Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2009 2:41 pm
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)
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
NL Wild Card
San Francisco Giants
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
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.
Posted on: June 21, 2009 10:40 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 2:03 am
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):
SP Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
SP Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: June 17, 2009 7:39 pm
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
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..
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
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 Wood. Shin-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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Dunn. John 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.
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.
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 Headley. Adrian Gonzalez may be the most underrated player in the league at this point in time.
NL Wild Card
There ya go. Maybe some ridiculous predictions, maybe some safe. Either way, it'll be another fun year in baseball.
Posted on: February 19, 2009 12:22 am
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..
Posted on: December 16, 2008 1:19 am
Edited on: December 16, 2008 1:21 am
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...
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
9. 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
Posted on: October 21, 2008 12:03 am
Edited on: October 26, 2008 2:31 am
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!
Posted on: September 29, 2008 1:36 am
Edited on: September 29, 2008 4:20 pm
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.
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---
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).
September 24th, 2008 --- Another Cubs comeback to top it all off.
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.