The Season Starts Tonight – How it Will Unfold

AL 2010

East:
Boston – Unmatched pitching depth, great defense, and a veteran bench full of guys who can play make them best in the AL.
New York – Vasquez can’t pitch when it means anything and Johnson should wear “DL” instead of 26. Lack of depth will be killer.
Tampa – Too much reliance on young pitchers and no proven closer keep them behind NY.
Baltimore – Major offensive additions help them overtake Toronto, but big pitching questions keep them far behind top three. Expect big rebound from Atkins.
Toronto – Step back from this time last year – no Halladay and still big questions with Marcum and McGowan. Lind and Hill can’t keep them ahead of Baltimore.

Central:
Minnesota – Solid offense and deep pitching, if not for loss of Nathan, could be in WS.
Chicago – Good mix of vets and youth on the field, solid pitching, especially addition of Peavy, make them solid contender.
Cleveland – Lots of aging vets ready in case gaggle of youngsters can’t cut it, but whether they contend or end last depends on pitching, starting with Westbrook and Carmona.
Detroit – Scherzer, Willis & Bonderman mean too many questions on starting staff, new CF Jackson yet to bat in majors, and can expect adventure with Damon in LF (he and DH Guillen will try switch before May 1).
Kansas City – Lots of lineup changes but doubtful that means team has improved, though great arms in pen plus development of young starters could pull them closer to middle of division.

West:
Los Angeles – Losses of Lackey and Figgins tough to fill. Make or break for Brandon Wood. Wasted $$ on Pineiro. Still, no one close in AL West.
Seattle – Big bucks won’t buy title. Lee starts season injured, and still need healthy Bedard to contend. Like I said about Cubs last year, no team relying on Milton Bradley will ever win anything. Note – Figgins out of position at 2B; his best spots are 3B & CF.
Texas – Still big questions on pitching staff, but again solid offense, especially if Vlad happy and healthy at DH spot.
Oakland – “Experts” have A’s overrated; way too many wusses like Chavez, Crisp, and Sheets to contend.

Division series – Minnesota over Los Angeles and Boston over Chicago
Championship Series – Boston over Minnesota

NL 2010

East:
Philadelphia – Polanco at third is plus, Halladay slight improvement over Lee but there for whole season. Nobody in NL can touch them.
Atlanta – Same hype this spring for Heyward as last year for Schafer, result likely the same, but will contend due to solid staff. Healthy Hudson ad Glaus could mean playoff spot.
New York – Bay big plus in OF, as is no Sheffield, but Beltran and Reyes injuries and no pitching depth help to doom season from the start.
Florida – Looks like step back from surprising 2009; Maybin, Sanchez, 3-5 starters, pen all need big years to approach 87 wins again.
Washington – Solid infield and top of rotation needs lots of help from young starters and pen. Ok start and arrival of Strasburg in summer could make for interesting year.

Central:
St. Louis – Good bullpen and two great starters, but big questions after Carpenter and Wainwright (Lohse, Penny and Garcia 18-20 last year). A problem 90 HRs from Puljois and Holliday can help with.
Milwaukee – Disappointed last year due to immature staff, added vets should help this year; solid offense could get boost with encore from Edmonds.
Chicago – Still see as overrated though no Bradley a big plus. Will go as far as pitching takes them; big comeback from Zambrano is essential.
Houston – Too many questions to break .500 – Oswalt’s health, is Manzella a major league SS, is Myers a major league starter, and more.
Cincinnati – Much is the same as what I said last year: Overrated pitching staff won’t keep up with improved offense, plus too many questions in outfield.
Pittsburgh – Not nearly the talent they had two years ago, and that team was bad. Going in wrong direction.

West:
Los Angeles – What I said last year: Top-notch offense, defense, bullpen, and will go only as far as their starters will take them.
San Francisco – Solid front-line pitching and improved offense make Giants contenders again, but lack of depth will take toll in late summer.
Colorado – Let some keys guys go and starting season with Street and Francis questionable. No repeat of last year’s surprise.
San Diego – Will battle Arizona for last, but stronger pitching staff will be difference.
Arizona – Haren only reliable starter: Jackson trade big mistake, Kennedy and Lopez are not major league pitchers, and Webb is question mark.

Division series – Los Angeles over St. Louis and Philadelphia over Milwaukee
Championship Series – Philadelphia over Los Angeles

Boston over Philadelphia in World Series (repeat of last season’s pick – but this year it WILL happen.)


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