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View Full Version : Make your pick - Which MLB team(s) will be the biggest flops & biggest surprises



jmcclain19
02-27-2006, 04:53 AM
Here is your chance to make your case for which MLB club will be the biggest flop and the biggest surprise this year.

Since I'm starting this thread, I'll step to the plate first.

My call for stinking up the joint - the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you listen to the likes of Peter Gammons, the Dodgers are likely set for a run at 90+ wins and could run away with the NL West. This is based on the vetern signings of new GM Ned Coletti and their strong bullpen. This will turn out to be a house of cards. Gagne is still nursing it, Brazoban is hurting, and Baez may have to do things on his own, closing games in a big market for the first time. Their new CF hasn't had 400AB in five seasons. Their RF is top flight when he's healthy, which is rarely ever. Their 1B has a glass groin and they are seriously considering giving the significant playing time at catcher to the soon to be 40 years old Sandy Alomar Jr. IMO - it's a trainwreck just waiting to happen.

As for who will surprise - I'll stick with the same division. My call is that this year's surprise team will be the Colorado Rockies. Before you call me a total quack, in the last 100 star games of the 2005 season the Rockies had the exact same record as the division winning Padres - 46-54 and had a team ERA of 4.80. Nothing earth shattering, but in that poor division, it could be just enough to make things interesting. Especially considering the Padres made a few puzzling subtractions over the offseason. In Jason Jennings, Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook they have three solid, home grown starters who all have respectable track records at Coors. Kim was also quite effective when he was put back in a starting role. Rumors are that the grounds crew is busy making sure the infield at Coors will resemble the rough at the US Open, which will further help for all those sinkerballers. Ryan Shealy could be another nasty bat out in RF this year, along with Matt Holliday who broke out last year, to go with rookies Clint Barmes and Garrett Atkins who both proved to be solid hitters and of course Todd Helton. That's a lineup that could put lots of runs away from Coors as well. The West again will be a dismal hole for winning baseball, and 82 wins again might net you the title. I'm not saying they will win anything of worth, but they could be close enough to .500 to at least be in the race or make things interesting.

Nugget
02-27-2006, 07:51 AM
Biggest Flops - This one is out of left field but I think the A's aren't going to be as high as most people suspect. The other teams in the division have tinkered with their lineups to address some of their shortcomings and I think that Texas's young guns have had another season under their belt so they may move up a position in the division. My prediction for the AL West is Angels, Texas, Mariners and A's.

Biggest Surprise - I'm rooting for the REDS. AK will show that he is just as good as Dunn and Junior will put in the numbers to show that he is a HOFer. Pitching wise the guys will step up.

Crash Davis
02-27-2006, 08:22 AM
I'd feel a lot better about the Rockies if they went out and got a real centerfielder in the offseason. Cory Sullivan? That's terrible. I also think Luis Gonzalez, while he's been better than advertised, should continue to be the utility man rather than being counted on to hold down 2B full time. He's a pretty poor fielder, and his offensive numbers don't look quite as good after factoring in Coors Field. I agree on Shealy though. If he can make the transition to the outfield, it would help the Rockies offense a lot. He can mash. In the end, I think the Rockies just don't have the offense to compete. Too many holes in the lineup.

I've been a big fan of all of Schuerholz's offseasons until this year. I've always been extremely impressed with his ability to lose key players and retool by thinking outside the box. However, I have a bad feeling about the Braves this year. Giles is great, but they're going to really miss Furcal as an instigator at lead-off. LaRoche can't play against lefties, and they didn't replace Franco's platoon bat there (I'm wondering if they should play Betemit at 3B against lefties and move Chipper over to 1B on those days). Most importantly, their bullpen isn't just missing a reliable closer, they're also missing the rest of the pen as well. The Braves usually have a few question marks going into the season, but they also normally have intriguing and talented answers to those questions. I'm not sure that's the case this season. I think the Braves are going to disappoint. Luckily they still have plenty of young talent, so they should be back again next year if they address their weaknesses.

I also think the Giants are too old, the Cards are weaker and the Phillies got worse instead of better. The Nats will struggle to score runs. The Mets offense is going to be dynamic. And the Brewers are a very frisky team. I'll be watching them often this season.

cumberlandreds
02-27-2006, 08:40 AM
Red Sox as my biggest fall of the season. Losing Damon and Renteria will be more than they can handle. Plus they didn't really upgrade their pitching very much. I can see them falling to fourth place this season in the AL east.
Reds,of course, as the biggest surprise. New ownership and GM will give them a shot of confidence that hasn't been seen in Cincinnati in years. At least I hope so.;)

KearnsyEars
02-27-2006, 09:05 AM
Biggest Flop: Oakland A's

Biggest Suprise: Cincinnati Reds

Crash Davis
02-27-2006, 09:13 AM
Red Sox as my biggest fall of the season. Losing Damon and Renteria will be more than they can handle. Plus they didn't really upgrade their pitching very much. I can see them falling to fourth place this season in the AL east.
Reds,of course, as the biggest surprise. New ownership and GM will give them a shot of confidence that hasn't been seen in Cincinnati in years. At least I hope so.;)

I disagree with this. I think the Red Sox are in much better shape than they're getting credit for. Didn't upgrade their pitching? They traded for a young ace who already has a World Series MVP under his belt (Beckett) while losing nobody from their rotation. Additionally, they get the return of a healthy Schilling...not to mention an electric young arm in Papelbon waiting in the wings. In the bullpen, Foulke figures to be much improved from last season. To get to Foulke, they upgraded from Harville, Bradford an injured Mantei and a bunch of question marks to good veterans in Riske, Tavarez, Seanez and a cadre of intriguing young arms: Craig Hansen, Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Van Buren, Lenny Dinardo. This an incredibly deep and talented pitching staff. They're not only more talented than last season, but they also have many more options this season.

Fielding: They've improved significantly at shortstop, and Snow/Youkilis gives them a slight upgrade at first base over Millar. They're pretty much the same everywhere else. Mueller was a pretty good 3B, but Lowell is reigning gold glove winner in the NL.

Offense: Downgrade at shortstop, but Renteria wasn't all that great last year anyway. Gonzalez can hit 9th and pop 20 HRs. Upgrade at 2B. Loretta is a very good #2 hitter. Possible upgrade at 3B. It always amazes me how quickly good players get written off after one bad season. It wasn't too long ago that Mike Lowell was being talked about as a possible MVP candidate, and now he's completely lost it? I don't buy it...bounce back year for Mikey. Upgrade at 1B. Millar was horrendous last season. Youk is an OB machine, and Snow is a steady platoon partner. Centerfield could be a wash. Damon should get the benefit of the doubt for being a great lead-off hitter over the past several seasons, but Coco could surprise in this line-up.

I think the Red Sox are the class of the AL East this season. The Yanks just don't have the starting pitching (of course, they can just buy it come July).

Raisor
02-27-2006, 09:22 AM
My prediction for the AL West is Angels, Texas, Mariners and A's.

.


I'm a big Mariners fan, so I hate he Angels, Texas, and especially the A's.

But.

The A's are going to be scary good this year. My Mariners are going to be gawd awful.

There's no way the A's come in after the M's. It'll be the A's and the Angels fighting it out all year.

Blimpie
02-27-2006, 10:08 AM
NL

Biggest Surprise: Milwaukee Brewers--possible wildcard? It'll be tough, but they laid the groundwork last year to be an contender this year.

Biggest Flop: I kinda agree with the Atlanta Braves. Other than losing Furcal, they didn't do much in the winter--while the Mets got much stronger. Philly may even finish ahead of Atlanta.

AL

Biggest Surprise: Toronto Blue Jays. Personally, I think they overpaid at many positions, but they tightened up a few weaknesses during the winter. Not going to win the division, but could be there in the end for a wild card.

Biggest Flop: I'll also say the Boston Red Sox. I don't think that losing Damon will be near as damaging because they were able to trade for Crisp. However, they really need to be concerned about their pitching (especially if Beckett starts off slow). I think Foulke is still a big question mark.

Red Leader
02-27-2006, 10:18 AM
I completely agree with Blimpie in the NL.

Surprise: Brewers
Flop: Braves

In the AL, however:

AL Surprise: Indians, Twins

AL Flop: Blue Jays and Red Sox.

Johnny Footstool
02-27-2006, 10:31 AM
Even though lots of people are rooting against them, the A's will be very good -- just like every year. Zito/Harden/Haren is a great trio, and their bullpen is solid. They had problems scoring runs early last season, but those problems will be corrected by the addition of Milton Bradley, Frank Thomas, and a full season of Dan Johnson.

The biggest surprise will be the Brewers. The biggest flop will be the ancient Dodgers.

Red Leader
02-27-2006, 10:39 AM
Even though lots of people are rooting against them, the A's will be very good -- just like every year. Zito/Harden/Haren is a great trio, and their bullpen is solid. They had problems scoring runs early last season, but those problems will be corrected by the addition of Milton Bradley, Frank Thomas, and a full season of Dan Johnson.

The biggest surprise will be the Brewers. The biggest flop will be the ancient Dodgers.

I think Blanton steps it up big as a #4 as well. Zito/Harden/Haren/Blanton will be a great 1-4.

...and I agree the Dodgers will flop as well. I just think the Braves flop will be more surprising.

Jpup
02-27-2006, 11:01 AM
Flop: White Sox, they will struggle to win 80 games.
Suprise: Braves, another division title despite what the Mets have done in the offseason.

lollipopcurve
02-27-2006, 11:09 AM
The As wouldn't be a surprise. Everyone knows they're solid.

AL surprise: Toronto

AL flop: Boston

NL surprise: Milwaukee

NL flop: Mets

westofyou
02-27-2006, 11:14 AM
The As wouldn't be a surprise. Everyone knows they're solid.

Except Nugget, Nugget has a low opinion of the A's... it's like a nervous tick that can't be hidden.

Right Nugget?

Puffy
02-27-2006, 11:32 AM
So whats a surprise/flop with regard to the A's? I say that won't win 90 games this year - I figure they will be 88-74 so if thats a flop then thats what I say. If thats not considered a flop (which I don't conisder it that) then so be it.

I think the White sox flop this year - too hard to repeat, and I think the Indians and the Twins and the Sox end up in a three way dogfight all year long, with the sox not even making the playoffs.

In the NL I think the Mets are the surprise, winning over 95 games and running away and hiding much like the White Sox did last year.

As for surprise player - Kris Benson with the O's wins over 17 games with an era under 3.50.

RedsManRick
02-27-2006, 11:38 AM
AL Biggest Flop: Blue Jays -- everybody is crawling in to their jocks because they spent some money, but they still have an average offense and a shallow bullpen. I think they're entering Orioles territory, not Sox or Yankees. (84 wins)

AL Surprise: A's -- not sure if you can call them a surprise, but I'm going out on a limb and picking them as the AL rep in the World Series. (95 wins)

NL Bust: Braves -- This is the year... They won't always get all-star performances from their rookies, the pen is very shaky, and Smoltz is on borrowed time. This year the Mets dethrone them. (85 wins)

NL Surprise: Brewers -- Everybody is picking them to bust out, but I think they bust out much more quickly than anticipated. They take it down to the wire with the Cardinals and end up nabbing the wild card. (92 wins)

westofyou
02-27-2006, 11:49 AM
IMO it's a bit early to pick surprise teams, just look at the standings in the AL East on 6-15-05 to see a great example.

However, the Brewers have the luck of getting better on both sides of the ball in a divison that has seen the top two teams face off with age and a return to the mean.

Heath
02-27-2006, 12:30 PM
I kinda agree with woy on the predictions, but Street & Smith has been doing this for years now.

I still have a copy of the 1985 S&S season preview with Pete Rose on the cover. Inside they predicted that the day Pete Rose would hit his 4192nd hit (sometime in August) and where the Reds would end up (20 games out)

He did it in September & the Reds finished 2nd.

back to 2006 - I'll take a stab for fun -

AL - Surprise - Devil Rays. They'll not finish in last.
AL - Bust - Yankees. At somepoint, the bell tolls for them.

NL - Surprise - Colorado - No one else is giving them a shot (besides McClain), so if they finish .500 that would be a surprise.
NL - Bust - Mets - They try way too hard to be Yankees lite. It never works.

three other observations

1 - The Braves will win the division - again.
2 - The White Sox, overlooked as defending champs, will win 100.
3 - The A's will be an after thought again and will finish last in the AL West.

Bonus - Allan Baird gets fired by the Royals - Paul DePodesta gets the job.

Johnny Footstool
02-27-2006, 12:55 PM
Bonus - Allan Baird gets fired by the Royals - Paul DePodesta gets the job.

Baird getting fired wouldn't be nearly as big a surprise as the old-thinking, "no-walks-or-strikeouts" Royals organization doing a 360 and hiring DePodesta.

KronoRed
02-27-2006, 01:04 PM
Padres will surprise and run away with the west.

The white sox will be in 3rd in the central.

Betterread
02-27-2006, 02:08 PM
Pleasant Surprise: The Reds - I will start the year with belief in the potential of their young employees.
Unpleasant surprise: The Astros

Maldonado
02-27-2006, 02:22 PM
"AL - Surprise - Devil Rays. They'll not finish in last."

I completely agree with you here, as I think they'll show just how much talent they have. The Rays have the 2006 top young prospect with Delmon Young, Carl Crawford is just coming off a career season, and they have rising star Jorge Cantu. Round this out with .300 hitting good fielding shortstop Julio Lugo, and the fact that everyone is solid. Pitching of course will be THE issue, and it will keep them from being contenders. However, the days of them being consistently the worst in the Majors are over.

"AL - Bust - Yankees. At somepoint, the bell tolls for them. "

Agreed. They're chock full of aging big names, some of whom are on the edge of retirement, with apparently no one in the farm system to replace them. People seem to be optimistic about Sheffield, but I think ability to consistently run without pain will be a problem for him this year. Johnson may be done this year. A Rod can't carry the team.

Nugget
02-27-2006, 07:50 PM
Except Nugget, Nugget has a low opinion of the A's... it's like a nervous tick that can't be hidden.

Right Nugget?

Nope - I just think they get hyped at the start of the year and never get close enough to deliver. They have always had good - great starting pitching yet have been a bit like the Braves - always the bridesmaid. Plus the thread is on who will be the biggest flops. Accordingly, with the amount of hype they get even a third would be a flop but I'm hoping the Mariners make something of themselves this year by at least being third.

Plus I have a soft spot for the Mariners who have to be the most excruciating team to support.

westofyou
02-27-2006, 08:20 PM
Plus I have a soft spot for the Mariners who have to be the most excruciating team to support.

Why's that?

They are loved here, all you have to do is talk to a native PNW and you'd see that they are pretty well received OTOH the A's fight for table scraps in a crowded Bay Area marketplace while one of the best players in the history of the game plays actoss the Bay.

Despite that they have the 3rd best winning percentage in MLB since 1999, yet still get treated like the red headed stepchild at the family reunion.

Also quite humerous is the dig they have to take for having great starting pitching.

Isn't that the goal?

Nugget
02-27-2006, 08:32 PM
That's the goal but I would say that even with the pitching - which they also had last year they are always there or there abouts but aren't able to make it to the top. If there not there or there abouts this year then they will be a flop.

When I say that the Mariners are excruciating to watch they always seem to make a big run have the franchise players but never seem to be able to hold on to them. In the space of a couple of years they lost Junior, A Rod and Johnson. Plus they have never even made it to the WS which the A's have.