It’s that time of year. The baseball season is here and spring and warm weather must be just around the corner.
It’s also time for our fearless baseball predictions.
This division is starting to get closer. Boston added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, but their problem last year was pitching. They were second in the AL in runs scored. The Yankees are starting to show age, and they are depending on Freddie Garcia as a fifth starter. Tampa Bay lost a lot from last year’s division champs, but still have David Price and Evan Longoria, arguably the division’s best players. Toronto is putting together a nice core of youngsters and hit a lot of homers. Baltimore is improving too, and Buck Showalter will make sure they play hard.
The Twins just keep winning and winning, although the White Sox continue to push them. Getting Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan back will help the Twins defend their crown. The Sox will score runs with new addition Adam Dunn, but their bullpen could hold them back. The Tigers picked up Victor Martinez to help their hitting, but can Jhonny Peralta play SS well enough? The Indians have too many holes to contend, and the Royals have the best farm system in baseball, but they haven’t arrived in the majors as of yet.
Texas will score a bunch of runs and still have enough pitching to win even after Cliff Lee’s departure. Oakland is the dark horse with all kinds of young pitching and depth in the bullpen. If they improve offensively, look out. The Angels are aging and still need a better closing option, perhaps rookie Jordan Walden? The Mariners will be grinders, but their offense is still very weak.
AL Wild Card: Chicago
The Phillies’ rotation is the best baseball has seen in a long time, and you know they can hit as well, even if Chase Utley is hurting. Atlanta is solid and will contend if Jason Hayward avoids the sophomore slump. Dan Uggla will help their hitting. The Mets pitching is in flux without ace Johan Santana. Florida has some good young arms and power bats and could contend if they develop sooner than expected. Washington has the beginning of a good organization, but having Steven Strasburg out doesn’t help.
Many are picking the Reds here, but St. Louis will be highly motivated in what could be Albert Pujols’ last year as a Cardinal. The Reds are good, but their pitching doesn’t measure up to the Cardinals even without Adam Wainwright. The Brewers will be in race too with their improved pitching, led by newcomer Zack Greinke. The Cubs still don’t have enough pitching to win. Pittsburgh has some young talent, but not enough. The Astros could be the worst team in baseball.
The defending champs have the pitching to overcome a still shaky offense to get back to the post-season. Colorado has a strong core of young talent, but come up a bit short on the pitching side. The Dodgers are an enigma. They seem to have the talent to win, but come up short. Maybe new skipper Don Mattingly makes a difference. The Padres have started the rebuilding process, again. The Diamondbacks are changing their offensive philosophy, but still need pitching.
NL Wild Card: Colorado
World Series: Phillies over Red Sox.