With the 2009 season just a week away, it's time to get ready for it, it's time to have expectations for our teams and all the baseball teams out there. Lets look at what the top baseball writers and our community leaders think.
We would love to know who you think is going to win; just write in a comment and vote on the poll to show who you think will be the 2009 World Series champion. But don’t forget, when it is all over we will see who has the true baseball smarts.
David Marine-Senior Writer. Mets fan
As a Mets lifer, my heart wants to say the Mets, but because my brain is fully functioning I have to choose another team. It pains me to say this but I think this is the year the Yankees get A-Rod his first ring. I know, I know, A-Rod & championship just don't go together, but the Yanks are coming off a horrible season and they have a chip on their shoulder for the first time in a decade.
They made the moves they needed to make to improve their starting pitching, and if AJ Burnett wins 15 games this season for them he's well worth the money. A rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Joba, Wang & Petite is as good as any if they're all on their A game. Their bullpen is solid with Rivera and I think we all know their offense can score
Come July 31st, I think we'll also see them make some big moves to add another arm to their bullpen and don't be surprised if Matt Holliday is in pinstripes come August 1st. So my official pick is the Yankees, which on the bright side almost guarantees that they won't win.
Shane Howard-Senior Writer. Yankees fan
World Series will be Yankees v. Cubs with Yankees taking the series to prolong the Cubs winless streak. This is the year the Yankees go back to the top of the world.
Brett Lissenden-Columnist. Washington Nationals
My pre-season pick is the Cubs. I think they learned last postseason how quickly your playoff dreams can be squashed and they were one of the best teams in the regular season for most of the year. I think they focus their season on the playoffs and won't be as impressive in the regular season, but then really turn it on in the playoffs.
J.C. Ayvazi-Columnist. Dodgers fan
Continuing my streak that started in 1971, I am picking the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series. They've come close a handful of times and the couple of times they did win were glorious.
Manny or no Manny, young starting staff, controversy swirling around the manager—it doesn't matter. I say proudly, Los Angeles Dodgers 2009 World Champions.
Bob Warja-Senior Writer, Ranked No. one in MLB, Cubs fan
My picks for the 2009 WS: Red Sox (AL) vs. Mets (NL)
A New York World Series team from a Chicago writer/fan? Sounds blasphemous, I know, but I have set aside my personal feelings and tried to think about this objectively. First of all, I like the moves the Bronx Bombers made this offseason.
I know it sounds like an easy pick considering the money they spent, but it's been proven you can't buy championships. And with the distractions caused by the A-Rod steroid reports, I just think they will fall short again.
Teixeira, as great as he is, seems like another A-Rod to me, someone who loves himself and his stats more than the team. So I'm going with the Red Sox to beat the Angels and make it to the World Series.
I see a stronger Beckett, excellent chemistry with good team players like Youkilis and Pedroia, and I think that this could the year that Clay Buchholz breaks out.
In the NL, though the Braves have improved, and the Cubs are still very talented, I am picking the Mets to go to the Series. They have terrific talent and just need to stay focused down the stretch to make the playoffs.
The Phillies are terrific, of course, but it's too hard for teams to repeat these days. And the Dodgers, without Lowe and the magic of having a hungry Manny down the stretch, will fall short. I just think that the Mets have the resources to make a major move during the season if they need to, which may carry them to the promised land.
World Series winner: Red Sox in six games. They have the experience and the best organization in baseball.
Ryan Callahan- Analyst, Phillies fan
I believe the Phillies will win the World Series this year. They return their whole lineup from the last season except they upgraded from Pat Burrell with the addition of Raul Ibanez. They just locked up Ryan Howard with a three year deal, and we can expext Cole Hamels to continue his postseason dominance and make a run for the Cy Young this season.
Jim Neveau-Analyst. Cubs fan
Even with all of the Yankees acquisitions this season, I still think that the top contender for the World Series trophy is the Tampa Bay Rays. The addition of Pat Burrell, and the continued development of pitchers like Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and Matt Garza make them an elite contender. Oh yeah, guys like Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and Dioner Navarro don't exactly hurt either.
So, for my World Series prediction, I think the Rays will be the team to beat.
Travis Miller-Analyst. Mets fan
Obviously, like every year, I gotta pick the Mets. Let me tell you why and try rationalizing it.
Provided we stay healthy, the N.L. should be a piece of cake. Our top four in the rotation are intact. I expect 18 wins easily from Santana, and 15 from Pelfrey, Maine, and Perez, again, all as long as they stay healthy.
Though we can't expect the same amazing results from role players who stepped up last year, I expect big things from Carlos Beltran this season. Wright and Reyes will be Wright and Reyes, and if Delgado gives us .260/20/80, I'd be happy. Murphy should have a decent year, as should Church. Schneider and Castillo are wild cards—whatever we get from them is a bonus.
The x-factor will be the bullpen. With solid eighth and ninth inning men, the games are going to be much shorter, and Jerry Manuel's gray hairs will be kept to a minimum.
Injuries are going to be our biggest enemy this year, so as long as it stays to a minimum. Considering how bad injuries affected us last year, it's safe to assume we can still contend as long as we don't lose any of our stars for extensive periods of time.
As we showed last year, even 60-plus games into the season if we aren't performing up to par, we can make changes and still flourish. This year it won't be firing our manager, but it would most likely be acquiring an impact bat or arm.
I don't see any real threat in the National League, and just hope all the American League teams beat the brains out of each other so we can catch them by surprise in the World Series.
Johan is a lock to win his outings, which would be at least two. He's shown how effective he is on short rest in huge situations, so he could even win three games if he needs to. We've had success in the playoffs with less pitching. The key is staying healthy and getting there.
This year, I think that the Tampa Bay Rays will win the World Series. I believe that the Yankees will win the division, and the Rays will get the Wild Card. Although other teams have spent more, I like what the Rays bring to the table.
I think that James Shields will continue to prove that he is a dominant pitcher and that Scott Kazmir will finally be able to stay healthy and pitch like an ace for the entire year.
The addition of Pat Burrell gives an already strong lineup a veteran bat, and I think that B.J. Upton will find the power that he lost last year (although he had it in the playoffs). With a healthy Carl Crawford atop the lineup, and Evan Longoria hitting cleanup, the Rays will score enough runs to support a good young pitching staff.
For the postseason, I see David Price winding up as the third starter after a great year. I pick the Rays to beat the Angels (ALDS), Yankees (ALCS) and the Cubs (World Series)
Dan Wade-Columnist. Twins fan
The East's look like the most likely division to produce a champion, if for no other reason than both divisions are deep. Every team in the AL East improved themselves, and the NL East was already pretty contentious.
Neither West division strikes me. The NL West is so weak it can barely stand up on its own, and the AL West just doesn't excite me. The A's and Angels will duke it out, but beating up on weak competition won't make you strong for the playoffs.
The central's are full of questions. The Cubs look far better than anyone else in the NL central., but the Cards or Brewers could surprise, especially if the pitching comes around. AL central, too, is dense. The Indians have to be the favorite with the Twins nipping at their heels, I don't see either team going deep into the playoffs, but I spend my time looking at the gaps each team has, not what's actually there.
The Yankees are, as always, probably more hype than substance, even with Tex. and C.C. and will have to settle for third behind the Sox and Rays. I think the Rays, like a good distance runner, hang around all season, maybe even settle for the wild card, but ultimately make it back to the ALCS. Despite losing the season series, the Red Sox beat the Rays to represent the AL.
Cubs look strong again, but a lack of pitching does them in in the playoffs, maybe even the second round, especially if they never get Peavy. The Mets emerge from the NL East to win the NLCS, setting up a Boston/New York World Series.
The bullpen comes into play in this one, and Minaya's offseason moves pay off. Putz and Rodriguez do what they were paid to do, shut down the Sox after the starters hit the showers, and end up closing out the Series.
Final Prediction: Mets in 5.
Like I said, this assumes teams stay reasonably healthy. A few injuries here and there could upset the whole system, as could some crazy trade/signing.
Collin Hager - The Roundtable-Senior Writer. Red Sox fan
The Red Sox fan in me wants to say Boston, but as I look at their roster, there are too many holes, and the AL East is very tough this season. I'm going to look to the NL again.
The NL Central has been weakened thanks to Milwaukee falling off the earth and St. Louis refusing to do much to improve their pitching staff. I think the Cubs will be able to win this division, rest players, and be ready to go for a playoff push.
They've added a couple pieces I like without harming the overall team (Gregg, Bradley). Much better balance and I think they'll make a move in June to round the team out. I'm going with them to break their own curse
Daniel Cox-Senior Writer. Braves fan.
If forced to say a team, I’d say Boston. I’ve not given much thought to baseball this offseason, but I think Boston’s got the pieces.
I think the Yankees are still old and they've got a lot riding on a pitcher that so obviously didn't want to pitch in New York and another dude that can't stay healthy.
Tex. is a good piece in the lineup, but an injury here or there, and it's not so hot. I think they're built to fail.
Micheal Robinson-Columnist. Yankees Fan
It's a homer pick of course, but I have to go with the New York Yankees finally getting number 27 in the books. Now nine years may seem like nothing to many sports fans, but for a spoiled Yankees fan, that's an eternity.
How could you not like their chances? I realized that their bench isn't deep, and that's the only thing other fans can find that is flawed right now. We have to understand that the Yankees can't have an All-Star at every position, and that seems like what some come to expect.
With the addition of Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain moves down to a number five starter and maybe even adds another arm in the bullpen, such as Phillip Hughes.
Not only will the Yankees win the World Series, they will have two 20-game winners in C.C. Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang, and the AL MVP Alex Rodriguez who very well could hit his 600th career home run this year.
Rob Kildoo-Community leader for the Washington Nationals.
Looking at the numbers for the two teams that have the best chance to improve their runs scored/runs allowed differential are St Louis and Cleveland.
If the Cards get a reasonably healthy Carpenter, shore up their bullpen, and get solid production from Colby Ramus they should challenge the Cubs in the Central.
Cleveland was mauled by injuries and still has a solid pitching staff. If they add Victor Martinez, maybe get something from Pronk and add a free agent or two, I see them winning the Central. Right now I have St Louis vs. Boston in the Series with Boston winning in six, Cleveland's my dark horse.
Jersey-Analyst. Yankees fan
I'm obviously biased, but I'm going to pick the New York Yankees. They didn't just improve this offseason by signing big names. The improved in the RIGHT AREAS.
Last year, their rotation lacked any depth whatsoever, with unproven Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy expected to play big roles. They lost Chien-Ming Wang early on. This year, they have three aces at the top, including Wang and their two acquisitions, the initial twins. The rotation is MUCH stronger, and is very deep.
They improved their hitting and defense with Mark Teixeira, and the loss of Bobby Abreu is stunted by last year's acquisition of Xavier Nady. Plus, they'll have Jorge Posada back, and while he may not be the same player, he is certainly better than the anemic Jose Molina. Nick Swisher adds a solid hitter off the bench that they lacked last year.
Their bullpen was stellar last year, and that should not change. Their manager will now be in his second year with the team, and that should help significantly. Meanwhile, their rivals did very little to improve. The Yankees had the fourth best record in the AL last season. With all their additions (plus players returning from injury), they will be in position to leapfrog back atop the league where they belong.
Kevin McGuire-Scribe. Phillies fan
If I had to make a prediction today I would say the Phillies over the Yankees. I think the Yankees have made some significant moves to push them past the Red Sox in the AL East and feel that if matched up in a series the Yankees could beat the Rays.
I am not sold on the Angels or anybody in the AL central and feel the Yankees will be the team to beat in the American League.
The Phillies enter as defending champions and still should be considered the class of the National League. They are bringing back just about everybody from 2008 and replacing Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez. If the Phillies can stay healthy like they did last year there is no reason they should not make the playoffs.
The Mets have made some noise but they are the best at making noise. Matched up in a postseason series I would take the Phillies pitching staff against anyone in the National League at this point, from top to bottom, the starting rotation to the effective bullpen.
I think the Phillies have to be considered the team to beat in the National League in 2008 because of the starting rotation and effective bullpen. I think the Phillies have to be considered the team to beat in the National League in 2008.
Lawrence Barreca-Analyst. Orioles fan
At the end of the 2009 season, I like the Tampa Bay Rays as Champions of the baseball world. I know that many people will argue that the Yankees new roster will be a more difficult challenge than ever, however, the Rays have made some moves themselves.
They dealt former starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to Detroit in return for power hitting right fielder Matt Joyce. Let us also not forget that this gives stud prospect David Price a rotation slot. One final move that the Rays made during the offseason was the addition of Pat Burrell. Now, they officially have a designated hitter. So, in the end, I like the Rays to shock the world again, but this time, I see them coming out on top.
Chris DiFrancesco- Scribe. Phillies fan
Its really hard to tell right now with a week left before the season begins. I can see why everyone would say the Yankees, but I think those pieces that they put together will take more than one year to gel. I think it will backfire on them this season, but next year they will produce hell. I think the Phillies can do it again with consistency and health.
I'm not going to put any stock in the Mets until they at least make the playoffs. The Red Sox are my other choice, they look on paper unstoppable. along with the Rays.
But as of right now, it’s really to early.
Christian Karcole-Columnist. Phillies fan
The Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series. As much as I would love to pick the fightin' Phils' shock the world again, I have to go with my brain and not my heart. That is why I am going with the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2009 World Series. Surprised, I know.
But I believe Albert Pujols and & co. will be able to bring home the hardware in 2009. Ryan Ludwick could put together another big year in 2009, and Troy Glaus, Adam Kennedy, Yadiar Molina, and Kahlil Green will also be there to hold up the St. Louis offense.
On the mound, Adam Wainright and Kyle Lohse will be the top starters for the Cards' this year. They may not be the most star-studded team in the world, but as we saw that year, this team has a lot of fire in them. I believe we only saw the tip of the iceburg.
But who else is in the contention? Well, in the NL East, I believe the Phillies will repeat as champions. In the NL Central, I see the Chicago Cubs winning the title. Finally, in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers should repeat as champs.
For the NL wildcard, I have the New York Mets finally ending their choke-spree. In the AL, I have the New York Yankees winning the East, the Cleveland Indians winning the Central, and the Los Angeles Angels to win the West.
The AL wildcard will be the Boston Red Sox. Once in the playoffs, I believe the Cardinals will beat out the Phillies in six to advance to the World Series, and the Red Sox will beat the Angels to move on to the World Series as well.
Ben Brown-Analyst. Mariners and Cardinals
I think it will be close one between a few teams.
American League- Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays
National League- New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves
Indians Vs. Cardinals in the Series. Indians win it in a dramatic seventh game.
Sayre Bedinger-Columnist. Cubs fan
I think this season's World Series will be won by the Chicago Cubs. I'm a bit of a homer, but they are a legitimate candidate in my mind. They have the best manager in the game, and one of the deepest rosters. From top to bottom, there is really no other team that rivals their depth other than the Phillies.
I don't think there is a more complete roster in all of baseball, and barring major injuries, this group of guys will be your 2009 MLB Champions.
Austin Drake-Columnist and Detroit Tigers Community Leader.
I would have to say, no matter how much it kills me, that the Yankees will retake the glory this season. With big additions of Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira and Swisher, the Yankees have made a great lineup nearly unstoppable and a decent rotation better. It wont be easy as the Red Sox and Rays will give them a run for their money and maybe even the Orioles...who knows.
My prediction: Yankees vs. Cubs, Yanks win 4-2
Andrew-Senior Writer. Giants fan
If you forced me to pick a World Series winner, I'd go with Cleveland and there are way more than several words there as to why.
Mike Kent- Analyst . Mets fan
I know this will not sound convincing, and most people will not take this seriously, but I believe this is the Mets year. Jose and David will have MVP seasons, and K-Rod and J.J Putz will be untouchable, wish them luck.
To who ever has made it this far (i bet there will be like two of you guys) thank you very much for reading and good luck to all MLB teams
Let the 2009 baseball season begin!
Mike Kent also writes on a Wiki of the New York Mets called the Met Wiki. Any help would be very much appreciated. If there are any questions, you can write on my wall.
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