The Major League baseball season opens in the United States tonight and like every other “know-it-all” sports blogger and podcaster I have an opinion about it.
Let me first say I am excited baseball is back. I love the smell of fresh cut grass, the brick dust & white chalk in the diamond. I can already taste the sunflower seeds, hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jack along with an ice cold beer or a soda. The sound of the ball making the gloves “pop” and the “crack” of the bat are music to my ears.
Spring training is ending and fans are getting their first look at new Angels Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson along with Prince Fielder wearing the Detroit Tigers uniform for the first time. Story lines such as 49 year old Jamie Moyer making the Rockies starting rotation, the Marlins spending a ton of money on Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle while moving into a new stadium.
The Dodgers are being sold by Frank McCourt to a group led by NBA legend and L.A. icon Magic Johnson and former Braves and Nationals President Stan Kasten for $2.15 billion dollars and to top it off the Reds signing Joey Votto to a $222 million dollar extension, I think it’s safe to say we are all ready for some baseball.
Every year MLB has a new storyline and surprise teams. I think this year will be no different. Teams like the Marlins, Angels and Tigers all look to go deep in the post season with their new “toys”, while the Nationals, Dodgers and Brewers will try to “sneak up” on teams since expectations may not be as high, but the talent level on the teams can not be overlooked.
Then there is the AL East. Will the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox continue to battle for AL East supremacy or can the Blue Jays close the gap and surprise everyone and sneak into the post season? Another question that has to be asked is how active will the Dodgers be at the trading deadline? How will the new expanded playoff format work out?
Lastly, with the new ownership already talking about making moves to improve the team the opening day starting nine for the Dodgers most likely won’t resemble what fans see in late July and into the latter part of the year.
Only time will tell how accurate my predictions will be. I look at certain aspects of the game that many don’t look at, most notably the make-up of the team in the clubhouse and how the team plays for their manager.
I did that again as well as I took one interesting fact that I know only a slight few people know, the last six times the Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA Men’s basketball championship, the New York Yankees won the World Series. So let me dust off my crystal bat, put on my hat with some flip down shades and try to be smarter than the “Average” Joe!
American League Predictions:
AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Los Angeles Angels
Wild Cards: Texas Rangers & Tampa Bay Rays
A.L. Champion: New York Yankees
Rookie of the Year: Lorenzo Cain- Kansas City Royals
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez- Seattle Mariners
MVP: Albert Pujols- Los Angeles Angels
I like the Yankees starting pitching this season better than I have the past three years but also think they will add another starting pitcher by the trade deadline to give them depth for the post season. I am leery of the Tigers pitching depth behind Justin Verlander.
National League Predictions:
NL East: Miami Marlins
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Cards: Philadelphia Phillies & Cincinnati Reds
N.L. Champion: Miami Marlins
Rookie of the Year: Devin Mesoraco- Cincinnati Reds
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw- Los Angeles Dodgers
MVP: Matt Kemp- Los Angeles Dodgers
I think Miami will finish ahead of Philadelphia because the Phillies will have trouble scoring with the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. I think the Dodgers will add a bat (David Wright?) and a starter (Francisco Liriano or Roy Oswalt?) at the deadline and make a big push in the post season.
World Series Champion: The New York Yankees over the Miami Marlins in 6 games
“Average” Joe Arrigo
Twitter: @joearrigo or @theavgjoeshow
Facebook: TheAverage Joe Show