Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening days are upon us

After a bizarre mid-preseason jaunt to Japan, and yesterday's festivities at the Nationals' new ballpark, today is baseball's opening day version 3.0. Nature thinks there should only be one opening day and also hates that stupid decimal point. Thus we have rain all over the country.

Here are my predictions for 08, in order of finish. (I'm going to toot my own horn, my 07 predictions were really, really good.)

American League East
Boston Still the class of baseball, even with injury concerns in the starting rotation.
Toronto Not a lot of big names other than Roy Halladay and the ghost of Frank Thomas, but the Jays are solid everywhere.
Yankees In bomberland, the ownership just got a lot younger. Now the starting rotation needs to do the same.
Tampa Bay The endless supply of talent continues -- and they still have nothing to show for it.
Baltimore Nationals' new stadium can't be good for the hapless Orioles.

American League Central
Detroit Look for Miguel Cabrera to contend for the triple crown.
Cleveland The bullpen will let them down.
White Sox Team should mash, but shaky pitching will lead Ozzie Guillen to many a well-publicized hysterics.
Minnesota There has always been a spit and bubblegum aspect to the Twins success, and now they have lost a couple rare bricks in Santana and Hunter.
Kansas City Currently the worst franchise in American sports.

American League West
Seattle NL-styled team could be really special if Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard perform to their potential.
Anaheim (WC) Have been slowly adding parts over the last few years.
Oakland The players change, but the decrepit ballpark remains the same.
Texas Since they are both on my fantasy team, I like their middle infield.

National League East
Mets So much talent. If they fade again, many heads will roll.
Philadelphia (WC) Philly will battle for Detroit for the best offense in baseball -- and maybe baseball history.
Atlanta With Glavine back in the mix, is Terry Pendleton far behind?
Washington Lots of buzz about the team (in Washington) but I'm just not seeing any pitching.
Florida The fact that this disgracefully run franchise has managed two World Series titles is a cruel indictment of the rest of the teams in National League East, for whom World Series wins don't come easy.

National League Central
Chicago Cubs have a Pie in center and a Fukudome in right.
Houston Look for Miguel Tejada to have a big year.
Prince Fielder is 23 and Ryan Braun 24.
St. Louis The Pujols elbow injury is so scary I passed up the opportunity to draft him in the second round of my fantasy draft.
Cincinnati Griffey to get to 600 home run at age 37. Would easily be going for 700 if not for an inordinate number of injuries.
Pittsburgh The only thing the Pirates have going for them is not being the Royals.

National League West
Arizona If their young hitters make the next step -- and I think they will -- watch out.
Los Angeles Since he has some talent in LA, Joe Torre's legacy will depend somewhat on how the Dodgers perform over the next few years.
Colorado The thin air should help elevate Troy Tulowitzki to the level of the other great NL shortstops.
San Diego Petco Park is where hitters careers go to die.
San Fransisco Bonds hangover will be long and painful.

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Only the buffet table can keep Cabrera away from 150 RBIs.
AL Cy Young
J.J.Putz, Seattle
There aren't a lot of good starters in American League these days, so I'm seeing the dreaded relief pitcher as Cy Young scenario.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
40/40 on a team that could win 100 games.
NL Cy Young
Roy Oswalt, Houston Ultimate grinder was pretty lights out in the last half of 2007.

World Series
Arizona over Detroit Coming out of the bullpen, Randy Johnson wins game seven.

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