Welcome to the last week of Spring Training 2010. There’s been resolution to the burning questions of the spring. David Freese will start the year at third. Jamie Garcia is the #5 starter, Kyle McClellan returns to the back of the bullpen.
There’s been resolution to the not so burning questions of spring. Chris Carpenter will get the start on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Adam Wainwright the Home Opener.
The last week of spring is usually reserved for two things: fine-tuning your fantasy draft order, and making predictions. In fact, the latter is so important the UCB has devoted an entire week to them. Of course, as so often seems to be the case around here, the week started … and crickets could be heard at the Stance. Not to worry. If there’s anything this writer is good at, it’s wild predictions.
Here we go.
The schedule called for predicting the American League on Monday, so without further adieu:
1. New York. Highly paid All-Stars all over the diamond, on the mound, and in the bullpen. Then they went and added Curtis Granderson. Oh yeah, they’re the defending champs to boot. I don’t see them losing the division.
2. Tampa Bay. Just got a feeling.
3. Boston. Adrian Beltre will have a huge year. It won’t matter.
4. Toronto. Rebuilding. Again.
5. Baltimore. This will be the last year they finish in the divisional basement.
1. Chicago. I like their starting pitching, so much so I think it will overcome the problems in their lineup (read: Alex Rios).
2. Minnesota. New ballpark, and Mauer/Morneau, will keep them in it until the end.
3. Detroit. I think they improved their pitching in the Granderson trade, but they will sorely miss him in the lineup.
4. Cleveland. Still rebuilding.
5. Kansas City. Will they start 18-11 again? Not bloody likely.
1. Los Angeles-California-Anaheim-back to Los Angeles. Matt Smith of Feeling Dodger Blue said it best: “Don’t bet against Mike Scioscia.”
2. Texas. Lots of pitching now, even though they sent Holland down yesterday.
3. Seattle. They will struggle scoring runs again this season, their defense is due to regress from it’s phenomenal 2009 numbers, and Cliff Lee is hurt. They were the sexy pick to win the division 2 months ago, now not so much.
4. Oakland. Rebuilding.
That takes care of that. Today’s UCB task is to predict the NL East. The winner of the division is fairly straightforward, the basement dweller is too. The other three teams should make for a compelling race.
1. Philadelphia. Two-time defending NL Champs. The Phillies have the most imposing lineup east of St Louis, and top to bottom theirs is better. They traded away Cliff Lee and got Roy Halladay – not a bad swap. Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and J A Happ round out a pretty good rotation. They don’t have to be great with that lineup.
2. Atlanta. By an eyelash. They have decent pitching, and Jason Heyward. Plus, Chipper Jones can still hit, although not like he used to.
3. Florida. Florida could very easily finish second in this division. They have the best pitcher (Johnson) no one really knows, plus the best player in the National League not named Albert Pujols (Hanley Ramirez).
4. New York. Jason Bay is the new LF, but his skill set at the plate, in my opinion, won’t play well at Citi Field. For the Mets, all depends on whether (a) David Wright has recovered from the beaning he took last year, and returns to his 2008 self, and (b) Jose Reyes is actually healthy enough to return to his 2008 self (and not the 2009 guy that virtually sank my Fantasy Team by himself). In addition, Johan Santana and John Maine are good, but the rest of the rotation is somewhat suspect.
Tomorrow: NL Central prediction. Three guesses on who I pick to win the division, and the first two don’t count.
5. Washington. Ryan Zimmermann is awesome. Too bad the rest of the roster doesn’t inspire. Sorry, Jason Marquis – your streak of going to the post-season every year will end in 2010.