Thursday, July 12, 2007
The American League … The Yankees will make a late-season run on the Red Sox, but the Red Sox will take the A.L. East by a couple of games … Over in the A.L. Central, the Twins will likewise make a run late in the season and make the playoff-race into a three-way affair like last season. The Twins, Tigers and Indians will battle it out, but in the end, the Tigers will capture the division and the Indians will squeeze the Twins for the wildcard. The White Sox, meanwhile, will be gutted. Expect to see the Red Sox and Yankees compete for the services of Jermaine Dye and/or Jose Contreras prior to the July 31 deadline … In the A.L. West, the Anaheim Angels will cruise to victory and make the playoffs easily. Yes, the A’s will make a run, as they always do, in the second-half of the season, but they start too far behind to make a real impact. My dark horse team here is the Seattle Mariners, who are playing well and have some terrific talent on the roster.
So it will be the Red Sox, the Tigers, the Indians and the Angels. Interestingly, just one of those teams – the Tigers – made the playoffs last season. How is that for parity?
The National League … In the Central, I could see any team – aside from the Reds – making a run on the division title. The N.L. Central is the worst division in baseball and it shows. I like the Brewers to take the flag over the Cubs and Cardinals. The small-market, small-payroll Brewers have succeeded where the high-priced Cubs have failed thanks to shrewd moves and a realization that power-hitting, working the count and pitching will trump small-ball in the long-run … Out West, in the N.L. West, I like the Los Angeles Dodgers to take the N.L. West crown. Expect the Dodgers, with their deep farm system, to be buyers at the trading deadline and expect them to add some offense to their roster. Miguel Cabrera? Dye? I expect to see the Dodgers aggressive at the deadline. The Padres will coast into the wildcard in second place, followed by the D-backs and Rockies. The N.L. West is a deep division and probably the best in baseball. The only division close is the … N.L. East. Okay, so do I think the Phillies are going to make the playoffs? Yes. I also expect to see Pat Burrell and Michael Bourn traded prior to July 31. Here is my old prediction … The Phillies narrowly edge out the Atlanta Braves for the N.L. East crown. The decisive moment is the Phillies – Braves series on Sept. 25-27 at Citizens, where the Phillies take 2 of 3 and gain the decisive edge heading into the stretch run. The Braves lose out and fall out of the wildcard as well. The Mets implode down the stretch and barely finish above .500.
So the Phillies, Padres, Dodgers and Brewers. In the case of the Brewers and Phillies, these are two teams that have not yet made the playoffs under the new format.
Trading Deadline Buyers: Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Braves.
Trading Deadline Sellers: Marlins, White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, Blue Jays.
N.L. MVP: Chase Utley, Phillies
N.L. Cy Young: Brad Penny, Dodgers
A.L. MVP: Vlad Guerrero, Angels
A.L. Cy Young: Dan Haren, A’s
World Series: Dodgers vs. Angels.
Tomorrow: Cardinals vs. Phillies preview.
And Penny over Peavy? That will be a close one.
What are your ROY predictions? I say