MLB Playoff Predictions and Awards: It's a Fast and Furious Adventure

Corey McSweeneyAnalyst IApril 4, 2009

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 3:  Outfielder Ryan Braun #18 of the USA World Baseball Classic team leads off first base against the New York Yankees March 3, 2009 at at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa Florida, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I just saw Adventureland last night. Fantastic movie. It’s going to remind you a lot of Superbad, with Jesse Eisenberg playing the Michael Cera character to a tee. The only problem is that it came out the same weekend as Fast and Furious.

Case in point: I went to a midnight showing of F & F, and the theater was packed. I mean, seriously, I was in the second row, and my friends and I walked in 25 minutes early. And it was in the big theater.

On the other hand, I saw Adventureland at 7 o’clock, and it was in the small theater. There might’ve two dozen people in there. It’s too bad.

That’s what baseball can be like sometimes. You have these extremely overhyped teams, and the whole time there’s one or two who fly way under the radar.

I think we are looking at the A’s as a team like this, maybe the Reds, maybe the Indians. I’m not so sure about the Angels, even though I picked them to win the division.

Anyway, onto the predictions.

I have the Rays, Twins and Angels winning their divisons, and I’ll take the Red Sox as the wild card. Let’s say the Rays get the “one seed,” Twins two, and Angels third.

For some crazy reason, I have a feeling about the Twins this year. Maybe it’s the young talent, maybe it’s because I just watched one of the best kid baseball movies from the 90s a few hours ago. I don’t know, I just like their pieces.

So let’s take the Twins out of the AL.

In the National League, I have the Mets, Cubs and Dodgers winning their divisions, and I’ll take Arizona over Philly for the wild-card spot. A few months ago, I thought the Mets were going to come out of the league and win it all.

I still do.

So there you have it, I have the Mets over the Twins for the World Series title.

And that’s where the fun begins, my friends.

The award races are one of the most fun things to predict. If you're wrong, you can say place blame and say  “well, there’s so many candidates and my guy had a good shot at it” or you can hit it right on and look like a genius.

Kind of like what the president does. (Oh, snap!)

Ok, back to reality.

Last year, Dustin Pedroia won the AL MVP by default. It was one of those weird years where no guy really established himself with one of those “hitting stud” years that seems to be the way to get this award.

That’s not going to be this year.

Miguel Cabrera is getting all the buzz early on because he quietly had a monstrous second half last year and it seems like he is just going to explode this year. I would like to think that, but I don’t know.

For one, the Tigers might have to go the MLB-team-to-hold-a-?urn=mlb,150818">fire sale route and Cabrera might be a victim of this.

Who cares? He’s my pick. At the worst, he goes to a contender who has money like the Red Sox or Mets and he fits in to a solid lineup and can just relax and rake. Look for that to happen.

The NL is interesting too. Pujols won last year, and that’s about as close to a chalk pick as you can go. He’s going to be in the top third, at least. Let’s just put that into the record. I like Ryan Braun this year.

I just have a feeling he can pull off like a .320, 45-130 this year with 10 steals. That’s my MVP pick and semi-bold prediction.

Braun fits into my stardom progression theory. In your first year, you have to get to like 75 to 80 percent of what your potential is, or have a year where people say “this guy is on his way to being special.”

Your next year, you got to up your stats a little bit, maybe to 90 percent of your potential. And then by your third year or so you absolutely hit it.

Football has this with wide receivers, and I think Braun is one guy that fits in. Look for Longoria to be this guy as well soon enough.

I have a feeling Justin Upton and Jay Bruce are on the same path as well, but you have to modify it to maybe 60-70 percent, 80-90, then 100 over four years or so because they are coming from high school, not college. But enough of that.

Alright, Cy time.

Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum won last year. I definitely don’t think Lee will repeat, and Lincecum will enter the Pujols zone where he’s top three every year.

Jon Lester is the hot pick in the AL, but I think he’s one year away from being at the top year in and year out. He will be a top seven guy this year.

My pick is Scott Kazmir. He’s one of these guys that’s a lot better than we realize. Trust me, he’s a lefty that throws 97 and has a wicked slider and is on a good team. I don’t think 18-20 wins is out of the question.

Johan Santana is the other obvious pick in the NL, and he’s my pick. The Mets have significantly improved their bullpen since last year, and that’s going to add a handful of wins to Santana’s ledger this season. He’s my pick for the most wins in baseball this year, at least 20.

The rookie race is about as balanced as the East and West in basketball. In the AL, you have two uber-prospects in Matt Wieters and David Price, while having other good youngsters in Elvis Andrus, Brett Anderson, and of course Koji Uehara, while in the NL the best overall prospect is Cameron Maybin.

My gut feeling is Price over Wieters, because Price is up right now and the consensus is that Wieters won’t be in the bigs until May, maybe June.

But Price is in the bullpen right now. If the Rays don’t move him into the rotation, he doesn’t have a fighters chance to win. I mean, no one is going vote for the best rookie if he plays 80 innings.

Still, I think Price does move into the rotation. After all, Andy Sonnanstine is all that’s standing in the way at the moment, and come on now, let’s be realistic. I’ll give it to Price, but I’ll bet he gets it on hype too.

The NL is the real hard one to figure out. Maybin is the most talented, but he is still extremely raw.

I’m going with Jordan Zimmermann. He’s broken into the Nationals' rotation and god knows that team needs a spark. There are few true rookie pitchers who get a full year to strut their stuff, so all he’s got to do is be average to good and show some flashes of greatness. I think he’s got a pretty fair chance.

Well, there you have it. I can’t wait until things start rolling. Its going to be a fun year.

And go see Adventureland.


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