Friday, April 02, 2010
And finally on to the big boys.
1. New York Yankees
All's right in the world now that the Yankees have won their 27th World Series. This year they've made a surprising amount of offseason changes but they still are the odds on favorite to repeat.
Key Player: Mariano Rivera, They may have moved Joba into the bullpen but Mariano Rivera is still the key. If he gets injured the Yankees will blow a bunch of games in the bullpen.
Player to Eye: Robinson Cano, Robinson Cano had a easily his best year of his career last year hitting .320 while also belting 25 HRs. With that success comes added responsibility. Robinson Cano is essentially getting a promotion this season from the bottom of the lineup to the #5 spot. Last year he got the opportunity to hit 5th 50 times and in those at bats he performed much worse than when hitting lower in the lineup. The Yanks need him to step up, start hitting with runners in scoring position, and develop just a little bit more if that happens a 120 RBI season could come this season.
Record Prediction: 95-67
2. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox get dumped in the first round of the playoffs like nothing so what do they do? They sign the staff Ace of the team that dumped them making their rotation the deepest and arguably best in all of baseball. Their offense did take a hit with the departure of Jason Bay, but maybe the added defense of Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre will make up for the lost RBIs in left field. One way or another the Red Sox should make the playoffs this season and if they don't it will be a tremendous disappointment.
Key Player: Kevin Youkilis, The Red Sox offense does have some question marks this season. Amongst these question marks Kevin Youkilis does not lie. Youk last year improved his OBP to a career high .413 and his OPS to a career high .961. He's now the Red Sox biggest best hitter and they need him healthy and on the field.
Player to Eye: David Ortiz, We pretty much all thought he was dead and buried last season when he was hitting below the mendoza line. And then something turned around. He started hitting HRs again and brought up the average and OPS up to respectability. Is he going to be 1st half David or second half David?
Record Prediction: 94-68
3. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays in 2009 were supposed to compete for the AL East title. They really did not. In 2010 they have enough talent to have the third best record in the AL, but might not have enough talent to finish above the Red Sox and Yankees.
Key Player: James Shields, Shields looked like he was progressing towards a top 10 starter in major league baseball after his 2008 campaign. He helped lead the Rays to a World Series. He pitched to a 3.56 ERA. He threw 215 innings. All of this made 2010 look like it could be a fantastic year for Shields. It wasn't. He regressed in every stat and finished the season below .500. The Rays have a ton of youth talent in the rotation but they need Shields to return to an ace if they are to overcome the Yanks or Sox.
Player to Eye: David Price, You have one meh season during your rookie year and all of a sudden people drop you in three seconds and move on to the next flavor of the month. Last year at this time everyone was talking about David Price. Everyone wanted David Price. This year he's barely an after thought. Don't be one of the masses and sleep on Price this season, he's going to be a beast.
Record Prediction: 88-74
4. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay and now their rotation as a whole makes less than the average MLB starter. So ya, their season probably isn't going to go well.
Key Player: Vernon Wells, Big ole Vernon is usually on a even schedule. On even years he has solid years. On odd years he sucks. Well that's the way it seems to work. Last year, well he sucked. He hit .260 with basically no pop and essentially nobody wanted him this offseason in a package even if they got Halladay in return. This year if he sucks again, than the Blue Jays will quite easily suck.
Player to Eye: Shaun Marcum, The Blue Jays are bringing back the wounded from 2008 and amongst them is opening day starter Shaun Marcum. In 2008 Shaun Marcum threw 25 games and had a 3.39 ERA. After a year off, can he return to those numbers?
Record Prediction: 71-91
5. Baltimore Orioles
It's likely depressing to be an Oreo's fan but at least this year you have a few things to look forward to. The Oreo's have youth this season and they have some fantastic youth. They just might have enough youth that perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen.
Key Player: Matt Weiters, The Orioles have zero chance of winning this division. We know this. They know this. So if the Orioles get one thing from this season they need to see their youth develop and the biggest star of that youth is Matt Weiters. If Weiters can hit .300 and 20 this year than the Oreo's ownership will be ecstatic.
Player to Eye: Brian Matusz, Mr. Matusz won 5 games down the stretch for the Oreos and as the #4 pick in the draft in 2008 with all the talent in the world he's still kind of under the radar. This year will be a great opportunity for Matusz to develop into the future ace of the Oreo's rotation.
Record Prediction: 70-92