Monday, April 13, 2009

Baseball Preview 2009

One of the fun things about having a regularly-updated blog that I don't plan to shut down anytime soon is that I can make lots of predictions about upcoming events or items, and then I can go back later and check the actual post to see how I ended up faring. I know I'm about a week late on this, but today I'm going to post my thoughts on some of the perceived better teams in Major League Baseball, as far as how their season is going to go. As I said, I recognize that we're already a little over a week into the 2009 baseball season, but (1) I'm not looking at any stats or records from any teams so far as I write this, and (2) anyone who bases their over-under on wins through a 162-game schedule on what happens in the first 5 games is a moron and doesn't deserve to be read anyways. So without further adieu, first here are the over-under win totals on all 30 major league baseball teams, plus my comments on each, where I have any:

Boston Red Sox 94.5. The Red Sox are obviously a great team and they are going to post a solid number of wins this year like they do every year. Something tells me though, that without Manny for the entire season, and with Big Papi a year older, etc., they might come in just under 95 wins. I would take the under here, although not by much.

New York Yankees 94.5. Gotta go under here. So far Joe Girardi does not look like he has figured out how to manage in New York, and despite the stellar pitching staff (on paper) assembled by GM Brian Cashman in the offseason, I also think the Yankees are likely to come in just short of 95 wins. I bet both Boston and New York end up besting 90 victories on the season, but 95 is a bit much for a team with a thousand distractions and a million egos, so I again would take the under here.

Chicago Cubs 92.5. The Cubs are likely to be a very strong team again this year (in the regular season anyways, cough cough), and with Lou Piniella back at the helm there is no reason to expect the team to have any trouble running away with its division again in 2009. 92.5 is a great number, and I would stay away from this line because I think it is very close. You make me pick, and I will take the over.

New York Mets 89. Is there any more interesting story heading into 2009 than the New York Mets? 89 wins is a solid number, and with the Mets' very dubious pitching behind ace Johann Santana, this one could end up going either way. Even though heading into the season, the only story with this team really is how will they hold up in late August and especially in September as the playoff races heat up after two consecutive epic collapses to miss the playoffs the past two years. This Mets team is very solid on offense once again, and they finally cleaned up their bullpen mess in the offseason. With the threat from the Phillies and Jimmy Rollins' preseason guarantee now extinguished somewhat, I'm going to take the over on the Mets, thinking they should be able to finish the season with 90 or more victories.

Tampa Bay Rays 89. The Rays are another awesome story heading into the 2009 season, after the unknown manager and bunch of young players steamrolled over the best teams in the American League on their way to their worst-to-first pennant in 2008 before losing to Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays already had the youngest pitching staff in the league, and their offensive stars are also all young players, so the team is at a place in its development where an extra year should help their effectiveness due to experience, not hurt it due to age. That said, the AL East is once again setting up to be the toughest division in baseball, and with so many games against the Red Sox and the improved Yankees, winning 90 games is going to be tough. Add to that the fact that the Rays will no longer sneak up on anybody in the league, and I will take the under given this high number for the upstart young team from Tampa.

Philadelphia Phillies 88. 88 wins. So Vegas is already picking the Mets to win the NL East by one game after last year's World Championship for the Phillies. Personally, I think this is redonkulous to pick the Mets to win by one game after seeing the Mets collapse like little bitches in each of the last couple of seasons, but I suppose that's what you get when you have the books in Vegas trying no to set lines that will be 100% accurate so much as ones that will equate the betting roughly on both sides of the line. I think it is highly unlikely that the Mets win a close division race this year, given the mentality on that team and the epic failure of the GM and the manager over the past couple of seasons; I have high confidence that if the Mets and Phils come down to the wire again in 2009, the Mets will crumble once again like the pansies that they are. All that being said, I mentioned this some months ago after the Phils won the World Series in 2008, but I just don't think the Phils are going to be there at the end again this year. 88 wins isn't insanely high, but something tells me that now, with the pressure completely and totally off of this team, and with the fans not really giving two craps if the team wins any games in 2009 (trust me on that one, I would know), the Phils are going to step down just a bit and end up ceding the division to the Mets earlier in the summer than in the past couple of years. I am looking for 85-88 wins for the Phillies in 2009, so I would go under on this line.

Los Angeles Angels 87.5. The Angels are always good, and the AL West is usually not so much, so something in the mid to upper 80s is probably a good bet for the Angels. I have a ton of respect for their head coach Mike Scoscia, and of course Vlad Guerrero hits the cover off the ball when he's healthy, and as I mentioned the division is not as formidable as it was 5 or 6 years ago when the Angels started really winning with regularity. I am going to take a stab at the under here, expecting something more like 85 or 86 wins for Anaheim in 2009.

Arizona Diamondbacks 86. Arizona is once again a deceptively good team that few people know a whole lot about other than Randy Johnson on the mound. That said, I think this year will likely see a few more wins for the Dodgers and a few less for teams like the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and as such I have to take the under here as well.

Cleveland Indians 85.5. I have to confess, I don't know a whole lot about the 2009 Cleveland Indians, and I'm far too lazy to go and look up their roster right now. I'm taking the under.

Los Angeles Dodgers 85. Here is one that I like the over for. Maybe it's related to having just read "The Yankee Years" about Dodger manager Joe Torre's time in pinstripes, or maybe it is sheer awe of Manny Ramirez's hitting prowess, but something tells me that with a full year of Joe and Manny, the Dodgers will be able to overcome the loss of Derek Lowe and string together something more than 85 wins on the season.

Atlanta Braves 84.5. The Braves are another team that few people really know much about, but they have quietly put together a formidable team once again heading into 2009. 84.5 wins is pretty on the mark in my book, but I will go ahead and take the under purely as an homage to just how god awful Tom Glavine was when he was up in New York and pitching for the Mets a few years ago.

St Louis Cardinals 83.5. Once we get down to this level, through more than the top third of teams in the league, I'm not going to think too much about things other than just to make a pick, or comment where I think a line is particularly off the mark. For the Cardinals, I will go over 83.5.

Minnesota Twins 83. Over.

Oakland Athletics 82. Under.

Milwaukee Brewers 81.5. Under. Losing CC Sabathia for the full season to the Yankees is going to hurt a bit more than I think the books in Vegas think right now for the Brewers. I expect a slightly under .500 season this year, so it's gotta be under.

Detroit Tigers 81.5. Over. Jimmy Leyland, no real powerhouses in their division, and a tremendous sports aura following through from the NFL season in that city. I say over .500 for the Tigers.

San Francisco Giants 79. Under.

Cincinnati Reds 78.5. Under.

Toronto Blue Jays 77.5. Over.

Chicago White Sox 77.5. Over.

Kansas City Royals 77. Under. Wish I could understand why this team is so high up on the list of bad teams in this year's baseball season.

Colorado Rockies 76.5. Under.

Florida Marlins 75.5. Over. I know the Marlins play in the very tough NL East, but this really is a solid team with a number of great players on it, both in the lineup as well as in the rotation. I'm not saying they're going to win 88 games or anything, but at 75.5 I think this is one of the better picks in this entire list.

Texas Rangers 74.5. Over. This Rangers team has a very solid lineup and just generally is better than 74.5 wins in my view.

Seattle Mariners 73. Over. Ken Griffey back where it all began? Gotta go over.

Baltimore Orioles 72.5. Under. I saw this team play the Marlins during the preseason down in West Palm Beach, and their lineup is pretty dam horrible. Let's just say that Adam Eaton, formerly of Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, is the Orioles' #3 starter. Yeeesh. Combine that with playing so many games against the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees and Rays, and I think Baltimore is in for a world of hurt in 2009.

Washington Nationals 72.5. Under. The Nats stink, and the Mets, Phillies and Marlins are likely to feast on them early and often in 2009.

Houston Astros 72.5. Over. No real reason, I don't even know who is on the Astros these days anymore (Nolan Ryan? Mike Scott?). But I'll pick them to win at least 73 games this year.

San Diego Padres 71. Under. These guys are gonna be really bad this year, and I expect the Dodgers and D-Backs to steal a couple more wins from them than in years past.

Pittsburgh Pirates 69. Over. It is hard for me to pick Under on any team that is picked to go just 69-93 on the season, even though there is once again little to be excited about on either side of the ball for the Pirates. When does this team finally get contracted like it probably should?

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Blogger jjok said...

I'm not one to dwell on the numbers, but if I were to bet I would take the top half and the under and the bottom half with the over.

Not sure as to why, but in my head that seems like the right thing.....

btw, the Stros are pretty freaking bad. But I still love Pudge.

Go Cubbies and Rangers.

12:53 AM  
Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

72.5 for the Orioles and you pick the under? I can't wait to throw this post back in your face in October when the O's are 73-89.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

I think just about every AL East team is going to win 77 games or more. Conversely, the AL West is going to suck.


7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A healthy Carpenter the Cardinals are an easy over and will beat the choking Cubs in the NL Central.

8:31 AM  
Blogger spritpot said...

Sleeping on the Rays again? They are a better team this year than last year. Whether that means they'll actually win more games remains to be seen. But having Longoria the whole year, Price back soon, healthier Upton, and having signed Pat Burrell (very underrated player), I'd take the over on that 89. Very possible that the best three teams in MLB are all in the AL East.

3:27 PM  

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