This week’s edition of Sports Weekly hit newsstands this morning and contains the 2008 Major League Baseball predictions from their 13 reporters and contributors.
While there were no earth shattering surprises among the prognostications (no one picked the Pirates to win it all), a few teams and players got dissed big time.
First, let's consider the Philadelphia Phillies.
Not one of the 13 predictors chose Philadelphia to win the National League East, though three have last year’s Division Champs winning the Wild Card.
Four writers chose the Phillies as the National League team most likely to disappoint.
Incredibly, the brittle Mets were the choice of 10 of the 13 writers to win the NL East.
The Phillies are arguably the most improved team in the East.
The additions of Pedro Feliz and Geoff Jenkins improved an already formidable line-up, and the acquisition of Brad Lidge allows Brett Myers to return to the starting rotation.
The folks at Sports Weekly must think that Lidge’s knee injury coupled with the merciless fans of Philadelphia will force Myers back to the closer role and permanently sidetrack the Phillies’ efforts to repeat.
The Rockies' late season run in 2007 has already become part of baseball lore, despite falling short in the World Series. The writers at Sports Weekly were apparently unimpressed.
Only one, Heather Tucker, chose the Rockies to win the National League West, with three others predicting a Wild Card berth for Colorado.
10 of the 13 writers chose the Cubs to win the weak National League Central, but alas, none picked the team to even advance to the World Series, let alone end the North Side’s 100-year drought.
Only three writers chose the Yankees to win the American League East, just one more vote than the Blue Jays received.
Four writers think the Yankees will be the most disappointing team in the American League.
Among the dissed players, three writers chose Dontrelle Willis as their American League Underachiever. Others included Erik Bedard (chosen by John Tkach), Robinson Cano (chosen by Paul Williams), and Yankee wunderkind Joba Chamberlain (chosen by Devin Clancy).
In the National League, Andruw Jones took the Oscar in the Underachievement category with three votes. Two writers think Eric Gagne will be a bust in Milwaukee. Perhaps the most surprising pick in this category was Mel Antonen’s prediction that Ryan Braun will suffer the sophomore swoon.
So which team does the cognoscenti at Sports Weekly think will win it all in 2008?
With four votes each, it’s a tie between the Tigers and Red Sox.
The Indians received two votes, while the Mets, Diamondbacks, and Mariners each got one.