A MLB Season Preview: Think BIG

Thomas H.Correspondent IApril 7, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 05:  A general view of the pregame festivities before the  Philadelphia Phillies game against the Atlanta Braves on April 5, 2009 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today's game is the opening of the 2009 major league baseball season.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Here is every single divisions standings, notes after each division, and their playoff picks.


East                         W          L     

New York Yankees*  98      64

Boston Red Sox*      93        69

Tampa Bay Rays     90       72

Toronto Blue Jays    81       81

Baltimore Orioles      73       89

This division is a tough one this year.

With a fresh New York Yankees lineup and pitching staff, their chances at winning the division have galloped back to the top after last year.

Texiera will be a deadly threat, both offensively and defensively.

Though A.J Burnett will have a slower year CC Sabathia has a strong chance of winning 17 or more games.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox made very few changes over the offseason except picking up Brad Penny and the former Dodger in Saito.

Though Penny will have a poor year and the pitching staff is weak beyond Dice-K, Beckett and Lester, the hitting looks pretty good with a good overall player in Jed Lowrie and a repeat year from Pedroia and Youkilis.

The Tampa Bay Rays
have much better opposition than last year, and without utilityman Rocco Baldelli and a hurt saver in Troy Percival, the repeat chances are far from legitimate.

The lineup is basically the same as last years championship squad, but they don't have the power they need to repeat.

The defense is increidble though, and the pitching staff has a good chance of success.

Over in Toronto, the Blue Jays are hurting after Burnett dished for big money to leave little fans. Now, Halladay will single-handedly take the pitching staff and try to lead them to a winning season.

Barajas is filling the role as a catcher this year, but no ones for sure about his ability to catch.

Still, the hitters are still in town with Overbay, Rios, and Wells still around to give home run support. Not to mention veteran Scott Rolen in town to olden the core.

In last comes the Baltimore Orioles, but there is definite hope. With many great players in the minor league system including the catcher Weiters, who had an incredible season last year in the minors.

Plenty of hope rides on Markakis, who signed a 66 million dollar deal with the Orioles as a young player.

Jeremy Guthrie is the main key for the pitching system, and many teams might be looking for him in the season. He has the potential to pitch a lot of innings in a season (190 innings last season).

Still, the Orioles will fall...

Central                    W           L

Minnesota Twins*   90          72

Cleveland Indians  84          78

Chicago White Sox  83         79

Kansas City Royals   74       88

Detroit Tigers         69         93

The Minnesota Twins top the Central as they have many seasons in the past, in part to the pitching staff who no longer needs Johan.

With Loriano, Slowey and Perkins all back and being winning pitchers, this squad is ready to win games. Not to forget Nathan closing them out.

Joe Mauer comes off the DL soon, hopefully with a full recovery. Jon Crede will be holding up the third base line, while Carlos Gomez is to some the best defender in the league. Meanwhile, Morneau is still the former AL MVP and ready to lead his teams as an offensive power.

The Cleveland Indians have a nice pitching staff. Cliff Lee was easily the best AL pitcher last year, while Carmona is an incredible young pitcher who fits nicely into the No. 2 spot.

Mark DeRosa was a great pickup from the Cubs, and Grady Sizemore is sometimes overlooked saying how many home runs he hits and how defensively well he plays. Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner give some extra power hitting, and this team will have a nice year.

The Chicago White Sox know home runs. Yes, they truly know home runs. With Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye all hitting over 20 home runs, they piled up.

But it isn't all about long balls, and for that reason this team isn't going to go too far.

Mark Buerhle, Danks, Jose Conteras and Floyd all had winning seasons, but it won't add up in there favor as Bobby Jenks has a quieter year.

The Kansas City Royals
have some hope this year, and in the oddest places. For instance, in Coco Crisp. Always a mediocre player in his former town of Boston, Crisp is a starter and a face in Kansas City. Will this drive him to a nice season? Truly, yes. Jose Guillen and Dejesus finish off the outfield, making a nice list.

The pitching staff has three players who somehow kept nice winning seasons last year in Jack Davies, Zack Grienke and Gil Meche. Oh, and don't forget All-Star Soria. He makes one good reliever!

The Detroit Tigers won't be a threat this year in the Central. The hitting is there with Miguel Cabrera, Brandon Inge, Carlos Gullen and the always impressive Maggilio Ordonez.
Along with the defense, with the diving star in Curtis Granderson taking the centerfield spot.

What's not there? Pitching. With a awful bullpen full of no-names and only one good starting pitcher (Justin Verlander), its going to be a long season in Detroit.

West                        W       L

Los Angeles Angels* 89      73

Oakland Athletics   86    76

Texas Rangers       79     83

Seattle Mariners    70    92

The Los Angeles Angels will miss saver Francisco Rodriguez. His touch to every game will definitely lose them a few wins.

Oh, and don't forget Garrett Anderson leaving to Atlanta. It might not be as sweet this year, but they'll still win the division.

One key pickup? Bobby Abreu will add some power, taken from an already packed Yankees. With Vladamir Guerrero and Torii Hunter also in the outfield, its got to feel great.

Not to mention they incredible pitching rotation, this team is right back in the running.

The Oakland Athletics like new faces. And why wouldn't you if you had just received power-hitter Matt Holiday and newly reborn star Jason Giambi? Nick Swisher would have gone well with this crowd, but they'll still win without him.

But what they don't have is the pitching, with a younger staff then in the past and little to build off. Still, this team will have plenty of offense to work with.

The Texas Rangers will dearly miss Milton Bradley, but the power machine is still in Texas. Yes, the comeback king in Josh Hamilton and a true hitter in Ian Kinsler and back and prepared for the new season.

Though the pitching is mediocore the offense will be able to pull out a solid season.

Urgghh, the Seattle Mariners. A team that is now famous for its bad investments will have no more luck than last year. They do have some nice parts though. Ichiro is still in town, Ken Griffey Jr. is back and the fans are happy and Adrian Beltre is still a lethal threat to hit deep.

But, come on, look at that pitching!

National League

East                              W            L

New York Mets*          91            71

Philadelphia Phillies*  88           74

Atlanta Braves           81            81

Florida Marlins             77           81

Washington Nationals   69        83

Remember the New York Mets wins dropping like flies last year? Remember how they couldn't end a game strong? No longer. With Francisco Rodriguez in the pen to finish up games they'll be able to bring 'em home.

Plus the nice pitching squad, starred by Johan Santana and deep all the way to the number four John Maine.

Not to mention a great infield in Reyes, Wright and Delgado. Carlos Beltran heads the outfield as quiet the hitter, to finish off an impressive team.

The Philadelphia Phillies might have won it all last year, but the 2009 season won't be as high in standards. There was some nice pickups, with Raul Ibanez coming in from Seattle. Don't forget the loss of home run hitting Pat Burrell though, but with Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley I have a feeling they'll be just fine :)

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves also might be looking fine.

Chipper Jones came off a season of chasing .400, Francouer looks to improve after a poor 2008 season, and Garrett Anderson arrived from a long stint in Anaheim.

Derek Lowe was also a nice pickup who looks to pitch just like the Boston Days.

Oh, and have you heard of Shafer? On opening day he had two hits, including a first major league at bat home run!

You know who else knows about home runs?

The Florida Marlins
. Yeah, Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez get their fair share. Other than Jorge Cantu though, the talent is thin.

One pitcher to watch, Josh Johnson.

And again the Washington Nationals take last place in the division.

After failing to grab Mark Texieria, the team ended up grabbing Adrian Dunn.

Ryan Zimmerman will try to reintroduce himself to a 20 home run season, the team should be watching their pitching.

With no pitchers who had an MLB winning season last year, they should be worried.

Central                      W       L

Chicago Cubs*           92     70

Milwaukee Brewers   86      76

St. Louis Cardinals    82      80

Cincinatti Reds           78       84

Houston Astros           72        90

Pittsburgh Pirates       67        95

This might finally be the year to be a fan of the Chicago Cubs. Why? In a large part, the pitching rotation.

Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich harden are all back for another year and all off very good winning seasons.

The lineup is almost the same with Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and rookie of the year Geovany Soto, but one key addition was made.

Milton Bradley comes off a .321 year and will bat cleanup, making this a very good squad.

Oh man, the Milwaukee Brewers are missing their old CC Sabathia! The man who carried them on his back to the playoffs is no longer, and the Brew's won't have good news.

The team made very few changes, only adding Braden Looper (12-14 last year) and Trevor Hoffman to close out games.

The batting order is identical, but that's pretty good. J.J. Hardy, fast Ricky Weeks, powerful Prince Fielder, and well-rounded Ryan Braun are all back and stacked.

Still, CC is missed. They know it, we know it, and October knows it.

It's just not there for the St. Louis Cardinals this year.

Though Rick Ankiel is still a great lefty, even though MVP potential Albert Pujols is still slugging, and even though Ryan Ludwick is SICK—it's not there.

The pitching is solid, with Wainwright, Lohse and Wellemeyer all coming off winning seasons.

But the competition in the NL is thick and this squad doesn't have the speed or the great pitchers to truly get somewhere.

Neither do the Cincinnati Reds.

Though Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, and closer Francisco Cordero are all back and ready to support, the offense is not.

No one is coming off more than a 26 home run season or a 84 RBI summer, those two stats going to Encarnacion and Joey Votto.

Alex Gonzalez was a a solid pickup and Jay Bruce might turn out to be great this season, but the power isn't there. Willy Taveras does bring some speed though!

The Houston Astros will be held together by Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, both longtime Astros.

And though Hunter Pence is coming off a nice year, the team doesn't get enough homers or RBI to support itself.

Roy Oswalt stands as the pitching veteran and came off a nice 17-10 season, but the only other noticable name is the closer in Jose Valverde.

The Pittsburgh Pirates wish they had that type of a saver. Let alone, a pitching staff!

They don't have a single starting pitcher who had a winning record last year, that makes a fan a little shaky!

They'll rely heavily on players like Adam LaRoche and 26 home run hitter Nate McLouth.

But some players, like Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, have disappeared off the map. And I'm sure they miss dear Canadian Jason Bay.

West                                  W            L

Los Angeles Dodgers*     86           76

Arizona Diamondbacks    84          78

Colorado Rockies               81          81

San Francisco Giants        78          84

San Diego Padres             71          91

The Los Angeles Dodgers must have had quiet the smile as Manny Ramirez signed back on. Thank God!

But there are some other faces around L.A.

Andre Ethier had a nice season, as did Casey Blake (well, part of it).

One key pickup is definitely Orlando Hudson. He batted .305 for the enemy and looks to have a nice spot behind hitter Furcal.

Meanwhile, they will miss Derek Lowe. The pitching is much quieter this year, but Chad Billingsley will be a key part.

The Diamondbacks of Arizona are another team missing power. Mark Reynolds had a strong season with 28 HR and 97 RBI, but his batting average was poor.

Stephew Drew will improve even more, but Felipe Lopez will not be a great replacement for Orlando Hudson.

Brandon Webb and Dan Harden will be a hard one-two punch though, making a nice pitching staff.

Playoffs? No. Solid season? Yes.

The Colorado Rockies seem to always finish the season strong, but this year they hope to bring that emphasis into this year.

Tulowitzki had a poor year and Todd Helton was silent, but Brad Hawpe stepped up to be a solid hitter.

What they'll miss? Matt Holiday, a key part of their team, will be thought as a great ghost of a strong past.

Edgar Renteria was a nice pickup by the San Fransisco Giants. He is a nice touch in a silent batting order, the hottest hitter being a catcher in Bengie Molina (16-95).

But hope is in the pitching, with Tim Lincecum coming off his Cy Young season and now being tutored by great veteran Randy Johnson.

The San Diego Padres don't have IT.

Adrian Gonzalez leads them offensively and Brandon Giles hit .306 last season, but Jake Peavy is their only HOPE on the pitching side.

Not to mention losing old Trevor Hoffman to the free agent block. They don't have a CHANCE.



Yankees beat Angels

Red Sox beat Minnesota


Mets beat Dodgers

Phillies beat Cubs


Yankees over Red Sox, 4-3


Mets over Phillies, 4-2


New York Yankees over New York Mets, 4-2

Yes, it's a subway series.

Yes, the big-paying Yankees get their monies worth and take it all.

Believe it, the Yankees win. The YAAANNKIES WIN!


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