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My 2009 Baseball Predictions:

AL West:
1) Angels 2) A's 3) Mariners 4) Rangers
Comment: Yeah, I know -- how can I pick the Rangers 2nd in my longshot picks yet 4th in their division? BECAUSE MY MIND IS VERY COMPLICATED, THAT'S WHY. And also, the Rangers are never quite the hitting team they (and others) think, due to the illusions of their launching pad of a park. They have a banjo-hitting 20-year-old shortstop, a bunch of indistinct humanity like David Murphy and Brandon Boggs, and Michael Young is losing effectiveness just as he's being moved to a position with more offensive expectations. These guys look poised to lose a lot of 7-4 games at Arlington.

As for the headline race, I expect it to be close and exciting, especially considering the likelihood that the Angels will stumble out of the gate a bit. It is both my hope and fear that the A's will win 90something games, be in first place for more than a month, push us until mid-September, and win the Wild Card. Why hope? I think the Angels need real competition in their division, in order to remove that deer-in-headlights problem with the annual October visit to Fenway.

AL Central:
1) Royals 2) Twins 3) White Sox 4) Tigers 5) Indians
Comment: Since it's not my money, I have decided this year to predict according to what I also think will be fun. And I think a Kansas City Miracle would be a fun storyline this year, and not altogether implausible, given how shitty this division is (especially if Joe Mauer is hurt). I covered most of this yesterday, but it's startling how quickly a strong division turned weak (though you could make the same case about the AL West last year).

AL East:
1) Red Sox 2) Rays 3) Yankees 4) Blue Jays 5) Orioles
Comment: I think the Red Sox are the only team here who'll win 90. If there is one bedrock belief I have about the American League this year, it's that the Yankees won't be a very good baseball team. Why?

Their defense, which has been awful most of this decade, will be that much worse, as the already range-less Derek Jeter ages another year (seriously, did you watch him in the World Baseball Classic? It was like seeing Willie Mays play center field for the Mets), a poor-fielding 37-year-old soaks up most of the innings behind the plate, and the great A-Rod misses at least half the season over at 3B. Throwing a couple hundred mil at pitchers with a hacktastic crew like that in back of 'em is going to make the new guys look much worse than they actually are, which in turn will put added New York pressure on them, which may make one or two crack. Meanwhile, the offense already wasn't really all that last year, coming 7th in the league in runs. With the new (taxpayer-lavished) park, the new Wall Street recession, the new hundred-millionaires, and the new A-Roids scandal, this situation looks marvelously poised to just blow the hell right up.

The Rays should backslide (few teams in history improve by 30+ games and then just stay there), and I'm guessing it's the pitching that craps out on them. Still, they've got enough great young talent (and a great manager!) to compete for the Wild Card. The O's had quite a few offensive spikes last year, and seem a depressed organization.

Red Sox beat the Wild Card A's, Angels beat the upstart Royals, and then the Angels finally take their revenge on Planet Masshole.
MVP Howie Kendrick, Cy Young Roy Halladay, Rookie of the Year David Price. Kendrick is healthy, taking a lot of walks this spring, and has a man-sized chip on his shoulder about last year's playoff debacle. Also, I really like him!

NL West:
1) Dodgers 2) Diamondbacks 3) Giants 4) Rockies 5) Padres
Comment: Honestly, this division just baffles me. The Dodgers have a wonderful offensive core, a terrible habit of filling their depth chart with the detritus left over after trading a dozen good young players, and one of the thinnest looking rotations I've ever seen. The D-backs just don't make any sense, really. The Giants might have a great rotation this year, and are otherwise depending way too much on people like Bengie Molina impersonating a cleanup hitter. The Rockies...didn't they make the World Series recently, or something like that? And the Padres are poised to be the very worst team in baseball this year -- I saw one of their exhibition games, and oh man, are they just brutal. How could you play 81 games in Petco, and staff your outfield with a third baseman, a plodding 31-year-old in center, and a baby rhinocerous in right? Jose Reyes might hit his 17 triples this year in Petco alone.

Anyway, it's a weird division, but Joe Torre seems to always make the playoffs, and so there.

NL Central:
1) Cardinals 2) Cubs 3) Reds 4) Brewers 5) Pirates 6) Astros
Comment: Khalil Greene looks set to be Comeback Player of the Year, and betting for very long against either Tony Larussa or Albert Pujols seems unwise. Meanwhile the Astros, with their b-r-u-t-a-l farm system, seem poised to be this year's Padres.

NL East:
1) Mets 2) Braves 3) Marlins 4) Phillies 5) Nationals
Comment: Figure it's the Mets' turn. Also, did you know that the Phillies' Opening Day starter tonight is Brett Tomko? That cannot possibly end well. Meanwhile, the ex-Angel mojo that has worked so well for the Cardinals and Rays will transfer this year to the Braves, where Casey Kotchman will blossom into an All-Star and Garret Anderson will somehow be given credit that is actually due an improved rotation. They're my pick for the Wild Card.

Braves surprise the Dodgers, Mets steamroll the cardinals, then Mets win the right to watch Mike Scioscia's second championship.
Since I don't really follow the National League, I'll play it safe: Pujols, Johan Santana, and Colby Rasmus. I don't really know who Rasmus is, but I like his name.

OK! Leave yer picks in the comments, and let's do that thing!

UPDATE: I see through Howard Owens that it's Myers, not Tomko, for the Phils tonight. Serves me right for believing D.C. sports radio.

04/05/2009 10:58 AM  |  Comment (7)

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