It's about that time, ladies and gentlemen. Time to come forward with your pre season predictions. As Only a Lad pointed out, we may have throw out predictions here and there, but this is the official spot to do so. Besides, we've had a number of new people come on board, and they never had a chance to express their viewpoints. Please comment with your:
- Divisional Winners (AL/NL)
- Wild Card Winner (AL/NL)
- Pennant Winners
- World Series Winner
- AL/NL Cy Young
- AL/NL MVP
- AL/NL Rookie of the Year
Predict as much as you want, or pick and choose from what I suggested. Give us an oddball prognostication too..let's make it fun!
So the New York Yankees are Brian McTaggart's pick. As much money as they've spent, and as much experience as this team has, I can't help but think that they'll finish the in the same place they did in 2008, third in the AL East. Not a World Series winner in my book, and not even a playoff team.
These predictions are fun though. Sure, I don't agree with McTaggart, but my World Series pick probablyisn't the most popular choice in the world either. How do you choose a pre season favorite? What characteristics should we look for?
Here are some general thoughts that I usually have before baseball season begins. I look for:
- A team with a high ceiling that has yet to reach their potential
- A team that gained, rather than lost talent heading into the season
- A team that did not sign the biggest free agents, but rather prudently plugged holes with under the radar free agents/trades
- A pitching staff that strikes a lot of hitters out
- An offense that can play multiple styles- can mash, get on base, take the extra base, and even...bunt/move the runner over/play for one run in late inning situations...gasp
- A GM that won't unknowingly sabotage the entire operation
- An owner that will pony up the dough for a mid season addition- whether it be a bat or a bullpen arm, etc
Again, these are characteristics that I subjectively believe to be important to identifying a contender. Looking at what I just wrote, the Yankees do seem to embody many of those characteristics. The one that they obviously lack, the not signing of the biggest free agents, may be the most subjective of them all, and is probably the least important of those bullet points. Rarely if ever does the team that makes the biggest off season noise win the Championship at the end of the season. The 2007-2008 Boston Celtics are the exception in my mind. Yankee teams of the past, the Kobe-Shaq-Malone-Payton Lakers of 2003-2004, the Dallas Cowboys since 1996, the list goes on and on.
As for my World Series matchup, I think that the Tampa Bay Rays of 2009 will be the...Tampa Bay Rays. Matt Joyce, Pat Burrell, and more of David Price are the sort of additions that will put them over the top. The pieces are in place.
On the NL side of things, it's anyone's game. The Cubs probably have the most talent, but a lof of good that does them. I remember Ryan Dempster making a prediction that 2008 was to be the year the Cubs' "curse" was going to end. He hasn't made any such predictions this season. Not that it matters to me. It's wide open in the NL, but after the Phillies ran past them (again), I think the New York Mets will win the NL, and eventually, the World Series. Sorry, McTaggart, you have the right city, but the wrong team. Good bulllpen, rotation depth, and a lineup that can hit for power, get on base, and run the bases well. The Mets have it all in my book, and have the best chance of any team to win the World Series.