|Anything Goes: Adam's Picks||| Print ||
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on April 04, 2009
Adam was late for the At Home Plate Staff meeting where the writers gave their predictions for the 2009 season (AL awards, NL awards, AL standings, NL standings, World Series winners and more), but today he gets the chance to share his forecasts for the upcoming year. He breaks down all six divisions, awards and the playoffs. Enjoy!
Meet the Mets. Excellent pitching, I am digging Johan Santana-John Maine-Ollie Perez-Mike Pelfrey with K-Rod and Putz in the bullpen. Plus, they have a HoF third baseman and a possibly HoF center fielder (Wright and Beltran, y'all!). The Mets are the most dependable choice in the NL East, riddled with talent and a new ballpark that some say might become a hitter's park. That could kill that pitching, but the offense might be itching 900 runs with it.
The Braves are okay, but not great. Good offense, I love Brian McCann and Chipper Jones, but they have black holes and the bullpen is risky, more so than a normal pen. The rotation is better than Philly's, but not better than the Mets’.
The Marlins have excellent pitching and Hanley Ramirez. Good for third? Maybe. Also, the Marlins have won WS in six year intervals... 1997, 2003, 2009?
The Gnats are hurting. Draft that Stephen S kid. +EV.
Order of finish: Mets, Marlins, Phillies, Braves, Nationals
The Cubs are winning this division. Good pitching, although Big Z and Rich Harden are both fragile looking to me. Can Marmol be a great closer? I think so. Can the offense still do it? Yep. Closest bet to 100 wins in the NL.
The Cincinnati Reds are a potentially very good team. Good young core with Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and potentially excellent pitching, barring the death touch of Dusty Baker. The bullpen is not good, perhaps very bad, so the reliance on Votto and Bruce will be heavy. They can handle it. They will win the wild card.
The rest isn't real pretty. The Brew Crew has an AAA rotation, the Cardinals are all Pujols and a lot of ehh, the Pirates are the Pirates and the Astros can swing but can't pitch.
Order of finish: Cubs, Reds (WC), Cardinals, Astros, Brewers, Pirates
Manny, Manny, Manny. He has made the Dodgers the prohibitive favorite of this division, but they were anyway. Good pitching--Billingsley for Cy--and a good lineup, plus Broxton in the pen equals dominance.
The other three teams have big weaknesses. D Backs can't hit, Rox can't pitch, Pads shouldn't take the field.
Order of finish: Dodgers, Backs, Rockies, Padres
Awards for the NL
MVP: Hanley Ramirez. I expect an A-Rod-ian performance from him, a major year. .340/.420/.590. 45 steals. Good defense at short. He'll enter the Pujols realm with this year. Runner Ups: Wright, Pujols, Geovany Soto
Cy Young: Chad Billingsley. A power pitcher in LA--heard that before?--with unbelievable stuff and great control. He was really good in 2008; he'll be the best pitcher in the NL in 2009. Runner Ups: Lincecum, Santana, Nolasco
The other awards are dumb.
I am troubled. See, I am a Yankee fan, and I am torn. I love CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, I think they are excellent signings and both will be very productive. But, this Yankee team has holes. The starting pitching could be phenomenal or iffy. AJ Burnett, CM Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte are all injury prone. The best player on the team has a bad hip, the shortstop had a bad year in 2008 and now he's 35--and far less likely for a major rebound as a result--and the catcher, all of 37 years old, tore his shoulder to pieces.
But, I love this team none the less. Sabathia is going to have a masterful year, 22 wins and a 3.30 ERA. Chamberlain will prove you bullpen-loving freaks wrong, posting 160 innings of 10.1 K/9 and a 3.40 ERA. Burnett will show up, get hurt (or quit), but when he pitches, about 140 innings, he'll be great. Pettitte will be a steady and strong 200 innings at 4.00, and Wang will be Wang, 19 wins, 3.70 ERA. Toss in the best closer ever, a strong pen behind him, and you have dominant pitching.
The offense can go either way. They must get A-Rod back healthy. I think he will. Mark Teixeira's production, both offensively and defensively, will be a major boost. Picking Xavier Nady over Nick Swisher is a bad, bad move, and it is a mistake to think Nady can replicate 2008. But, if he sucks, Swisher will get a chance, and I really think Swisher could rebound to .270/.360/.480, which is just fine in right field.
Contract Year Alert for Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui! Damon might hit over .300 and Matsui might hit 25 bombs. Money talks.
Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Risky and riskier. Jeter had his worst year last year, but he was hurt. Same for Posada. PECOTA thinks Posada will suck, and the same for Jeter. I disagree. Jeter will get on-base like he always does, and Posada has looked awesome in the spring, throwing out batters (Jacoby Ellsbury, no slouch) and hitting well. If Jeter gives them .305/.370/.450 I'd be thrilled, and if Posada does .260/.350/.450 I'd be happy.
Tampa is not winning 97 games again, but they will come close. Excellent pitching, especially after Price bumps his arb date up, but it'll hurt if Scott Kazmir's elbow goes before then. I don't think the Rays bullpen will be as good as last year, especially with no reliable guy down there. But the awesome Rays defense and their sneaky good offense make them a 94-96 win team.
Boston is potentially in for trouble. Tons of lineup risk, including David Ortiz (owies and big guys don't age), Mike Lowell (old and decrepit), JD Drew (always an injury risk), Jason Bay (not nearly as good as Man Ram and aging), and they have an utter black hole of a catcher. The pitching should be great, even if Wakefield and Beckett are hurt or are mediocre. I expect John Smoltz to be really good if he comes back, but few if's are bigger than his. Penny won't be good. The Red Sox pen is awesome.
The Jays are going to rebuild, and I'll probably be writing an article about Who Wants Halladay? in July. The Orioles suck, but Big Bad Matt Wieters is here.
Order of finish: Yankees, Rays (WC), Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles
An ugly division. The White Sox are wholly unimpressive, as are the Twins.
I'm feeling all Rany Jazayerli-ish, though. Royals win the division.
Who else? The Tigers and their utter lack of pitching? Perhaps. The Royals have Gil Meche and the awesome stud that is Zack Greinke. The White Sox have a better offense, you say? The Twins are grittier? (Without Joe Mauer they are nothing.) The Indians have... nevermind.
Maybe. But don't go against the gut.
In an epic race between the Royals and the Tiggers, the division goes...
Order of finish: Royals, Tigers, Sox, Indians, Twins
Crummy. The Angels win by default. The Rangers can't pitch, the A's can't either, and the M's are getting better but are currently abysmal.
Order of finish: Angels, Rangers, A's, M's
AL MVP: Evan Longoria. Absolute monster. Expect .280/.420/.610. Oh, my gosh. Runner Up: Teixeira, Pedroia, Alex Gordon
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia. Zack Greinke or Jon Lester might pitch better, but Sabathia will have wins. Runner Up: Greinke, Lester, Mariano Rivera
ALDS: Yankees over Royals in 4, Rays over Angels in 3
NLCS: Mets over Cubs in 7
ALCS: Yankees over Rays in 6
World Series: Yankees over Mets in 7
World Series MVP: Joba Chamberlain.
Enjoy a great year!