2. Phillies - WC
I think what most people who assumed a Phillies/Red Sox World Series after free agency forgot is they have to play the games AND stay healthy. Philadelphia has been cursed with injuries and Atlanta just seems to be young and hungry again. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Mets really surprise a lot of people this year either. The Marlins and Nats are probably just fodder this year, but the Nats do remind me a lot of the 1990s Devil Rays (Rays to you youngsters). Losing year after year and collecting those high draft picks.
This is the toughest division to pick by far. Honestly, other than the Pirates and Astros, I wouldn't be surprised if any of the other four took this division title. I picked the Brewers simply because this is their last chance for a long time. They mortgaged their future and will probably be among the worst teams in MLB for the late 2010s. The wild card is probably not going to come from this division, because they will be beating each other up too much. Other than Astros fans, can anyone else name 5 Astros off the top of their head and I'll even give you Hunter Pence?
I hope this is how it works out. The Rockies have made the playoffs as the wild card three times in their history, but have NEVER won the division crown. I want this one, but I think the Rox season will ride on whether new hitting coach Carney Lansford can get Stewart, Iannetta, and Smith to hit like they did in the minors. I just didn't want to pick the Giants in 2nd even though they will probably still make the playoffs. The D-Backs suck, next. The Padres replaced their star Adrian Gonzalez with Rockie castoff Brad Hawpe playing out of position...not exactly a recipe for success.
Rockies over Phillies
Braves over Brewers
Rockies over Braves
NL MVP - Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
NL Cy Young - Cole Hamels, Phillies
NL ROY - Freddie Freeman, Braves
Yeah a little bit of "homer-ness," but hey these ARE my picks. Without missing a bunch of games due to injury, Tulo was MVP last year. This year it will happen, and several idiots will wonder if he only good because of playing in Denver. I picked Hamels because he will be matched up with #4 starters this year and will probably rack up a lot of wins. Rookie of the Year predictions are crazy at best, because the winner might be in the minors right now. Freeman has the best chance at taking it down as of right now.
1. Red Sox
2. Rays - WC
5. Blue Jays
Surprise, the Yankees were the worst team in the AL East from August on last year. I think is the year that age will FINALLY catch up to them, at least until they spend $800 million on Pujols and other free agents for next year. The Orioles are on the come and it wouldn't surprise me to see them ahead of the Rays as well. I don't think anyone has the firepower to take down Boston though. Toronto will be a candidate for the overall #1 draft pick next year.
3. White Sox
I think this might be the final year for the Twins on top, because the Royals are going to be tough in 2012. But this is still 2011, and it wouldn't surprise me to see any of the top 3 win this division. The Indians will probably be competing with the Jays and Astros for the worst record this year.
This is the Rangers' division to lose. No one else is that strong although the A's do good young pitching as usual. The Mariners are a prognosticator's worst nightmare. When you think they are good, they stink and vice versa. I am picking them to be around a .500 team. The Angels won't be a contender this year and I don't think they will be again for at least four years.
Rangers over Rays
Red Sox over Twins
Red Sox over Rangers
AL MVP - Joe Mauer, Twins
AL Cy Young - Jon Lester, Red Sox
AL ROY -
I think Mauer will win this year and at least one more MVP before he retires. Man I wish he was a Rockie. Lester I chose basically by default. It doesn't seem that there are that many great pitchers in the AL this year. Jennings is taking Carl Crawford left field spot and seems to be relatively the same type of player. Kyle Drabek could also get consideration for ROY. *UPDATE* Apparently I forgot that the Rays signed Johnny Damon to take Crawford's spot so I will adjust my prediction accordingly.
Rockies over Red Sox in 6
World Series MVP - Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
Yeah it's a homer pick, but it's not all that far-fetched. I would love to see the rematch of the 2007 season. I think the NL will win the All Star Game and give home field in the Series to Colorado.