Been up to my ears with work so I didn't get a chance to file my general predictions for the season.
Just in case we're keeping these for bragging rights at the end of the season, here goes:
1. Mets - They'll get enough pitching. Jeff D'Amico in fact looks like he might be back to his 2000 self. Mainly, though, I like the chance of any team with Robbie Alomar and Mike Piazza.
2. Braves - I'd like to pick them lower, but no one else in this division looks likely to vault over them. Big problem I see is that someone has to replace what Burkett gave them last year.
3. Expos - I expect them to play well in August and then run out of steam. Vlad Guerrero takes a big step forward.
4. Marlins - Bad owner brings dumb staff to young team and ruins it.
5. Phillies - Randy Wolf is injured and most everyone being asked to throw the ball is a huge question mark. Unless the bats go wild, this team is toast.
1. Cubs - I'm thinking this is one of those upheaval years. I like the Cubs' depth on the mound and in the field. It's the kind of team where things can go wrong and it will still be in the hunt. Given their history, the Cubs need that kind of insurance.
2. Cardinals - Woody Williams as the #3 starter? I'm not sold on that as being a good idea. I like the addition of Tino Martinez, though, and Albert Pujols is REALLY good at this whole baseball thing.
3. Astros - Notoriously tight manager in charge of a notoriously tight franchise? Got to figure that kind of team flags in a close race. Also, Moises Alou is a huge loss.
4. Brewers - No, I don't feel the least bit good about this pick. The Brewers suck, but they've got a few pitchers with real upside and Sexson and Jenkins in the middle of their lineup to do damage.
5. Reds - The best they can hope for from their staff on a consistent basis is a rope-a-dope performance like Hamilton's yesterday. They've played with too much fire and they're likely to get burned. The main hope for a surprise season? Barry Larkin plays 150 games like last night.
6. Pirates - Operation Shutdown in full effect.
1. Dodgers - It's all the Sheffield effect. Shawn Green gets even better. Brian Jordan has the best season of his career. The pitching comes through big-time.
2. Diamondbacks - Don't know if the supporting cast is up to a repeat of last season.
3. Giants - They've always worked on a tight margin. If Jeff Kent can't produce his usual 100+ RBIs, that's enough to make these guys also-rans.
4. Padres - Love the team in the field, but Kevin Jarvis pitched their opener. That's the kiss of death.
5. Rockies - Just a really horrible team in the field.
Wild Card - Cardinals
MVP - Robbie Alomar
Cy Young - Kerry Wood
Rookie of the Year - Sean Burroughs
Manger of the Year - Don Baylor nips Jim Tracy
1. Red Sox - I like the team they've got in the field and the rotation. The big question is the bullpen, but, like I said, this is a year for upheaval.
2. Yankees - This is NOT anywhere close to the same team we've watched the last six years. They've got a thin offense and the pitchers will not dominate. That said, they're still a good team.
3. Blue Jays - By default they finish here. They're a cellar dweller in other divisions.
4. Devil Rays - Tanyon Sturtze turns out to be the best pitcher in Tampa history, winning 12 games with a 4.25 ERA.
5. Orioles - Bring out your dead.
1. Twins - Yes the pitching is good and yes I think the lineup is getting better, but this is a team that wants it more than the rest and that's why they'll win.
2. Indians - They won't have a great record, but you don't need one to finish second in this division.
3. White Sox - Oops, they forgot to get a decent pitching staff. Do not pass go, do not win a division title.
4. Tigers - Dmitri Young drives in 85 runs, then gets miffed when he isn't awarded the Silver Slugger.
5. Royals - Why are the Expos, who have talent and a large city, considered for contraction when the Royals, who lack talent in a small city, aren't? It's all about the proximity of David Glass' lips to Bud Selig's hindquarters.
1. Mariners - So not everything changes. They'll slump to something like 103 wins. That should still win them something. Freddy Garcia gets better. So does Mike Cameron.
2. A's - This team will be better in August/September, but the lineup looks like an unfinished project at this time.
3. Angels - Deep rotation and just enough hitting to be dangerous.
4. Rangers - Not only is money incapable of buying you love, but it also won't necessarily buy you a decent baseball team.
Wild Card - Yankees
MVP - Manny Ramirez
Cy Young - Pedro Martinez. He says he feels fine. I believe him.
Rookie of the Year - Anyone can pick Hank Blalock. Look, I'm doing it now.
Manager of the Year - Ron Gardenhire