2011 MLB Standings Preview: The Usual Suspects Rise to the Top
Pretty simple. If I was betting on the season's final standings, this is where my chips would fall. I'm going to pass on predicting all the playoff stuff, but stick to the regular season, with my award favorites as well.
In the AL East...
New York: 90-72
Toronto: 77- 85
Tampa Bay: 70-92
No real question here, barring injuries. The Red Sox lineup is stacked. The rotation is mediocre after Lester, but the bullpen took a big step forward to support them. I expect the Yankees to battle the Twins for the AL wild-card spot.
In the AL Central...
Who wins the NL Central
Kansas City: 62-100
Love the addition of Adam Dunn to the middle there. The pitching is underrated a bit, and Chris Sale should be the closer by the end of the year, but Thornton is a dominant setup man. The Twins will fight for a playoff spot, and might just get it.
In the AL West...
LA Angels: 83-79
Subpar division in general. The top three could end up in any order, but I think Oakland could be this season's version of the 2010 Giants, if one or two young hitters take a step forward. Only one team will come out of this division.
In the NL East...
New York: 80-82
No real surprises here, except the Marlins could pass the Braves and challenge for the Wild Card. There is a ton of young talent in Florida. Washington is building for 2012 with Strasburg's return, and perhaps the mid-2012 Harper sighting.
In the NL Central...
St. Louis: 85-77
Wainwright's injury is a killer. I could see the Wild Card also coming out of this division, depending on Cincinnati's pitching and how St. Louis copes with the Pujols situation. If they aren't distracted, and can find a marginal replacement in the rotation, the Cardinals could still win the division.
And in the NL West...
San Francisco: 88-74
LA Dodgers: 80-82
San Diego: 59-103
Can I pass on the entire group? It's a three-team race for the division crown, but that's all that will come out of this group.
AL MVP: Evan Longoria (runner-up: Justin Morneau, Ian Kinsler)
NL MVP: Prince Fielder (runner-up: Andrew McCutchen, Albert Pujols)
AL Cy Young: Brett Anderson (runner-up: Jon Lester, Brandon Morrow)
NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson (runner-up: Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum)
AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Drabek (runner-up: Mike Moustakas, Jake McGee)
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt (runner-up: Domonic Brown, Freddie Freeman)
Now let's play the games, and see how it all shakes out.
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