Thursday, March 31, 2011
My Half-Assed, Very Quick 2011 MLB Preview
BTW, I have no idea who the kid pictured is. I did a Google image search for "Yay baseball!" and this is what came up.
Ok gang, Opening Day has come and I’m late delivering my Major League Baseball preview. So let’s get to it, shall we? This is the second time I've done this, click here and here for the 2008 previews and see how awful I was.
American League East:
1. Boston Red Sox: on paper, they’re the best in the division, best in the league and best in the sport. I don’t think that they’re going to win 100 games--the American League East might be the best division in baseball--but I think that they win between 95 and 99 games.
2. New York Yankees: not as bad as you think that they’re going to be. They’re going to hit like hell and on the third, fourth and fifth days they’re going to need to. The back of their bullpen is absolutely stacked (provided that the Mariano Rivera-bot 3000 doesn’t break down) and their infield could be one of the best in baseball history.
3. Tampa Bay Rays: have the exact opposite problem of the Yankees: their bullpen has the potential to be a fire hazard and their starting rotation is loaded. Evan Longoria is probably going to need some help, but this isn’t a bad hitting team either. Plus they got new astroturf at the Trop. Finally I won’t want to treat myself for depression after watching a game from there. Did you ever see their old turf? It looked like shag carpeting from George and Weezie's rumpus room after their weird British neighbor puked pea soup all over it.
4. Toronto Blue Jays: I don’t know what to make of these guys, they could be a third place (or even second place team) or they could completely suck. Former Sox pitching coach John Farrell is up there and he’s a pretty bright dude, so I’d say it’s closer to the former.
5. Baltimore Orioles: despite Buck Showalter’s headline grabbing stunt of a week ago, I don’t think that the Orioles are going to be that bad. In fact, I think that they’re going to be a real interesting team and one that no one in the East should take lightly.
American League Central:
1. Chicago White Sox: in all actuality, any of the next three teams could win the AL Central and I wouldn’t be surprised. However, I think that the White Sox are going to be the ones that climb out of this scrum due in part to their power. That being said, Paul Konerko is going to be the fantasy guy that you’re going to look at in June and say, “Why the fuck did I draft him?”
2. Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera is a beast and along with Victor Martinez should help the Tigs put up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard. And they’re going to need it, as their pitching is mediocre at best.
3. Minnesota Twins: I put them here because I don’t want to watch the Twins in the post season this year, rolling over for the Yankees. Though I have to admit, I love watching Joe Mauer hit.
4. Kansas City Royals: either next year or in two years, they’re going to be the class of the division. They have six prospects in Baseball America’s Top 40. You have to figure that even with KC’s luck, at least two or three of those guys have to pan out, right?
5. Cleveland Indians: I wonder if Clevelanders get angry that so many sports fans pity them? It used to piss me off when I’d read or hear people from other cities patronize Sox fans and say, “Don’t worry, you’ll win too some day.” Fuck off.
American League West:
1. Oakland Athletics: they have a stellar pitching staff and they brought in a bunch of “professional hitters” like Hideki Matsui to improve an anemic offense and that should be enough to win the American League West.
2. Texas Rangers: last year was a year where just about everything fell in line (including the Mariners telling the Yankees to screw off and dealing Cliff Lee to Texas). No matter how good you are, when you experience a season like that, the next year never follows the same script.
3. Los Angeles Angels: I guess we’ll see how brilliant Mike Scioscia really is, won’t we? I will admit this, he was one of the funnier guest stars on that baseball Simpsons from the early 90s. In fact, most of the Major Leaguers were really funny. According to the writers, only Jose Canseco was an asshole. What a shock—at least he didn’t send his twin brother to the taping.
4. Seattle Mariners: last year I was telling everyone that they were going to the World Series. I was really high on the Mariners and they crashed and burned, hard. This year, around July 31 there’s going to be a fire sale in Seattle. You can get yourself a really nice Chone Figgins for cheap. Maybe even a Felix Hernandez (I just hope the M’s dick over the Yankees on this one again).
National League East:
1. Atlanta Braves: a few years ago I bet three of my friends $20 that Tim Hudson would win 20 games with Atlanta (he had just been traded from Oakland). He did not do it, but I think that he will this year. The Braves also have some nice young talent that’s about ready to contribute. Could be a fun year.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: I think that the Phils will make the post season and they’re going to be really awesome with their four starters. I just think that they have a lot of injuries to overcome in the first half of the season that may make a division crown a tough road. According to Jayson Stark, they do have the easiest first half of any team in the majors. So basically, I have no idea.
3. Florida Marlins: they’re in third place every, single year aren’t they? They’re just good enough to take seriously, but not that good to keep your attention. Next year they’re going to have a new stadium and will be known as the Miami Marlins. Also, orange will be one of their primary team colors which has a bunch of people who love uniforms up in arms. Frankly, the fact that I know what angers uniform aficionados this says more about me than it does about them.
4. Washington Nationals: they won’t be this bad for much longer. Bryce Harper is coming soon and Stephen Strasburg is beginning a rehab from Tommy John surgery. Even with all of that, I wonder why Jayson Werth signed with them? Oh yeah, he likes money.
5. New York Mets: this team is such a mess, it’s not even fun to rag on them. Good luck Mets fans, take heart in the fact that at least you’re not Yankee fans. However, if you’re a Jets AND a Mets fan, go crap in the woods.
National League Central:
1. Milwaukee Brewers: if the Brewers don’t win this year, then it’s going to be a long time before anything good happens in Suds City. They got Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, so their rotation should be good enough. They also have Ryan Braun and a pre-walk-year Prince Fielder. If they miss again, cheer up. Milwaukeeans in only a little more than a year, I will come to your city. Woo-ha!
2. Cincinnati Reds: the Reds have young pitching talent. The Reds’ manager is Dusty Baker. Ask a Cubs fan if this ends well. Aside from the young pitching, they do have more than a few guys that can hit bombs. In any event, this is a fun team and I’d love to see them make the post season. I’m just not sure if it will happen.
3. St. Louis Cardinals: I hate Tony LaRusa, but I’ve always liked the Cardinals. They have really cool fans (I’ve been to St. Louis before and they’ve come up here when they played the Sox and they couldn’t have been nicer) and they have a transcendent player in Albert Pujols. With that being said, I would be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle when Adam Wainwright went down for the year. If you’re such a genius, LaRusa, manage around that.
4. Chicago Cubs: I don’t know what to tell you about this team. It seems like a club that’s loaded with crappy, over priced veterans that can’t be moved and they don’t have a lot of good, young guys coming down the pike. I would pencil them in for 78 wins exactly. And I’ll be seeing you next year too, Chicagoans. Yes, I am going to Chicago and Milwaukee with my buddies next year in part two of our “Seeing all the Stadia Tour”. Check out part I right here.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates: they could be the Royals of the National League, though they may have to wait a year or two extra before they get good. The last time the Pirates were over .500, I was starting college. In 1992. That is so depressing on a number of levels—both for me and Pirates fans.
6. Houston Astros: this could be the worst team in the Major Leagues. I watched the Red Sox kick the crap out of them on Wednesday night in the last Spring Training game and there was absolutely nothing there. Just a rotten product. And owner Drayton MacLane may sell the team, so anything decent is going to be sold off for pennies on the dollar come July and August. That should put some fannies in the seats.
National League West:
1. San Francisco Giants: last year’s rookie catcher’s name was Buster Posey. This year’s rookie first baseman’s name is Brandon Belt. Grantland Rice himself couldn't have written better names. I think that the Giants are a hair better than the Rockies this year, but that’s only because I am really biased against the Rockies for some strange reason.
2. Colorado Rockies: they have a good staff, they have decent hitting but like I just said, I don’t like the Rockies. I have no idea why I don’t like them, I think it’s because I don’t like Denver. Which is really strange because I’ve never been there before. Maybe it’s because of my hatred of Robin Williams who starred in “Mork and Mindy” which was set in ... Boulder, CO. Same fucking thing. Nanu, Nanu.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers: these guys are almost as messy as the Mets. The good news for them is that they have the Padres in their division and they still have some pretty good players. Unfortunately, they don’t have as many good players as the Rockies or the Giants. And clean-shaven Don Mattingly is managing them. I'm not sure what makes Mattingly (or anyone) think the he can manage without his mustache.
4. San Diego Padres: yes, I realize that the Pads were about three days away from beating the eventual World Champions and taking the NL West crown last year, but let’s be honest: that was done with smoke and mirrors. They got rid of their best player (you DID stay classy, San Diego!) and Will Venable led the team with 13 home runs. That’s not a lot. At least you San Diegans had the San Diego State University Aztecs hoop team this year, they were really exciting.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: it's been almost 24 hours and I finally realized that I forgot to add these guys to the preview. That's how bad it is for the Diamondbacks. They do have the All-Star Game this year, so that should be pretty good. Other than that, it's snoozeville in Phoenix.
I almost forgot to do this:
Boston over Chicago
Oakland over New York
Boston over Oakland
Atlanta over Milwaukee
Philadelphia over San Francisco
Philadelphia over Atlanta
Boston over Philadelphia