Thursday, March 30, 2006

The fearless forecaster

Anybody ever see the old SNL sketch with Garrett Morris as an inmate in a prison talent show singing "I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whiteys I see"? That has nothing to do with anything, but the song just popped into my head.

Let's do some predictin'. Leading off, the AL East.

Yankees 93-69
Red Sox 91-71
Blue Jays 85-77
Devil Rays 75-87
Orioles 73-89

Some explanation.

The Yankees and Red Sox still own this division, but not as dominantly as they have. The Yankees pitching is highly suspect, as has been bitched about by Yankee fans. This time though, the whiners are probably right. When all was said and done Randy Johnson had a very respectable year. But he's 42. You can't assuming anything of a 42 year old. Mussina's getting progressively worse. Shawn Chacon was great last year when he came over from Colorado. But, last I checked, he's Shawn Chacon. Let's not go nuts here. Chien Ming Wang surprised people last year, but look at his numbers. 47 strikeouts in 116 innings. That's alarming. And 32 walks to those 47 strikeouts. It's best when those two numbers don't nearly match up 1:1. Maybe he improves on that, but again - a question mark. Pavano and Wright can't get worse. But can they get much better? Pavano was grossly overpaid by the Yanks and it shouldn't surprise anybody if he performs no better than a 3 or 4 starter the rest of his contract.

The Red Sox offense is weaker with the loss of Damon, but I think they'll hold their own. I'm worried about the pitching there too. Curt Schilling has the distinct disadvantage of no longer possessing an ankle. Josh Beckett gets blisters on body parts I didn't know existed. David Wells is very fat. Clement and Wakefield are fine on the back end of a rotation, but if the other three go down, do you want them anchoring your club?

The Blue Jays were declared the big offseason winners by acquiring many players, which is easy to do when you're willing to spend huge sums of money on those players. But will they actually win on the field? Of course they will. No team has ever gone 0-162. Ok, having established that the Blue Jays will win, we may now turn to the question of how often they will win. (Note: the idiotic way in which I broke that down will actually get you points on most law school exams.) You see my projected win total above. Glaus and Molina help that lineup. And while I don't like Overbay, especially for a team that had 4 guys like him, he's probably the best version of the light powered corner IF they have, so I guess that's an upgrade too. And a healthy Burnett helps that rotation. But as I said during the winter, they're a hitter away. And Burnett could break down. Result? A better team, one that may play meaningful games in September, but one that will fall short - and likely not down to the wire either.

The Devil Rays pitching is revolting. Beyond Kazmir it's a damn house of horrors. But I really like that lineup, and I have a feeling Maddon will get a lot out of that team. So I'll be bold and predict the highest win total in D-Ray history. 75 big ones baby. Yeah, there's only so much one can get out of that team. But I maintain they'll be mentioned as a wild card possibility when people are previewing the 2008 season.

I just think the Orioles are very bad. You can like Bedard and Cabrera's upside. You can like Tejada. Maybe Corey Patterson bounces back. People are talking about Chris Ray. Dynamite. They stink.

Another division or two tomorrow. I'd like to be finished by opening day. I don't want to be influenced by the Pirates starting off 1-0 or anything. But we'll see if I make it.


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