Join Date: May 2000
Location: Bedford, KY
Damn the archive, full speed ahead!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher
Last edited by Scrap Irony; 03-26-2003 at 03:57 AM.