communist sport with the sticks and black discs. Amongst National League teams, the Phillies have the best offense, defense, baserunning, and arguably the best pitcher. The Phillies could also sport the best rotation if Hollywood returns to his 2008 form and Happ continues his early success. Of course it would have been amazing if Lee was still on the team but I understand why Amaro did what he did. The additions of Polanco and Contreras are really going to improve the Phillies. 2010 should be a smooth ride barring any serious injuries. The Phillies have no real competition in their division or in the NL so there isn’t much more to analyze so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the domination early and often.

MVP: Roy Halladay
Surprise: Antonio Bastardo

2. Atlanta Braves

The Braves are the best team in the NL not from Philadelphia and they will be the wildcard this year. 90 wins for this team is attainable. The Braves have almost nobody worth fearing in their offense or pitching staff but at the same time no real weakness exists on this team. A healthy Wagner, Chipper, and Hudson can make this team a legitimate contender. The Braves possess 2 of the best young players in baseball with Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward. If both of those players can consistently display their talents in 2010 the Braves could go further than expected. It’s tough to not be high on a team with as much pitching as them.

MVP: Chipper Jones
Surprise: Jason Heyward

3. Florida Marlins

The Florida Marlins are always the most difficult team in the majors to predict. They are almost never as good or bad as people project them to be. Hanley Ramirez is an absolute monster and is one of the top 5 players in the league and Josh Johnson is a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Other than that there are a lot of questions but along with those questions, a lot of potential. The Marlins will be one of streakiest teams this year and will strike fear into their opponents for about 2 months until they drop off at the end of the season.

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Surprise: Cameron Maybin

4. New York Mets

Oh the New York Metropolitans, what a funny team to have in your division. It really makes great entertainment to see the nonstop hype around this team followed by the nonstop disaster that is their franchise. Their GM and manager clearly do not understand what is going on as they had an embarrassing 2009 season and did almost nothing to improve. Jason Bay was a quality acquisition when you avoid looking at the price that came along with him. I mean seriously, who else was actually negotiating with him that he got almost $70 million. Anyways, as I said, Bay is a decent middle of the order hitter who will provide some power to their lineup. At the same time, the Mets did absolutely nothing to improve their biggest weaknesses which were middle relief and starting pitching. They have an amazing closer and one of the best pitchers in baseball in Johan Santana. With all things taken into account, assuming they stay healthy which is a huge assumption, the Mets should provide a high outage of runs but allow many more. The Mets should finish anywhere between 3rd and 4th within this division and that has more to do with the performance of the Marlins than the Mets.

MVP: Johan Santana
Surprise: Daniel Murphy

5. Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are kind of like that nerdy kid in the neighborhood who is horrible at sports but your still nice and let him play. The Nats are so irrelevant I fought myself on whether or not they were actually worth writing a paragraph on them. So instead I write a paragraph on how pointless of a franchise they are. That is nothing against the Nationals as they played in Montreal and San Juan for a long time. Talk about bad luck. Anyways, they are building a solid foundation in Zimmerman and Strasburg, and Bryce Harper will be joining pretty soon. All in all, the Nats again will be bottom dwellers but Strasburg will be enough for them to actually garner some attention, at least regionally.

MVP: Ryan Zimmerman
Surprise: Nyjer Morgan

NL Central

1. Houston Astros

MVP: Hunter Pence
Surprise: Brett Myers

2. St. Louis Cardinals

MVP: Albert Pujols
Surprise: Colby Rasmus

3. Milwaukee Brewers

MVP: Ryan Braun
Surprise: Rickie Weeks

4. Chicago Cubs

MVP: Derek Lee
Surprise: Carlos Marmol

5. Cincinnati Reds

MVP: Joey Votto
Surprise: Jay Bruce

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

MVP: Garrett Jones
Surprise: Andrew McCutchen

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

MVP: Matt Kemp
Surprise: James Loney

2. Colorado Rockies

MVP: Todd Helton
Surprise: Carlos Gonzalez

3. San Francisco Giants

MVP: Tim Lincecum
Surprise: Madison Bumgarner

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

MVP: Justin Upton
Surprise: Edwin Jackson

5. San Diego Padres

MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
Surprise: Kyle Banks

AL East

1. Tampa Bay Rays

MVP: Jason Bartlett
Surprise: Sean Rodriguez

2. New York Yankees

MVP: Mark Texeira
Surprise: Phil Hughes

3. Boston Red Sox

MVP: Victor Martinez
Surprise: Clay Buchholz

4. Baltimore Orioles

MVP: Nick Markakis
Surprise: Brian Matusz

5. Toronto Blue Jays

MVP: Vernon Wells
Surprise: Travis Snyder

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins

MVP: Joe Mauer
Surprise: Denard Span

2. Chicago White Sox

MVP: Jake Peavy
Surprise: Gavin Floyd

3. Detroit Tigers

MVP: Miguel Cabrera
Surprise: Max Sherzer

4. Kansas City Royals

MVP: Billy Butler
Surprise: Kila Ka'ai

5. Cleveland Indians

MVP: Shin Soo-Choo
Surprise: Lou Marson (shocker)

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

MVP: Bobby Abreu
Surprise: Howie Kendrick

2. Seattle Mariners

MVP: Cliff Lee
Surprise: Milton Bradley

3. Texas Rangers

MVP: Ian Kinsler
Surprise: Chris Davis

4. Oakland Athletics

MVP: Andrew Bailey
Surprise: Michael Taylor (shocker)

Phillies over the Houston Ed Wades
Braves over Dodgers

Yankees over Angels
Rays over Twins

Phillies over Braves

Rays over Yankees

Yup 08 Repeat. Phils over Rays but in a closer series.

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