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Raisor
03-03-2003, 05:04 PM
Back on January 8th, I made the following predictions for the upcoming season:



AMERICAN LEAGUE
EAST
1. Boston
2. New York
3. Toronto
4. Baltimore
5. Tampa Bay

Central
1. Minnesota
2. Chicago
3. Cleveland
4. Detroit
5. Kansas City

West
1. Oakland
2. Seattle (Wild Card)
3. Texas
4. Anaheim

Oakland over Boston
Seattle over Minnesota

Oakland over Seattle

NATIONAL LEAGUE
East
1. Philadelphia
2. New York
3. Montreal
4. Atlanta
5. Florida

Central
1. St Louis
2. Houston (Wild Card)
3. Chicago
4. Cincinnati
5. Pittsburg
6. Milwaukee

West
1. San Fransisco
2. San Diego
3. Arizona
4. Los Angeles
5. Colorado

St Louis over Philly
San Fran over Houston

San Fran over St Louis

World Series
Oakland over San Fran


With some teams making a few noteworthy moves since then I've decided to update my predictions.
I don't think I'll be changing any of my American League predictions, but do have a few to make in the NL..
sooooo...

NL East
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Mets
4. Expos
5. Marlins

NL Central
1. Astros
2. Cards
3. Cubs
4. Pirates
5. Reds
6. Brewers

NL West
1. Giants
2. Dodgers
3. Snakes
4. Padres
5. Rockies

Wildcard-Cards

Astros over Phillies
Giants over Cards

Giants over Astros

Giants over A's

PSR

TheBurn
03-03-2003, 05:27 PM
So what did the Pirates do to sneak by the Reds in your predictions? :thumbdn:

Raisor
03-03-2003, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by TheBurn
So what did the Pirates do to sneak by the Reds in your predictions? :thumbdn:

Reggie Sanders got signed, and Pokey is hurt.

Also, I like their starting rotation better then the Reds. Suppan in PNC Park should be a big boost to them.

(By the way, yes I know that Pokey's injury is minor, but with Pokey you never know when OPERATION SHUTDOWN v2.0 might go into effect)

TheBurn
03-03-2003, 05:33 PM
Good enough! Although of course, I do not agree! :bash:

Virginia Beach Reds
03-03-2003, 09:57 PM
A few comments.
I think the Buccos did improve, but no way do I see them jumping by the Reds. Cubs...they have to prove it to me that they have improved that much. I like their rotation but don't really like their offense all that much. Reds second place behind the Astros. Cards third in my mind.

Anaheim in fourth. Ouch. No way do they make the playoffs but I think, falling behind Texas is a bit of a stretch.

Bosox ahead of the Yankees? I would love that to happen but don't see that either. Look at their roster. They have all stars at every position and starters coming out the rear to trade. No way do they not win the East.

Atlanta falls to fourth? Don't believe that either. 2nd maybe, fourth no way.

Pads ahead of Dbacks? Could happen but I can't see it.

The rest I can see happening.

Falls City Beer
03-03-2003, 10:02 PM
NL East

Atlanta
Philly
Florida
Montreal
New York


NL Central

Houston
Cincy (wild card)
St. Louis
Chicago
Pitt
Milwaukee

NL West

San Fran
L.A.
Arizona
Colorado
San Diego

LvJ
03-03-2003, 11:19 PM
My Predictions:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
EAST
1. Boston
2. New York
3. Toronto
4. Baltimore
5. Tampa Bay

Central
1. Chicago
2. Minnesota
3. Cleveland
4. Kansas City
5. Detroit

West
1. Oakland
2. Anaheim
3. Texas
4. Seattle

NATIONAL LEAGUE
East
1. Philadelphia
2. New York
3. Atlanta
4. Florida
5. Montreal

Central
1. Chicago
2. Houston
3. Cincinnati
4. Pittsburgh
5. St Louis
6. Milwaukee

West
1. Arizona
2. San Diego
3. San Fransisco
4. Colorado
5. Los Angeles

Redsfaithful
03-04-2003, 01:39 AM
AL EAST:
1)New York Yankees
2)Boston Red Sox
3)Toronto Blue Jays
4)Baltimore Orioles
5)Tampa Bay Devil Rays


AL CENTRAL:
1)Minnesota Twins
2)Chicago White Sox
3)Cleveland Indians
4)Detroit Tigers
5)Kansas City Royals


AL WEST:
1)Oakland A's
2)Seattle Mariners
3)Anaheim Angels
4)Texas Rangers


NL EAST:
1)Atlanta Braves
2)Florida Marlins
3)Philadelphia Phillies
4)Montreal Expos
5)New York Mets


NL CENTRAL:
1)Cincinnati Reds
2)Houston Astros
3)Chicago Cubs
4)St. Louis Cardinals
5)Pittsburgh Pirates
6)Milwaukee Brewers


NL WEST:
1)Los Angeles Dodgers
2)San Francisco Giants
3)Arizona Diamondbacks
4)San Diego Padres
5)Colorado Rockies


AL CHAMPS:Oakland A's
NL CHAMPS:Los Angeles Dodgers


WORLD CHAMPS:Oakland A's


AL MVP:Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP:Shawn Green


AL CY:Pedro Martinez
NL CY:Odalis Perez


AL ROY:Jason Arnold
NL ROY:Marlon Byrd

Raisor
03-04-2003, 04:25 AM
Originally posted by Virginia Beach Reds


Atlanta falls to fourth? Don't believe that either. 2nd maybe, fourth no way.

Pads ahead of Dbacks? Could happen but I can't see it.

The rest I can see happening.

I guess you didn't read the second half of the post, where I updated my predictions..

I've got Atlanta in 2nd now and the Pads in 4th

GoReds
03-04-2003, 08:20 AM
My predictions:

AL East
New York
Boston
Toronto
Baltimore
Tampa Bay
(this division would seem to be the easiest to predict)

AL Central
Minnesota
Chicago
Cleveland
Detroit
Kansas City

AL West
Seattle
Oakland
Anaheim
Texas
(Oakland's offense is a question mark. Anaheim's pitching could suffer a setback)

AL Wildcard - Boston

New York over Boston
Minnesota over Seattle

New York over Minnesota

NL East
Philadelphia
Montreal
Atlanta
Florida
NY Mets
(This is going to be a tight race. Florida will be involved in quite a few low-scoring and 1-run games. I think their pitching puts them over .500. Philly will win the division, but the spread from 1st to 4th will be less than 10 games.)

NL Central
Houston
Cincinnati
Chicago
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Milwaukee
(THE toughest division to handicap considering all of the question marks for each team. Cincy is due for an upswing; St.Louis is looking at another tough year. This race will come down to the final week of the season).

NL West
San Francisco
Arizona
Los Angeles
Colorado
San Diego
(San Francisco in a runaway. Arizona is just getting older and this is the year they really start to show it. LA improves some with Colorado and San Diego hovering around .500).

NL Wildcard - Cincinnati

San Francisco over Cincinnati
Houston over Philadelphia

San Francisco over Philadelphia

New York over San Francisco

RANDY IN INDY
03-04-2003, 08:47 AM
Now which is it, Redsfaithful. 2003 MVP - Shawn Green or Ken Griffey Jr.?;)

Redsfaithful
03-04-2003, 03:26 PM
That was cut and pasted from a contest entry Randy.

I may be the eternal optimist but if there's prizes involved I gotta come back down to earth. :thumbup:

JuniorMVP2003
03-05-2003, 09:33 AM
NL East
Phillies
Braves
Mets
Expos
Marlins

NL Central
Astros
REDS(wild card)
Cards
Cubs
Bucs
Brew Crew

NL West
Diamondbacks
Giants
dodgers
Padres
Rockies

REDS over phillies
D-backs over astros

d-backs over reds

Al East
Yankees
Boston(wildcard)
toronto
O's
tampa bay

Al Central
Twins
white sox
Indians
Tigers
Royals

Al West
A's
Angles
M's
Texas
Twins over Yankees
Red sox over A's
Sox over Yankees

And finally the Sox bring the championship back to boston

MVP KEN GRIFFEY JR.

guernsey
03-05-2003, 01:19 PM
Baseball Prospectus is running a prediction contest.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/atm.shtml

cincinnati chili
03-25-2003, 09:06 PM
I figure Boss is going to archive this thread soon. And since it's getting close to opening day, and since I'll be traveling to Cincinnati over the weekend for opening day :), I thought I'd better call my shot early.

One thing that really struck me this year is that the National League is extremely wide open. There is really only one team that I would consider "hopeless" this year, and that's the Brewers. Of course some teams are major longshots, such as the Padres, Pirates, and Marlins. But I wouldn't call them "hopeless." The American League is a different story, where the Devil Rays, Orioles, Royals, and Tigers are totally screwed as usual.

Since it's so wide open in the NL, I decided to rank the teams the same way that Diamond Mind Baseball does it - with odds of winning. I usually sneak a peak at their predictions, but 1) they don't come out until the 30th and 2) they didn't really help last year (the Angels were predicted to go .500). So this is all done UN-scientifically. The only math I did was to make sure that the odds of each division added up to 100%.

Anyway, here goes...

American League East

Yankees Win Division 53%, Reach Postseason 75%
Red Sox Win Division 45%, Reach Postseason 66%
Toronto Win Division 2%, Reach Postseason 10%
Baltimore Less Than 1% chance of postseason
Tampa Less Than 1% chance of postseason

American League Central

Minnesota - Win Division 60%, Reach Postseason 65%
Chicago - Win Division 35%, Reach Postseason 40%
Cleveland - Win Division 5%, Reach Postseason 5%
Kansas City Less than 1% chance of postseason
Detroit Less Than 1% chance of postseason

American League West

Oakland - Win Division 50%, Reach Postseason 66%
Seattle - Win Division 25%, Reach Postseason 33%
Anaheim - Win Division 15%, Reach Postseason 33%
Texas - Win Division 10%, Reach Postseason 15%

National League East

Atlanta - Win Division 40%, Reach Postseason 50%
Philadelphia - Win Division 25%, Reach Postseason 40%
New York - Win Division 20%, Reach Postseason 33%
Montreal - Win Division 8%, Reach Postseason 15%
Florida - Win Division 7%, Reach Postseason 15%

National League Central

Houston - Win Division 40%, Reach Postseason 50%
St. Louis - Win Division 25%, Reach Postseason 40%
Chicago - Win Division 15%, Reach Postseason 30%
Cincinnati - Win Division 15%, Reach Postseason 25%
Pittsburgh - Win Division 5%, Reach Postseason 6%
Milwaukee - Less Than 1% chance of postseason

National League West

San Francisco - Win Division 38%, Reach Postseason 45%
Arizona - Win Division 35%, Reach Postseason 45%
Colorado - Win Division 15%, Reach Postseason 25%
Los Angeles - Win Division 10%, Reach Postseason 25%
San Diego - Win Division 2%, Reach Postseason 5%

NL MVP Runner Up (since Bonds is going to win): Jeff Kent
NL Cy Young Runner Up (since RJ is going to win): Mark Prior
NY Rookie of the Year: Kurt Ainsworth (if he still qualifies)

AL MVP: Manny Ramirez
AL Cy Young: Pedro Martinez
AL Rookie of the Year Runner Up (Since Mastui is going to win): Travis Hafner

cincinnati chili
03-26-2003, 02:27 AM
I found it intriguing that two Baseball Prospectus authors, Will Carroll and Joe Sheehan, picked the Reds to win the division this year:

http://premium.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1739

Maybe Will wants to increase attendance at the pizza feed

;)

Scrap Irony
03-26-2003, 03:49 AM
Damn the archive, full speed ahead!!!

My predictions:

AL East
Why mess with an established pattern?

1. New York Yankees
Most talented team money can buy. George could actually split his team in two and win both leagues. But that wouldn't be good for the YES network, what with Eastern teams all playing at the same time. He'll settle for another division pennant.

2. Boston Red Sox
The additions of sabre-favorites Giambi the Lesser, Ortiz, and Mueller help a bit. The additions of Bill James, Todd Walker, and Kevin Millar help more. If they had another pitcher, I'd take them before the Yanks, but The Evil Empire kept that from happening. As a result, they'll have to settle for the Wild Card slot and 90+ wins.

3. Toronto Blue Jays
Love their young outfield, with Wells a future star and Phelps not far behind, but the pitching is just not there. Need a dependable closer, too, as Escobar isn't the answer here. Riccardi has them going in the right direction, though he may not have the cash to keep them there.

4. Baltimore Orioles
Mark it down: this is the year Sidney Ponson breaks through and has his best season. Unfortunately for Baltimore, it'll be for someone else. No offensive pop besides Gibbons, but should be in line to make hay in the offseason.

5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Lou Piniella will one day look back on his coming home party and shake his head at the paucity of talent he had to work with. As it is, he'll be lucky to win 65 games with a team that may have the worst offensive infield to ever lace up spikes.


AL Central

1. Chicago White Sox
Too much pitching for anyone in the division to keep up with. Colon and Burhle are absolute studs on par with the Oakland trio and Garland isn't far behind. I love the young guys in the lineup, too, as Konerko and Ordonez are superior to anything the Twins have to offer.

2. Minnesota Twins
If Johan Santana were starting, I'd make them my pick in a tough division to call. He's a reliever for now, so they'll stay in second place. I'm not sold on Luis Rivas at 2B or the RF triumverate. Jacque Jones is no leadoff hitter either. Until next year, then, the Twinkies are second-best.

3. Cleveland Indians
Much better than anyone will expect them to be, the Tribe are loaded with quality LH arms and young sluggers. If they had a 3B, they could surprise, but that's one hole that won't be filled in the near future. Sabathia will make Cleveland fans forget Colon; Brandon Phillips won't hurt either.

4. Kansas City Royals
Many things to like about the KC team. Beltran is a star. So is Sweeney. The young pitching looks to be about ready. But the black hole in the middle infield hasn't been addressed and Michael Tucker as a leadoff hitter? Please.

5. Detroit Tigers
Carlos Pena is going to be alright. Dmitri Young should hit over .290 with a ton of doubles. Matt Anderson could hit triple figures once a game. That's about all there is to be excited about in Tigerland. This is a pathetic bunch, perhaps the worst team in either league.


AL West

1. Seattle Mariners
This is the perfect team for their ballpark. Gloves everywhere with speed to burn particularly in te outfield. Winn should be a nice fit at leadoff, allowing Ichiro the prime spot in the #3 hole. Boone continues to play well and Poppa comes back strong to lead the team into the playoffs.

2. Oakland A's
Tejada is due a lesser year and the two poor OBP outfielders are going to hurt. I love the pitching staff, but three offensive holes (CF, LF, C) are a lot to overcome in a tough division.

3. Texas Rangers
A surprise to many, the Rangers will overachieve. ARod will continue to put up monster numbers and the offense will be the best this side of the Bronx. CF Glanville enjoys a bit of a rejuvenation and both Teixieria and Blalock become studs.

4. Anaheim Angels
Salmon, Anderson, and Erstad are all due poor years. Spiezio had a career year, as did Molina. That means they'll likely struggle to score runs for a decent pitching staff. A disappointing season after a World Series victory, to be sure.


NL East

1. Atlanta Braves
Can't pick against them, especially in a weak division like this. Andruw bursts through with his career year, while Chipper and Sheffield also have better offensive numbers. Giles, too, will become a very good offensive player at 2B. For the first time in what seems like forever, it's the pitching that will be the question mark. Hampton is not the answer. Neither is Byrd. Still, they'll find a way. They always do.

2. Philadelphia Phillies
$50 million doesn't buy a division crown, but it will buy a successful season in 2003. Thome will shine for now and Burrell and Abreu are awe-inspiring on the OF corners, but questions about 2B, CF, and the pen keep them from taking the top spot.

3. Florida Marlins
Pitching and defense. I see a ton of one-run affairs in south Florida. If the Fish had a great pen, they could sneak up on some people. They don't. They'll stay in third all year.

4. Montreal/ San Juan Expos
Vlad impales everyone and Vidro is great, but the real reason they have a shot is the starting five. Ohka is solid, Vasquez could be special, and Armas looks to break through any year now. If the Hernandez brothers can help each other compete, they could make for an interesting monkey wrench. Brad Wilkerson is Austin Kearns without the ears.

5. New York Mets
An old team got older this offseason. The addition of Tom Glavine won't hide the creakiness in the joints (no, not that kind of joint) or the paucity of offensive punch from the outfield. Alomar is due a great year, but he'll be a free agent at the end of the year. The Jose Reyes watch will be the only interesting thing to see in the Big Apple's airport hangout.


NL Central

1. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds burst out of the gate and never look back, as a number of players stay healthy all year long. Junior becomes The Kid again, bashing along with the league's newest superstar, Adam Dunn. Larson will win ROY with his power bat (30+ HR), while Felipe Lopez will replace Barry Larkin at SS before the All Star Break. Ryan Dempster wins 17 with his new-found change-up and Danny Graves is an effective #2. Scott Williamson is an All Star closer and among the league leaders in S, K/IP, and WP.

2. Houston Astros
Jeff Kent bashes his way into the hearts of all Texans, or at least those that root for the Astronomicals. Bagwell isn't through yet, but Biggio is simply taking time away from talented OF Jason Lane. The left side of the IF is a black hole, as Jimy Wiliams desides to go with SS Adam Everett and 3B Geoff Blum regresses to career norms. Only Dotel, Oswalt, Miller, and Wagner are effective in the revolving door of Astro hurlers. That's enough to place second.

3. St. Louis Cardinals
Renteria becomes the NL answer to the Big Three, as he garners a few MVP votes for a third place team. Key injuries to Drew, Edmonds, and Morris keep them from defending their crown for another year. 1B Martinez and 2B Vina get old in a hurry and SP Tomko is not the answer. Rolen and Pujols continue to dominate pitchers throughout the league, but it's not enough.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates
Kris Benson isn't the Pirate ace, but he's a damn fine #2. Josh Fogg becomes dominant, while Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, and Reggie Sanders provide enough pop to keep the Pirates above an underachieving Cub team and the lowly Brewers. Mike Williams comes back to earth.

5. Chicago Cubs
Dusty's new team isn't right a good fit for him. Bobby Hill, Corey Patterson, and the 1B duo of Karros and Choi are all question marks. 3B Bellhorn played above his head last season. SS Gonzalez is poor, and the bullpen isn't as good so much as it is expensive. Alou will come back strong and Sosa will continue to hit dingers. The starting five will not be as good as many think today, with Clement regressing, Prior not yet an ace, and Wood an injury risk. Carlos Zambrano is the Cub's best pitcher all year.

6. Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets is nice. So is Richie Sexson. Other than that, it's wait till next decade. At least they have a brewery to keep them company.


NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Jim Tracy is the best manager no one cares about. Joe Thurston gives Larson a run for his money on the NL ROY and Adrian Beltre breaks through for his best year yet. It's really the pitching that makes them tough, though, as Odalis Perez becomes the best yong pitcher in the NL not named Oswalt.

2. San Francisco Giants
In a battle to the last day of the season, the Dodgers hold off their hated rivals from across the bay. Bonds once again posts softball-like numbers, but the pitching will not be as good as it was last season particularly in the pen. In a year or two, the Giants will once again win the division, as they have three ace prospects biding their time in the minors for now. They will have to settle for the wild card in 2003, though.

3. Colorado Rockies
Preston Wilson slugs homers and steals bases at a 40/40 clip, but the nation largely ignores it. Jay Payton and Larry Walker team up to lead the league in DL stints. Gabe Kapler plays 140 games as fourth OF. The IF is a mess, with the exception of 1B Todd Helton, who will once again post great numbers. The pitching is underrated.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks
This is the year they get old. In a hurry. Schilling will break down and Johnson will show cracks in his armor. Womack will struggle and Lyle Overbay will be replaced by Grace by June. RP John Patterson will become a fine #3 pitcher and Matt Mantei will become an elite closer.

5. San Diego Padres
The best last-place team in baseball, the Pads have some serious talent. Oliver Perez is a stud, as is Adam Eaton. Brain Lawrence is good, too, and will be #3 by season's end. However, the offense won't match the pitching this year. Next year may be different, as Nevin will probably be back, with Nady, Burroughs, and Kotsay another year older. A team to watch as early as 2004, but not quite ready for prime time in '03.

Red Thunder
03-26-2003, 05:01 AM
Right now the Pirates have a better team on paper than the Reds. That should be without question, as the Reds have tons of worries concerning their players going into the new season:

- Will Griffey be healthy and even then, how good will he be? (Wouldn't you rather have Brian Giles?)
- Will Kearns be effected by his surgery?
- Can Dunn rebound from his horrible second half slump in 2002?
- Is Larkin still able to hit above .250?
- What can Graves do as a starter? What about his durability?
- Compared to Mike Williams, Williamson is a very unproven closer.
- Casey has been in a decline for three years now. Is a breakout season realistic?
- Brandon Larson's capabilities are unknown.
- With all the groundball pitchers the Reds depend on Aaron Boone do adjust very well to playing second base.
- Is the bullpen really above average with Mercker, Sullivan and Manzanillo in it?

- Further; will Dempster be able to improve considerably (he has to by at least a full ERA point - and that is very tough to do) ... what about Wilson's health and durability ... why should Jimmy Anderson after three subpar seasons suddenly find success with the Reds (he wasn't injured or something - he just sucked).

- Also, the Pirates do not have to carry three players who only make the team due to their contract situation (Castro, Stinnett, Pena), which gives them instantly a much better bench. I mean, think about it. If it wasn't for their guaranteed contracts, neither one of them would have made the team. And does anyone really believe it doesn't hurt the Reds to carry three players who are at best second or third choice?

I know that Reds fans are willing to predict breakout seasons for nearly every player I listed above. But how likely is that going to happen? And I guess if any other team would have all these question marks written above it, most of us would write this team off right from the beginning.

TheBurn
03-26-2003, 09:45 AM
Will Griffey be healthy and even then, how good will he be? (Wouldn't you rather have Brian Giles?)
:rant: :bash: :argue:
:doh: ....Ummm...Nope!...but that's just me, of course!

Johnny Footstool
03-26-2003, 01:26 PM
Also, the Pirates do not have to carry three players who only make the team due to their contract situation (Castro, Stinnett, Pena),

No, they only have two -- Kevin Young and Pokey Reese.

Doc. Scott
03-26-2003, 01:40 PM
The Pirates have a better team on paper than the Reds? Really.... I'd be interested in seeing some detailed analysis about that.

As a thumbnail, the Reds seem better at first (although it's close), second, short, center, and right field. The Pirates seem to have catcher, third, and left (or whatever position Giles plays; the other two are advantage Reds). Pirates have a better rotation, Reds have the better bullpen. Bench I'd rate about even (if you're not counting the DLed Castro).

But it's all just opinion, of course. Pittsburgh definitely should be better than 2002. But so should the Reds.

TheBurn
03-26-2003, 02:33 PM
--According to an mlb.com poll--

Who will win the NL Central?
Astros
1507 votes (16%)
Brewers
252 votes (3%)
Cards
2797 votes (30%)
Cubs
2989 votes (32%)
Pirates
723 votes (8%)
Reds
1108 votes (12%)

9376 people have voted so far
Your vote was Reds on 3/26/2003 10:35 am

M2
03-26-2003, 06:52 PM
Wanted to see if any deals went down right before the season started, but one must respond to the predictions thread in a timely manner.

NL East

1. Atlanta - Man, do I hate making this pick. The Braves have plenty of problems, starting with the entire infield, but that never seems to matter. Tom Glavine's gone. All that means is watch out for Russ Ortiz. Mike Hampton's been coming together toward the end of spring too. And Andruw Jones will carry this team if need be.

Biggest surprise - The complete turnover of the IF (including catcher) as the season progresses.

2. Montreal/San Juan - It's all about Endy Chavez and Jeff Liefer. Sure Vlad, Vidro and Wilkerson are great to fine players. That doesn't give you a good team. What makes a good team is the rest of the guys coming together around the core. The pitching's solid and the manager know what he's doing.

Biggest surprise - Chavez. He'll do a decent Otis Nixon impression this season.

3. Philadelphia - Using Reds' logic, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers should be sent down to AAA at this time. They, however, aren't the problem. Joe Roa's slated to start a few games, Mike Lieberthal's out, the bullpen still sucks and the tablesetters look inept. That should scare all those Eagles, er, Flyers, oops, Sixers, gah!, Phillies fans.

Biggest non-surprise - Phillies fans get skittish when Jim Thome leads the NL in strikeouts and start to boo him.

4. New York - Nature abhors a vacuum. Isn't that right Ty Wigginton? Everything falls apart for this club. Robbie Alomar plays like junk, gets traded, then revives himself. The old pitching staff begins to wither. Mike Piazza gets injured, freeing up more time for yucks with Terry Bradshaw and Alf.

Biggest surprise - Mo Vaughn has himself a solid year and is the team's lone entrant in the All-Star Game.

5. Florida - And last with a bullet. A.J. Burnett's wing is going bad and people had better hope Brad Penny's wing is wounded given the way he's pitching. The offense will be around the bottom of the barrel. They'd better tag in The Demon and hope he comes in like a house afire.

Biggest non-surprise - After the firesale, columnists start raving about how the Marlins will rebuild around youth and be a contender much sooner than people realize.

NL Central

1. St. Louis - It's their division. I can find plenty of things wrong with Cardinals. Same thing applied to the previous three seasons. Didn't matter then, won't matter now. Garrett Stephenson will become a plus pitcher if need be. So Taguchi will keep CF warm for Jim Edmonds until he comes back and crushes the ball. Why? Because I hate Tony LaRussa and it causes me misery to watch him succeed. Speaking of So Taguchi, any chance he's got a brother named Totally?

"Dude, you are, like, So Taguchi!"
"Oh man, you are, like, Totally Taguchi for saying that!"

Biggest surprise - Dennis Springer pitches a billion innings and props up the pen.

2. Houston - Great to hear that Craig Biggio's taken to CF so well. Perhaps now he could busy himself with hitting as it's been a while since he's done any. Houston's got a lot of talent, but it's all got a lot of things to work out. For instance, Tommy Kirk's going to have to take a shotgun and put down Shane Reynolds and Brian Moehler before too long.

Biggest surprise - In June, Jimy Williams gives up his fascination with junk players like Geoff Blum and lets Morgan Ensberg, who'll be pasting the ball every chance he gets, play 3B on a regular basis.

3. Pittsburgh - It's morning on the Monongahela. A few low-cost moves have created an offense that doesn't suck to go with a pitching staff that should be respectable. If Jose Castillo can mature quickly, that would clear the objectionable Jack Wilson from the lineup. Guys salilvate over the supermodel pix in magazines, but the 2003 Pirates are the equivalent of the perfectly fine looking woman sitting next to you whom you could actually date.

Biggest surprise - Jeff Suppan suddenly becomes a lot harder to hit after leaving BA-friendly Kansas City.

4. Cincinnati - "Less is more." That's great Eastern philosophy and all, but the Reds aren't playing the Yakult Swallows and Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Anyway, this isn't a bad team. It's just not necessarily a good team. It should, however, be an entertaining team which causes equal amounts of joy and frustration.

Biggest surprise (monkey's paw edition) - Barry Larkin bounces back and puts together a fine, All-Star season. Unfortunately he accepts a trade to another club in July.

5. Chicago - If you look at the roster, they don't have to blow chunks. They've got great pitching and plenty of talent in the field. Unfortunately some greater power in the universe hates them. So what this boils down to is Dusty Baker vs. Fate.

Biggest surprise - Troy O'Leary becomes the team's regular LF at some point this season.

6. Milwaukee - Aside from Brooks Kieschnick, why bother? This team isn't even fun, lovable bad. It's boring, hard-to-watch bad. What they ought to do is choose the roster according to who had the best names - Podsednik, Krynzel, Zoccolillo, Sexson.

Biggest non-surprise - The team finishes last in the NL in nearly everything.

NL West

1. Arizona - They led the NL in scoring last season. They did this with players like Quinton McCracken in the mix. Do you actually doubt that Rod Barajas will get an unreasonably high number of hits this season? Wake up and smell the mesquite.

Biggest surprise - Lyle Overbay learns the ins and outs of playing 1B in the majors by watching the rejuvenated Mark Grace do it for the bulk of the season.

2. Los Angeles - This team really can pitch. Teams that really can pitch are never all that bad. Shawn Green gets help this year from future Hall-of-Famer Fred McGriff.

Biggest surprise - Chin-Feng Chen wins Rookie of the Year.

3. San Francisco - Another fine team, but not enough pitching to stick to get back into the playoffs. Though Barry Bonds' hitting will be as scary and unnatural as ever. Brian Sabean resists demands by the name-obsessed Milwaukee club to trade away Yorvit Torrealba.

Biggest surprise - In order to free up playing time for Neifi Perez, Ray Durham winds up playing a whole bunch of 1B.

4. Colorado - They should score more than last year and that will make them only look kind of bad as opposed to odious bad. Worst middle IF in baseball, bar none (assuming Jose Hernandez plays 3B).

Biggest surprise - When this version fails and Dan O'Dowd begins to collect veteran hitters for the next model, no one seems to notice he's the GM who dreamt up the previous failures.

5. San Diego - Now this is a fun, bad team. Lots of young players to watch. Ryan Klesko available for pithy quotes. A wide open offense. We'll all be so amused that we'll barely notice the 90+ losses.

Biggest surprise - Clay Condrey outpitches all of the team's higher rated prospects.

Wild Card - Los Angeles

NL MVP - Andruw Jones
NL Cy Young - Roy Oswalt
NL ROY - Chin-Feng Chen

AL East

1. New York - Roger Clemens has a 7:1 K:BB ratio this spring. In other words, he's going out with the biggest bang you've ever seen. Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jason Giambi will ensure that the team scores runs.

Biggest surprise - Carlos Beltran to play CF sometime before the trade deadline (with Bernie shifting to LF).

2. Boston - I'd have picked them for first if Derek Lowe and Casey Fossum didn't look so lost at the moment. Nomah is playing out of his mind. Note to Grady Little, make that guy steal bases. Todd Walker begins a love affair with hitting in Fenway Park.

Biggest surprise - Sure, batting average is an anitquated stat. Then why will everyone be so giddy when this team threatens to hit .300 as a unit?

3. Toronto - This isn't saying much. Any team that's not completely horrible could finish third in this division. No matter how good Roy Halladay is, he can only pitch every fifth day. Vernon Wells quickly becomes the most overrated player in baseball.

Biggest non-surprise - In numerous articles, J.P. Ricciardi agrees with the writer that, yes, he, J.P. Ricciardi, is indeed a genius.

4. Baltimore - Mark Hargrove is one hell of a manager. He actually had the Orioles at .500 near the 120-game mark last season. They'll probably outperform the 100-plus losses they deserve this year too.

Biggest surprise - Jerry Hairston Jr. has something that resembles a good season.

5. Tampa Bay - Actually, it should read "30. Tampa Bay." Making Victor Zambrano a starter was a decent idea. Maybe the infusion of intelligence (in the form of Lou Piniella) will change things. Still, when Peter Gammons picks his team song for the Rays, it should be Neil Young's "Helpless."

Biggest surprise - B.J. Upton makes the majors by September after Rey Ordonez is deported back to Cuba.

AL Central

1. Minnesota - Biggest cakewalk in baseball. Their AAA team could finish third in the AL East. The Twins in fact become so popular that next year they'll be chosen to play MLB's inaugural European games ... in Poland and Slovakia.

Biggest surprise - Carl Pohlad hears all the fans singing during the seventh inning stretch one night, his heart grows three sizes and then he begins to seek private financing for a new ballpark.

2. Chicago - Individual talents, but a horrible baseball team. Outside of Buehrle and Ordonez, this group is as overrated as they come. There's going to be days, maybe weeks, where this team runs into RH pitching which renders it impotent.

Biggest non-surprise - The infield commits a million errors. Oh, all right, 729,641 errors.

3. Cleveland - Much like Toronto, the floor's so low that it's hard to finish below third place. But, yes, that's Jason Bere in the rotation. I forget whether he shows up before or after the plague of locusts.

Biggest surprise - Coco Crisp has himself a fine season, but unfortunately no longer qualifies as a rookie.

4. Kansas City - I've stopped learning the names of young Royals pitchers. No point to it, really. Not a one of them has a future let alone a present. I actually think the offense will be all right, but even the '27 Yankees couldn't cover for this staff.

Biggest event that should happen - When Ken Harvey steps up to face Bartolo Colon, the PA system should blare "The Words Get Stuck in My Throat," aka the love song from "War of the Gargantuas."

5. Detroit - You build a pitcher's park and you forget to put good pitchers on your club. Who does that? Obviously the answer is the Detroit Tigers, but that's just all kinds of silly. Dave Dombrowski will fix this club. It just won't be this year.

Biggest surprise - Eric Munson's career is ruined when gangsters jam his hand in a pitching machine. He returns 20 years later, balding and with a rubber hand, as the svengali for a promising Amish first baseman.

AL West

1. Oakland - I want to pick the Mariners. I like the Mariners. Always have. I hate the A's. Always have. But the A's have that pitching rotation. It makes them a killer in the dog days. Plus, I've picked a whole bunch of other teams I don't like to win divisions. Why stop now?

Biggest surprise - Mark Ellis turns into an All-Star caliber player.

2. Seattle - It's a pitching thing. I don't know that the Mariners have enough. They've got offense. Not a ton of power, but they've got the kind of steady hitting and OB that wins you games. Probably the best ticket in baseball, though, in terms of watching a fun game.

Biggest surprise - Ben Davis emerges as one of the better two-way catchers in the game.

3. Anaheim - When I take control of time and space, the first thing I'm doing is pitting the 2002 Angels against the 1997 Marlins in a series where the loser automatically forfeits its title. Until then, this club is banged up to start the season and unlikely to pop on all cylinders like it did last season. Too much Chone Figgins this time around.

Biggest surprise - Scott Spezio and Brad Fullmer are fused together to create a really good, switch-hitting 1B who fronts his own rock band.

4. Texas - It's still not about the money for A-Rod, it's about the unending torment of playing on a lousy ballclub in front of laissez-faire fans. Maybe some of the kids will bolster the offense. They need to start combing the Northern and Atlantic leagues to find pitching upgrades.

Biggest non-surprise - Type-A maniac Buck Showalter begins to grate on his players' nerves after ranting about pledge pins on their uniforms.

Wild Card - Boston

AL MVP - Nomah!
AL Cy Young - Pedro Martinez
AL ROY - Ken Harvey

Raisor
03-26-2003, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by M2
Biggest surprise - Ben Davis emerges as one of the better two-way catchers in the game.



Must...not...make...joke..

oh what the hell.


I thought that was Mike Piazza

Red Thunder
03-26-2003, 07:11 PM
Doc Scott,

it probably depends on your point of view and therefore is just a personal opinion which team is better. So I don't know if any pre season in depth analysis will get someone convinced that either team is ahead of the other.

First base:In my opinion, Casey is not a better option at first base than a platoon of Simon and Craig Wilson. I would even give the advantage to the Pirates there, as Simon is a sure .300 hitter and Wilson has proven to possess good power. Casey's OBP has declined over the last four years to a rather meager .334 last season. That is right between the OBP from Randall (.320) and Wilson (.355). Equal

The Reds have an advantage at second base (Boone vs. Reese). That's pretty obvious. Reds

Third base: Brandon Larson against Aramis Ramirez. Nothing against Brandon, but I would take Ramirez over him. He is more likely to succeed his 34 homeruns, 112 RBI and .300 BA are just two years away. Pirates

Concerning shortstop it has to be seen what Larkin is still able to do and what Lopez can do. Comparing Wilson and Larkin results in a draw, in my opinion, especially if you consider that Larkin is a year older and Wilson still developing. Would I rather have Wilson than Lopez as a shortstop? No. But has Lopez shown anything that makes him a sure bet to be better than Jack Wilson? No as well. Equal

Left field is the home of the Bucs Brian Giles and regardless who plays this outfield corner for the Reds, it's highly unlikely that either Kearns or Dunn will surpass Giles performance in 2003. Pirates

Center Field means Junior vs. Lofton right now. As Lofton can give the Pirates a solid leadoff hitter, Griffey surpasses him in every aspect of the game (except speed). Reds

Right Field. Kearns vs. former Red Reggie Sanders. Sanders is still a solid player but a healthy Kearns will be more dangerous offensively. Reds

Nearly forgot the catching position: Kendall is overpaid for what he has shown during the last two seasons. Still he hits for a good average , walks more often than he strikes out and has the speed to steal 15+ bases. LaRue has a better arm, but won't call a better game ... so the Pirates have more strength at this position as well, especially considering that Craig Wilson can catch for them as a backup.

Bench: For the Reds that means Stinnett, Castro (or Guerrero (?) for the DL time), Pena, Taylor and Mateo. For the Pirates on the other hand Young, either Craig Wilson or Randall Simon, Mackowiack, Stairs, Nunez. Much better hitters and more HR power for the Buccos .... in my opinion a clear advantage for them. Pirates

Starting rotation: I think the Pirates are way better here than the Reds. Wells, Fogg, Benson, Suppan, D'Amico vs. Haynes, Dempster, Graves, Wilson, Anderson. On paper a no-contest for the Pirates.

Bullpen: Why should the Reds be better here, especially with the additions of Mercker and Manzanillo? The Pirates have a very good closer, the Reds not (yet). What has Sullivan's arm left in it? Beimel, Boehringer, ex-Red Reyes, Sauerbeck, Tavarez and Torres form a solid relief corp. Not great, neither bad. Because of Mike Williams and his 46 saves in 2002 I rate both bullpens to be about equal.

cincinnati chili
03-26-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by M2
Speaking of So Taguchi, any chance he's got a brother named Totally?

"Dude, you are, like, So Taguchi!"
"Oh man, you are, like, Totally Taguchi for saying that!"

Beautiful. I love it.


About Lieberthal being "out." (no, I don't mean "out" in the Piazza/Ben Davis way). You know something I don't? I know he had pelvic problems, but he's been playing the last several days.

Raisor
03-26-2003, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by cincinnati chili
About Lieberthal being "out." (no, I don't mean "out" in the Piazza/Ben Davis way). You know something I don't? I know he had pelvic problems,


Man, this stuff writes itself!

Redsfaithful
03-26-2003, 07:35 PM
The Pirates have a very good closer, the Reds not (yet).

Its amazing how everyone forgets that Scott Williamson won the Rookie of the Year award in '99 (and was an All-Star) splitting closing duties with Graves.

TeamDunn
03-26-2003, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by Redsfaithful
Its amazing how everyone forgets that Scott Williamson won the Rookie of the Year award in '99 (and was an All-Star) splitting closing duties with Graves.

A song comes to mind.... *What have you done for me lately*.

That seems to be the theme for most sports fans....right or wrong...we could debate that for hours and pages!!! :evilgrin:

cincinnati chili
03-26-2003, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by Team Dunn
A song comes to mind.... *What have you done for me lately*.


I'm a big believer in that too. But Williamson HAS been good lately.

His 2002 numbers:
2.92 ERA
10.22 strikeouts per 9 innings
1.11 WHIP

What's not to like?

If he's healthy, he makes as much sense in the closer role as anyone.

Red Thunder
03-27-2003, 05:15 AM
Chili,

stating that Mike Williams is a better closer is not a knock against Williamson from my part and certainly doesn't mean that Willy isn't a good reliever or that he can't blossom in the closers role. It's just an argument based on statistics.

Williams saved 46 games last year with only 4 blown saves.

Williamson blew already 4 saves in only 12 chances last year. He has much more to prove than Williams and even his high K-rate and his low ERA doesn't neccessarily make him automatically a good closer.

cincinnati chili
03-27-2003, 10:18 AM
Red Thunder: I see your point, but Williamson's "blown saves" performance wasn't as bad as you'd suggest. It wasn't particularly good, but not horrible.

Remember, "blown saves" aren't always given in true save situations. IIRC, when a player relinquishes the lead anytime after the 5th inning, it's a blown save (maybe it's after the 6th inning - I forget). I think a fairer (though still flawed) way to evaluate set up men is to count holds+saves and compare that number to blown saves. Because, after all, I believe that most if not all of Williamson's blown saves were actually "blown holds."

Williamson in 2002:

8 Holds
8 Saves
4 Blown Saves
Success% - 80%

Again, 80% is NOT GOOD (regardless of what Rob Dibble says0, but it's better than 8 out of 12. Further, this doesn't even account for any games where the Reds may have been behind for one run, and then Williamson came in and kept things from getting worse.

By comparison, Danny Graves was 82% in 2002 - just one blown save away from 80%.

Last point. I got to see Mike Williams pitch a lot last year, and I'd be shocked if has the same save% this year.

15fan
03-29-2003, 10:46 AM
Last call, folks.

If you want to do any more 2003 prognosticatin', get it in here asap as we're moving this thread to the archives in the not so distant future.

Ravenlord
03-29-2003, 12:57 PM
Juan Pierre 60 SB, 103 R
Luis Castillo, 50 SB, 107 R

Raisor
03-29-2003, 06:05 PM
Coolbeans!

This is the first post I've ever had that's been made into a STICKY.

I'm too cool for school.

;)