MLB: Notable Points for Each Team Heading into the 2011 Season
With less than one week to go, every team has questions, concerns and confidence heading into the new season.
After one month of watching the MLB channels and reading various magazines, here are some points/predictions/questions that come to my mind:
Kirk Gibson's fire and leadership will prevent the D-Backs from finishing last, but not by much. They are short in talent.
I'm so jealous of this organization with top of the line scouting.
The list of young impact players will continue to grow with Freddie Freeman, Brandon Beachy, Craig Kimbrel, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran joining Jason Heyward and potential ace Tommy Hanson. They will win the NL East.
Cubs will continue to underachieve which will finally lead to a much needed roster overhaul.
Good-bye Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez.
They need to stack a minor league system which has failed to produce any impact players since Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
Aroldis Chapman will finish as the Reds top starter due to health issues with Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez and Homer Bailey. They will finish second in their division.
Since the birth of the Blake Street Bombers, the Rockies have always been known for being a hitting team first.
That will change this year due the emergence of Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa, to go along with ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Is their another outfield that is as talented as Mike Stanton, former rookie-of-the- year winner Chris Coghlan and Logan Morrison?
The Roy Oswalt trade paid instant dividends with the success of J.A. Happ and Brett Myers.
Let's see if they strike gold this year with trading Carlos Lee and Michael Bourn.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Kemp will win the MVP and Clayton Kershaw the Cy Young, but will still finish second in the NL West.
Nice knowing you Prince.
Due to poor pitching, especially from newcomers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, Fielder will be traded to the NY Yankees at the trade deadline.
New York Mets
To much of my dismay, the Bernie Madoff scandal will hover over the team all year. At least Ollie Perez will be pitching batting practice for the Washington Nationals.
Gotta be concerned with a lineup which may have to deal with missing Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins for large chunks again. There's no depth due to Jayson Werth moving to the Nationals.
I really like their top four hitters of Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.
If they were able to trade for Fielder, that would be awesome for a team that may be seeing the light at the end of the (Lee) tunnel. Sorry, couldn't stop myself!
Pitching, pitching, pitching and...no hitting.
They are going to miss the Hairston brothers and some guy named Adrian Gonzalez.
Pitching, pitching, pitching and...improved hitting.
I liked their balanced lineup last year and like it even more with the addition of Brandon Belt and a bounce-back from Pablo Sandoval.
St. Louis Cardinals
Can't see Albert Pujols playing anywhere else.
The Cardinals will wake up and give King Albert a royal contract closer to Alex Rodriquez. They will win the division despite the injuries.
I really like the Jayson Werth signing, even if it was uncharacteristic for the Nationals and they overpaid.
This signing will pave the way for others free agents to join future stars Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond and 2012 ROY winner Bryce Harper.
Just remember the success Buck Showalter had with the "kids" in New York and Arizona and then you will know why I'm high on Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, especially in fantasy leagues.
Orioles have a proven winner who will bring the best out of his players, especially these kids.
Boston Red Sox
This lineup is stacked and well balanced with speed, power and contact hitting. They gotta hope the pitching doesn't become their Achilles.
Chicago White Sox
Ozzie Guillen is one of those love/hate personalities. You love him if he's with you and despise him if he's not.
No wonder why Frank Thomas wanted to break Guillen in half like a bat over his gigantic legs.
Guillen is a lot of things, including a winner, which the White Sox will do a lot of this year on their way to winning the AL Central.
Boy do they miss John Hart.
If Hart was still GM, the prospects the Indian's would have received from trading Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Fausto Cormona would be on the cusp of making the All-Star team.
Instead the Indians are hoping for them to stay healthy.
The Tigers offense will compete with the White Sox and Rangers for tops in the majors but they lack pitching depth after Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
One more top starter is a must to go far in 2011.
Kansas City Royals
One more year before the Royals begin to show flashbacks of the team from decades past.
Future is bright (blue and gold) in Kansas City with the likes of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Mike Montgomer, and John Lamb.
Los Angeles Angels
Even before the Vernon Wells trade, I thought the Angels had enough offense to win the division.
But now I'm concerned with their hitting if Kendrys Morales misses substantial time. He was my prediction to win the AL MVP.
I felt last year was the year to win the World Series, with the new ballpark and all.
Just can't get pass their nemesis, the NY Yankees.
They will take a step backwards this year and will be forced to retool. The Justin Morneau concussion issue will linger all year.
New York Yankees
I'm going to try to remain biased, especially since I despise this team more than any other team in professional sports.
They are aging and this is their last hurrah to win a ring again. They will make the playoffs as a wild card team.
Which Bay Area team has the best pitching rotation? Now only if they could hit.
Talk about not hitting. The only excitement will be watching Ichiro Suzuki slap the ball for singles as he approaches the 3,000 hit mark.
I do want to see Michael Pineda pitch.
Tampa Bay Rays
Can't forget the 2009 season when the Rays fell to 84 wins in between postseason appearances due to their bullpen.
The Rays lost 75 percent of their bullpen and have not officially replaced their closer.
I'm expecting the Rays to fall under .500 and to fourth place.
Rangers will trade for Ryan Dempster but will fall short behind the Angels.
Injuries to Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton will be their Achilles in 2011.
Toronto Blue Jays
Will win 85 games and finish in third place. Kyle Drabek will win the ROY award.
NL MVP - Matt Kemp
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL ROY - Freddie Freeman
AL MVP - Robinson Cano
AL Cy Young - Brett Anderson
AL ROY - Kyle Drabek
Postseason First Round Matchup
Braves vs. Cardinals
Giants vs. Phillies
Red Sox vs. Angels
White Sox vs. Yankees
World Series Matchup
Red Sox vs. Braves
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