I know I'm a good two weeks late to the party, but I did proclaim my preseason predictions and awards before the season started. I swear!
Even though it is one week into the season and my predictions look decent, it is after all, one week into the season. Way to be redundant and state the obvious, right? But it is safe to put these predictions out now because we have a long season ahead and, of course, anything bla bla can happen.
The American League playoff spots: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox. The National League playoff spots: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. In the World Series, the Yankees will beat the Braves. My surprise AL team is the Oakland Athletics. In fact, I think they will be battling it out with the Rangers for the AL West crown. My surprise NL team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They will go down to the wire with the Colorado Rockies. I feel that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners will be disappointments in the American League as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Giants will disappoint in the National League.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL MVP: Joe Mauer
NL MVP: Chase Utley
AL ROY: Brian Matusz
NL ROY: Jason Heyward
So far, the A's and Rangers are good. The Giants and Diamondbacks are good while the Dodgers are not good. The Blue Jays have a nice record, but it is not sustainable. The Red Sox and Yankees had to play each other so their records aren't indicative of their talent. The big thing that has caught my eye is how bad the Angels and Mariners have started this season. Again, one week in and things will look very different. It's not that I thought these teams would lose 90 games necessarily. The AL West shapes up to be a very competitive division with all four teams hovering around the 80 win mark. My thing is many experts and/or fans predicted those two teams to be on top because: the Angels always win and the Mariners had a great year and a good offseason.
Last year, the Mariners were 85-77. Look closely though. They scored 640 runs and allowed 692 runs. Yes, they had a nice record and added Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins and a bunch of platoon-type players, but those additions aren't being added to an "85 win" team. For a team that is built around solid defense, they have a designated hitter playing left field and a an old guy and a pinch hitter splitting time as designated hitters. The other thing is, Lee is out till May.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were a better team last year, but they lost ace John Lackey, Chone Figgins to rival Mariners and the corpse of Vladimir Guerrero to division rivals. In place, they get a full season of Scott Kazmir, Hideki Matsui, Joel Pinero and Fernando Rodney. Guerrero should be better as a Designated Hitter for the Texas Rangers and Matsui will be good in the Designated Hitter role for the Angels. The Angels should be right there with the Athletics and Rangers at the end of the season, but the Rangers are stacked at pitching and hitting. Figgins and Lackey were huge losses, and that will be the difference. When I say disappointment, I don't mean they will be awful. It will be disappointing that the Angels do not make the playoffs as the young, emerging Rangers overtake the Angels' division reign.