Posting in Dynarama
Join Date: Sep 2000
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
Last edited by M2; 03-26-2003 at 11:05 PM.