In the American League, the Rays fall off just enough (though they won’t be awful) to be uncompetitive in their division. The Yankees almost miss the playoffs, but don’t in the end. As much as I want the Tigers to win the Central, this isn’t about what I want to happen but what I think is most likely to happen. Most likely, Joe Nathan and Tsuyoshi Nishioka are more than capable replacements for the ones the Twins let go and neither the Tigers nor the White Sox improve enough to get 92 wins. The A’s have made significant offensive improvements this offseason, adding DeJesus, Matsui and Josh Willingham, to a team with an already good young pitching staff.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: Oakland A’s
AL Wild Card: New York Yankees
AL Pennant: Boston Red Sox
For the National League, click below…
In the National League, we see a whole lotta regression to the mean in Cincinnati and San Diego, neither or which will make the playoffs in 2011. The Phillies, barring catastrophic injury (and they seem to be heading in that direction…), look like as good a team as there has been in my lifetime. The abuse they heap on Atlanta gives the wild card to the NL West. In truth I believe any of the NL West teams is potentially good enough for a playoff spot, even Arizona. San Fran will score fewer runs, and win fewer games, but still claw their way to the wild card. The Rox did next to nothing this offseason, and will show that they didn’t need to- riding their young stars to the NL West crown.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
NL West: Colorado Rockies
NL Wild Card: San Francisco Giants
NL Pennant: Philadelphia Phillies
WS Champ: Philadelphia Phillies
For what it’s worth, I’ll put the best division in baseball as the NL West and the worst as the AL West. The Mariners did nothing to fix their abundant problems, the Angels and Rangers both (in my opinion) spent the offseason getting worse. It would not shock me one bit if Jhonny Peralta winds up with better numbers than Beltre this year. Oakland wins this one because someone has to. The AL East is, of course, a powerhouse division. Nonetheless, it has bad teams. The 2011 NL West will not. I would love to pick one of those NL West teams to be the NL representative to the WS, but I just can’t. The Phillies are looking battered now, but if they get healthy by the break they have to be considered the team to beat.
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki
AL Cy Young: David Price
You see a lot more monster seasons from talented guys early in their careers than you do when they’re 26+. I’m betting that we have a bunch of 5 WAR guys in the AL this year, and one with 9. Price. If his team still had a bullpen and an offense, they’d be series-bound again.
NL Cy Young: Zack Greinke
Just to avoid guessing which Phillie it will be.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Geren
The A’s have no fans and no big contracts, hence their team can’t be all that good, right? If some scrappy manager is able to get this batch of misfits into the playoffs, he must be a great manager, right?
NL Manager of the Year: Charlie Manuel
The Phillies are going to win an absurd number of games. Need I say more?
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Moustakas
NL Rookie of the Year: Aroldis Chapman
As with all ROY predictions, the key is whether or not they will even get an extended shot.