2011 MLB Predictions: A Very Early Look

Taylor StarrContributor IIDecember 3, 2010

2011 MLB Predictions: A Very Early Look

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    I know I may end up changing my predictions later on, but this is gonna go off what I think would happen if the season started today.

    We currently are in the 2010-2011 offseason with the San Fransisco Giants winning the World Series over current free agent Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers.

    We've had some good signings and trades including Adam Dunn to the White Sox, Dan Uggla traded to the Braves and Jorge De La Rosa re-signing with the Rockies (Yes, I'm a Rockies fan).

    Let's get started, shall we?

NL West: Fifth Place: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    The Diamondbacks have a LOT of work to do to even become a decent team. They have terrible starting pitching, their hitters strike out way too much, they're terribly run, etc.

    There's been talk about trading Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton. Upton would possibly net the D-Backs some good prospects if traded, but they wouldn't make an immediate impact.

    There has also been talk Paul Konerko could sign with them. While he would help out their hitting, they still have too many holes to fill.

     

NL West Fourth Place: San Diego Padres

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    Are the Padres a bad team? No they're not. They have talent on their roster. However, the reason I have them finishing fourth is because (in my opinion) the NL West is going to be very tough in 2011.

     

    After recently trading Adrian Gonzalez, they are focusing on the future so don't expect a huge season from them in 2011

NL West Third Place: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The Dodgers, so far, have actually had a good offseason. (and this is coming from a rockies fan).

    They added Jon Garand and Juan Uribe along with re-signing Hiroki Kuroda, and being close to re-signing Rod Barajas (plus Manny Ramirez has become a distraction and since the Dodgers got rid of him, that helps their team).

    While their management is having financial problems due to the divorce, I expect some of their young players like James Loney and Andre Either to help their hitting.

    I expect the Dodgers to be an 82-89 win team

NL West Second Place: Colorado Rockies

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    The Rockies have actually had a great offseason so far. We needed a new hitting coach, we got rid of Manny Corpas (he was on one of our worst relievers in 2010) re-signed Jorge De La Rosa and added a much-needed right handed bat in Jose Lopez. I like Lopez because he's a utility man, can play practically any infield spot. And unlike Melvin Mora, he's still young and has potential.

    We had some young players like Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez have breakout years in 2010 and I'm expecting some other of our young players (like Ian Stewart) to continue to develop. Plus, Cargo and Troy Tulowitzki are among the best 3-4 hitters in baseball.

    I also noticed one thing: The Rockies will do great one season, suck/average the next, then do great again next season. just look.

    2007: 90-73—NL Champions. Lost to Red Sox in world Series.

    2008: Injuries kill the team and their backups and the Rockies go 74-88.

    2009: Much better than some expected, and even with after trading Matt Holliday, still have a great offense and get into the playoffs but losing to the Phillies.

    2010: Injuries aren't as bad, but they still do hurt along with bad coaching (batting wise) this team is on the rise and you know it.

NL West First Place: San Francisco Giants

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    Barring a complete meltdown or injuries, the Giants are the best team in this division. They didn't win the World Series by luck. Their starting rotation is still very dominant while their hitting could still be better, it will in 2011 with the emegence of players like Buster Posey and the signing of Miguel Tejada.

    The Giants won't be easy to take down.

NL Central Sixth Place: Pittsburgh Pirates

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    What can I say? The Pirates are a horrible team and horribly ran. I'm gonna be completely honest with ya, the only player I know anything about that plays for Pittsburgh would be Andrew McCuthen. While they did hire Clint Hurdle as manager, they need to try different tatics than just trade away all your good players.

    I honestly don't know why they traded Nate McLouth when he didn't have an expiring contract or anything like that. Now I know what you're thinking: they get prospects for trading players like Jason Bay.

    They got Andy LaRoche (who sucks and could maybe be on waivers), Bryan Morris (STILL in the minors), Craig Hansen (hasn't pitched since '09) and Brandon Moss (who also sucks) AT LEAST GET GOOD PROSPECTS!

    The Pirates are going to continue to suck until Neal Hunnington starts making the right moves.

NL Central Fifth Place: Chicago Cubs

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    I think the Cubs could be an 82-win team next season, but they still won't be good enough to compete with the Reds and Cardinals.

    I'm expecting them to sign another power hitter (like Carlos Pena)  which could help, but let's start off by not hitting Gatorade bottles, Carlos Zambrano.

NL Central Fourth Place: Milwaukee Brewers

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    As usual, the Brewers have great hitting, but still need pitching. A LOT. They aren't going to be a huge NL Central contender until that improves. And chances are Prince Fielder could be traded either this offseason or by the deadline..

NL Central Third Place: Houston Astros

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    The Astros do have a young team. They have some interesting players to look out for (like brett wallace)

     

    they also had a solid 2nd half of the season in 2010

NL Central First Place: Cincinnatti Reds

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    This is a tough pick. Both the Reds and Cardinals are very talented. The Reds COULD (not saying they will) end up being a 1 year wonder

     

    but i don't see that happening. expect cincy to still compete

NL Central First Place: St. Louis Cardinals

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    This was a tough one to call, but ill say st. louis here. They added to their lineup Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman, and along with matt holliday and albert pujols, their hitting will be among the game's best.

     

    they better make it memorable though. this could be Pujols's final season as a cardinal

NL East Fifth Place: Washington Nationals

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    The Nationals were already a terrible team with Adam Dunn powering up their lineup (yes he does have a terrible batting average but he's a great power hitter) now he's gone to the White Sox. They did sign Jayson Werth, who is an upgrade imo, but not too much of one.

    Losing Stephen Strasberg for the 2011 season will hurt this team and the kid's momtnum pretty bad.

    We could maybe see Bryce Harper in the majors in 2011 though. At least that'll give the Nationals fans something to look forward to

NL East Fourth Place: New York Mets

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    The Mets are in a bad situation right now. They deal with the Phillies and now the emerging Atlanta Braves. They could end up trading Jose Reyes. I don't think the Mets will suck, but they have some work to do. They have WAY too many holes to fill to compete in this division

NL East Third Place: Florida Marlins

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    The Marlins just lost their only good POWER hitter in their lineup, trading Dan Uggla. I can't really say I blame them since Uggla wouldn't re-sign, but they're going to have a tough time finishing last because of the Nationals. Javier Vasquez could be a decent starter for them though..

    But I think the Marlins could become a good team in a couple years or so. They do have the 2nd youngest team in the MLB

NL East Second Place: Philadelphia Phillies

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    I know what you're thinking: "Phillies? In second? Is this guy high?"

    If you noticed, until around september of the 2010 season, the Braves were winning the division. (I'll say some more good Braves facts next slide) The Phillies are a great team. I am aware of that. Their only setback is possibly losing Jayson Werth.

    The Phillies could still win the division, but I wouldn't be suprised if they don't and Atlanta does.

NL East First Place: Atlanta Braves

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    Atlanta has some great talent. I'm expecting Jason Heyward to have a great year (he actually does remind me of Carl Crawford), Tommy Hanson is going to have a great career and they added Dan Uggla to help out their power hitting. They do have a question mark on their team though. How will their new manager will do in the shadows of Bobby Cox?

    The Braves are going to be a serious threat to the Phillies this season.

AL West 4th Place: Seattle Mariners

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    The Mariners were the complete favorites to win the AL West last season (i knew they wouldn't though) but they couldn't live up to all the hype and ended up a huge dissapointment.

     

    Once they fix their lineup, BIG TIME (except for Ichiro) their lineup is GARBAGE.

     

AL West 3rd Place: Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

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    I think after the Angels lost too much in last offseason, they're starting to get things back together. Having Dan Haren should help them out the whole season, they're my favorite to land Carl Crawford, and also, don't rule out Adrian Beltre signing here

2nd Place: Oakland Athletics

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    IMO, the Oakland A's are going to be one of baseball's best teams in a couple seasons from now. They have very young and promising talent (especially on their pitching staff) and Beltre could also end up here.

     

    Expect the A's to give Texas a hard time

AL West 1st Place: Texas Rangers

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    This could depend on if Cliff Lee re-signs with Texas or not. Cliff Lee is an outstanding pitcher and a great fit for this organization. They could still trade for Zack Grienke , but that would be a downgrade

AL Central 5th Place: Kansas City Royals

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    Even with Grienke, this is a terrible baseball team. they have too many needs to even be a 72 win team.

AL Central 4th Place: Cleveland Indians

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    While the Indians are a young team, they still need a lot of help on both hitting and fielding

AL Central 3rd Place: Detroit Tigers

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    The Tigers have actually had a solid offseason so far adding Joaquin Benoit and Victor Martiniez, but they could still use some help pitching wise

AL Central 2nd Place: Minnesota Twins

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    Now don't get me wrong here, the Twins are a very talented team, but I have them finishing 2nd because they NEED starting pitching. They could end up losing Carl Pavano to free agency, and while Scott Baker is a solid pitcher, but other than him, their rotation is terrible and they will need to re-sign pavano for it to be decent

AL Central 1st Place: Chicago White Sox

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    Sorry Twins, but the Sox can actually out pitch you. Mark Burhele, (maybe) Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd > Twins rotation.

     

    While the Twins have a better lineup, the Sox also have a very good one. Be sure to add Adam Dunn to that lineup along with the emergence of some key young players like Gordan Beckham. Along with being able to keep Konerko and Pierzenkzi (sorry if i spelled that wrong)

     

    The White Sox are going to be very good in 2011

     

AL East 5th Place: Baltimore Orioles

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    The Baltimore Orioles are a terrible, terrible team. The've tried to attract some free agents like Dunn and Paul Konerko, but they had better options.

     

    Don't expect very much

AL East 4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays

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    The Blue Jays have a very good power hitting team. but they can't hit for average and they don't have very good pitching either. it could change if they aquire Zack Grienke, but don't count on it

AL East 3rd Place: Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Rays are going through some tough times right now losing Carl Crawford and likely Carlos Pena to free agency. I don't think it will affect them too much as they do also have good pitching

AL East 2nd Place: New York Yankees

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    I know, i will receive a LOT of hate for this, but right now, while the Yankees are an elite team, (i do think that) i think boston will give them a run for their money in 2011. I won't be suprised if the Yankees do win the division, (with our without cliff lee)

AL East 1s Place: Boston Red Sox

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    The Red Sox were OWNED by injuries in 2010 and still won 89 games. if they can get healthier this year, watch out Yankees..

     

    plus adding Adrian Gonzalez is huge for this team