It’s that time of the year when any baseball fan with a keyboard and Internet access is posting their predictions for the 2009 season. Yes, I am one of those fans.
This is not an exercise for the weak-hearted, but one the weak-minded, like myself, tackle without blinking. I’ve taken the ridiculous job of projecting the best of about a bazillion baseball players that will swing or throw this year, and made it as complex as possible — it’s my thing. I pick a Sure Thing, a Contender and a Longshot for each of the major baseball awards. I’ll start out with my predictions for 2009, including individual and team awards, and finish with a review of my typically less-than-stellar picks for 2008.
|East||Yankees||Too much talent|
|Central||Twins||So tough. Any team in this division could win, including the Royals.|
|West||Angels||They have a lot of injuries. That just means they’ll have to win the division by less than 100 games.|
|Wild Card||Rays||Burrell makes them better, rotation still rocks.|
|ALCS||Yankees over Rays||Every New York starter could easily be a No. 1 on opposing squads, Rays are the only ones close to matching that.|
|East||Mets||Costly bullpen appears to be fixed.|
|Central||Reds||Underrated pitchers, young hitters Voltron into a championship team.|
|West||Dodgers||Not the best team in baseball, but close.|
|Wild Card||Phillies||2008 champs won’t disappoint ravenous fans.|
|NLCS||Dodgers over Phils||Dodgers beat year away Reds easy, Phils worn out after 5 emotional games with Mets.|
World Series prediction
Surprisingly, a Yankees fan picks the Yankees to win it all over the Dodgers. But it’s a great series featuring contrasting high- and low-scoring games.
American League MVP
|Sure Thing||Grady Sizemore||He’ll be the centerpiece in a high-powered Indians offense this year.|
|Contender||Matt Holliday||If the A’s young pitchers click, they’ll supplant the Angels in the West. Holliday is this offense’s superstar.|
|Longshot||Francisco Liriano||It’s rare that a pitcher wins, but Liriano has the opportunity to be so dominant this year he could take the MVP.|
National League MVP
|Sure Thing||Albert Pujols||I want to pick Wright or Reyes, but it’s hard to pick against Pujols’ numbers and history.|
|Contender||Manny Ramirez||Manny in this lineup should make pitchers cringe.|
|Longshot||Alfonso Soriano||A longshot because he won’t stay healthy enough to put up the necessary numbers.|
American League Cy Young
|Sure Thing||Roy Halladay||If only he had some help.|
|Contender||Francisco Liriano||Part of the reason I’m picking the Twins, Liriano returns to dominance.|
|Longshot||Matt Garza||Rays’ ace in the making.|
National League Cy Young
|Sure Thing||Johan Santana||Best pitcher in the game.|
|Contender||Brandon Webb||Webb is consistently great, but there’s a lot of talent above him in Santana, Lincecum.|
|Longshot||Edinson Volquez||In the twisted alternate reality where the Reds actually make the playoffs, Volquez becomes more dominant.|
American League Rookie of the Year
|Sure Thing||Matt Wieters||Because everybody’s doing it.|
|Contender||Travis Snyder||Help on the horizon for Halladay?|
|Longshot||Brett Anderson||A’s pitchers are horrid. Maybe Anderson, Cahill earn some wins thanks to an improved offense.|
National League Rookie of the Year
|Sure Thing||Jason Motte||Did you see the ridiculous numbers he put up in his cup of coffee last season.|
|Contender||Chris Dickerson||See Motte, above.|
|Longshot||J.A. Happ||Happ’s got a rotation spot for the World Champs. They’ll score runs. If he can be good, just good, he’ll get a lot of wins.|
A quick review of my 2008 predictions:
2008 Individual awards
- I hit on Geovany Soto and Joey Votto battling it out for NL Rookie of the Year, and I thought Jacoby Ellsbury would be a contender. I was drinking the Daric Barton Kool-Aid. It was awful.
- Brandon Webb, Johan Santana and C.C. Sabathia were on my Cy Young lists, but had Sabathia winning the AL, not finishing in the NL race with the other two. I also misspelled Scot Shields’ first name. Yes, I had Shields in my Cy Young predictions. /covers face/
- On the MVP side, three of my six potentials earned some votes, but were not in the top 5. I missed very badly with Troy Tulowitski and Pat Burrell did not get any votes.
2008 Team predictions
- AL: Yankees, Angels, Indians and Tigers as playoff teams with the Indians beating the Yankees in the ALCS. Yeah, not so good.
- NL: Mets, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Phillies in the playoffs with Mets over Cubs in the NLCS. Not as bad — I at least had the evenutal champs here.
- I had the Indians beating the Mets in the WS. I felt Ninja at the time, but feel like I’m looking at an NCAA tournament bracket gone awry now.
More 2009 predictions sure to not work out coming tomorrow!
What are your predictions for 2009?