Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Baseball: Bring on '08! Predictions

It's amazing how the World Series seems to end later every year, and yet the offseason seems to take longer and longer. For a short stretch in January, I almost lost interest in baseball - I hadn't been so out of it since '95. But then Santana and Bedard got traded, and it all got exciting again. And once I had the game on the other morning, the wait was over.

Anyway, it's prediction time.

-- The Orioles will hit the record books again, a year after losing 30-3 to Texas. I predict 125 losses for them this year. They lost Bedard and Tejada, and Roberts has had one foot out the door for months. They've got 19 games apiece against two of the best teams in the game, Boston and the Yanks, another 19 against a dangerous Rays team, and 19 against Halladay, Burnett, and the Jays. True, they've got Markakis and Adam Jones, but they've also got Steve Trachsel. It's gonna get real ugly in Camden, as Peter Angelos battles the Dolans for worst owner in sports.

-- World Series - Detroit vs. Arizona. I know Detroit's got bullpen issues, but if Zumaya and Rodney are healthy down the stretch, they'll be fine. I think Willis will improve, in spite of the NL-AL switch. 

I know the Mets fans won't appreciate the Arizona pick, and neither will the Sabermetricians, because of last year's negative run differential. But I credit Melvin's use of the bullpen and general strategy more than anything else. Plus: these guys made it to the NLCS last year, before running into the red-hot Rockies. And they've added Haren, giving them a great 1-2 punch for a short series. Also, they've got a bunch of players who are young and whose best is yet to come, like Chris Young and Justin Upton. Compare that to the Mets, where you don't know what you'll get from guys like Delgado and El Duque. 

I like Detroit in 6.

-- I'm picking Boston to win the AL East and Cleveland to take home the Wild Card. That means the Yankees miss the playoffs, and that means Cashman gets fired and Hank goes all-out to get Sabathia and Texieria. Not good for the game.

-- Rockies of '08? -- the Reds. I think they'll finish 2nd in the NL Central (Cubs in first), but they'll break .500 for the first time in a while, and in a couple of years, might be primed to bring the Series to Cincy for the first time since the Nasty Boys.

-- I like the Braves as the Wild Card. I think Hampton's gonna be Comeback Player of the Year. Francoeur and McCann will keep improving, and a full year of Teixeria will be huge.

-- Awards: AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera, AL Cy Young - Erik Bedard, AL ROY - Evan Longoria
NL MVP - Chase Utley, NL Cy Young - Johan Santana, NL ROY - Joey Votto


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