2009 Major League Baseball preview and predictions

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2009 Major League Baseball preview and predictions
In another futile attempt at looking into my crystal ball, I bring you my 2009 MLB season preview and predictions.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
New York Yankees*
Boston Red Sox*
Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

At the risk of seeming like a homer, I'm going with the Yanks to win the division. Their pitching staff is finally strong again and the offense should be just fine without a month of A-Rod. The Red Sox are counting on Tim Wakefield, who should be in the beer league, and Brad Penny to keep their staff afloat. I've heard so much about the Yankees' injury concerns, but Penny, John Smoltz, Mike Lowell and David Ortiz are just going to be fine? I just don't see the Rays putting up the same type of performance as they did last year.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Minnesota Twins*
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals

This could be a tougher division than people think. I'll take the Twins since they were right there last year and will have a full season of Francisco Liriano. Although I have the Royals finishing in last, I think they could surprise some people.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim*
Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

I really like what Oakland did in the offseason, trading for Matt Holliday and signing Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra. But I just don't think I'm ready to slide them ahead of the Angels, who also added Bobby Abreu. Sure, they lost K-Rod, but they didn't seem very sad to see him go, and they quickly added Brian Fuentes to replace him.

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Yankees, Twins and Angels win their divisions. Red Sox win the wild card.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Philadelphia Phillies*
New York Mets*
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

All I've read and heard is how the Mets have improved so much and will even win the World Series, but I'm just not seeing it. Yes, they improved their bullpen. But how will they get to Putz and K-Rod? Their starting rotation behind Johan Santana is relatively bad and unproven. I wouldn't be shocked to see another Mets late-season choke. Why not go for the hat trick?

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago Cubs*
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cubs are probably the strongest team in the National League so I'll have to put them at the top of this six-team division. The Cardinals were a bit of a surprise last year and I think they'll move ahead of the Brewers, who lost Sabathia and Sheets.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Arizona Diamondbacks*
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies

This one will probably, once again, be the worst division in baseball. I see the D'Backs moving ahead of the Dodgers because of LA's lack of good starting pitching. Arizona and San Francisco have the two best rotations in the West, but the D'Backs actually have offensive players to help the pitching staff.

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
Phillies, Cubs and Diamondbacks win their divisions. Mets win the wild card.

WORLD SERIES
Yankees over Cubs in seven games.
Maybe this is the baseball nostalgic in me, or the Yankee homer in me, but my crystal ball shows me Wrigley Field and new Yankee Stadium hosting a seven-game battle between two of the game's oldest and most historic teams.
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