As the season kicks off today, a little look around the REST of the league, based solely on emotion and personal opinion, without all the fancy stat talk…
The Red Sox are the popular choice to win the AL East because of the “depth” of their pitching staff. But Schilling is 40 this year, he’ll step it up when they need him, but he isn’t going to have Ace-like numbers all year. Clement is just not as good as everyone thinks. Beckett can be good, but last year was the first time he pitched over 200 innings, and he had an ERA over 5. Dice-K is going to be their best pitcher, but he won’t be the superstar that everyone is expecting. And right now they have Julian Tavarez (a non-starter) as their 5th starter. Will they win alot of games? Yes. But they do not have the pitching staff that everyone thinks they have.
Everyone is predicting that the Yankees won’t be very good this year because they don’t have a pitching staff… Mussina is too old to be effective, Pettitte isn’t what he was in 1998, Wang won’t be as good as he was last year, Pavano will be hurt, etc etc. Mussina is coming off a great year, and is 2 years younger than Schilling. Wang doesn’t need to be as good to run off 15+ wins. Pettitte has been up and down all career, he can still have a sub-4.00 ERA, and even if he doesn’t, he’ll win games. Between Pavano (who is average or slightly above when healthy) and Igawa (who everyone is poo-pooing just because he’s not Dice-K, but he’s looked impressive so far) they should be ok there. If not, they can bring up 2 extremely talented rookies in Hughes and Sanchez (who everyone is forgetting about) and 2 young guys that can be and were last season effective back-of-the-rotation guys in Karstens and Rasner. This isn’t the best staff in the league, but it’s not nearly as hurting as everyone seems to think.
The Orioles will be better than people realize. Bedard has the potential to be great, Loewen has the potential to be very good, and Cabrera… will continue to have too many control problems to be anything worthwhile. Their lineup is better, as usual, than people realize. Huff is going to have the kind of season he used to have before TB decided to play him at 15 different positions a week. And their bullpen won’t allow everyone back into every single game.
Tampa Bay is going to hit the ball everywhere. They may have the best OF in the game by the end of the year, and are going to score many runs. They are going to give up lots more runs, though.
Toronto still doesn’t have enough pitching, although Halladay is one of the best in the league. And a note to Roy Halladay… blond people with beards look funny to most people we’ve polled. Unless they are an Allman Brother or a Viking (Norseman, not Minnesotan).
Detroit isn’t going to have the same effectiveness from their starters that they had last year. And when is IRod going to be used up? But Sheffield we be a monster hitter again.
The White Sox pitching staff is only mediocre right now. And Erstad could give Guzman a run for his money as the lowest VORP (highest negative, actually) in the league.
The Twins are planning on having Sidney Ponson as their fourth starter, not even fifth. Hilarious!
Cleveland is a mystery. Can they pitch well enough to get to the playoffs?
The Angels aren’t ready to be great. They’re young, they have fire and talent, etc, etc. But they are going to have a tough time taking the division. And if they do, they aren’t winning many playoff games.
This is the year Harden stays healthy and wins the Johan Santana award… er, the AL Cy Young. The A’s will win the west on his back. Then he will develop a sore back, and they will lose. Also, Chavez figured out why he gets tendinitis in his forearms, so unlike last season where he played hurt for 3 months, he may stay relatively healthy.
People forget how good Felix Rodriguez is supposed to be. Seattle will have an ace in him this season, it’s the rest of the team that has issues.
There is nobody in Texas that inspires outside of their infield. And the Sammy Sosa saga will be interesting to watch. Nobody’s drafting him in fantasy, will everyone have picked him up by June?
The Cubs are alright, but that pitching staff needs another top starter to be great. In the meantime, they may have enough hitting to win the habitually crazy NL Central.
The Brewers are finally ready to win the central. They have hitters, pitchers, and a bullpen now. Ok, every team does, but theirs are very good. If Sheets can pitch 200 innings, they will be a legitimate contender in the NL and should take the division.
Has there ever been a reigning World Series champion less inspiring than the Cardinals? But Kip Wells could be a surprise this year, and if Reyes and Wainwright can do something, they’ll have a chance. But Braden Looper as a fifth starter? Who knew?
The Astros need Oswalt to start 50 games this year in order to make the playoffs. And Clemens needs to rejoin them yesterday.
Arroyo and Harang won’t be as good as they were last season. Cincinnati is a contender in the weak NL central, but they don’t have enough parts yet. Homer Bailey is going to be great, but not in 2007. And Ryan Freel is the most underrated leadoff hitter in baseball.
The Pirates will be the team with the most improved record from 06 to 07. With some surprisingly good hitting in the middle of the lineup.
Arizona is a popular pick to win the west. That pitching staff could be great, and they have a slew of young talent, so it’s possible.
The Dodgers have to figure out how to use the great young players they already have. Juan Pierre in leadoff is like Nook Logan in leadoff with about one more hit every 10 days. Furcal is pretty underrated, though. They’re a pretty popular pick in the West right now.
San Diego may sneak up on teams. That staff could be scary. Maddux, Wells, Chris Young, and Peavy in that park is going to be fun to watch. They are still going to have trouble scoring runs, but not as much as last season.
Colorado‘s pitching staff is scary, too. If you are a Colorado fan, that is. It’s not Washington Nationals-scary, but it has quite a few holes.
The NL East was already profiled 2 weeks ago…