Joe’s MLB Season Preview
East: Boston Red Sox – I’m with Luke on this one.
Central: Minnesota Twins – Maybe because I am a Cubs fan, but
question marks at 3B, closer, and the health of Jake Peavy combined
with the fact that the Twins always find a way to be in the mix, not
to mention having the White Sox’s number, has me picking the Twins.
West: Texas Rangers – Considering how the rest of the rotation behind
Cliff Lee broke out onto the national stage from obscurity, there is a
little part of me that feels like this might be a bad pick. But I also
think the rest of the AL West has not done enough to overtake the
Wild Card: New York Yankees – I pick them slightly ahead of the Rays
because the Yankees make the playoffs more times than they do not. And
the Rays lost their entire bullpen to free agency. They do have a good
recent history of being able to reload from within, but in the always
tough AL East I do not see them being able to make the changes on the
fly to crack into the playoff picture in 2011.
- National League
East: Philadelphia Phillies – I would like to see someone bet otherwise.
Central: Milwaukee Brewers – Prince will capitalize on his contract
year like all big stars do, and despite the Spring injuries to the
newest members of the Brewers pitching rotation, I believe they will
be back in time to carry the Brew Crew to the top of the NL Central.
West: San Francisco Giants – Rotation wise alone they are strong
enough to be a unanimous favorite in their division the same the
Phillies are, and they should have enough offense to survive the
weaker NL West (when compared to the NL East).
Wild Card: Chicago Cubs – Call me a homer, but after seeing the
results this Spring of a focused Randy Wells, I think the Cubs have
just as deep a rotation as any in the NL Central. They will need to
ride the rotation to fulfill my prediction as the offense will be the
aspect of the team that holds them back. A gut feeling tells me the
Reds starting rotation will not be as good as it was last season.
AL Champion: Boston Red Sox – I am making this call by banking on
the hope that Josh Beckett and Dice Matsuzaka return to the top form
that fans are used to seeing from their past World Series days.
NL Champion: Philadelphia Phillies – The rotation of aces is just too
much to over come, especially in a short series. Knowing their horses
do not need runs in bunches, the Phillies offense even with the loss
of Jason Werth and an aging Jimmy Rollins is able to generate enough
runs to make a return to the World Series.
World Series Winner: Boston Red Sox – The Sox rotation is able to
hang with the Phillies four of a kind aces because of their
familiarity with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee from their days in the AL.
The AL wins the All Star Game, so the home field advantage at Fenway
Park with the DH is enough to win the Series in seven games as the
weaker Phillies offense is not deep enough to trot out a good DH
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – Luke put it perfectly.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols – Despite the loss of Adam Wainwright, Pujols
is able to take the Cardinals on his shoulders and keep them in
playoff contention through September. In any sport, people will argue
whether the MVP should come from a playoff team or in the true
definition, be a player that a team is nothing without, and in terms
of the latter, Pujols is that guy for St. Louis.
AL Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia – Like Pujols, the hefty lefty carries the
Yankees pitching staff and team to a Wild Card berth in the always cut
throat AL East.
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum – Like the last two award winning players
above, he is the man that carries the Giants. In a pitcher friendly NL
West, even with Coors Field, he also has the sparkling numbers to back
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Gardenhire – I always believe the manager
of the year should be from an above .500 team that does not have as
much talent on the roster as some of the high roller teams around the
league. With me predicting the Twins to come out of the competitive AL
Central, it is only fitting that Gardenhire wins this award as well.
NL Manager of the Year: Mike Quade – This is not a homer pick because
as I have already outlined in terms of my requirements for winning
this award, the Cubs winning the Wild Card under Quade’s first full
year as manager after a bad 2010 season is what puts the career
baseball lifer over the top. Besides, any manager that can keep Carlos
Zambrano in check for the entire 2011 season should win the award for
that feat alone.