Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2009 2:41 pm

Mid-Season Awards ---> Rest of 2009 predictions

Well, a disappointing 2009 for me as a Cubs fan so far.  I'm hoping to see the Cubs turn it around, get a few games above .500 and win the division.  Anyway, my point wasn't to gripe about how poorly the Cubs are playing, this is the mid-season edition, looking at who's doing well, and who's not...  Without further ado, let's start with the MVP awards:

Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
.305 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, .380 OBP, .938 OPS
Surprise surprise, I decide to go with my favorite non-Cub player.  Here's why Torii deserves this award though, for the first half at least.  He's hitting for power, he's driving runners in.  What the Angels need him to do, he's done it.  And guess what?  The Angels are in first place in the AL West, in what was supposed to be a down year for this team (some thinking (including myself) it was the A's year).  The pitching has helped a little, but Torii Hunter is making a huge impact for this team.
Others Considered: Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners

Can Torii keep it up after returning from injury?

Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
.332 BA, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .456 OBP, 1.179 OPS
Honestly, was there really any other choice?  So what, he didn't win the home run derby.  He's the reason, the only reason, the Cardinals are in first place.  Pujols is just unstoppable.  A ridiculous OPS of 1.179, .456 OBP, pitchers so scared of him that they're thinking about giving him the Barry Bonds treatment.  Hint pitchers: It's still not working.  If it were up to me, I'd be as cautious as ever with this guy, probably still allowing him to hit 20 more home runs.  This was the biggest no-brainer since, well, the NBA Draft and choosing Blake Griffin as the #1 pick.
Others Considered (sort of): Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins, Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies, Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies

A Real No-Brainer.

AL Cy Young
Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
10-5, 2.12 ERA, 129 SO, 21 BB, 1.08 WHIP, .245 BAA, 127.1 IP
This kid, as you may know, got off to one of the best starts for a starting pitcher.  He's not been terrible since then, maintaining an ERA in the low 2's and still having a nice K/BB ratio.  Only Justin Verlander and Jon Lester has more K's in the American League right now and Kevin Millwood, James Shields, and CC Sabathia are the only other pitchers to have pitched more innings than Greinke.  Also, Greinke hasn't missed a start (Halladay) and hasn't really been plagued by inconsistencies (Hernandez).  The Royals may be well out of contention, but this kid is about the only bright spot on the team and he's keeping the Royals shining, um, dimly..
Others Considered: Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays, Felix Hernadez - Seattle Mariners, Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers, Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels, Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins

Greinke continues pitching well.

NL Cy Young
Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
9-5, 2.01 ERA, 129 SO, 16 BB, .81 WHIP, .189 BAA, 130 IP
The D-Backs ace says "HI" to NL manager Charlie Manuel.  I'm not implying anything, but something says to me that Tim Lincecum shouldn't have been starting the All-Star game for the NL (though he's pitched admirably).  The only thing plaguing Haren is well, the lack of run support and the lack of a good team around him in Arizona.  Haren is like the random oasis in a desert.  OK, bad analogy, but, no matter what you say, Haren is second in IP to Adam Wainwright, third in K's to Tim Lincecum and Javier Vazquez, and has had a couple of unfair losses because of the lack of run support.  I know, if he were playing for the Cubs, it wouldn't be much better, but if he were playing for, I don't know, maybe the Brewers or the Dodgers, well, let's just say he could very well have 1 or 2 losses.  Weird, I picked two Cy Youngs from two losing teams.  Oh well.
Others Considered: Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants, Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins, Javier Vazquez - Atlanta Braves

Whether it be in Oakland or Arizona, Haren seems to go unnoticed.

AL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Ricky Romero - Toronto Blue Jays
7-3, 3.00 ERA, 69 SO, 30 BB, 1.26 WHIP, .252 BAA, 87 IP
So, who is this guy?  Well, despite an injury around April (sneezing while listening to rap (blech)), Romero has been an outstanding pitcher.  Yeah, you have Bailey for the A's, and Bergesen for the O's, but the "J's" (I just had to) have a guy who's stepped up when the injured birds had fallen.  Not only is he winning, but he's pitching well, not giving up many runs, not walk a WHOLE BUNCH, and keeping nice control.  Plus, he's helped my fantasy baseball team in the Omnipotent League a whole lot.
Others Considered: Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics, Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles, Scott Richmond - Toronto Blue Jays, Jeff Niemann - Tampa Bay Rays

Romero has had a great rookie year so far.

NL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Randy Wells - Chicago Cubs
4-4, 2.72 ERA, 53 SO, 17 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .243 BAA, 76 IP
I apologize for the random act of biasness, but Pablo Sandoval doesn't qualify as a rookie (how sad for Kung Fu Panda).  Really, it came down to two rival players, Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals and Wells for the Cubs and I went true to my heart, yes I went there.  OK, if the Cubs had half the offense they did last year, I guarantee Wells would be 8-1 or 9-1 in his first 12 starts instead of the horrendous 4-4 he really is.  He's got great control, not walking a whole lot of hitters, and he also trusts his defense.  He's kept his ERA low, he's progressively pitching more innings for each start he takes.  Besides Ted Lilly, Wells has been the most valuable to this Cubs team (jury still out on Am-Ram).
Others Considered: Colby Rasmus - St. Louis Cardinals, Casey McGehee - Milwaukee Brewers, Ramon Troncoso - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Hanson - Atlanta Braves

Wells has gotten little help from the Cubs' offense.

AL Manager of the Year
Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners
46-42, 4 GB in AL West
What a job Wakamatsu has done with this Mariners team.  It helps that he has Ichiro hitting all over the place, but this is a team many expected to finish dead last in the AL West and possibly be the worst team in the AL.  Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn has helped prevent that, but Wakamatsu has stepped up as the Mariners manager.  Look at what Russell Branyan has done, how Felix Hernandez has turned his season around, and how Ichiro came back from injury.  Watch out for the M's.
Other(s) Considered: Ron Washington - Texas Rangers

NL Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy - Colorado Rockies
47-41, 9 GB in NL West
Yes I went there.  It may be a little unfair to use the entire season's record for Jim Tracy, since Clint Hurdle kinda messed it up at the beginning of the year, but honestly, it's the Rockies, who cares?  I'm just messing with you all, but seriously, Tracy has turned around a team heading into the cellar of that the NL West.  Tracy is 29-13 since taking over for Hurdle, has helped turn around Aaron Cook and has helped make Ubaldo Jimenez a consistent pitcher.  Will "Rocktober" return?
Other(s) Considered: Joe Torre - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tony La Russa - St. Louis Cardinals

AL Silver Slugger Awards
C   Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox
DH Adam Lind - Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card: Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays (Didn't know where to honestly put him)
Others Considered: Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox, Robinson Cano - New York Yankees, Scott Rolen - Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Young - Texas Rangers, Derek Jeter - New York Yankees, Juan Rivera - Los Angeles Angels, Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles, Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians, Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays, Bobby Abreu - Los Angeles Angels, Jason Kubel - Minnesota Twins

NL Silver Slugger Awards
C   Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
P   Micah Owings - Cincinnati Reds
Others Considered: Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies, Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals, Mark Reynolds - Arizona Diamondbacks, Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros, Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals, Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks, Hunter Pence - Houston Astros, Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Ross - Florida Marlins, Yovani Gallardo - Milwaukee Brewers, Carlos Zambrano - Chicago Cubs

Rest of 2009 Predictions (not including records)
AL East
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals

AL West
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics

AL Wild Card
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Minnesota Twins

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card
San Francisco Giants
Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies
New York Mets

Red Sox over Tigers in 4
Angels over Yankees in 4

Red Sox over Angels in 6

Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Giants over Phillies in 5

Dodgers over Giants in 7

World Series
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  Any disagreements you may comment on, but no "BLAH BLAH BLAH I HAVE A LOUD COMPLAINING VOICE," OK?  I have rights to be homer and will be at any cost.  :)  Have a good rest of the season, good luck to your team, and enjoy baseball fans.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 21, 2009 10:40 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 2:03 am

My All-Stars ---> as of June 21st (ish), 2008

Since the All-Star Voting isn't all that it is cut out to be, here is my list of All-Stars, those players who are most deserving and should be playing on the national stage (I'm basing the positions off of what the All-Star ballot lists those players as):

American League

Position Players

1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
SS Derek Jeter - New York Yankees
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians
OF Jason Bay - Boston Red Sox
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles

Analysis: What is probably most glaring to you all is the fact that Victor Martinez is the starting catcher rather than Joe Mauer.  The only reason holding me back from starting Mauer is the fact that he missed the first few weeks due to injury.  I think it'd be a little more fair to have the player who has consistently been good, not getting injured.  That aspect also kept me from starting Jason Bartlett over Derek Jeter.  The outfield and second base positions were also difficult, that third outfielder coming down to Jones, Ichiro (who missed time), Crawford, Cruz, among others.  Second base really came down to Cano and Aaron Hill of Toronto, so some difficult decisions, but we still have a few weeks until the All-Star game, so a lot can change.

C  Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Mark Teixeira - New York Yankees
1B Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
3B Mark DeRosa - Cleveland Indians
3B Brandon Inge - Detroit Tigers
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Nelson Cruz - Texas Rangers
OF Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Jacoby Ellsbury - Boston Red Sox
OF Johnny Damon - New York Yankees
OF Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians

Analysis: A lot of what made this tough was the outfield.  I don't know if Shin-Soo Choo is quite an All-Star, but it seems he's doing just better than others to get that spot.  A lot of what locked it in for me was the way he is able to get on base and power factor he has.  Joe Mauer and Jason Bartlett, as stated before, both are reserves due to an injury keeping them out for a lengthy period of time.  Brandon Inge has been quite a surprise for the Tigers.


SP Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
SP Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays
SP Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners
SP Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels
SP Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers
RP Jonathan Papelbon - Boston Red Sox
RP Joe Nathan - Minnesota Twins
RP Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics
RP David Aardsma - Seattle Mariners
RP J.P. Howell - Tampa Bay Rays
RP Ramon Ramirez - Boston Red Sox

Analysis: The pitching is always tough to figure.  Edwin Jackson is having a very surprising year for the Tigers, though it was difficult for me to choose him over other very talented pitchers at this point.  I know ERA isn't everything, but 6-4 w/ a 2.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.04 ain't too shabby.  Plus, hitters are only .217 against him, definitely a career first half for Jackson.  Zack Greinke is my AL starter at this point, but it's possible that that could change.  A lot of the entire team can change really, but for now, that's what this will be.

National League

Position Players

1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
3B David Wright - New York Mets
Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Carlos Beltran - New York Mets

Analysis: I gotta tell ya, I'm going to try to say this the best I can without sounding like a hypocrite.  The reason I have Brian McCann starting is because of the fact that he's been one of the only consistent catchers in the national league, over guys like both Molinas.  Joe Mauer I don't have starting (yet) because of how well Victor Martinez has been playing and being able to play as much as possible.  The other really tough position for me was third base, choosing David Wright over guys like Sandoval, Zimmerman, Jones and Blake.  Also second base, but Chase Utley's ability to get on base and his ops really did it in for me, putting him over O-dog.

Bengie Molina - San Francisco Giants
1B Adrian Gonzalez - San Diego Padres
1B Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers
2B Orlando Hudson - Los Angeles Dodgers
2B Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds
SS Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
3B Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves
3B Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
OF Hunter Pence - Houston Astros
OF Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks
OF Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals

Analysis: What was really hard was choosing those last couple of spots, with Matt Kemp doing so well, but not really slugging and Adam Dunn being the player he is.  I decided to go with Dunn, and also Chipper Jones over Matt Kemp. A couple of other noteworthy players, Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard being left off the All-Star list as of now.  Both are slugging, but neither are really hitting that well otherwise.  Dunn has less strikeouts than both of them and also more walks, and also among other factors, I'm sticking with Dunn.


SP Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
SP Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants
SP Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins
SP Ted Lilly - Chicago Cubs
SP Zach Duke - Pittsburgh Pirates
SP Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds
RP Heath Bell - San Diego Padres
RP Francisco Rodriguez - New York Mets
RP Ryan Franklin - St. Louis Cardinals
RP Jonathan Broxton - Los Angeles Dodgers
RP Trevor Hoffman - Milwaukee Brewers

Analysis: OK, so you might be wondering a couple of things.  Where in the world is Johan Santana?  Well, his last few starts have not been kind to his All-Star chances.  Also, with the Pirates and Cubs yet to have a representative, I had to put in Ted Lilly (who is putting All-Star numbers up) and Zach Duke (it was either him or Freddy Sanchez).  I was hesitant on Matt Cain due to a high WHIP, but put him in anyway.  Tim Lincecum has been impressive which made it difficult for me to choose Cueto over him, but there are some very very close numbers that factored into that decision.

Where are Reynolds and Howard you might ask?

Well, that is all for my All-Star selection for now.  I'll probably have a mid-season update once the All-Star break rolls around.  Enjoy and leave your complaints in the comment box..


Category: MLB
Posted on: June 17, 2009 7:39 pm

2009 Pre-season College Football Poll

Here's my entry for TBDPITL
1. Florida Gators - I bet it's great to be a Florida Gator.  The defending champs return much of their national championship team and are the clear favorites for the title once again this year.

2. Texas Longhorns - I still don't like Colt McCoy.  I hardly ever felt he had the mental (and sometimes physical) toughness to be playing at such a high level at D-I college football for a team in the Big XII conference.  Last year changed my opinion somewhat on him.  If he has a great senior year, there might not be a whole lot stopping the Longhorns from charging through the Big XII once again.

3. Southern Cal Trojans - Pete Carroll always seems to throw out a very talented team onto the football field.  Of course, he also seems to lose to a lesser team at least once a year ever since Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush left.  Who will be that team this year?  Can somebody dethrone the Trojans?

4. Virginia Tech Hokies - I really hope the Huskers can beat this always strongly defensive-minded team.  Tyrod Taylor returns as well as Darren Evans, both very talented players to help the Hokies on offense.  Can Beamer push these Hokies to a possible national championship?

5. Oklahoma Sooners - Sam Bradford returns from a very potent offense.  I actually thought the defense was somewhat impressive in the national championship game, when you compare it to the defenses that couldn't stop anybody within the Big XII, so it's worth mentioning the 9 returning starters on D.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes - Tyrelle Pryor was impressive when he took over for Todd Boeckman, but now, it's time to get down to some serious business.  Pryor will need to become the leader of a very potent Buckeyes team.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions - Despite losing a lot on D, JoePa is going to make it very clear, once again, that his team will not go away.  Daryll Clark and Evan Royster returning is beneficial to the offense's success.  Let's face it, Clark has already looked much better than Anthony Morelli.

8. Oregon Ducks - Will this be the year that some Pac-Ten team jumps over the hump and beats out USC for the conference title?  It seems that many are giving Oregon a chance and it's not too hard to see why.

9. Mississippi Rebels - Jevan Snead helped turn this team in a huge surprise.  Not only did they beat Florida, but with Houston Nutt's help, they became a 9 win team one year after going 3-9.

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys - Zac Robinson returns in a conference full of talented QBs.  Also returning is a very talented receiver in Dez Bryant and leading rusher Kendall Hunter.

11. Alabama Crimson Tide - The Crimson Tide may be losing John Parker Wilson and Glen Coffee, but Julio Jones returns on offense and the defense returns 9 players including Ronaldo McClain.

12. Texas Christian Horned Frogs - The Horned Frogs are losing 7 players on a very good defense from last year, but returning is the leader in sacks, Jerry Hughes.  I admit, I am a sucker for the mid-majors, but with TCU almost always having a great D, and the offense actually returning a QB (Andy Dalton) and a few receivers, the Horned Frogs could make a bit more noise this year.

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Paul Johnson's first year was a huge success as he brought over the triple option offense to the ACC and turning this team into a very successful one.  They have a total 16 returning starters so experience won't be a problem.

14. Georgia Bulldogs - Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno may be gone, but A.J. Green returns, giving Joe Cox a nice target.  There are still 7 returning starters on each side of the ball, so Richt may not have too much of a problem possibly improving on last year's results.

15. California Golden Bears - Another team in the Pac-Ten many say have a legit shot at the Pac-Ten title (including myself).  Jahvid Best has Heisman potential while Kevin Riley got some experience last year at QB.  The defense also returns 8 starters.

16. Iowa Hawkeyes - Ricky Stanzi gained valuable experience at QB last year while leading Iowa to a 9-4 record.  Losing Shonn Greene is huge, but it seems Iowa is able to find another running back to replace those who leave.  Jewel Hampton is that choice.

17. North Carolina Tar Heels - Butch Davis' first year for the Tar Heels was a little bittersweet, but North Carolina was able to finish 8-4 during the regular season with a bowl appearance, losing to West Virginia.  There is plenty of potential on defense, something Davis knows much about.

18. Kansas Jayhawks - Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe are really the 5 words I need to say.  This is an explosive offense coupled with some potential on defense, the Jayhawks may be the team to beat in the Big XII North --- stay tuned.

19. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Despite losing QB Joe Ganz, the Huskers have plenty on offense to work with.  Shawn Watson doesn't seem to have problems inserting QBs into his system, so Zac Lee looks as if he may have a great shot to be decent at Nebraska.  The defense should be much improved as the Huskers fight w/ Kansas for the Big XII North title.

20. Boise State Broncos - The perennial mid-major powerhouse might just have one of their best teams in 2009.  Jeremy Avery and Kellen Moore improve off of a great 2008 for both of them.  There are only 5 returning defensive starters, but the secondary is very experienced, so the linebackers and d-line may need work.

21. Florida State Seminoles - This year might be a great shot for Bobby Bowden to lead the 'Noles to another ACC title.  The offense returns 9 starters, along w/ QB Christian Ponder.  The offense has been much of the problem the last few years, and experience might just be the answer.

22. Oregon State Beavers - Jacquizz and James Rodgers return as Oregon State looks to continue the consistency (3 straight seasons of at least 9 wins) they have had the past few years and maybe even shock the Trojans once again.  The defense may need work w/ only 3 returning starters.

23. Louisiana State Tigers - The Tigers are talented, no doubt, but will that talent translate to wins?  Les Miles needs to prove that his players can work under his system.  The offense have many key returnees, but QB is the position that really needs to be figured out.

24. South Florida Bulls - The Bulls are only returning 11 starters from last year's team, but Matt Grothe has plenty of experience and so does George Selvie.  Can the Bulls finally start playing to their potential instead of starting well and flaming out to end the year?

25. North Carolina State Wolfpack - Russell Wilson is a very impressive player and helped lead the Wolfpack to a bowl game appearance.  There is plenty of experience w/ 15 returning starters (8 on offense, 7 on defense) and ACC is usually open and evenly matched.
Posted on: February 25, 2009 2:29 am
Edited on: March 26, 2009 2:54 am

GBR203's MLB Standings and Other Stuff for 2009

All right...  So, Spring Training is about to start and people have been wondering who will be in the '09 playoffs.  Well, I just couldn't wait for Manny Ramirez to get signed, so I just decided what the heck and I'll fix them whenever Manny gets signed.  I apologize, I don't have the team logos, it keeps making them large, I have no idea why I can't fix it...  I've decided to add playoff projections and projected lineups and starters (don't have the bullpen) (as according to CBS (all stats are from 2008 season)).  I just have AL East so far, I'll do the rest later..

AL East
New York Yankees - The addition of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, though both have had injuries in their past help the New York rotation while Mark Teixeira (I can never spell his name right) will provide some extra power.

Projected Lineup
LF Johnny Damon (.303 AVG 17 HR 71 RBI)
SS Derek Jeter (.300 AVG 11 HR 69 RBI)
1B Mark Teixeira (.308 AVG 33 HR 121 RBI)
DH Hideki Matsui (.294 AVG 9 HR 45 RBI)
Jorge Posada (.268 AVG 3 HR 22 RBI)
RF Xavier Nady (.305 AVG 25 HR 97 RBI combined stats)
2B Robinson Cano (.271 AVG 14 HR 72 RBI)
3B Cody Ransom (.255 AVG 22 HR 71 RBI in 116 AAA games)
CF Melky Cabrera (.249 AVG 8 HR 37 RBI)

Mark Teixeira's presence definitely adds some more power to this Yankees lineup.  There are some aging players with Posada, Rodriguez, Jeter, Matsui, Damon, but they are still solid.  This lineup has a good balance of lefties and righties.  I actually would switch Matsui and Posada in terms of order, but they both still provide solid enough protection for A-Rod and Teixeira.  I'm almost certain that Nick Swisher will be able to do enough to get the majority of the at-bats in center field, despite CBS having Cabrera as the starting CF (which is interesting).  It's possible that Cody Ransom will have to step in for A-Rod's injury.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
LH CC Sabathia (17-10 2.70 ERA combined stats)
RH A.J. Burnett (18-10 4.07 ERA)
RH Chien-Ming Wang (8-2 4.07 ERA)
LH Andy Petitte (14-14 4.54 ERA)
RH Joba Chamberlain (4-3 2.60 ERA)
CP Mariano Rivera (6-5 1.40 ERA 39 of 40 save opportunities)

I think the key to this rotation is definitely health.  A.J. Burnett is a major concern while Sabathia and Wang have a little bit of injury history.  Chamberlain and Petitte are along the same lines, but isn't too much of a concern.  Chamberlain, I feel, will have his sort of breakout year as the starter.  I think he has learned enough about what it'll be like to start in the majors and I hope not to see him in the bullpen again (though he does excel).

Tampa Bay Rays - This young and spunky group is ready to make a return to the playoffs in a reloaded American League East.  I liked the addition of Pat Burrell to help this team hit against left-handed pitching, something they struggled with a little last year.

Projected Lineup
2B Akinori Iwamura (.274 AVG 6 HR 48 RBI)
LF Carl Crawford (.273 AVG 8 HR 57 RBI)
CF B.J. Upton (.273 AVG 9 HR 67 RBI)
3B Evan Longoria (.272 AVG 27 HR 85 RBI)
1B Carlos Pena (.247 AVG 31 HR 102 RBI)
DH Pat Burrell (.250 AVG 33 HR 86 RBI)
C   Dioner Navarro (.295 AVG 7 HR 54 RBI)
RF Gabe Gross (.238 AVG 13 HR 40 RBI)
SS Jason Bartlett (.286 AVG 1 HR 37 RBI)

Very nice top of the order with a very powerful middle of the order, especially w/ the presence of Carlos Pena, who has quietly become one of the better first basemen in the league.  There may be some more young talent incoming for the Rays with Reid Brignac and Tim Beckham (though Beckham is probably a couple of years away).  Also watch for Fernando Perez and Gabe Kapler get a few spot starts.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH James Shields (14-8 3.56 ERA)
LH Scott Kazmir (12-8 3.49 ERA)
RH Matt Garza (11-9 3.70 ERA)
RH Andy Sonnanstine (13-9 4.38 ERA)
RH Jason Hammel (4-4 4.60 ERA)
CP Troy Percival (2-1 4.53 ERA 28 of 32 save opportunites)

This young rotation is looking very good for the Rays, especially knowing how much they still have left in them.  Shields has emerged as the leader of this rotation with Kazmir and Garza not far behind.  Sonnanstine is a solid 4 starter while David Price will look to continue from where he left off in last year's playoffs.

Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox did the least, in my opinion, to improve their team.  They added Brad Penny, who's coming off an injury, John Smoltz who was injured and will be out until at least June, and are without Manny Ramirez, who had a bigger impact than Jason Bay in my opinion.

Projected Lineup
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.280 AVG 9 HR 47 RBI)
2B Dustin Pedroia (.326 AVG 17 HR 83 RBI)
DH David Ortiz (.264 AVG 23 HR 89 RBI)
1B Kevin Youkilis (.312 AVG 29 HR 115 RBI)
LF Jason Bay (.286 AVG 31 HR 101 RBI)
RF J.D. Drew (.280 AVG 19 HR 64 RBI)
3B Mike Lowell (.274 AVG 17 HR 73 RBI)
SS Jed Lowrie (.258 AVG 2 HR 46 RBI)
C   Jason Varitek (.220 AVG 13 HR 43 RBI)

The lineup isn't changed much from the end of last year except for the fact that you don't see Julio Lugo starting at shortstop.  Lowrie has the potential to be a good shortstop for this Red Sox team.  Youkilis will definitely have to continue the success he's been having when batting and providing protection for David Ortiz.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Josh Beckett (12-10 4.03 ERA)
LH Jon Lester (16-6 3.21 ERA)
RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3 2.90 ERA)
RH Brad Penny (6-9 6.27 ERA)
RH Tim Wakefield (10-11 4.13 ERA)
CP Jonathan Papelbon (5-4 2.34 ERA 41 of 46 save opportunities)

I don't think this Sox rotation is much improved from last year.  Penny is coming off an injury and Wakefield is really fading.  John Smoltz should be around mid-season, so he might be able to provide an improvement over Wakefield.  Still a decent rotation, just I don't feel it is better than last year's.

Toronto Blue Jays
- The Blue Jays stayed fairly quiet during the off-season.  They are without Dustin McGowan for much of the year and Shaun Marcum for all of it.  Roy Halladay will be anchoring this rotation once again as the Jays look like they won't have enough once again to compete for a playoff spot.

Projected Lineup
SS Marco Scutaro (.267 AVG 7 HR 60 RBI)
2B Aaron Hill (.263 AVG 2 HR 20 RBI)
RF Alex Rios (.291 AVG 15 HR 79 RBI)
CF Vernon Wells (.300 AVG 20 HR 78 RBI)
DH Adam Lind (.282 AVG 9 HR 40 RBI)
3B Scott Rolen (.262 AVG 11 HR 50 RBI)
1B Lyle Overbay (.270 AVG 15 HR 69 RBI)
C   Rod Barajas (.249 AVG 11 HR 49 RBI)
LF Travis Snider (.301 AVG 2 HR 13 RBI)

The lineup is a bit weak for the Blue Jays this year.  Scutaro at leadoff?  Rios and Wells are solid hitters in the 3-4 spots, but otherwise, not much that is notable.  Travis Snider's progression will be interesting to watch this year as he gets his first chance at a full time job.  Adam Lind also needs to become a presence in the 5 spot, protected Wells and Rios.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Roy Halladay (20-11 2.78 ERA)
RH Jesse Litsch (13-9 3.58 ERA)
LH David Purcey (3-6 5.54 ERA)
RH Casey Janssen (2-3 2.35 ERA)
RH Scott Richmond (1-3 4.00 ERA)
CP B.J. Ryan (2-4 2.95 ERA 32 of 36 save opportunities)

I admit I don't know too much about this rotation other than Roy Halladay and upstart Jesse Litsch.  Purcey and Janssen are names I heard of but Richmond doesn't really ring a bell to me.  Any Blue Jays fans that can help me out, please do so.  B.J. Ryan's a solid closer and should be once again for 2009.  Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan will surely be missed as Marcum is out for the year and McGowan won't return until at least May and could be as late as August.

Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles maintain much of their position players from last year as they each gain a year of experience, though the pitching is different.  Jeremy Guthrie will once again be impressive as the Baltimore ace anchoring a weak rotation.  We may get to see the much anticipated debut of Matt Wieters.

Projected Lineup
2B Brian Roberts (.296 AVG 9 HR 57 RBI)
3B Melvin Mora (.285 AVG 23 HR 104 RBI)
RF Nick Markakis (.306 AVG 20 HR 87 RBI)
1B Aubrey Huff (.304 AVG 32 HR 108 RBI)
CF Adam Jones (.270 AVG 9 HR 57 RBI)
DH Luke Scott (.257 AVG 23 HR 65 RBI)
C   Gregg Zaun (.237 AVG 6 HR 30 RBI)
SS Cesar Izturis (.263 AVG 1 HR 24 RBI)
LF Felix Pie (.241 AVG 1 HR 10 RBI)

The top of the lineup is fairly decent w/ Aubrey Huff coming off a great second half of last year.  The bottom of the linup seems pretty weak, but there's still a little potential w/ Felix Pie.  Roberts will continue to be a spark plug, getting on base and providing speed for Markakis and Huff.  Adam Jones looks like has plenty of potential, having a fairly decent year last year.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Jeremy Guthrie (10-12 3.63 ERA)
RH Koji Uehara (6-5 3.81 for Yomiuri Giants)
LH Rich Hill (1-0 4.12 ERA)
LH Mark Hendrickson (7-8 5.45 ERA)
RH Radhames Liz (6-6 6.72 ERA)
CP George Sherrill (3-5 4.73 ERA 31 of 37 save opportunities)

The rotation isn't very good.  When you have walk-o-matic Rich Hill in the 3 spot, you know you have some pitching troubles and are just reaching.  Guthrie is really the only bright spot of this rotation with UeHara in his rookie year and a chance to impress.  Sherrill turned out to be a decent closing option and will be the closer despite the return of Chris Ray.

AL Central
Minnesota Twins - The Twins added an offensive third basemen which may help them win the AL Central crown as Joe Crede joins a young bunch who play the fundamentals well.  The young Twins rotation looks to improve as they gain a year of experience in the league.

Projected Lineup
LF Denard Span (.294 AVG 6 HR 47 RBI)
2B Alexi Casilla (.281 AVG 7 HR 50 RBI)
Joe Mauer (.328 AVG 9 HR 85 RBI)
1B Justin Morneau (.300 AVG 23 HR 129 RBI)
RF Michael Cuddyer (.249 AVG 3 HR 36 RBI)
DH Jason Kubel (.272 AVG 20 HR 78 RBI)
3B Joe Crede (.248 AVG 17 HR 55 RBI)
SS Nick Punto (.284 AVG 2 HR 28 RBI)
CF Carlos Gomez (.258 AVG 7 HR 59 RBI)

A decent enough lineup mixing speed and power.  Gardenhire's small ball strategy definitely works out for this type of lineup, giving many RBI opportunities to guys like Morneau and Mauer.  This lineup has an almost perennial MVP candidate in Justin Morneau (who should have had his 2nd MVP last year).  The Twins will be looking for Michael Cuddyer to return back to his 2007 form.

Pitching Rotation
RH Scott Baker (11-4 3.45 ERA)
LH Francisco Liriano (6-4 3.91 ERA)
RH Kevin Slowey (12-11 3.99 ERA)
LH Glen Perkins (12-4 4.41 ERA)
RH Nick Blackburn (11-11 4.05 ERA)
CP Joe Nathan (1-2 1.33 ERA 39 of 45 in save opportunities)

A nice, young rotation who are very likely to get the job done once again in Minnesota.  Not one of these pitchers is completely dominant, though Liriano has the potential to be in the very near future as he continues to recover from his arm injury.  Joe Nathan is considered one of the best closers in the league right now.

Cleveland Indians - The Indians made plenty of moves in the off-season, one of them gaining versatile Mark DeRosa and also the signing of Kerry WoodShin-Soo Choo made nice strides late in the year last year.  The rotation is still a little questionable with Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona heading it, but the pitchers behind them may not be as reliable.

Projected Lineup
CF Grady Sizemore (.268 AVG 33 HR 90 RBI)
3B Mark DeRosa (.285 AVG 25 HR 87 RBI)
Victor Martinez (.278 AVG 2 HR 35 RBI)
DH Travis Hafner (.197 AVG 5 HR 24 RBI)
SS Jhonny Peralta (.276 AVG 23 HR 89 RBI)
RF Shin-Soo Choo (.309 AVG 14 HR 66 RBI)
1B Ryan Garko (.273 AVG 14 HR 90 RBI)
LF Ben Francisco (.266 AVG 15 HR 54 RBI)
2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.259 AVG 6 HR 47 RBI)

Sizemore's role in this lineup reminds me a little of Soriano's role in the Cubs' lineup.  Sizemore has the speed, hits for nice 30 HR power, but may not get on base as much as you would like for the hitters behind him, Martinez and Hafner in this case.  Though it might not matter if Hafner continues to struggle as much as he has.  Choo will look to continue his success from last year.

Pitching Rotation
LH Cliff Lee (22-3 2.54 ERA)
RH Fausto Carmona (8-7 5.44 ERA)
RH Carl Pavano (4-2 5.77 ERA)
RH Anthony Reyes (4-2 2.76 ERA in 16 appearances)
LH Aaron Laffey (5-7 4.23 ERA)
CP Kerry Wood (5-4 3.26 ERA 34 of 40 save opportunities)

The addition of Kerry Wood was huge for the Indians as they've sorely needed a consistent closer.  This rotation doesn't look that great stat wise, but the talent is there.  Cleveland will largely need to bank on Pavano not getting injured again and for Lee to get at least close to the success of last year, though the exact same performance isn't a reasonable expectation.

Detroit Tigers - I don't see Detroit being as bad as they were last year, but they won't be the best in the AL Central.  The emergence of Armando Galarraga was a nice surprise as he and Justin Verlander will head the rotation.  Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya need to stay healthy in the bullpen.

Projected Lineup
CF Curtis Granderson (.280 AVG 22 HR 66 RBI)
2B Placido Polanco (.307 AVG 8 HR 58 RBI)
RF Magglio Ordonez (.317 AVG 21 HR 103 RBI)
1B Miguel Cabrera (.292 AVG 37 HR 127 RBI)
LF Carlos Guillen (.286 AVG 10 HR 54 RBI)
DH Gary Sheffield (.225 AVG 19 HR 57 RBI)
C   Gerald Laird (.276 AVG 6 HR 41 RBI)
3B Brandon Inge (.205 AVG 11 HR 51 RBI)
SS Adam Everett (.213 AVG 2 HR 20 RBI)

This is still a good lineup, despite the fact Sheffield is aging and Everett is mainly starting because of defense.  Ordonez and Cabrera have decent power and are big time RBI men, which is great because Granderson and Polanco both have the ability to get on base.  The always versatile Carlos Guillen is a valuable commodity in this Tigers lineup.

Pitching Rotation
RH Justin Verlander (11-17 4.84 ERA)
RH Armando Galarraga (13-7 3.73 ERA)
RH Jeremy Bonderman (3-4 4.29 ERA)
RH Edwin Jackson (14-11 4.42 ERA)
LH Dontrelle Willis (0-2 9.38 ERA in Majors, 3-1 4.45 ERA in AAA)
CP Brandon Lyon (3-5 4.70 ERA 26 of 31 save opportunities)

The addition of Edwin Jackson doesn't help this ailing rotation too much, though he did have his best year last year w/ Tampa Bay.  Verlander and Willis need to return to their once great and dominant forms while Armando Galarraga needs to continue and build off the success from last year.  Brandon Lyon has a tough role to fill w/ Todd Jones now gone.

Chicago White Sox - Last year's victors of the AL Central look to be facing some tough times in 2009.  John Danks and Gavin Floyd were nice surprises, but can they keep it up?  Jermaine Dye also as he gets older.  The center field and third base positions look uneasy as the South Siders need someone to step up at each position.

Projected Lineup
CF Dewayne Wise (.248 AVG 6 HR 14 RBI)
C   A.J. Pierzynski (.281 AVG 13 HR 60 RBI)
LF Carlos Quentin (.288 AVG 36 HR 100 RBI)
DH Jim Thome (.245 AVG 34 HR 90 RBI)
RF Jermaine Dye (.292 AVG 34 HR 96 RBI)
1B Paul Konerko (.240 AVG 22 HR 62 RBI)
SS Alexei Ramirez (.290 AVG 21 HR 77 RBI)
3B Josh D. Fields (.156 AVG 0 HR 2 RBI in 14 MLB games, .246 AVG 10 HR 35 RBI in 75 AAA games)
2B Chris Getz (.302 AVG 11 HR 52 RBI in 111 AAA games)

A power filled lineup that may take a step back as Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye continue to age.  The young players at the bottom of the order really need to step up as Joe Crede and Juan Uribe are both gone.  Alexei Ramirez had a good year last year and will look to continue that same success.

Pitching Rotation
LH Mark Buehrle (15-12 3.79 ERA)
RH Gavin Floyd (17-8 3.84 ERA)
LH John Danks (12-9 3.32 ERA)
RH Bartolo Colon (4-2 3.92 ERA)
LH Clayton Richard (2-5 6.04 in 13 MLB appearances, 6-6 2.47 ERA in 13 AA starts)
CP Bobby Jenks (3-1 2.63 ERA 30 of 34 save opportunities)

This rotation needs to continue the success they had last year.  Clayton Richard also needs to step up and try to forget his 2008 MLB season.  Gavin Floyd and John Danks were nice surprises last year and will be hoping to do the same as they did last year.  Buehrle has been a consistent pitcher for the Sox.

Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon and Billy Butler need to become the players they were projected as when they came into the league.  Much of the question marks are within the pitching though as after Zack Greinke and Gil Meche, it doesn't look good.  Brian Bannister or Luke Hochevar really need to step up.

Projected Lineup
CF Coco Crisp (.283 AVG 7 HR 41 RBI)
SS Mike Aviles (.325 AVG 10 HR 51 RBI)
LF David DeJesus (.307 AVG 12 HR 73 RBI)
RF Jose Guillen (.264 AVG 20 HR 97 RBI)
1B Mike Jacobs (.247 AVG 32 HR 93 RBI)
DH Billy Butler (.275 AVG 11 HR 55 RBI)
3B Alex Gordon (.260 AVG 16 HR 59 RBI)
C   Miguel Olivo (.255 AVG 12 HR 51 RBI)
2B Alberto Callaspo (.305 AVG 0 HR 16 RBI)

This lineup definitely has some power potential in Mike Jacobs, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon, but all 3 will have to step up w/ Jacobs hopefully continuing the power success he had last year.  Mike Aviles was a pleasant surprise for the Royals as they try and continue to fit pieces into a young puzzle.

Pitching Rotation
RH Gil Meche (14-11 3.98 ERA)
RH Zack Greinke (13-10 3.47 ERA)
RH Kyle Davies (9-7 4.06 ERA)
LH Horacio Ramirez (1-4 4.34 ERA)
RH Brian Bannister (9-16 5.76 ERA)
CP Joakim Soria (2-3 1.60 ERA 42 of 45 save opportunities)

Gil Meche and Zack Greinke are great pitchers w/ Meche proving he is worth his contract.  Bannister is a young pitcher hoping to gain some success after starting out well last year and ending terribly.  Joakim Soria is probably the best young closer in the league and quietly had 42 saves last year.

AL West
Los Angeles Angels - The Angels lost a big part of their offense in Mark Teixeira, but still have Vladamir Guerrero and have added Bobby AbreuFrancisco Rodriguez is gone, but Brian Fuentes is replacing him and Scott Shields will continue to dominate the setup role.  The rotation is missing Jon Garland as Dustin Moseley will try to fill his shoes.

Oakland Athletics - The addition of Matt Holliday was key this off-season for the A's as they'll definitely close the gap w/ the Angels.  The starting rotation may be what will hold Oakland back though w/ Justin Duchscherer leading a group of young arms ready to prove themselves.

Texas Rangers - Much like last year, this team will be all offense and basically no pitching.  The young players in the rotation and also on the field will need to step up to make the Rangers a contender.  Guys like Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy.

Seattle Mariners - The M's are in a rebuilding year, just look at their lineup.  The rotation looks dynamic with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Brandon Morrow at the top of it.  It'll be interesting to see how some of the young players will respond as they'll get an opportunity to prove their worth.

AL Wild Card
Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics

NL East
New York Mets - You got to believe that this time around, the Mets won't be blowing big leads with J.J. Putz and K-Rod added to the bullpen.  The lineup will be very similar to last year's as well as the rotation.  Mike Pelfrey may have finally realized his full potential.

Philadelphia Phillies - The defending World Series champs may be looking up to the Mets this year.  There's no denying they have an explosive offense w/ Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley in the middle of it all.  The rotation is the slight weakness on this team with Cole Hamels as the ace (and rightfully so).

Atlanta Braves - This Braves team has the potential to be dangerous.  Fairly young as some rookies will get their chances like Josh Anderson and maybe Tommy Hanson later on in the season?  I applaud the additions of Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez to bolster their rotation.  Watch out, Atlanta may sneak ahead of Philly or New York.

Washington Nationals - Oh no I didn't, actually, yes I did.  I really didn't like the Marlins' off-season moves and I liked much of the Nationals'.  Adding Josh Willingham will be more beneficial than some may think as well as Scott Olsen and Adam DunnJohn Lannan is coming off a terrific first full year for Washington to head a semi-weak rotation.  This is just a surprise pick, not much behind it.

Florida Marlins - This team has plenty of potential, but a lot of players will really have to step up this year including Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin.  The rotation is fairly talented and young, but Andrew Miller will need to improve and Chris Volstad will need to pitch much like he did last year.

NL Central
Chicago Cubs - Coming off another disappointing exit in the playoffs last year, Jim Hendry made some off-season moves, eventually signing Milton Bradley while losing Jason Marquis and Mark DeRosa.  The Cubs will look to have more regular season success and translate it to the playoffs.

St. Louis Cardinals - I didn't really like the Cardinals' off-season either, but there's no denying Tony LaRussa gets the job done.  Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse will need to continue overachieving while Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter need to stay healthy.

Milwaukee Brewers - Despite losing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, the Brewers are still a very talented team w/ an explosive offense.  Yovani Gallardo will look to lead the Milwaukee rotation after a "freak injury" (I'll take your word for it Brew Crew fans) ended his year early last year.

Cincinnati Reds - We're still waiting for the youngsters on this team to emerge.  Jay Bruce was impressive during his first few weeks in the league, but slowed down after awhile.  Edinson Volquez is a great pitcher as this rotation looks fairly impressive, Aaron Harang coming back from injury w/ Bronsen Arroyo, Micah Owings, and Johnny Cueto rounding it out.

Houston Astros - Teams 2-5 could be flip-flopped in many ways, with Houston being the silent hunters.  They were impressive to finish the year last year, showing much of their resilliency.  The rotation may be a trouble spot, but that didn't really stop them last year.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Quite possibly the worst team in the majors right now, the Pirates did next to nothing during the off-season.  The rotation is fair as youth is still prevelant.  There are bright spots, but don't look for much improvement if any at all for Pittsburgh.

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers - Even without Manny, the Dodgers are probably the best team in the NL West at this point in time.  Jonathan Broxton is ready to close games as the rotation looks fair coming into the season.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney made some nice strides, especially during the playoffs.

San Francisco Giants - The Giants may have a chance to contend with the Dodgers, that is if they can get some hitting.  Bengie Molina, Fred Lewis as potential cleanup hitters?  Yikes.  The rotation, though, is very good, w/ Cy Young Award winner last year Tim Lincecum being the ace.

Colorado Rockies - They lost Matt Holliday, but the Rockies will still have the Coors hitting advantage.  Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe will continue to hit well in the mountain air.  Troy Tulowitzki will be back.  The rotation might be nasty.  After Ubaldo Jimenez, who really came along at the end of 2008, it's Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, and Greg Smith.  They have talent and youth, let's just wait and see.

Arizona Diamondbacks - This team just fell apart after a great 2008 start and really didn't do much in the off-season.  Brandon Webb is still there along with Dan Haren, but not too much more after that.  There is plenty of youth with Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, and Justin Upton, so they may come along soon.

San Diego Padres - It might be an ugly year for the Padres.  The Jake Peavy sweepstakes may be at a standstill for now, but he'll probably be gone by the trade deadline.  This would be a great time for the young guys to step up like Chase HeadleyAdrian Gonzalez may be the most underrated player in the league at this point in time.

NL Wild Card
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers

AL MVP - Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
NL MVP - Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
AL Cy Young - Scott Kazmir - Tampa Bay Rays (may be a stretch, we'll see)
NL Cy Young - Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies
AL Rookie of the Year - Matt Wieters - Baltimore Orioles
NL Rookie of the Year - Chris Dickerson - Cincinnati Reds
AL Manager of the Year - Ron Gardenhire - Minnesota Twins
NL Manager of the Year - Bruce Bochy - San Francisco Giants

ALDS : New York Yankees over Los Angeles Angels in 4
Minnesota Twins over Tampa Bay Rays in 5

ALCS: New York Yankees over Minnesota Twins in 6

NLDS: Chicago Cubs over Philadelphia Phillies in 5
New York Mets over Los Angeles Dodgers in 5

NLCS: Chicago Cubs over New York Mets in 6

World Series : Chicago Cubs over New York Yankees in 7
Yeah..I'm a homer Laughing .  This was put together quickly...  I might change it if I think about it..

There ya go.  Maybe some ridiculous predictions, maybe some safe.  Either way, it'll be another fun year in baseball.






Category: MLB
Posted on: February 19, 2009 12:22 am

MLB Predictions for 2009

For the two people that do happen to follow my blog at all for any of the predictions I do (which are usually beginning of the season), I've been thinking about posting them, but Manny Ramirez has yet to be signed.  Seeing as that will heavily influence my decisions, especially for the NL West (seeing as a lot of the action is there), I'm holding off on my predictions until he gets signed.  I know Ben Sheets remains a free agent among a couple other big names (Ken Griffey Jr. was just signed by the way), Manny's signing will indicate the timing of my predictions.  Last year was an OK year for my predictions...though I can't remember them all that much...  Anyway..that is all..

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 16, 2008 1:19 am
Edited on: December 16, 2008 1:21 am

Final Regular Season Poll

Well, here's the link to my pre-season poll so that you can compare this one to that one.  Hope you enjoy this and enjoy the bowl season.  I might have something special up for the bowl season, but we'll see...

Pre-season poll

1. Florida Gators (12-1) (8-1) - Counting the SEC championship game within the record, the Florida Gators had an outstanding season.  There were concerns about the defense to begin the year, but the Gators were able to go against these odds and are now SEC champs and in the national championship game.
Bowl Game: National Championship vs. No. 2 Oklahoma - Jan. 8

2. Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) (8-1) - The Sooners' only loss this was to a great Texas team who many felt should be in the national championship game.  The Sooners are recepients of the Big XII title once again, dominating a very overmatched Missouri team.  They are hoping for not another BCS choke.
Bowl Game: National Championship vs. No. 1 Florida - Jan. 8

3. Utah Utes (12-0) (8-0) - Many thought at the beginning of the season that it would be the Brigham Young Cougars busting the BCS, but instead it will be the Utah Utes facing Alabama in a BCS bowl.  The Utes had a terrific season, beating teams like Brigham Young, Texas Christian, and Oregon State.
Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. No. 5 Alabama - Jan. 2

4. Boise State Broncos (12-0) (8-0) - Many also thought Fresno State had a good shot at busting the BCS out of the WAC.  I am one of the few that thinks that Boise State got snubbed, well, sort of.  Boise State still gets a great match up in their bowl game, against Texas Christian.
Bowl Game:
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl vs. No. 11 Texas Christian - Dec. 23

5. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) (8-1) - The Crimson Tide's magical season came to an end when the Gators defeated them in the SEC championship game.  The Crimson Tide need to finish strong as they face a formidable Utah team in the Sugar Bowl.  I hope it is a great match up.
Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. No. 3 Utah - Jan. 2

6. Texas Longhorns (11-1) (7-1) - Some Longhorns fans are upset with the selection of Oklahoma to go to the Big XII title game and also to the national championship game to face Florida, but they still had an outstanding season with Colt McCoy bouncing back from a sophomore year where he struggled a bit.
Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. No. 10 Ohio State - Jan. 5

7. Southern California Trojans (11-1) (8-1) - Once again, the Trojans are kings of the Pac-Ten and heading to the Rose Bowl.  It might not be so easy this time around as they get to face the Penn State Nittany Lions, who are the Big Ten champs.  Probably one of the better bowl match ups this year.
Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. No. 8 Penn State - Jan. 1
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-1) (7-1) - The Nittany Lions were just a few seconds away from a perfect season.  The Iowa Hawkeyes got them in the end, but still a very good season for JoePa as he continues to coach.  Now the class of the Big Ten will try to gain a Rose Bowl win, facing the Trojans of Southern Cal.
Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. No. 7 Southern California - Jan. 1

. Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1) (7-1) - Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are still the dynamic duo that they were last year.  I really thought that Michael Crabtree deserved a shot at the Heisman, but I guess it's too late now.  The Red Raiders now face a Rebels team that is much improved.
Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. No. 17 Mississippi - Jan. 2

10. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) (7-1) - Terrell Pryor's freshman year was surely impressive.  The Buckeyes are rewarded with a BCS bowl berth, facing the Texas Longhorns.  It will definitely be a tough match up for the Buckeyes, who impressed me by coming back the way they did after suffering a beatdown against Southern Cal.
Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. No. 6 Texas - Jan. 5

11. Texas Christian Horned Frogs (10-2) (7-1) - The Horned Frogs of TCU had a nice year.  They were able to beat Brigham Young, but couldn't keep up with Utah.  Nonetheless, a good year for this non-BCS team and they get Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Bowl Game: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl vs. No. 4 Boise State -
Dec. 23

12. Cincinnati Bearcats (11-2) (6-1) - The Bearcats win the Big East title in football for the first time in school history and there may be more to come if Brian Kelly stays.  He's done a nice job, turning this team in a Big East contender.  They get rewarded with a BCS bowl match up.
Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. No. 19 Virginia Tech - Jan. 1

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-3) (5-3) - The Yellow Jackets may have not won their conference, but they had an outstanding year under first year coach Paul Johnson.  The triple option offense does still work, as Johnson proved.  The Yellow Jackets now get Louisiana State.
Bowl Game: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Louisiana State - Dec. 31

14. Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3) (5-3) -
Aside from the whole "I'm a man!  I'm 40!" stuff, you can't help but be impressed with what Mike Gundy has done with the Cowboys.  The Cowboys may not have been able to pull out a win against the big 3 of the Big XII south, but they kept it close against Texas and for awhile against Oklahoma.
Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. No. 15 Oregon - Dec. 30

15. Oregon Ducks (9-3) (7-2) -
Despite all of the quarterback shuffling the Ducks had to go through, they had a respectable season and are rewarded with a match up against Oklahoma State.  Their win against Oregon State helped make this year very satisfying for Ducks fans.
Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. No. 14 Oklahoma State - Dec. 30

16. Northwestern Wildcats (9-3) (5-3) -
Pat Fitzgerald has done a great job turning this team around.  The Wildcats made a very nice turnaround from last year as they propelled themselves to a 9 win season.  The Wildcats hope for ten wins when their bowl game rolls around.
Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl vs. Missouri - Dec. 29

17. Mississippi Rebels (8-4) (5-3) -
Houston Nutt's first year at Mississippi was certainly an impressive one.  They were able to upset Florida early in the year, and then finished strong, including a big win against Louisiana State, to go 8-4 on the season.  A very big turnaround, one in which Jevan Sneed was also a part of.
Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. No. 9 Texas Tech - Jan. 2

18. Georgia Bulldogs (9-3) (6-2) -
Matthew Stafford and Knoshown Moreno both had terrific years this year and are looking like they're headed for the draft.  They have to finish off the year against a tough Michigan State team as Stafford and Moreno (maybe) look to go out winners.
Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. No. 21 Michigan State - Jan. 1

19. Virginia Tech Hokies (9-4) (6-3) -
The Hokies are once again ACC champs thanks to Beamer and Bud Foster.  The Hokies recovered from a slow start, making the decision to remove Tyrod Taylor's redshirt and allow him to run and pass all over the field like he should.  Their reward: a BCS bowl.
Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. No. 12 Cincinnati - Jan. 1

20. Ball State Cardinals (12-1) (8-1) -
The dream of a perfect season ended when the Cardinals ran into a feisty Buffalo Bulls team led by Turner Gill.  Coach Hoke, though, fielded a team that look destined for a perfect year.  It wasn't the case.  Nate Davis is one quaterback that is definitely worth watching.
Bowl Game: GMAC Bowl vs. Tulsa - Jan. 6

21. Michigan State Spartans (9-3) (6-2) -
Michigan State didn't look very good in their losses (Penn State, Ohio State, and California (close)), but they have looked good in general on the year.  Javon Ringer is a definite workhorse as he'll hope to tire out the Georgia defensive line and linebacker corps.
Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. No. 18 Georgia - Jan. 1

22. Brigham Young Cougars (10-2) (6-2) -
At the start of the year, many felt the Cougars had the best shot at busting the BCS.  The Cougars were two losses away (TCU and Utah) from making that happen.  Now they face Arizona in the Las Vegas Bowl, which could be a good game.  Max Hall and Austin Collie look to return for next year and continue their dominance.
Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl vs. Arizona - Dec. 20

23. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) (5-3) -
Not a bad year for Iowa considering where they were at before the season started.  It seems as if Kirk Ferentz has been given chance after chance after chance.  The win against Penn State was the exclamation mark this year as Ferentz hopes to build on this good year.
Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina - Jan. 1

24. Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4) (5-3) -
This is slightly biased, but the Huskers finished strong, winning 5 of their last 6.  They had a close loss to Texas Tech and Virginia Tech.  A couple of mistakes that weren't made could've put Nebraska at 10-2 on the year.  Bo Pelini did a great job turning a 5-7 team to an 8-4 team in one year.
Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Clemson - Jan. 1

25. Boston College Eagles (9-4) (5-4) -
Give credit to Jeff Jagodzinski as he helped turn this team back into contenders even though they lost Matt Ryan.  The Eagles lost yet again in the ACC championship game to Virginia Tech, but exceeded expectations in the jumbled up ACC.
Bowl Game: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl vs. Vanderbilt - Dec. 31
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 21, 2008 12:03 am
Edited on: October 26, 2008 2:31 am

Remaining 2008 Husker schedule

Well, the Huskers are about where I expected them to be.  4-3 after a win against Iowa State, a pretty good win as a matter of fact.  Despite the 5 forced fumbles, the Huskers played well for most of the game.  The defense has stepped up and the offense, led by Joe Ganz, hopes to continue successful production as we head into the last 5 games.  I think in these last five games (vs. Baylor, @ Oklahoma, vs. Kansas, @ Kansas State, vs. Colorado) that the Huskers should win at least 2 of them, if not 3 of them.  Here's what I think.

vs. Baylor - October 25
The Huskers should win this game.  Baylor is a tougher team than in previous year though.  They did destroy Iowa State in Waco on October 11th.  The way the Huskers played against Iowa State, if that's any indicator of future performance, should help pave the way for a victory against Baylor.
Prediction:  Huskers win

at. Oklahoma - November 1
This will probably be the toughest task for the Huskers all year.  If you thought the Missouri game was brutal, wait until this game, it might be harsh.  Oklahoma has played well all year with the Texas game being a little exception.  They don't have the greatest defense (as don't most teams in the Big XII), but their offense more than makes up for it.  Sam Bradford is in the running for the Heisman (though Colt McCoy is the front runner) and leads a force to be reckoned with.
My Prediction: Huskers lose handily

vs. Kansas - November 8
I do believe this is a game that the Huskers can win.  I'm a little pessimistic and I'll say they won't, but Kansas, who struggled against Iowa State, does have weaknesses.  Todd Reesing is a very talented QB and has done a great job with the younger players being inserted into the system at Kansas.  Kansas does have a tough match up against at. Texas Tech and could be looking ahead to Texas the week after playing us (though I don't think they will be).  Should be a fun game w/ some high scoring.
My Prediction: Huskers lose in a close one

at. Kansas State - November 15
Josh Freeman has quietly been impressive for Kansas State.  I read somewhere that he's on pace to do what Tim Tebow did last year in his Heisman Trophy year and that is get 20 passing and 20 rushing TDs in the same year.  This guy can pass and he can also run.  Hopefully the Huskers can continue the success they have had when facing him and K-State as this could be a dangerous game in Manhattan, Kansas.
My Prediction: Huskers win

vs. Colorado - November 28
The day after Thanksgiving, the Huskers will have to face Dan Hawkins' Colorado Buffaloes.  It should be another entertaining game as this struggling Colorado team (who may recover) hosts Nebraska.  I do believe the Huskers can win this game.  This is a Colorado team who was able to beat West Virginia, but struggled against Florida State.  Cody Hawkins has been benched as he struggled through the season.  Watch out for that Colorado running game though, Scott can be a dangerous runner.
My Prediction: Huskers win

So, by my calculations, the Huskers will finish the year at 7-5 and 4-4 in the Big XII.  All in all, what I had expected out of Bo Pelini's first year.

Go Big Red!
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Huskers, schedule
Posted on: September 29, 2008 1:36 am
Edited on: September 29, 2008 4:20 pm

The Cubs' 2008 Year in Review

A memorable season that was, is, and is to come.  You got Ron Santo going crazy again, Len Kasper making those memorable calls that all Cubs fans love to hear.  The crowd singing "Go Cubs Go" to the tune of 55 home wins.  42-38 on the road isn't all that shabby either.  That's 2nd best in the national league only behind the Philadelphia Phillies.  Lou Piniella making the move to switch Kerry Wood out of the starting rotation and bringing Ryan Dempster into it.  Reed Johnson (March 25th), Jim Edmonds (May 15th), and Rich Harden (July  9th along w/ Chad Gaudin; E-Pat, Matt Murton, and a catching prospect sent to the Athletics) becoming Cubs players during the season.  Some statistical things to review:

Chicago Cubs --- NL Central Division champs --- 97-64, 7.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers
AVG leader: Ryan Theriot
HR leader: Alfonso Soriano
RBI leader: Aramis Ramirez
W, ERA, and K leader: Ryan Dempster

Now for some more fun stuff -- (lots of credit to donbedouin, thanks for helping w/ the Cubs moments)

March 31st, 2008 --- That's right, opening day at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs played the Milwaukee Brewers in a game that I hope many Cubs fans won't forget.  Kosuke Fukudome's debut at Wrigley Field turned out to be a great one.  He went 3-for-3, but no hit more important than the hit against Eric Gagne.  Though the Cubs lost, it was satisfying.
---Kosuke's 3-run blast---

April 9th, 2008 --- This would just be the beginning of a lot of close games and come from behind victories the Cubs would get.  Aramis Ramirez was able to finish this game off w/ a home run in the 14th inning, continuing the dominance against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
---Am-Ram 2-run homer---

April 23rd, 2008 --- This wasn't one of those shocking victories that Cubs were able to pull out, but it was the Cubs' 10,000th win in franchise history.  Big congrats as they became the second franchise to reach that milestone.
---The Final Out---

April 25th, 2008 --- Just 2 days later, Reed Johnson would come up with one of the most amazing catches that I have ever seen.
---Reed Johnson's catch---

May 19th, 2008 --- Geovany Soto has had an amazing season in his first full year as the Chicago Cubs' catcher.  This will probably be one of his favorite/least favorite moments (depending on if he likes running) as he would hustle all the way for an inside-the-park home run.
---Soto inside-the-parker---

May 30th, 2008 --- Chicago Cubs facing the Colorado Rockies.  The Cubs would go down 8 runs after the Rockies pounded in run after run after run.  But the Cubs were feeling the magic, coming all the way back to win the game 10 to 9.  This game includes Jim Edmond's first Cub home run and a huge six run inning.  Take it away Len.
---Edmonds' first Cub home run---
---Huge inning to rally---

June 11th, 2008 --- A complete game by Ryan Dempster is overshadowed by the fact the Cubs lost Alfonso Soriano for a good amount of time.  The Cubs did do well without him, but if Soriano was gone any longer, I don't know how much trouble this team could've been in.
---Soriano's hand injury---

June 12th, 2008 --- How do the Cubs respond?  Well, Jim Edmonds would love to tell ya.  Len, take it away.
---Edmonds' tying home run---

June 18th, 2008 --- Another devastating (well, maybe not the right word) injury for the Cubs as Carlos Zambrano would go down w/ an injury.  The Cubs responded well again, as you'll see, 2 days later.
---Big Z's injury---

June 20th, 2008 --- You know it was coming, Aramis Ramirez.  Mr. Clutch.  Whatever you want to call him, Am-Ram, whatever, he is amazing.  Len, I'll let you take this one too.
---Walk-off against White Sox---

July 12th, 2008 --- It was my mom's birthday.  But that's not why it's here.  Reed Johnson, the guy we acquired from the Blue Jays, strikes again.  A very close call at the plate and the Cubs get another walk-off victory.  Len Kasper, the crack in his voice is just so funny.
---Reed Johnson walk-off single---

July 29th - August 1st, 2008 --- The Cubs would face the Brewers in an important series that would ultimately give them the division lead for good.  A huge series sweep at Miller Park would keep the Brewers down and the Cubs up.
---Part of that series sweep---

August 3rd, 2008 --- Reed Johnson comes through once again.  Len, just take it away.
---Johnson go ahead homer---

August 8th, 2008 --- Hey hey!  Another Cubs walk-off!
---Hank White provides the heroics---

August 15th, 2008 --- Daryle Ward was really struggling up to this point.  The game is in Miami, Florida where the Cubs are facing the Florida Marlins.  D-Ward up at the plate in the ninth with a chance to at least make it a one run game.  Oh heck, let's take the lead.  No Len this time though..
---D-Ward comes through---

September 14th, 2008 --- Carlos Zambrano returns from 12 days of rest.  Hurricane Ike is striking upon Houston, Texas and moves this game to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I do feel sorry for the situation in Houston and wish everyone down there the best as they continue to clean up.  Anyway, to the game, Zambrano throws his first career no-hitter.  Len Kasper with yet another great call.  I'm sorry, I don't have it. (edit: Thanks to donbedouin for finding the link)
---Zambrano no-hits Astros---
---Len's call---

September 15th, 2008 --- The Cubs gave up only one hit to the Astros in the 2 games at Miller Park.  The 3rd game will never be played, but it was still a great series for the Cubs.
---Lilly gives up one hit---

September 18th, 2008 --- Another series between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Cubs and Brewers split the first two games.  In game 3, the Cubs were down 4 runs, but Geovany Soto solidifies the reasons that he should be the NL ROY.
---Game-tying 3 run blast---
---Lee finishes it off---

September 20th, 2008 --- The Chicago Cubs would clinch the NL Central by beating arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals 5 to 4.  A Ted Lilly suicide squeeze play would end up being the key play.  Here's their clincher (sorry, FOX TV had the game).
---Cubs Clinch!---

September 24th, 2008 --- Another Cubs comeback to top it all off.
---Lee's double---

And you know what?  The Cubs' season isn't finished yet.  We have 11 more wins to get, just 11 more.  I'm so excited for the postseason start.  Hope you enjoyed the year in review.  Another great year to store in Cubs fans' memory banks.
Category: MLB
Tags: Chicago, Cubs, Review, Year
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