2009 MLB Predictions

You’ve seen the BB Mogul simulations, now I make the real predictions. This takes into account the simulations and some old fashioned hunches, mixes them in a big bowl, and spits them out as my real feeling for the 2009 season. Enjoy!

AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox – 95-67 – Pretty much three words sum up with the Sox will win the East: depth, depth, depth. This is the deepest Red Sox team in years … and they have a pile of budget room to go after players midseason without worrying about breaking the bank.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays – 92-70 – The 2009 Rays will be a balance of progress and regression, but like the Red Sox, they have the depth to make up for the regression.
  3. New York Yankees – 89-73 – Spend half a billion dollars and all you get is 89 wins? I think the Yankees will be a study in whether the sum of the parts vs. the whole. They also lack the depth of their division rivals Red Sox and Rays. However, the Yankees prediction is highly variable – I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win anywhere from 85 to 95 games.
  4. Baltimore Orioles – 77-85 – Now, I’m not saying the O’s are good, but they are better than people think. Maybe not in 2009, but watch out in 2010 if they can get their pitching in order and jettison more of the veteran flotsam.
  5. Toronto Blue Jays – 69-93 – Now, I’m not saying the Jays are bad … OK, I am. I have this feeling the Jays will bottom out this year and clean house – bye bye Roy, J.P., Vernon and maybe even Alexis.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins – 88-74 – The Twins have a lot of pitching depth, a good mix of youth and veterans and its their last season before a new stadium. How that last one matters I’m not sure, but if Mauer is out for a long time, all bets might be off. (It also helps that the Central is pretty weak this year).
  2. Chicago White Sox – 86-76 – My SABR-loving side really wants to pick against the ChiSox. Every year, in almost every regression, they should suck. And then they win. Why fight it? Kenny Williams will beat Big Blue again, but not enough to best the Twins.
  3. Cleveland Indians – 82-80 – Back in January, I picked the Indians to win it all. Then I noticed something: their rotation, well, is terrible. Lee, Carmona, Pavano, Reyes, Lewis. Three one-hit wonders, one half-a-hit wonders and a rookie. Lee will regress, Carmona will rebound, God knows what Pavano will do and Reyes will be decent, but it won’t lead them to the post season.
  4. Detroit Tigers – 78-84 Getting older, questionable starters, bullpen in disarray. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success does it?
  5. Kansas City Royals – 77-85 – Now, I really wanted to have the Royals finish above .500, mostly because I am a big fan of Gordon, Soria (the “Mexicutioner!”) and Grienke, but with guys like Jacobs and Olivo and a RF at 2B, the defense will be the death of them.

AL West

  1. Oakland Athletics – 83-79 – Blammo! Yes, Billy Beane’s patchwork magic will work. This prediction relies on the pitching taking a step forward in unison and Matt Holliday being Matt Holliday, but the AL West is nuts anyway, so why not let the A’s win it?
  2. Seattle Mariners – 81-81 – Blammo redux! You have to love the potential OF defense of Ichiro, Franklin and Endy. They’ll cobble together enough runs – especially if the front offices smartens up and brings up Clement (and thus boots Kenji from the island) and maybe puts Tuisosopo at SS instead of Betancourt. However, I can also guarantee you the ‘Ners will have a negative run differential this year.
  3. Los Angeles Angels – 78-84 – You know, I think until Mike Scoscia ends his love affair with guys like Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar and starts playing the Brandon Woods of the world, I won’t predict the Angels to be over .500. Their rotation looks like their arms might fall off, the OF is old and the defense is suspect. Color me skeptical.
  4. Texas Rangers – 72-90 – Fear not, Rangers Fans, there is a lot for which to look forward. Sadly, that “forward” will be 2010. 2009 will be more transitional as we let Padilla and Millwood (and Blalock?) leave the flock. And look from Smoak in the majors by August.

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – 95-67 – Just another year of Philly excellence. And thats all I really have to say about them: they’re good.
  2. New York Mets – 90-72 – You know, after Johan, the Mets rotation is, well, almost bad. Maybe they can convert JJ Putz to a starter? Or David Wright? The offense will carry them, but only so far.
  3. Atlanta Braves – 84-78 – Good pitching, but need to stay healthy. The bullpen could be dominant or terrible. They really don’t have a weakness, but they don’t have a strength either (beyond McCann). I think that’s why I can’t get behind the Braves in 2009.
  4. Florida Marlins – 80-82 – They have Hanley and some great arms in the rotation. However, the rest of the team is downright questionable or bad. Uggla needs to play third, but so does Hanley. The bullpen might be a black hole. What this team needs is direction, maybe the stadium deal will help.
  5. Washington Nationals – 62-100 – Now that Jim “I want every underperforming OF and 1B in the league” Bowden is gone, maybe we can make some progress? This is a big transition year where the Nats need to get value by trading Guzman, Nick Johnson, Kearns and whoever is over 27 (other than Dunn) and not bolted down for some value. Then, maybe, the Nats can make progress.

NL Central

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 91-71 – On the backs of Pujols and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals will give Tony LaRussa one last ride to the top. Now, they need to solve their 2B dilemma and get Troy Glaus back, but the pitching is good and when you have Pujols and “Dick” Ankiel, that is all that matters in the Central.
  2. Chicago Cubs – 90-72 – Milton Bradley breaks down, but Rich Harden doesn’t. Kevin Gregg is the closer … until May. This is the year that Aramis Ramirez gets his MVP and Soto takes over as team leader.
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates – 84-78 – Maybe I think pitching coaches make more of a difference than they do – I mean, look at what happened to Leo Mazzone in Baltimore. However, I think Joe Kerrigan will straighten out the Pirates pitching, the offense will click and a little magic will happen to save the Pirates from their 18th straight losing season.
  4. Cincinnati Reds – 80-82 – Maybe Dusty is mellowing with age, but I think he’ll go easier on his young arms. So, with Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Bruce, Dickerson and Votto, the Reds will be getting primed to be good again … in 2010.
  5. Milwaukee Brewers – 75-87 – You know, I had a lot of trouble knowing what to do with the Brewers. They made the playoffs in 2008, they have a lot of young talent and, well, I like them. However, they made the playoffs last year on the back of the departed CC and, well, Braden Looper is not CC. This prediction is pretty loose – like the Yankees, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brewers win anywhere from 74 to 88 games in 2009.
  6. Houston Astros – 64-98 – How did Homer put it? “They were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.” No depth, no young talent (beyond Pence) and a rotation of Oswalt and pray for apocalypse. It will be ugly in Houston this summer.

NL West

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks – 90-72 – They have great pitching, they have depth, they have youth, they have veterans. It is the mix you love to see – especially when they have a chip on their shoulder, which I think they will after letting LA steal the division in the last couple months of the season.
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers – 88-74 – Why do I have the feeling that having Manny this year will be less fun for LA (and yes, he opts out after the season). The starters will hurt the Dodgers – well, everyone but Billingsley – and they’ll miss D-Lowe more than you’d think.
  3. San Francisco Giants – 82-80 – Maybe add some offense, and the Giants might make a run for the division in 2010. However, you will not win any division with guys like Ishikawa, Burriss, Lewis and Molina populating the middle and top of your lineup. The rotation, however, will be great.
  4. Colorado Rockies – 70-92 – We’ll always have 2007! Thats because 2009 is a retooling year. If they’re smart, they’ll move Helton, Atkins, Street and Hawpe for parts while they have value.
  5. San Diego Padres – 60-102 – What is the stage beyond “retool”? Burn it and salt the earth? The new ownership will breathe much needed life into the franchise and hopefully get it back on track.

Playoffs (winner in bold)

ALDS

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland A’s
  • Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins – Just think, the last time we can have a dome/dome series… ever!

NLDS

  • Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals – The Phillies just don’t have the belly-fire for a repeat.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs – The Cubs win a tiebreaker with the Mets, but thats as far as they get.

ALCS

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays – The Sox have the depth to make it over the Rays youth movement.

NLCS

  • St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Do you want to face Webb and Haren in a playoff series?

World Series

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Sorry, I didn’t see a way around it anymore. Sox in 2009.

Awards

AL

  • MVP: Grady Sizemore – OF, Clevaland
  • Cy Young: Daisuke Matsuzaka – SP, Boston
  • Rookie of the Year: Matt Weiters – C, Baltimore
  • Surprise: Alex Gordon – 3B, Kansas City

NL

  • MVP: Aramis Ramirez – 3B, Chicago
  • Cy Young: Rich Harden – SP, Chicago
  • Rookie of the Year: Jordan Schafer – OF, Braves
  • Surprise: Paul Maholm – SP, Pirates

Here’s to 2009!

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