So I was thinking I could sneak by without doing a baseball preview. I know, I know, foolish of me. But I didn’t know where to start and with the Mets being actually good it’s hard for my own personal biases not to leak in and permeate my prognostications. However, like a good lemming, I guess I should make my predictions. Today you will get the National League, and tomorrow, the American League. Enjoy. And feel free to point out how horribly wrong I am come October. Honestly, a little crow doesn’t taste too bad with the right hot sauce.
New York Mets – (Major homer alert) – I’ve been waiting to predict the Mets as division winners for too long to resist now. Years of guessing how few games Anthony Young would win got old quick.
Philadelphia Phillies – They’ll stick around until September, but will fade away after the Mets get Pedro back. Will make the playoffs via the Wild Card, however. Pencil in Ryan Howard for another top three MVP finish, but who hits behind him? Games behind: 2-5.
Atlanta Braves – The Jason Voorhees of the NL East. No matter how much they “fall off” they still scare me. Games behind: 7-10.
Florida Marlins – I like this team, but they lack a centerfielder (Alejandro De Aza? Is that Spanish for Scott Pose?) and the Josh Johnson injury will hurt the staff. Look for them to float around .500 for most of the year until August or so. Games behind: 13-20.
Washington Nationals – Where do I start? This team is just not very good. Ryan Zimmerman and who? They will be the only team in baseball to lose over 100 this year. Games behind: 30+.
Milwaukee Brewers – (Another major homer alert – Prince Fielder graduated from my high school) – This is my surprise pick. Everyone knows they have the hitting with Fielder and Bill Hall, but did you know they have four solid starters with Chris Capuano, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, and Ben Sheets (if healthy)? If guys like J.J Hardy, Richie Weeks, and Laynce Nix have solid seasons with the bat, this crew avoids injury, and Derrick Turnbow resumes closer beastiness, I’m predicting a surprise. And they have Craig Counsell, who wins wherever he goes (see FL, AZ).
Chicago Cubs – Money will buy some happiness, but not enough to win the division. Blame it on a goat, a Bartman, or the ghost of Leon Durham if you want, I just don’t think they have what it takes this year. Games behind: 2-3.
St. Louis Cardinals – A two-trick pony, although those tricks are the best in the league. The rest of their team is too old, too inexperienced, or too short. Games behind: 5-8.
Cincinnati Reds – Farney had to remind me about the Reds. I’m sorry, it’s just been a while since they were relevant and sometimes I forget the longest active major league team still exists. Could this be the year we start hearing Ken Griffey, Jr. trade rumors? My guess is to the Yankees if one of their outfielders gets hurt. Games behind: 8-12.
Houston Astros – Carlos Lee is overrated and this team is one Lance Berkman injury from being the worst team in the division. Yeah, I said it. Games behind: 12-16.
Pittsburgh Pirates – They are young. They have some decent young arms, Jason Bay, and Freddie Sanchez. Other than that, it will another long season as the Pittsburgh faithful wait in joyful anticipation for Steelers camp to open. Games behind: 18-25.
San Diego Padres – Although I think Jake Peavy is overrated, if the old men of the rotation (Wells, Maddux) can stay healthy, they have the pitching. They will win the division if they can muster the offense in caverous Petco Park.
Los Angeles Dodgers – The opposite of the Padres. They have the offense, but their pitching is sadly mediocre. Give them a true ace (Jason Schmidt doesn’t count) and they would run the division. Games behind: 1-2.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Good young players, led by former Florida State Seminole Stephen Drew (minor homer alert). Everyone’s chic pick to surprise but I think by the time the youngsters reach their potential, Randy Johnson will be in a rocking chair. Games behind: 5-8.
Colorado Rockies – Ummm… let’s dust off the usual Rockies prediction: great hitting, pitching questionable at best. Sounds about right for 2007. The big question, however, is if Rodrigo Lopez went 9-18 with a 5.91 ERA and allowed a .302 opponent’s batting average in Baltimore, are they even going to let him pitch in Coors Field? Games behind: 9-14.
San Francisco Giants – I was not as up on Zito as everyone else was, although he would have been better served going to the Mets. He will finish .500 on a struggling Giants team that can’t create runs. Why can’t they create runs? Because after Bonds ties Aaron pitchers around the league will either walk him or bean him. Games behind: 10-15.
(if Pedro is healthy) Mets
(if Pedro is not healthy) Phillies
Stay tuned. Tomorrow, before the Mets-Cardinals game, I’ll serve up my American League predictions as well as wrap up my Tour de Grapefruit League.