2009 MLB Playoff Picks

Now that the Twins dispatched with the Tigers (in 12 innings no less) to capture the AL Central, we can make some picks!

American League Division Series

  • Minnesota Twins vs New York Yankees: OK, sure, the Twins look a little overmatched. In Game 1, they face CC Sabathia and offer up, well, Brian Duensing. Not exactly a “fair matchup”. The same might be said for the rest of the respective teams’ parts: as I mentioned to Big Lou yesterday, any team that has Jose Morales as their DH might not have any business being in the postseason. That being said, I hate to pick against the sentimental favorite – and yes, the Yankees are only sentimental favorites in the minds of their players’ mothers (if that). So, I’m going to say that the Twins will scare the bejesus out of the Yankees … but fall just short. Yankees 3-2.
  • Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Maybe they need to start scheduling this series in April? I feel like the Sox and Angels have played in Round 1 since the dawn of time. Anyway, the Sox sort of scuffled to the finish line – or at least streaked to the finish line, with a sweep of Cleveland after being swept at the hands of New York and Toronto. Ah, that is the nature of baseball! Everyone says “the Angels get hits! the Angels steal bases!” Well, fine, they sure do. However, unless you’re Jacoby Ellsbury, you don’t steal home much. The last I checked, the Sox aren’t slouches with the bats either (unless you count Jason Varitek). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the Sox starters show up for the series and quiet the free-swinging Angels. Red Sox 3-1.

National League Division Series

  • Colorado Rockies vs Philadelphia Phillies: The last time this happened, the Phils were favored to win the series and the Rockies, well, steam-rolled them. Will it happen in 2009? Neither time has what might classically be known as “good pitching” – both are adequate and beasts of their respective home parks. The Phils do have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard as the backbone of their lineup. The Rockies, although a lot of fun, have Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki. The Phillies – if they can find a closer – will scrape by this series. Phillies 3-2.
  • St. Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers: It seems wrong to me that the Dodgers have home field in this series – I mean, when was the last time the Dodgers seemed like a good baseball team? Who has the pitching advantage: Cardinals. Who has the hitting advantage: Cardinals. Seems to me that the Cardinals might be the better team here. Could it be that simple? Cardinals 3-0.

League Championship Series

  • Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees: Has it really been five years since the last Sox-Yankees ALCS? What happened last time, anyway? The Sox won the first 7 meetings of these teams in 2009 and then the Yankees returned the favor by winning most of the rest. However, the teams are definitely well-matched. It will all boil down to which versions of the numbers 1-2 starters for each team decide to show up. I would say that Lester-Beckett in top form trump Sabathia-Burnett (remember, the Sox have beaten up on both of them), but the Yankees will have home field. The new Yankee Stadium bandbox plays into the strengths of the Yankees – that being “hit ball hard”. Will it be a grinder of a series? Indeed. Flip a coin ten times to try to pick a winner. Me, I’ll follow heart but with the caveat that brain says it might be otherwise. Red Sox 4-3.
  • St. Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies: It is funny, comparing these two LCS. Likely, as an impartial observer, I might see the Yankees in the same light I see the Cardinals, i.e., the obvious favorite to win the League. However, in this postmodern world in which we live, one cannot deny context. The Cardinals have the shutdown pitching vs. the Phillies (well, unless Hamels and Lee get back on track). The batting order is pretty evenly matched – heck, I might even give Philly the advantage. Both teams have really questionable (or nonexistent) closers. If anything, the series might be wild. In the end, though, I might still have to lean towards St. Louis. St. Louis 4-2.

World Series

  • Boston Red Sox vs St. Louis Cardinals: Indeed, a rematch of 2004. Last year, I picked against the Red Sox and gave the Phillies the keys to the World Series. I have to admit, I feel the same way this year: the Cardinals will win it. However, as before, the Sox have all the tools to have the World Series for the third time in 5 years as well. However, the Sox need to have all their ducks in a row to make it through, while the Cardinals seem to already be in that “well-oiled machine” form. However, there are weeks of baseball to go before we get to the October (er, maybe November) Classic. St. Louis 4-3.

MLB 2009 Preview … Preview!

So, to give you a taste for my 2009 MLB Preview, here are some results of what team might benefit the most from signing Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn.

I ran 50 simulations of 2009 using Baseball Mogul 2009 as a baseline, then 5 simulations for each scenario.

Enjoy!

Manny Ramirez (wins listed with/without Manny)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers (87.4/88.4) – Manny means 1 extra win for the Dodgers, which might be big in a tight (but mediocre) division
  • New York Mets (91.0/96.2) – Guess which team got the biggest boost from Manny? Yup, the Mets. +5 wins puts them over the Phillies. Where are the Wilpons and their checkbook when you need ’em?
  • New York Yankees (98.0/92.2) – Thats right, Manny means -5.8 for the Yankees, which translates to the fact that Manny really doesn’t add much to the overly stacked lineup anyway.
  • San Francisco Giants (82.3/82.8 ) – A half game gain is really in the noise of the simulations, but might be the edge the Giants need to be competitive
  • Los Angeles Angels (81.2/81.0) – Really, no difference whatsoever, which surprised me. I guess the Angels are all about their pitching strength.
  • Kansas City Royals (76.9/76.6) – Just for kicks, and yeah, the Royals are going to suck.

Adam Dunn (Wins listed with/without Dunn)

  • San Francisco Giants (82.3/79.6) – I took the liberty of having Dunn play 1B, and really, he doesn’t help the Giants that much. They get dragged down by a lot of the flotsam that occupies the rest of the lineup.
  • Atlanta Braves (85.7/86.8 ) – Dunn (playing LF) gives the Braves a modest 1 game bump upwards.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (87.4/92.6) – Maybe all this dancing with Manny is the wrong direction of the Dodgers. Just go out and sign Dunn for probably half the cost and walk away with the NL West.
  • Washington Nationals (65.7/70.0) – Dunn adds almost 5 wins … to get the Nats to 70 for the season. OK, well, he’s no cure-all I suppose.

MLB playoff picks 2008

Now that the White Sox dispatched the Twins and were officially crowned the AL Central Champions (by the way, I was rooting for the Twins), we can get to my picks:

American League Division Series

  • Boston Red Sox (WC) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (ALW): Boston in 5 – Sure, I might be biased, but I think most people underestimate Lester and Matsuzaka, along with the Sox bullpen. The biggest question mark is the health of Lowell and Drew. This series will be a nailbiter
  • Chicago White Sox (ALC) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE): Tampa in 4 – I’m not the first to dub them the “team of destiny,” but yes, the Rays are “the team of destiny” in 2008.
National League Division Series
  • Milwaukee Brewers (WC) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) – Philadelphia in 4 – Unless CC goes all Walter Johnson on us and pitches on 1 days rest, the Phillies are just too potent to be slowed down by the Brewers.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (NLW) vs. Chicago Cubs (NLC) – Chicago in 5 – Sweet Lou will outdo Torre to win the series, even with the fragile arms of the Big Z and Harden.
League Championship Series
  • Boston Red Sox (WC) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE) – Tampa in 7 – I had to think long and hard about this, but with the home field advantage and the “team of destiny”, I can’t really justify picking against them. However, that being said, I wouldn’t mind if either team wins the series.
  • Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) vs. Chicago Cubs (NLC) – Phillies in 6 – Yes, yes, Cubs fans, get over it. The Phillies will win the series and your long suffering will continue. Sorry.
World Series
  • Philadelphia Phillies (NLE) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (ALE) – Phillies in 7 – Apologizes to you, too, Tampa Bay fans, but my hunch is that Philadelphia will walk away World Series champs this year. Utley and Howard will carry the team, especially when Howard can DH in Tampa. And Jamie Moyer will get his ring.