Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 28, 2011 1:49 pm
I had been planning to do some real research before coming up with my extensive predictions, but then I had this sudden epiphany: My predictions usually suck more when I put more thought into them. There is a point of diminishing returns on baseball knowledge as it applies to baseball predictions. A lot of stuff just can’t be foreseen, so you might as well wing it.
So, here goes, division by division…
2. San Francisco
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
I think this is a really tough one. I think the Giants and Rockies are just about a pick ‘em, for the reasons I described when I was at Rockies camp last month. I can’t quibble with anyone who would pick the Giants. Guess I should pick them, all things being equal, but I’m trying not to be a homer. I am going with the Rule of Everything Evens Out In The Long Run, so I figure the Giants are due to come down and the Rockies to go up.
5. St. Louis
Yeah, going a little nuts here picking the Cardinals for fifth, but I think the loss of Wainwright is a pretty huge blow. Really, it’s the Brewers and Reds here, and I don’t think either will be as good as expected. Probably the worst division in baseball. The Astros get a surprising No. 3 nod because they actually played pretty well most of the season last year after their bad start, and the top of their rotation is underrated.
2. Atlanta (wild card)
5. New York
This is going to be a dogfight, I think. The Phillies do have the best rotation in the universe, but they’ve got a lot of issues beyond that (Utley and Lidge, age around the diamond). The Braves were solid last year and they’ve added Dan Uggla. I could see Atlanta winning this division and the Phillies getting the wild card. The Mets are going to be just plain awful. Oh my goodness.
3. Los Angeles of Anaheim of Orange County of California
Now I’ll be a homer. I think the A’s are definitely better than they were last year. As is well-chronicled, they’ve upgraded the 3-4-5 spots in their order, and that should create a ripple that makes the other spots better too. The pitching may not be as good as we think, because they are still very young, but I’m still going to take them. The Rangers have some rotation issues, and I’m not ready to assume Josh Hamilton will repeat what he did last year. They also lost Vlad Guerrero. Adrian Beltre never seems to be as good after signing a big deal.
4. Kansas City
I’m taking the White Sox because I think Adam Dunn is going to be a monster in that ballpark. They plopped him in the middle of the lineup and kept Konerko. That’s big. The starting rotation also looks very solid, assuming Jake Peavy can get it together. The Twins and Tigers will both be right there, too. Kansas City and Cleveland … will not.
2. Baltimore (wild card)
3. New York
4. Tampa Bay
Wow, how random does that look? Predictions are no fun if you stick with conventional wisdom. I went with the easy pick at the top. The Red Sox are probably the best team in the majors. Now, the Orioles. Last year I picked the Orioles to be my breakout team, and for most of the season they looked awful and I looked like an idiot. But then Buck Showalter showed up and a lot of guys started playing better. Some of the young pitchers stepped up. If guys like Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman can get it together, that’s a nice rotation. The lineup has potential young stars like Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis and some vets like Derrek Lee and Vlad Guerrero and solid guys like Mark Reynolds and Brian Roberts. I’d take most of the Orioles everyday players over the Giants. Hey, anything can happen. I’m not liking the Yankees at all because of their rotation and overall age. Tampa Bay got rid of its whole team. The Blue Jays aren’t getting another 50 homers from Jose Bautista.
Chicago over Baltimore
Boston over Oakland
Atlanta over Colorado
Philadelphia over Milwaukee
Boston over Chicago
Philadelphia over Atlanta
Boston over Philadelphia
Yeah, I know. That’s pretty much the consensus for the World Series. Those are the two best teams. What am I supposed to do? Honestly, picking who will win in the playoffs is even more impossible than picking who will get to the playoffs. That’s why Larry Stone is my hero. He went 7-for-7 before the playoffs began last year. That’s pretty darn impressive.
Be sure to save this link, so you can come back in the fall and see what a genius/idiot I am.
Later this week I’ll have some picks for the annual awards and other tidbits.