Saturday, April 01, 2006

Wild West

Clever title.

I hereby guarantee that the AL West will look like this on October 2, 2006:

Angels - 94-68
A's - 92-71 (which appears to make them my wildcard)
Mariners - 80-82
Rangers - 78-84

The scary thing about the Angels is they're good now and look good in the future - think Wood, Kendrick, Morales, McPherson, and Weaver. I'm nervous about Garret Anderson, who seems to be breaking down. And I think the world finally realized that no, Darren Erstad isn't good, and yes, he does stink. But I still like the lineup. And take a look at Casey Kotchman's numbers in limited major league time last year. It projects out nicely, and factoring in a year of development he could be in for a big year. I like the pitching (but don't love it in a short series), like the bullpen, like Mike Scioscia. That's why they're my pick at the top of the division.

The A's just know how to do it every year. No sense picking them to fall out of the mix until after they've done it. Not that it's hard to envision success for this team. How can you not like their rotation? Same with the bullpen. Street and Duchscherer were excellent last year, and Witasik and Calero were very good as well. I'd like to see another question mark free hitter on this team (Swisher - bad year, Crosby - injury year, Bradley - crazy, Thomas - elderly, Kotsay - overrated). But I just can't pick this team to perform poorly. Although it will be interesting to see what happens with Barry Zito, particularly if Oakland gets off to their typical awful start.

I just can't believe the Mariners were 69 win team last year. They seem better than that, don't they? But they don't really seem that good either. So around .500 sounds ok to me. Notice that I'm not predicting the King Felix messiah effect that some are. The guy is 20, let's calm down a little.

Same as last year with the Rangers - love the hitting, hate the pitching. The Kevin Millwood contract was a joke, as I wrote at the time. Adam Eaton could miss three months. Vicente Padilla? Eh. R.A. Dickey? What the hell is an R.A. Dickey? In truth, I could even poke some holes in the perception that their lineup is that great. But why bother. I think "hitting good, pitching bad" is accurate enough.

Over to the NL West. I had to give this one a lot of thought, as I didn't have the same gut feeling I had about the other divisions so far. We're going with this:

Dodgers - 85-77
Padres - 83-79
Diamondbacks - 79-83
Giants - 79-83
Rockies 66-96

I don't love the Dodgers or the Padres. I think the Padres are pretty much the same as the team that won 82 games and the division title by default last year. I think Eaton for Young is a wash. Mike Cameron is a nice addition (although he's starting off on the DL) and Josh Barfield is a rookie of the year candidate. And they have The Immortal One, Mike Piazza, who I still maintain holds his own among all the catchers in baseball. But Vinny Castilla is on this team. So that tells you all you need to know.

I'm picking the Dodgers to win 85 because somebody has to win this division with a few more games this year, and I guess they're best suited to be that team. Ringing endorsement.

I see the D-Backs as mostly treading water this year, improving only by 4 on last year's win total. I said this during the offseason. Get some more pitching. I do think Eric Byrnes is a nice bounceback candidate.

I like the Giants pitching. I hate the Giants hitting. Number one, I'm not sold that Barry Bonds will be a dominant force this year. Number two, even if he is, how much can he carry this team now? I mean, I'm pretty sure the host from Tales From The Crypt is somewhere on that roster. They are just remarkably old.

The Rockies are just awful and its amazing there was ever a time they were worth discussing.

Ok then. Two more divisions and awards left to predict. Will we get to all that tomorrow? Now that I've left you with that cliffhanger, I'll bet you'll be back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you think you are putting too much stock in the Angels pitching rotation? Yes, their bullpen is amazing, but i think there starting five has some major questions. Colon is a sure thing, but past that you have many starters who have struggled in a lot places, regardless of pressure. Also, losing Molina is definitly going to hurt that staff.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A's 92-71? That's 163 games buddy. So maybe you have them being tied with the BoSox for the WC, and winning a 1 game playoff, but then the Sox should be 91-72, not 91-71.
This really makes you lose credibility as a prognosticator in my eyes. You can redeem yourself by correctly predicting two teams to play 161 games, because of a late season rainout that doesn't get made up. That would be really cool, and most people aren't willing to take such chances in their predictions.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

According to the Muschel Labor of Statistics, the records you indicated are not possible based on what teams face each other this season. The best way to make predictions flawlessly is to write down who you think will win each individual game and then to tally it all up at the end.

11:54 PM  

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