2009 MLB Community Leaders Preview and Predictions

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IApril 1, 2009

I don’t think we could ask for a better and more willing group of community leaders here on Bleacher Report.

That translates down to the contributors of the community in general.

There are so many willing and eager writers contributing to the MLB section of this site, as a community leader of said section, I couldn’t be more proud.

Near the start of spring training, I sort of bombarded the community leaders with plans before the season even started. They responded.

The first thing I threw at them was this wacky idea I had about pairing them up within their division and making them debate about certain issues.

I fully expected about 95 percent of them to think I was crazy, but I also knew this group would take any idea, no matter the wackiness, and run with it.

Here is a recap of what happened in these division debates. Take some time out and read a few, because this was a rather different idea and most who participated even stayed to the topic I gave them, which just says even more about our group and their ability to take a topic and run with it.

Chris Pennant, CHW

Nino Colla, CLE

Austin Drake, DET

Marty Andrade, MIN

Isaac Barrow, BAL

Lawrence Barreca, BAL

Eric Annett, BOS

FenWest, BOS

Jordan Schwartz, NYY

Christian Karcole, TB

Adam Greuel, TOR

Aaron Meyer, SEA

Jason Cardwell, HOU

Adam Lindemer, MIL

Brett Kettyle, ATL

Christian Karcole, PHI

Patrick Murray, NYM

Nino Colla, ARI

Anthony Masterson, COL

David Martin, COL

Eric Gomez, SD

Danny Penza, SF

Andrew Nuschler, SF

Thank you to all who participated, even the members who commented. If people in the community did their own Division Debate and I didn’t see it, let me know because I most definitely want to read what you’ve done as well.

Now, I know there is a reason you clicked on here though, and that was to see the predictions.

This is the year that every team has a chance and there is optimism all around. When you get 31 of this site’s most knowledgeable and talented writers and let them pick who they think will win the AL MVP or be the NL Breakout Player of the Year, you are going to get variety.

Here it is, from start to finish, the Community Leader 2009 Preview and Predictions article.

Player Awards

I’ve compiled the consensus of the six major individual awards into a slide show with complete results. You can view that slide show and full results, here.

AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, CLE and Mark Teixeira, NYY (TIE)

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, STL

AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, TOR

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF

AL Rookie: Matt Wieters, BAL

NL Rookie: Cameron Maybin, FLA

From there on, CLs were asked to pick one player in each league to break out and another player to falter.


Breakout Players

FenWest: Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS and Chris Iannetta, COL

Adam Greuel: Alex Rios, TOR and Jeff Francoeur, ATL

Andrew Kneeland: Jay Bruce, CIN and Troy Tulowitzki, COL

Chris Pennant: David Price, TOR and Fred Lewis, SF

Isaac Barrow: Fausto Carmona, CLE and Eric Byrnes, ARI

Aaron Meyer: Adam Jones, BAL and Brad Hawpe, COL

Aaron Says: Hawpe has been largely overshadowed by Holliday. Not anymore.

Eric Annett: Delmon Young, MIN and Joey Votto, CIN

Eric Says: Votto will soon establish himself as the best all-around hitter Cincinnati has seen since Barry Larkin. He can easily hit .310 with 30 homers from the Great American Launching Pad, and will soon achieve these numbers.

Austin Drake: Billy Butler, KC and Justin Upton, ARI

Kevin Cacabelos: Kenji Johjima, SEA and Rick Ankiel, STL

Steven Resnick: Ryan Sweeney, OAK and Craig Monroe, PIT

Lawrence Barreca: Adam Jones, BAL and Pablo Sandoval, SF

Jordan Schwartz: Joba Chamberlain, NYY and Brandon Phillips CIN

Jordan Says: Joba Chamberlain went 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts last season and with Manager Joe Girardi saying that he wants Chamberlain to start 30 games this year; I expect a breakout year from him with a record of 15-5 and an ERA around 2.90.

Matt Irby: Matt Garza, TB and Matt Kemp, LAD

Marty Andrade: Jason Kubel, MIN and Andy LaRoche, PIT

Marty Says: 2009 is Jason Kubel's last chance to become an elite player instead of a solid everyday player

Scott Birchfield: Jarrod Saltalamaccia, TEX and Yovani Gallardo, MIL

David Martin: Robinson Cano, NYY and Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD

David Says: Kevin Kouzmanoff in San Diego has all the power in the world.  He also has a good eye at the plate and seems to have the ability to hit 30 home runs, with a .300+ batting average, even playing 81 games at pitcher friendly PETCO Park.

Andrew Nuschler: Alex Gordon, KC and Jay Bruce, CIN

Christian Karcole: Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS and Shane Victorino, PHI

Anthony Masterson: Adam Jones, BAL and Chris Iannetta, COL

Anthony Says: The prize piece in the Erik Bedard deal from last year, Jones will breakout in '09.  Iannetta is the best catcher in baseball that nobody knows about. That will change after this season.

Bob Warja: B.J. Upton, TB and Matt Kemp, LAD

Danny Penza: Adam Jones, BAL and Matt Cain, SF

Brett Kettyle: Shin-Soo Choo, CLE and Jeff Francoeur, ATL

Brett Says: Choo has shown great potential, and I think this is the year that he finally puts it all together. Francoeur has shown that he can play before, but I think that after last year’s disaster at the plate, he will break out (again) following his strong spring.

Adam Lindemer: Ken Griffey Jr., SEA and Ryan Zimmerman, WAS

Peter Fleischer: Brad Penny, BOS and Jair Jurrjens, ATL

Evan Aczon: Matt Joyce, TB and Pablo Sandoval, SF

Patrick Murray: Alex Gordon, KC and Daniel Murphy, NYM

Nino Colla: Adam Jones, BAL and Lastings Milledge, WAS

Nino Says: Adam Jones and Lastings Milledge both have the tools and I think this is the year they start to put it all together.

JC Ayvazi: Nick Markakis, BAL and James Loney, LAD

Jason Cardwell: Alexei Ramirez, CHW and Michael Bourn, HOU

Rob Kildoo: Nick Markakis, BAL and Rick Ankiel, STL

Rob Says: Ankiel hits 40HR and drives in 100+ while throwing five dudes out Bo Jackson style. Dempster and Pettite's ERA are both over five at the All Star break.

Eric Gomez: Reggie Willits, LAA and Jair Jurrjens, ATL


Random Facts

15 out of the 31 writers picked players on their favorite team.

Adam Jones got the most picks overall with five.

The Tigers, Cubs, and Marlins did not have anyone picked to breakout.

Colorado had three different players picked.

Faltering Players

FenWest: John Lackey, LAA and Dontrelle Willis, DET

Andrew Kneeland: CC Sabathia, NYY and Albert Pujols, STL

Chris Pennant: A.J. Burnett, NYY and David Wright, NYM

Chris Says: David Wright's toe injury in the WBC will haunt him for most of the season.

Isaac Barrow: Ervin Santana, LAA and Jair Jurrjens, ATL

Aaron Meyer: CC Sabathia, NYY and Johan Santana, NYM

Eric Annett: Torii Hunter, LAA and Garrett Atkins, COL

Austin Drake: Carlos Quentin, CHW and Raul Ibanez, PHI

Kevin Cacabelos: Mark Teixeira, NYY and Barry Bonds, ?

Steven Resnick: Derek Jeter, NYY, and Ryan Ludwick, STL

Steven Says: Jeter is just getting old. His range defensively is gone and his speed to leg out infield hits is gone as well. He'll still hit for a decent average, but his defense is going to cost the Yankees. I believe Ryan Ludwick's season last year was a fluke I do not believe he will hit anywhere near like he did last year.

Lawrence Barreca: Mark Teixeira, NYY and Carlos Delgado, NYM

Jordan Schwartz: Mark DeRosa, CLE and Ryan Ludwick, STL

Matt Irby: Cliff Lee, CLE and Dan Uggla, FLA

Marty Andrade: Joe Crede, MIN and Ryan Braun, MIL

Scott Birchfield: CC Sabathia, NYY and Adam Dunn, WAS

David Martin: A.J. Burnett, NYY and Ryan Ludwick, STL

David Says: In the National League, Ryan Ludwick will show that his numbers last year were a fluke.  He is not a bad player, he just is not the type of player that he showed to be last year.

Andrew Nuschler: Carlos Quentin, CHW and Ryan Ludwick, STL

Andrew’s Runner-Ups: AL Falterer—Pedroia, Gavin Floyd, Dye  NL Falterer—Dempster, Berkman, Fielder

Christian Karcole: Josh Hamilton, TEX and Carlos Zambrano, CHC

Anthony Masterson: A.J. Burnett, NYY and Milton Bradley, CHC

Bob Warja: David Ortiz, BOS and Ryan Ludwick, STL

Danny Penza: CC Sabathia, NYY and Ryan Dempster, CHC

Brett Kettyle: CC Sabathia, NYY and Carlos Zambrano, CHC

Adam Lindemer: CC Sabathia, NYY and Johan Santana, NYM

Peter Fleischer: Derek Jeter, NYY and Ryan Ludwick, STL

Evan Aczon: Mark Teixeira, NYY and Francisco Rodriguez, NYM

Patrick Murray: Vladimir Guerrero, LAA and Cole Hamels, PHI

Nino Colla: A.J. Burnett, NYY and Chipper Jones, ATL

Nino Says: While I love Chipper Jones, I think his age will finally catch up to him.

JC Ayvazi: J.D. Drew, BOS and Milton Bradley, CHC

Jason Cardwell: Alex Rodriguez, NYY and Carlos Zambrano, CHC

Rob Kildoo: Andy Pettitte, NYY and Ryan Dempster, CHC

Eric Gomez: A.J. Burnett, NYY and Khalil Greene


Random Facts

18 out of the 30 picks in the AL went to a New York Yankee.

Ryan Ludwick got the most votes with six as the NL falterer.

17 out of the 30 picks in the NL went to players in the NL Central.

Only Marty Andrade and Peter Fleischer picked a player on their teams to falter.

Fun Bets

To try and make things a little more interesting and not stick to the usual, individual awards and predictions, I put together a group of what I like to call, “Fun Bets.”

Here are the results. All categories are out of 31 responses.


Cliff Lee Wins

Average: 16

High: 20

Low: 9


CC Sabathia Shutouts

Average: 3

High: 7

Low: 0

Jordan Says: I know we're not going to see the CC Sabathia who threw 253 innings, including 10 complete games and five shutouts, with the Indians and Brewers last year.

Nor are we going to see the 2006-2007 Sabathia who racked up 10 more complete games in two seasons with Cleveland, because complete games don't exist in the Bronx.   


Tim Lincecum Strikeouts

Average: 255

High: 319

Low: 200

Anthony Says: For some reason, I couldn't type in more than two digits into Lincecum's K total, so I believe he'll get around 250 strikeouts this season, not 25. That would just be unfortunate.*

*Editors Note: When I made up the form, something went wrong and a lot of people could only enter two digits, it was later fixed, but I felt like I needed to make my error known and Anthony’s comment was by far the best. I hope Lincecum doesn’t end up with 25 strikeouts as well.


Manny Ramirez Home Runs

Average: 32

High: 43

Low: 20


Josh Hamilton RBI

Average: 122

High: 150

Low: 89


Willy Taveras Steals

Average: 53

High: 81

Low: 31

David Says: Willy Taveras, who has an abysmal OBP, will struggle in Cincinnati, where Dusty Baker's style does not fit his running style.  This guy can just not hit a breaking ball. 


New York Yankees, Playoff Wins: 3

Over: 11

Under: 20


San Diego Padres, Total Wins: 43

Over: 27

Under: 4


Tampa Bay Rays, Division Wins: 39

Over: 14

Under: 17


Pittsburgh Pirates Win Percentage: .500

Over: 8

Under: 23

Eric Says: The Pirates young starters are incredibly motivated to do better than they have done, maybe facing 17 consecutive losing seasons will motivate this staff to keep pace with the offense and put together an 83-win season.


Philadelphia Phillies, Home Runs: 211

Over: 18

Under: 13


Minnesota Twins, Runs Scored: 815

Over: 11

Under: 20

Steven Says: Minnesota's offense should get a lift from Joe Crede and the health of Michael Cuddyer so their offense shouldn't be as bad as it was last year.      


Toronto Blue Jays, Team ERA: 3.54

Over: 26

Under: 5


Washington Nationals, Errors: 120

Over: 21

Under: 10


Chipper Jones Batting Average: .325

Over: 7

Under: 24


Brad Lidge Blown Saves: 3

Over: 24

Under: 7

Eric Says: Brad Lidge is a great closer. He's also an emotional closer. His 2008 was great, he may have turned a corner, but that doesn't mean he won't blow saves.   


Mark Reynolds Strikeouts: 202

Over: 10

Under: 21


Washington Nationals: Strasburg or Bust?

Stephen Strasburg: 15

Anyone Else: 16


Matt Wieters: Baltimore Debut?

Before All-Star Break: 28

After All-Star Break: 3

Lawrence Says: My guess is that he comes up sometime in late April or early May.  No doubt, though, that he will be in a Baltimore uniform before the All-Star Break.

Marty Says: Regression to the mean isn't just an axiom, it's a law.*

*Editors Note: I’m not even going to pretend I know what that means. But it was far too cool sounding to leave out. Unfortunately it didn’t really apply to one particular bet. A honorable mention to FenWest who brought up something about outliers. I don’t mind math but there is a reason I’m in the communications field.

Division Picks

Here are the consensus division picks. Check the spreadsheet link at the end of the article for full division picks for every CL.

AL East: Boston Red Sox – 18

AL Central: Cleveland Indians – 12

AL West: Los Angeles Angels – 19

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees – 12 (Tie)

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies – 18

NL Central: Chicago Cubs – 22

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers – 21

NL Wild Card: New York Mets and Chicago Cubs – 7 (Tie)


Like with the individual players, the CLs were asked to pick teams that were both on the rise and on the fall.

Teams on the Rise

FenWest: Oakland

Adam Greuel: Minnesota

Andrew Kneeland: Pittsburgh

Chris Pennant: Baltimore

Isaac Barrow: Baltimore

Aaron Meyer: Florida

Eric Annett: Kansas City

Austin Drake: Oakland

Kevin Cacabelos: Seattle

Steven Resnick: Oakland

Lawrence Barreca: Baltimore

Jordan Schwartz: Cleveland

Matt Irby: Texas

Marty Andrade: Oakland

Scott Birchfield: Cincinnati

David Martin: Cleveland

Andrew Nuschler: San Francisco

Christian Karcole: San Francisco

Anthony Masterson: Kansas City

Bob Warja: Oakland

Danny Penza: Baltimore

Brett Kettyle: Texas

Adam Lindemer: Texas

Peter Fleischer: Toronto

Evan Aczon: San Francisco

Patrick Murray: San Francisco

Nino Colla: San Francisco

JC Ayvazi: Kansas City

Jason Cardwell: San Francisco

Rob Kildoo: Kansas City

Eric Gomez: Cleveland

Most Picked: San Francisco (6)


Teams on the Fall

FenWest: Milwaukee

Adam Greuel: Philadelphia

Andrew Kneeland: Boston

Chris Pennant: Los Angeles Angels

Isaac Barrow: Toronto

Aaron Meyer: Milwaukee

Eric Annett: Toronto

Austin Drake: Milwaukee

Kevin Cacabelos: Boston

Steven Resnick: New York Yankees

Lawrence Barreca: Seattle

Jordan Schwartz: Toronto

Matt Irby: Los Angeles Angels

Marty Andrade: New York Yankees

Scott Birchfield: Chicago White Sox

David Martin: Los Angeles Dodgers

Andrew Nuschler: Milwaukee

Christian Karcole: Chicago White Sox

Anthony Masterson: Los Angeles Angels

Bob Warja: Philadelphia

Danny Penza: Chicago White Sox

Brett Kettyle: New York Mets

Adam Lindemer: Cincinnati

Peter Fleischer: Milwaukee

Evan Aczon: Los Angeles Angels

Patrick Murray: Los Angeles Angels

Nino Colla: Chicago White Sox

JC Ayvazi: Atlanta

Jason Cardwell: Milwaukee

Rob Kildoo: Minnesota

Eric Gomez: Tampa Bay

Most Picked: Milwaukee (6)

World Series Picks

The part you’ve been waiting for. What teams did the Community Leaders on Bleacher Report pick to World Series? The wait is over.

FenWest: Boston Red Sox Team over Philadelphia Phillies

Adam Greuel: New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs

Andrew Kneeland: New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs

Chris Pennant: Philadelphia Phillies over Boston Red Sox (Seven Games)

Isaac Barrow: Minnesota Twins over Chicago Cubs

Aaron Meyer: St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Angels

Eric Annett: Boston Red Sox over Chicago Cubs

Austin Drake: New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs

Kevin Cacabelos: Chicago Cubs over Cleveland Indians

Steven Resnick: Tampa Bay Rays over Arizona Diamondbacks

Lawrence Barreca: Tampa Bay Rays over St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Schwartz: New York Yankees over Philadelphia Phillies

Matthew Irby: Los Angeles Dodgers over Minnesota Twins

Marty Andrade: Boston Red Sox over Chicago Cubs (Five Games)

Scott Birchfield: Boston Red Sox over Chicago

David Martin: Colorado Rockies over Los Angeles Angels

Andrew Nuschler: Boston Red Sox

Christian Karcole: St. Louis Cardinals over Boston Red Sox

Anthony Masterson: Cleveland Indians over Philadelphia Phillies

Bob Warja: New York Mets over Boston Red Sox

Danny Penza: Boston Red Sox over New York Mets

Brett Kettyle: Tampa Bay Rays over Chicago Cubs

Adam Lindemer: No Pick

Peter Fleischer: No Pick

Evan Aczon: Chicago Cubs over Cleveland Indians

Patrick Murray: New York Mets over New York Yankees

Nino Colla: Los Angeles Angels over Arizona Diamondbacks

JC Ayvazi: Los Angeles Dodgers over Boston Red Sox

Jason Cardwell: New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs

Rob Kildoo: Boston Red Sox over St. Louis Cardinals

Eric Gomez: Los Angeles Angels over Philadelphia Phillies

Favorite: Boston Red Sox

Picked: Nine times to make World Series, 6 times to win World Series

I’d like to thank every single Community Leader on this site for all their hard work, filling out the preseason form, and for their participation in the Division Debate series. They all work hard and make sure you thank them for all their work in their respective communities.

There was a lot more information collected, but in order to try and keep this cut down, I have excluded it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see it. If you have Microsoft Word and Excel you can view the following.

Click here to download the entire excel spreadsheet that includes all the picks from each individual CL.

Click here to download the word document file that includes all the extended opinions from every CL that submitted them.


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