2011 MLB Predictions
The MLB season is FINALLY upon us, and after an off-season that saw the Phillies assemble one of the greatest pitching staffs of all-time, the Rays lose much of their talent, and big hitters like Victor Martinez and Carl Crawford change teams, it’s finally time for some real baseball. And based on everything that has happened this off-season, I have made my picks and predictions for this upcoming season.
The Phillies will NOT win the NL.
Everyone seems to automatically have the Phillies in the World Series as the NL representative, but I just don’t see it. Yes the Phillies have the hands down best starting pitching in all of baseball, but they have some major question marks on offense. Even before Chase Utley began having his knee problems, they didn’t boast a scary lineup due to the loss of Jayson Werth. And with Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins each regressing, and Utley out for an unknown time, I don’t think they have enough offensive firepower to dominate. Their pitching will keep them in it this season, but with their offense, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to settle for the NL Wild Card. Which brings me to…
Division/Wild Card Winners
AL East: Boston
AL Central: Detroit
AL West: Oakland
AL Wild Card: Chicago White Sox
NL East: Atlanta
NL Central: Cincinnati
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Philadelphia
I think that Boston is the only hands down winner of any of those positions in the AL, they absolutely loaded up the off-season, and I think have the best balance of offense, defense, and pitching in baseball. The AL Central is going to be the toughest, closest race off all the divisions, and it could be any one of Detroit, Chicago, or Minnesota, but I think the Tigers are the most balanced team and eek out a division title in the last weekend of the season. And the A’s have terrific pitching, which in my mind puts them ahead of the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers in another very close division race.
In the NL, for whatever reasons, I think the Braves have the right blend of talent, and with new manager Freddie Gonzalez taking over to inject new energy to the club, I think they surprise everyone and take the East. The Reds win the division on the back of Joey Votto, but the Brewers could also be a sneaky team, that I think will end up finishing 2nd in the NL Central. The Giants pitching again carries them to a division title, but the Rockies will make it very tough on them.
The Yankees will Finish third in the AL East.
Of all my predictions, I think this is my most daring projection. They have major starting pitching problems, and even if they are to go out and get a veteran starter, I think they are still not up to par with Boston and a Rays club that will be better than expected. Not to mention that the division is the deepest in baseball with what could be a surprise Orioles team, and a Blue Jays team headed in the right direction. The Yankees don’t have any off days within the division this year, and I think their lack of pitching really comes back to hurt them.
Your MVP and Cy Young Winners Are…
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera will be out to prove that his drinking incident this off-season was a minor blip in his life, and will come out and have the best season of his career. With more protection in the lineup than he’s ever had in Detroit, I think he exceeds .330 40HRs 130RBI and because the Tigers will win the AL Central, he will be a dominating MVP in the AL.
NL MVP: Joey Votto
With more experience on the hitters surrounding him, Joey Votto is going to destroy the NL this year. While Pujols is still regarded the man to beat, but I think the division title, and huge numbers, plus the tiniest of regressions from Pujols (which still makes him a Top 3 hitter by the way) allows Votto to win the award for the 2nd consecutive season.
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
Jon Lester will be the winningest pitcher in the AL on the best team, and because of that, he will win the AL Cy Young award. With the Boston lineup, and his talent, I think 20 wins is in the future of Lester.
NL Cy Young: Yovani Gallardo
And with the resurgence in Milwaukee, Gallardo will have huge strikeout numbers, and rack up upwards of 15 wins. He will be the best pitcher on a pretty good Brewers staff. Thanks to the Felix Hernandez decision last year, voters will be more inclined to give him the nod, despite not playing on a playoff team.
The Worst Team In Each League Will Be…
The Mariners and Astros.
The Mariners outside of Felix Hernandez don’t have much going for them. They still have Ichiro, but that’s about as far as their talent goes. It’s going to be a long season in Seattle.
The Astros will have decent speed, in the lineup, but other than Wandy Rodriguez don’t have much in the way of pitching. And in a deep NL Central, that does not bode well for them. On the plus side, I don’t think either of these teams will lose 100 games.
Both of these teams are already looking forward to next year.
Your World Series Matchup Will Be…
Boston versus Atlanta.
Boston as I previously mentioned has the best, most complete roster in all of baseball, and I think they run away with the best record in the entire league, and steamroll the 2 teams they end up taking on in the AL Playoffs.
Again, something about Atlanta just strikes me the right way. I love their combination of youth and experience throughout their lineup, and they have very good pitching led by Tommy Hanson that is going to give people fits come playoff time.
World Series Champion Is…
the Boston Red Sox.
I know that all of the experts on the major sports news sites are picking Boston, but they have the right blend of talent in the lineup, bullpen, and starting pitching to compete with any type of team they might encounter during the playoffs. Great speed at the top of the lineup, big hitters in the middle, will keep them in any game or series. The easy, and trendy pick, but I don’t think there is anyone out there who can better the Red Sox over the course of the season.
Now that you know all you need to about what is going to happen this season, all that’s left is for the games to start.