2011 Predictions – MLB

It’s that time of year again. After many dark, cold, and long months spent dreaming of baseball, it’s nearly time to get the season started. At 1:05 PM Eastern time on Thursday, the winter dream becomes a reality when the 2011 MLB season kicks off in Washington and New York.

With Opening Day almost here, that also means it’s time once again to predict the upcoming season. For those of you who follow this space often, you know my track record with predictions. It is horrible, awful, putrid, and embarrassing. But it’s also one of my favourite columns to write for two reasons: 1) it’s fun and usually begins some banter among friends and readers, and 2) it gives me the chance to review it later on in the season to see just how big of a joke my predictions were.

This year at 500 Level Fan the predictions column will split over two days. Today I’m going to cover MLB predictions, including final standings, playoff results, award winners, and some miscellaneous categories. Tomorrow I’ll put my focus on the Blue Jays, with some individual and team predictions. Then on Thursday, it all begins.

So sit back, read on, try not to laugh, and get ready to comment.

American League Predictions

East

1. Boston

2. New York

3. Tampa Bay

4. Toronto

5. Baltimore

Thoughts: As much as it makes me want to vomit in my own mouth, I have to put Boston first. The Red Sox look extremely good. That said, they are far from fire-proof. Gonzalez is coming off major shoulder surgery, Crawford has never played in a big market, and Josh Beckett is terrible…..The Yankees have pitching problems, but should be able to finish high with a hard hitting (and aging) lineup…..Tampa Bay lost so many players, but still have Longoria and Price, and have a ton of talent in the minors. Don’t ask me why, but I expect a nice season from Manny…..Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on the 2011 Jays….Baltimore still sucks. Adding Derek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, and Mark Reynolds kind of reminds me of the Leafs in ’05, when they brought in Jason Allison, Eric Lindros, and Jeff O’Neill to join Sundin and Belfour. Older and worse.

Central

1. Chicago

2. Minnesota

3. Detroit

4. Kansas City

5. Cleveland

Thoughts: The addition of Dunn to Chicago was one of the best of the winter. Paul Konerko is still very good, and if Jake Peavy can come back they’ll be scary. Even with class clowns like Rios and Pierzynski…..Minnesota has the chance to be good, but have far too many question marks surrounding Nathan, Morneau, Mauer, and Nishioka…..Detroit has one of the best pitching/hitting duos in the league in Verlander and Cabrera, and now have Victor Martinez too. But behind Verlander and Scherzer, their rotation falls off…..Kansas City has a great farm system but a terrible major league team…..Cleveland has an even worse major league team.

West

1. Texas

2. Anaheim

3. Oakland

4. Seattle

Thoughts: Texas lost Cliff Lee but gained Adrian Beltre and are still better than eveybody else. Neftali Feliz should be in the rotation though…..Yes he’s older, can’t hit outside of Toronto, and has lost some mobility, but I think Vernon Wells makes the Angels better than they were a year ago…..I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid. A good rotation, yes. But how does adding Josh Willingham (career .265 hitter), David DeJesus (no power), and Hideki Matsui (76 years old), help Oakland’s offense?…..Remember when Seattle was supposed to be good?

Wildcard

Yankees – but only because I think they trade for another starter. Based on how the teams are constructed right now, I vote Minnesota.

Stat Leaders

HR – Jose Bautista, TOR – he gives a big “eff you” to all the doubters

RBI – Bautista, TOR

Average – Ichiro, SEA

SB – Brett Gardner, NYY

Wins – Jon Lester, BOS

ERA – Gio Gonzalez, OAK

K – Brandon Morrow, TOR

Sv – Mariano Rivera, NYY

Awards

MVP – Adam Dunn, CWS

Cy Young – Jon Lester, BOS

Rookie – J.P. Arencibia, TOR (I believe in him)

Manager – Ron Gardenhire, MIN

National League Predictions

East

1. Atlanta

2. Philadelphia

3. Florida

4. NY Mets

5. Washington

Thoughts: Atlanta is younger with a better offense. Rotation is very solid as well…..Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels can’t make up for the loss (for who knows how long) of Utley, and the

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below average seasons of Ibanez, Howard, Rollins, and Victorino…..Florida is good but they lose points because their owner is an idiot….The Mets are a disaster off the field. They have some nice pieces on the field still, but the lingering injury questions around Bay, Beltran, and Santana are too much…..Washington might be able to field a competitive team next year.

Central

1. Cincinnati

2. Chicago

3. Milwaukee

4. St. Louis

5. Houston

6. Pittsburgh

Thoughts: Votto is the reigning MVP and I expect a huge year from Jay Bruce. There are questions about the rotation, but I think the Reds come out on top…..This is a risky pick, but Quade is a good manager and if Soriano and Ramirez can bounce back even a little bit, the Cubbies could contend…..I really want to believe in Milwaukee. I really do. But they are really banged up and for a team with little depth, that is a problem. Marcum should be great though…..St. Louis was doomed right away with the loss of Wainwright. How big of a distraction will Pujols be?….Houston is stuck in between two eras…..Pittsburgh will always be in last until they prove they can have a winning season.

West

1. Colorado

2. San Francisco

3. Los Angeles

4. San Diego

5. Arizona

Thoughts: If Colorado can finally start playing before July, they could run away with the division…..The Giants are still good, but how much did last year’s run take out of them?….A transition year for the Dodgers…..San Diego will drop back without Gonzalez…..Arizona has a few nice pieces, but not enough to be taken seriously.

Wildcard

Phillies – but barely ahead of San Fran.

Stat Leaders

HR – Ryan Braun, MIL

RBI – Albert Pujols, STL

Average – Troy Tulowitzki, COL

SB – Michael Bourn, HOU

Wins – Roy Halladay, PHI

ERA – Tommy Hanson, ATL

K – Ubaldo Jimenez, COL

Sv – Heath Bell, SD

Awards

MVP – Joey Votto, CIN

Cy Young – Tommy Hanson, ATL

Rookie – Freddie Freeman, ATL

Manager – Mike Quade, CHC

Playoffs

AL

White Sox over Yankees

Red Sox over Rangers

White Sox over Red Sox

NL

Reds over Braves

Phillies over Rockies

Phillies over Reds

World Series

Even though I don’t have them winning the division, I think the Phillies rotation takes them through October to the Championship.

4 thoughts on “2011 Predictions – MLB”

  1. White Sox have just as many questions as the Twins. JP Arencibia’s average will be so low Molina might get more starts than you think. San Diego gets the award for overpaid/overrated infielders Hudson and Bartlett. Where’s the offense? Sorry, but only Adrian can hit at Petco. Give the Cards some credit… could have the best 3,4,5 in the game with Pujols, Holliday, Berkman. Sorry San Fran, no playoffs this year. Go Rockies!

  2. Thanks for the comment Kevin. Have to disagree with you about Berkman. His best days are far, far, far behind him…

  3. You know what, I could definitely see a team out of the AL Central make it deep into the playoffs. That division is so wide open that it really could be any of the Twins, White Sox or Tigers who could creep in to the playoffs, and then turn on the after-burners in the ALDS and ALCS.

    It’s just unfortunate for the White Sox that Adam Dunn doesn’t even like baseball.

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