I will now regale (or repulse) you with my predictions for the 2010 season in Major League Baseball, which opens this coming Sunday night when the Boston Red Sox play host to the New York Yankees. Last year, I must confess I predicted the Yankees to have the worst record in all of MLB. I thought the team was aging, their minor league system decrepit and that Joe Girardi would be replaced by Luis Sojo by June. So you are more than welcome to take these predictions with several grains of salt. We’ll see how well I do come October.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox#
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
# - denotes AL Wild Card winner
AMERICAN LEAGUE AWARD RECIPIENTS
AL MVP – Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
AL Cy Young Award – Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
AL Rookie of the Year – Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays
AL Manager of the Year – Don Wakamatsu, Seattle Mariners
AL Comeback Player of the Year – Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
## - denotes NL Wild Card winner
NATIONAL LEAGUE AWARD RECIPIENTS
NL MVP – Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
NL Cy Young Award – Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins
NL Rookie of the Year – Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates
NL Manager of the Year – Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves
NL Comeback Player of the Year – Jim Edmonds, Milwaukee Brewers
2010 MLB Post-Season – American League
American League Division Series (Best three out of five)
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins – Yankees in four
Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners – Mariners in four
American League Championship Series (Best four out of seven)
New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners – Mariners in six
2010 MLB Post-Season – National League
National League Division Series (Best three out of five)
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds – Phillies in four
Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants – Braves in five
National League Championship Series (best four out of seven)
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Phillies in seven
2010 WORLD SERIES
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Seattle Mariners – Mariners in seven
A few wry observations are in order.
In picking the Yankees to win their division I realize I am tempting fate. The consequence of which could be that the Yankees now implode one year removed from my prediction. Sooner or later, the skills of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada will fade. Red Sox fans wish it happened long ago.
A Phillies-Mariners Fall Classic would feature a clash of Cy Young titans in Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Last season, the Phillies tried to obtain the services of Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays when he was put on the trading block. Unable to make a deal with then Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, the Phillies made a deal with the Cleveland Indians and acquired 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. While Halladay sat at home in October (as he had done in the eleven Octobers before that) Lee helped win a National League pennant and was one of the Phillies' few bright spots against the Yankees in the World Series. Yet only six weeks after the conclusion of the Series, the Phillies obtained Halladay and sent Lee packing to Seattle. These two men are on a collision course with destiny.
Speaking of the Mariners, I am awed by the quality of the acquisitions they made this off season. The addition of Lee makes for a powerful lefty-righty one-two punch at the top of the starting rotation with ace Felix Hernandez. Then you have Chone Figgins who for years was a potent force as the Angels leadoff hitter. In Seattle, he’ll hit behind Ichiro. Yet another one-two punch.
Cubs fans might not think highly of Milton Bradley, but the Pacific Northwest might be just what he needs. Look for Ken Griffey, Jr. to be something of an older brother to the talented but often troubled Bradley. Acquiring Brandon League from the Blue Jays in the bullpen as an 8th inning set up man for closer David Aardsma might very well be their best offseason move of all.
Some of you might also ask why I didn’t pick the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish in last place in the NL Central. This was the Pirates opening day lineup in 2009. Take a look at who walked the plank last season:
LF Nyjer Morgan – traded to the Washington Nationals on 6/30/2009
2B Freddy Sanchez – traded to the San Francisco Giants on 7/29/2009
CF Nate McLouth – traded to the Atlanta Braves on 6/3/2009
C Ryan Doumit – still with team
1B Adam LaRoche – traded to the Boston Red Sox on 7/22/2009 then dealt to Atlanta
3B Andy LaRoche – still with team but misses his big brother
RF Brandon Moss – still with team
SS Jack Wilson – traded to Seattle Mariners on 7/29/2009
P Paul Maholm – still with team
Yet the Pirates have some exciting players in Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones and rookie third baseman Pedro Alvarez plus the addition of veterans Akinori Iwamura and Bobby Crosby. Their starting rotation is young but has paid its share of dues with the likes of Maholm, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorff plus Daniel McCutchen (no relation to Andrew) and Charlie Morton (obtained in the McLouth deal). The youthful rotation is balanced by a veteran bullpen which includes Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly, Javier Lopez and Joel Hanrahan. I don’t think the Pirates are playoff bound but there’s a good chance they could have their first winning record since 1992. It would be the most pleasant surprise of the 2010 MLB season.