I hate making predictions on the baseball season this early before rosters are all finalized and Spring Training hasn't even started yet, but I've got to write something, right? Anyway, here are my predictions for the 2008 MLB Season.
X denotes playoff team
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
- Boston Red Sox--x
- New York Yankees -x
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Tampa Bay Devil Rays
- Baltimore Orioles
Boston just dominates. They are head and shoulders above everyone in the league. The Yankees will slug their way to another wildcard berth and the young pitchers mature to help lead the team.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
- Detroit Tigers-x
- Cleveland Indians
- Minnesota Twins
- Chicago White Sox
- Kansas City Royals
Detroit's acquisitions of Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera help propel them to their second division crown in three years. Cleveland struggles with pitching as Fausto Carmona fails to put up anything near what he did in 2007 and Sabathia can't carry the team on his own.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-x
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Oakland Athletics
This division will pan out pretty much the same as last year. Getting Garland improves Anaheim's pitching and Vlad mashes as per usual. Losing Orlando Cabrera hurts their offense, but it's still better than what the rest of the division puts up.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
- Philadelphia Phillies-x
- New York Mets-x
- Atlanta Braves
- Florida Marlins
- Washington Nationals
The Braves look poised to make a run, but losing Andruw Jones proves more costly than most fans think. Cole Hamels and Chase Utley lead them to their second straight division crown while the Mets make up for last year's blunder and get into the wild card spot, led by David Wright and Carlos Beltran while Jose Reyes struggles.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
- Chicago Cubs-x
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Houston Astros
- Cincinnati Reds
- Pittsburgh Pirates
The Cubs win the weakest division in baseball by default. Milwaukee's horrible lack of pitching drops them back to third and they regress. Troy Glaus helps St. Louis' floundering offense, but he and Pujols can only bring them to a second place finish.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
- Colorado Rockies-x
- San Diego Padres
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado comes back strong and wins the division behind Jeff Francis, Matt Holliday, and Troy Tulowitzki. The Giants turn a few heads with a respectable win total and climb out of the cellar. Danny Haren can only help so much and the Diamondbacks total lack of offense, and loss of their closer, leads to a bad record and a last place finish. Like I've been saying, teams that get outscored cannot maintain long-term success.
ALDS: NYY over DET 3-2, BOS over LAA 3-0
NLDS: PHI over CHI 3-1, COL over NYM 3-2
ALCS: BOS over NYY (that hurt), 4-3
NLCS: PHI over COL, 4-2
WS: BOS over PHI, 4-2
The Yankees finally manage to move past the first round for the first time in a few years, but the Red Sox beat them in seven, after they handle the Angels yet again. The Phillies advance by beating the Cubs handily and getting revenge on the Rockies. They put up a semi-valiant effort in the World Series but Boston proves to be too good and establishes itself as the late-90s Yankees of the early 21st Century.
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, NYY
NL MVP: Chase Utley, PHI
Alex Rodriguez again puts up 50 homers and leads the Yankees to a playoff berth. Chase Utley finally gets the recognition he so deserves and becomes the third straight Phillie to win the award (and arguably the first to deserve it).
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, MIN
NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels, PHI
Johan reasserts the dominance he has and gets the recognition he didn't get in 2007. After this year, Major League Baseball may want to think about re-naming it the "Johan Santana." Cole Hamels finally puts together a healthy, dominate season and wins his first Cy Young award.
Batting Title Winners:
Chase Utley, PHI
Home Run Kings:
Alex Rodriguez, NYY
Matt Holliday, COL
Alex Rodriguez, NYY
Chase Utley, PHI
C: Victor Martinez, CLE; Russell Martin, LAD
1B: Justin Morneau, MIN; Derek Lee, CHI
2B: Robinson Cano, NYY; Chase Utley, PHI
3B: Alex Rodriguez, NYY; Garrett Atkins, COL
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY; Troy Tulowitzki, COL
LF: Manny Ramirez, BOS; Matt Holliday, COL
CF: Grady Sizemore, CLE; Hunter Pence, HOU
RF: Magglio Ordonez, DET; Jeff Francoeur, ATL
P: Micah Owings, ARI
C: Joe Mauer, MIN; Russell Martin, LAD
1B: Kevin Youkilis, BOS; Todd Helton, COL
2B: Dustin Pedroia, BOS; Chase Utley, PHI
3B: Scott Rolen, TOR; Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS: John McDonald, TOR; Troy Tulowitzki, COL
OF: Grady Sizemore, CLE; Jeff Francoeur, ATL
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, SEA; Andruw Jones, LAD
OF: Michael Cuddyer, MIN; Carlos Beltran, NYM
P: Chien Ming Wang, NYM; Greg Maddux, SDP
James Loney, 1B, LAD
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS
Phil Hughes, SP, NYY
Tim Lincecum, SP, SFG
BJ Upton, CF, TBD
Jeremy Hermida, OF, FLA
Hunter Pence, OF, HOU
These guys will be household names by year's end. It's only a matter of time before they're perennial All-Stars and in contention for MVPs and Cy Youngs.