I am as excited as ever for the 2009 MLB season and I must admit I have watched nothing but baseball for the past 6 days since the opening night telecast. I thought that it's about time to make my picks for division winners this year and even wild card picks. Now you can take these for what they are worth, essentially nothing as I am no expert, but I do pride myself on knowing about as much about baseball as a fan possibly can. So let's get on with it.
NL East-Winner: Florida Marlins
I live in Florida so I get the pleasure of seeing this team play a lot and I have to say they might have THE best offense in baseball this year. Their infield is fantastic! Jorge Cantu makes the switch to 1st base to open 3rd up for a guy who I'd have to believe is the fastest man in baseball Emilo Bonifacio. And then when you add arguably the best offensive player in the game Hanley Ramirez and a man who is certainly no slouch, Dan Uggla, you get an offense that can put up a ton of runs every night. Their outfield isn't half bad either, Cody Ross is highly underrated and if Cameron Maybin can establish himself as the player everyone believes he can be then they have a huge plus there too. Now, when you get to the pitching they are a little weak. Aside from Josh Johnson who is a very good pitcher they have, as you can expect from the Marlins, a rather anonymous pitching staff. That doesn't mean they can't be good however, this is just a place where we will have to see. In the end though I feel the Marlins have plenty of firepower to overcome the pitching and they can overtake the Phillies AND Mets this year in the east.
NL Central-Winner: Chicago Cubs-I feel like this pick is the easiest one I made. The cubs have an above average offense and tremendous pitching in almost every area. Plus they will be helped a lot by the fact that I don't see any real competition in their division. The Brewers are worse, the Cardinals are gonna be decent but not great same with the Astros. And then there is the Reds and Pirates and it just isn't gonna go well this year for them.
NL West-Winner: Colorado Rockies- Why the Rockies? Well that's an easy one when you look at their pitching. Aaron Cook got off to a rough start this year but you have to expect he will rebound and have a pretty decent year but he isn't the story here. Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales will be a deadly duo to have to face in any series. These two young pitchers will set the league on fire this year and I didn't even mention the pick up of Jason Marquis who is a very underrated pickup and can be counted on to if nothing else be a good inning eater with a chance to win at any time. Their offense is a little lacking, but when you hit at Coors field for 81 games anything can happen. Like the Cubs I also think that the Rockies will benefit from a weak division where only the Dodgers may challenge them and I just don't think the Dodgers are that great this year.
NL Wild Card-Winner: New York Mets- As many know the one problem the Mets have had the last 2 years is their bullpen blowing leads. And also as many know they adressed that issue by signing K Rod and J.J. Putz in the offseason. Those 2 mixed with a potent offense and a well put together starting rotation gets them in there. I did say I thought the Marlins would win the East but it could easily be interchanged. It will be a close race.
AL East-Winner: Tampa Bay Rays- Call me a homer, call me whatever you want, but I'm just looking at this realistically. The Rays, who went to the world series last year, lost essentially no one and gained Matt Joyce, Pat Burrel, and a few other role players to fit into an offense that underachieved last year. The pitching staff is essentially the same, only difference being Edwin Jackson was shipped out in order to open up a spot that will eventually be occupied by phenom David Price. All that and the experience that they gained from last years run gives them the poise and confidence to compete with the Red Sox and the Yankees in a very competitive division.
AL Central-Winner: Kansas City Royals?- I think I want to pick the royals...odd, I know, but who else is going to do better? The Indians and Tigers are awful, the White Sox are down this year, the Twins are Mauerless for a while and who knows if he will be the same at all this year? I think the Royals win with above average pitching and an offense that is developing and added Coco Crisp who is still a very good player.
Al West-Winner: L.A. Angels- Big blow losing Adenhart, very sad too, but they have other pitching that will eventually be coming back and an offense that is still pretty good even after losing you know who to the Yankees. Also I just don't have much confidence in the Rangers pitching to hold up. If it does though this could be a lot more interesting than I thought.
AL Wild Card-Winner: Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox are just too good to miss the playoffs. If Smoltz can come back and fill in the rotation spot held by Tim Wakefield then they can be even better. Kevin Youkilis will probably win MVP this year and Pedroia will still be dangerous. Their offense is so good that Jason Bay is their number 6 hitter! Crazy! I think they eventually put Bay 3rd in the lineup and lower an aging and less effective Ortiz to 6th but maybe not. Oh and by the way...SORRY YANKEE FANS!!! If you don't like my picks though you can always pay me millions to change them.