Archive for the ‘2010 MLB Preview/Prediction’ Category

2010 MLB All-Star Team

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on April 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Talent reigns throughout baseball in every position. From the catcher all the way to the bullpen, there are players that can change the shape of a game with one swing of a bat or pitch that sends batters into hissy fits. People have favorite players from their home team all the way to their most hated team. Despite how much you may dislike certain teams due to their history, uniform, fans, stadiums or whatever it may be. You cannot shelter the fact that ball club might possess some of the most talented players in today’s game. Though people might not always agree that this player is best at that certain position, it is usually an opinionated list that is defended with significant statistical numbers.

Catcher- Joe Mauer ( Minnesota Twins) – Ever since debuting with the Twins in 2004, Mauer has been able to put up gaudy numbers that landed him in the All-Star game three times. In 2009, Mauer had a gas priced batting average of .365 along with 28 home runs, 96 RBI and a slugging percentage over .500. Going into this season, despite the huge contract that he just signed, expect Mauer to continue to dominate not just as a hitter but a deadly catcher.

First Base- Albert Pujols ( St.Louis Cardinals)- Right now Pujols is the king of baseball. You either hate or love him but you have to respect either way the jaw-dropping numbers he puts up. In nine years in the league, Pujols has never had less than 30 home-runs, 100 RBIs and a batting avg. lower than .300. He is the most feared batter for pitchers to face, especially Brad Lidge. If anything, Albert hasn’t even reached his top potential talent which will make 2010 even scarier for all of baseball.

Second Base- Chase Utley ( Philadelphia Phillies) One of the most consistent second baseman’s the past four years, Utley has been one of the main catalyst why the Phillies have been to the World Series the past two years. Even though Utley tends to have more fielding errors than people would like to see, he has a knack to make the big plays during the clutch moments. He was been to the All-Star game four times and won the Silver Slugger Award four times.

Short Stop- Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins) The gap between the talent in the SS pool is pretty exponential when it comes to Ramirez and everyone else. His 2009 batting numbers just stand above the rest. He was the only SS to have over 100 RBI and runs while hitting 24 home-runs and have a batting average of .342. Only being 26 years of age, he will be one of the hottest commodities for the next 10 years.

Third Base- Ryan Zimmerman ( Washington Nationals) – Maybe one of the most underrated players due to playing for one of the worst teams in the league, Zimmerman’s numbers are one of the best for a third base man. A lot of fans might put Evan Longoria in this spot and even though he has great numbers, he has only been in the league two years. Zimmerman is now entering his sixth season and his numbers have been improving though he needs to concentrate on being a better fielder.

Left Field- Ryan Braun ( Milwaukee Brewers)– Just like most of these All-Stars, Braun has been a force since becoming a pro in 2007. Braun is many of the five tool players in the outfield and is the backbone of the Brewers. Few analyst have the Brewers winning the NL Central and this will have to be done with Braun once again putting up All-Star numbers. One stat that really stands out was his 203 hits. The only player that came close to that as a LF was Carl Crawford who accumulated 185.

Center Field Jacoby Ellsbury ( Boston Red Sox) Ellsbury became one of the big stories of 2009 when he was one of three players to steal home. Due to his ability to run, Ellsbury has totaled 120 SB in the past two seasons and led the league in total steals in 2009 with 70. He doesn’t hit for power but that isn’t concern for the Red Sox. As long as Ellsbury can get on base, expect him to see him cross home plate.

Right Field- Ichiro Suzuki ( Seattle Mariners) People love Ichiro no matter what team you root for. The guy is just unbelievable when it comes to trying to slow down. Every season since joining the Mariners, Suzuki has been able to have over 200 hits, 25 steals and an average of higher than .300. In 2009 Ichiro was only able to 88 runs despite the prior 8 years he came home over 100 + times. He is getting up in age and might not be able to produce the same in about 3 years.

Starting Pitcher – Roy Halladay ( Philadelphia Phillies) Easily the best pitcher in the game, Roy has been the toughest pitcher to face. Winning over 15 game six times in his career, one thing Roy has been able to do was keep a very low ERA. Now with a new club, Phillies, Roy will be able to win more games and put up even more strikeouts now that he doesn’t have to face the Yankees and Red Sox all the time.

Starting Pitcher- Felix Hernandez ( Seattle Mariners) – There are a ton of great number two pitchers in the league but Felix’s 2009 numbers were absurd. Winning 19 games while only losing five puts him above the Sabathias, Wainwrights and Lincecums. Felix struck out 217 batters and had a microscopic ERA of 2.49. It is always hard to keep an ERA that low all into next season but the Mariners have loaded up on bats, this giving Felix a very good chance to win 22+ games.

Closing Pitcher- Mariano Rivera ( New York Yankees) If it wasn’t for the injury of Joe Nathan, I don’t believe Rivera would be the best closer going into this season. Mariano has always been one of the top-tier closers due to his nasty cut fast ball but Joe Nathan as of the past season seems to become the more dominant closer. One thing that Mariano does have going for him as he gets older, his numbers get better. He only blew two games last year and gave up only 13 earned runs compared to six or seven years ago, he was blowing at least 6-8 games. He had the lowest WHIP out of the top 20 closers (.90) in 2009 and maintain an ERA of 1.76.


Opening Series 2010 Schedule

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on April 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Opening day is less than twenty-four hours away. Teams have been shuffling their lineups and making cuts all of March to construct the best lineup and rotation come April. It is time for baseball to run most of our lives for the next seven months and help us enjoy summer even more. Pain and frustration will become the norm but so will be exuberance and faith. Listening to ESPN talk about the Yankees 24/7 and wonder why no one mentions your home team despite being dead last or first. Believing that you could coach your ball club better than anyone else and claiming that you could be in the pros if you didn’t get “hurt” in high school will be discussed amongst friends. Paying $10 for just a beer at the park will help keep you broke during the summer despite having a job. In the end, it is what us baseball fans endure throughout the long 162 game season. It just makes summer that much enjoyable and gives us more reason to love the game even more

The first couple of series for most teams going into the season start weird due to mid series breaks and getting in the routine of traveling. Sunday April 4, the greatest rivalry in baseball will once again etch its name in the history book when the Yankees and Boston face off at Fenway Park. There will one last spring training game to be played, Marlins vs Giants. Then on April 5, majority of the clubs will begin their season.

April 4-7

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

Game 1: C.C. Sabathia (0-0) vs Josh Beckett (0-0)

Game 2: A.J. Burnett (0-0) vs Jon Lester (0-0)

Game 3: A. Pettitte (0-0)  vs John Lackey (0-0)

April 5- 8

Philadelphia Phillies @ Washington Nationals

Game 1: Roy Halladay (0-0) vs John Lannan (0-0)

Game 2: Cole Hamels (0-0) vs Jason Marquis (0-0)

Game 3: J.A. Happ (0-0) vs Craig Stammen (0-0)

April 5-8

Marlins @ Mets

Game 1: Josh Johnson (0-0) vs Johan Santana (0-0)

Game 2: Ricky Nolasco (0-0) vs John Maine (0-0)

Game 3: Anibal Sanchez (0-0) vs Jonathon Niese (0-0)

April 5- 8

St. Louis Cardinals @ Cincinnati Reds

Game 1: Chris Carpenter (0-0) vs Aaron Harang (0-0)

Game 2: Adam Wainwright (0-0) vs Johnny Cueto (0-0)

Game 3: Brad Penny (0-0) vs Bronson Arroyo (0-0)

April 5-8

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Game 1: Vicente Padilla (0-0) vs Zack Duke (0-0)

Game 2: Clayton Kershaw (0-0) vs Ross Ohlendorf (0-0)

Game 3: Chad Billingsley (0-0) vs Paul Maholm (0-0)

April 5-8

Cleveland Indians @ Chicago White Sox

Game 1: Jake Westbrook (0-0) vs Mark Buehrle (0-0)

Game 2: Fausto Carmona (0-0) vs Jake Peavy (0-0)

Game 3: Justin Masterson (0-0) vs Gavin Floyd (0-0)

April 5-8

Toronto Blue Jays @ Texas Rangers

Game 1: Shaun Marcum (0-0) vs Scott Feldman (0-0)

Game 2: Ricky Romero (0-0) vs Rich Harden (0-0)

Game 3: TBD vs C.J Wilson (0-0)

April 5-7

Colorado Rockies @ Milwaukee Brewers

Game 1: Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0) vs Yovani Gallardo (0-0)

Game 2: Greg Smith (0-0) vs Randy Wolf (0-0)

Game 3: Aaron Cook (0-0) vs Doug Davis (0-0)

April 5-8

Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves

Game 1: Carlos Zambrano (0-0) vs Derek Lowe (0-0)

Game 2: Ryan Dempster (0-) vs Jair Jurrjens (0-0)

Game 3: Randy Wells (0-0) Tommy Hanson (0-0)

April 5-8

Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals

Game 1: Justin Verlander (0-0) vs Zack Greinke (0-0)

Game 2: Max Scherzer (0-0) vs Luke Hochevar (0-0)

Game 3: Dontrelle Willis vs Brain Bannister (0-0)

April 5-7

San Diego Padres @ Arizona Diamondbacks

Game 1: Jon Garland (0-0) vs Dan Haren (0-0)

Game 2: Chris Young (0-0) vs Edwin Jackson (0-0)

Game 3: Kevin Correira (0-0) vs Ian Kennedy (0-0)

April 5-7

San Francisco Giants @ Houston Astros

Game 1: Tim Lincecum (0-0) vs Roy Oswalt (0-0)

Game 2: Barry Zito (0-0) vs Wandy Rodriguez (0-0)

Game 3: Matt Cain (0-0) vs Brett Myers (0-0)

April 5-8

Minnesota Twins @ Los Angeles Angels

Game 1: Scott Baker (0-0) Jered Weaver (0-0)

Game 2: Nick Blackburn (0-0) vs Joe Saunders (0-0)

Game 3: Carl Pavano (0-0) vs Ervin Santana (0-0)

Game 4: Kevin Slowey (0-0) vs TBD

April 5-8

Seattle Mariners vs Oakland Athletics

Game 1: Felix Hernandez (0-0) vs Ben Sheets (0-0)

Game 2: Ian Snell ( 0-0) vs Dallas Braden (0-0)

Game 3: Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-0) vs Justin Duchscherer (0-0)

Game 4: TBD vs Brett Anderson (0-0)

April 6-8

Baltimore Orioles vs Tampa Bay Rays

Game 1: Kevin Millwood (0-0) vs James Shields (0-0)

Game 2: Jeremy Guthrie (0-0) vs Matt Garza (0-0)

Game 3: Brian Matusz (0-0) vs Jeff Niemann (0-0)

MLB The Show 2010 Assessment

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

MLB The Show 2010

It has been a solid seven days since the most anticipated release of The Show 10′ and it has lived up to its usual reputation of baseball superiority. The graphics are once again crisp, clean and go into the fullest detail as possible. The authenticity of the game is there, especially when you play Road To The Show. There has been noticeable improvements toward the crowd, atmosphere and mainly the overall animation of all the players.

I started off playing one exhibition game, Astros vs Mets. I wanted to get the overall feel and see if the presentation of the game was vastly improved. I have to say that I was very shocked on how well and how smooth the transitions from intro scenes were cut and the announcers even had different intro lines. One thing that I noticed was the interaction between the players on the field prior to the first pitch. When ever you go to a real baseball game, you notice players laughing and having a good time while they warm up and this is obvious in The Show. I played roughly four innings and it was very enjoyable for the most part other than losing. I started Roy Oswalt and The Show did a really good job transitioning his 2009 performance into a interpretation of what 2010 could be like. For us Astros fans this will not be good news. Usually I am really dominant with Oswalt but I had no control over majority of his pitches. At first I thought that the Show just made pitching harder so it wouldn’t overpower your average players. Not true as I decided to call on the bullpen and I had success with Lyon and Lindstrom. Batting wasn’t much different than the adjustment of the talent of players. A lot of new animation was added to the batters animation when foul balls were hit, strikeouts and even stepping out of the batters box. I noticed an odd glow around the players as you batted. I am not sure if this was just to give a subtle hint that his was your player or to give off a graphical shine. Regardless I took the time to zoom in on certain players, especially on the faces. The perfect detail on Berkman, Lee and Pence is absurd and very gratifying.

After a short game I jumped right into RTTS. Creating a player had to be one of the most interesting parts of this game. You can customize your player from his name all the way down to exact facial and body features that you desire. I spent a good thirty to forty minutes trying to perfect my players look. Once that was done, the accessories editing for your player was even better. I can’t recall being able to choose so many colors for so many tiny details. They let you customize your batting gloves, shoes, socks, stirrups, helmet, arm sleeves and so much more. Not just one solid color per item but at least two or three on each item. For example the batting glove. I believe you could have four separate colors if that is what you wanted. From the fingers, knuckles, palm and the top of the glove. Then came the position you wanted to play. I chose to play my second favorite position SS. I was then drafted by the Oakland Athletics organization and placed on their AA team, Midland Rock Hounds.

What seemed like an easy first two or three series turned into an absolute nightmare. I was batting between .285 -. 310 and averaged 2 RBIs a game. Then all of suddenly I couldn’t even hit the ball and for the next 3 series I batted a buck fifteen. My training points were improving but it seemed like my player wasn’t seeing the results. I decided to try two more series and if I didn’t see a significant enough improvement, I was going to try to become a pitcher. After six games my avg. did improve but not enough to make me want to stick around. Plus as a baseball player, I really enjoyed my time on the mound so this convinced me even more to become a pitcher.

After editing myself all over again, I was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and played for the Bowie BaySox. Luckily for me, the Orioles have a terrible organization and no glorious pitching prospects. I have almost completed a full season with the Baysox and have a few complaints. I started out pitching mainly during middle relief. I dominated who ever I faced and through my first 8 outings, I had an ERA of 1.58 with 35 Ks. I was then called up to become a starter and after my first five starts my ERA raised to 2.35 and by then I accumulated roughly 60 Ks. I felt like  I was going on the right track and I was easily accomplishing my training goals. Then all of suddenly I received a letter from the coach that I would be bumped down to the bullpen because one of the starters was back off the DL. A little pissed and annoyed, I understood and accepted  it. Couple more weeks in the pen without any major blow ups, I was then called back up again to the starting role. I once again accomplished my goals for that period of time and still no call up to AAA. I figured well now that I am a starter, I will have to just complete my goals again and will finally be moving up. How wrong I was. More than half way through the season, even making the All- Star squad, my ERA was only 2.59 and already at 90 + Ks. I get another letter after training period ends and it reads ” You have the talent to play at the next level but your numbers are not good enough for us to call you up just yet.” Really? Are you kidding me?!? Here are my exact numbers after 8 starts. My win loss record was 6-1, ERA as a starter, 2.20 with 57 strikeouts and 18 BB. I was averaging roughly 6 2/3 IP and only given up 2 home runs! Once again I let it go and plowed through my next 4 opponents. Now with four weeks left in the season I was then demoted to the bullpen again because of my overall performance was not up to par. At this point I wanted to quit or figure out what I was doing wrong. How can someone who puts up these types of numbers in AA not be promoted. I was the best pitcher on the team just by numbers and some how i the number five pitcher. I boasted the best win-loss record and most strikeouts. But I am not worthy or proven enough to be called up? Absolutely terrible by The Show and needs to be fixed. That one loss wasn’t even my fault but by rule it is. So now I am in the bullpen with about two series to go and hopefully during winter ball I will become promoted.

A few more complaints I have as a pitcher was the obvious defensive blunders. I understand that I am in AA ball and the players behind me are not all star candidates but when you watch a player not hustle to the ball to make a routine catch or take their time to throw the ball, this gets very annoying and frustrating. It could be the simple fact that EA didn’t want to make the game too easy and make the player have to pitch out of tough situations. I understand that but at least make the player have to pitch out of legit reasons like a solid hit to the outfield and not because the fielders “purposely” gave up on the ball. There was an instance where the ball was hit directing toward the first baseman and he didn’t even make an attempt to play the ball but it instead rolled to the outfield. Another instance was a double play opportunity. I induced a ground ball to the SS and instead of making the flip to the second baseman, the SS decides to run to 2nd base and then proceed to throw to first. By the time he got to the bag, the oncoming runner was safe and then the toss to first was about three steps late. Maybe this was a glitch but whatever it was, I had to then pitch with a man on second and first with one out.

Overall the game is very good and despite my complaints, this shouldn’t hinder baseball fans to go out and by this game. Every game has its downside but The Show has so much positive factors that these little moans of mine are meaningless. I really enjoyed the home run derby and it is especially fun watching the players reactions to 450 ft. blasts. I have yet to play online but will in due time and give you a short synopsis on that.

National League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

The West

1.) Los Angeles Dodgers ( 97- 65 )

Looks like both L.A. teams will be winning the west this season as the Dodgers are loaded again. Probably the most interesting divisions to watch last year, this year shouldn’t be any different. This being said, expect the Dodgers to be atop and will be the second best team in the NL. The young talent the Dodgers have mentored, Matt Kemp,  Ronnie Belliard, James Lonley and Russell Martin, will be this teams foundation and do not expect them to be traded anytime soon. Then there is the always controversial Manny Ramirez. He has announced that this will be his last year as a Dodger but don’t be concerned because despite Manny wanting to leave Boston, he always put up great numbers. His power numbers have decreased but this is expected since this will be his eighteenth season. The loss of Juan Pierre to the Whitesox has hurt this team bench even with the replacement of Reed Johnson. Johnson does have the ability to play all three outfield position but he doesn’t carry a solid stick like Pierre. Ausmus will be back again surprisingly everyone with an impressive .295 avg. Once again though, his main job is to mentor starting catching R. Martin.

With Randy Wolf leaving L.A, the Dodgers moved up 2009 pick up Vicente Padilla to full-time starter. Padilla has had a roller coster career while with the Phillies and Rangers and then mid-way 2009, was released by Texas. During his few starts with the Dodgers, Padilla went 4-0 and accumulated an ERA of 3.20. With a full season ahead, expect this year to be his best due to a solid offense and solid defense behind him. Number 1 and 2 pitchers might not have the most impressive win/loss record but they both are punch-out machines. 2009 saw Billingsley and Kershaw combined to strikeout a total of 364 batters while 3 and 4 pitchers struck out 97.  With all that being said, this bullpen is what will separate the Dodgers from the Rockies. Lead by flame thrower Jonathan Broxton, this bullpen is solid from middle relief, setup and then the closer. Broxton accumulated more K’s than any of the 3-5 starting pitchers.

Hiroki Kuroda will be the player to watch as he was the only consistent starting pitcher to struggle last year. He will not strike out 7 or 8 a game but he doesn’t surrender many hits. Being the number three starter, he cannot have another mediocre year with 4 and 5 pitcher entering their first full season.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) C. Kershaw- 16-9

2.) C. Billingsley- 15-7

3.) H. Kuroda- 8-9

4.) V. Padilla- 13-10

5.) J. McDonald- 7-8

2.) Colorado Rockies ( 94- 68 )

Great organization, young prosperous talent, finished in the top ten in hitting and pitching in 09′, this team has it all and I expect them to be in the playoffs for the second straight year.  No need to go out and replace depleting players, the Rockies extended contracts and signed players to boost their bench. Typically playing 3rd, newcomer Melvin Mora will be used as a utility player in the infield and outfield. Mora spent majority of his career with the Orioles and though not the biggest producer in runs or compiled the highest batting avg., Mora will be good enough to see plenty of playing time. Another new face that will compete for the job behind the dish, Miguel Olivo. Looking as his numbers, Olivio is not very consistent as his batting avg. fluctuates throughout his career. One thing that seemed to stand out is his power. With an impressive slg. percentage of .490 in 09′, Olivio also knocked 23 dingers. Thirty-six year old Todd Helton is still putting up impressive numbers as he batted an outstanding .325 and drove in 86 runs last season. Though there is a slump in Helton’s home-run mumbers, the Rockies will still have plenty of power throughout the line-up One thing this team could focus on during spring training is patients at the plate as they finished 2nd in total strikeouts. If there is a reduction, this offense will once again rank in the top 10 and could possible break the top five.

All of the Rockies starting five last season ended up with 10 or more wins and 2010 will be double-digit friendly again. Jason Marquis has found a new team in Washington but a new healthy Jeff Francis who missed the entire 2009 season will take his spot. In 2007 Francis posted a 17-9 record and being a lefty this will give Colorado two southpaws’ instead of one. Unfortunately being out a whole year could place Francis as the number five starter but with distinguished resume than Hammel or Rosa, Francis may end up third.

People always seem to overlook the bullpen and to me this is one of the most important pieces of the ball club. Great starting pitchers can be ruined by a terrible pen. An offense able to put up 7 to 9 runs game won’t mean anything if the pen gives up matching numbers, I.E. Rangers (05-08). The Rockies main problem going into the post season was not the overall quality but the youth. Not being able to hold the lead against the Phillies during last years postseason, the youth of the bullpen didn’t give up tons of runs in the late innings but gave up runs during clutch moments. This being the sophomore season for a couple of these pitchers, hopefully the Rockies will make a deeper run into October.  Player to watch is Jeff Francis. His 2008 season wasn’t great but three previous season Jeff accumulated double-digit wins. With a better squad than 05, 06 and 07, expect Jeff to have 10 + victories with an ERA slightly above 3.00

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) U. Jiminez- 17-10

2.) A. Cook- 15-11

3.) J. De La Rosa- 16-7

4.) J. Hammel- 13-12

5. ) J. Francis- 14-8

3.) San Francisco Giants ( 85 – 77 )

One of the deepest teams in the league, the outfield and infield have players that could rotate in and out daily and still be competitive. New left fielder Mark DeRosa and 1st baseman Aubrey Huff will make an immediate impact and provide a much needed spark for this offense. Disregarding the 2009 season, Huff has always carried a solid bat and maintain a reliable glove. Surprisingly Huff might be a very underrated power hitter too, hitting over 20 home-runs six times during his career. What may be odd about a team so deep is that none of the players batted in a 100 runs nor stole 20 bases in 09′. With very few changes overall, the team chemistry should be better and their batting numbers will improve. I still don’t believe S.F. is good enough to win the wild card as they are no where near talented as the Cubs, Braves or Rockies.

What hurt the Giants last year was the poor performance from Barry Zito. Being the number two starter in 09, Zito has never seemed to return to his 2002 form. With Matt Cain performing shockingly well last season, Zito will now drop down to the number 3 slot. Of course this team is lead by “The Freak”, Tim Lincecum. Three years in, Lincecum has compiled a 41-17 record with a microscopic ERA of 2.90. Now with Cain performing well and Lincecum being himself, the Giants need Zito to become a dependable starter again. The end of the rotation does show upside but still young and a lot of refining to do, their impact won’t be enough to get the Giants to the next level. Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, and Sergio Romo will be the backbone of the pen. After two straight successful years as closer, Wilson again is forecasted to put up matching numbers. Affeldt was one of the best set up men and him being a left-handed makes him that much more valuable to the Giants.

Keep an eye on Barry Zito because his 2010 performance is critical to keeping the Giants in contention. If Zito can win 13-15 games with stellar performances from Tim and Cain, S.F will have a great 1-3 if they do make the playoffs. Also watch Travis Ishikawa, the backup for 1st baseman Aubrey Huff. Travis has shown signs of being a 1st stringer the past two season and with the length of baseball season, expect to see a late season battle for 2011 starter.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) T. Lincecum- 20-8

2.) M. Cain- 16-11

3.) B. Zito- 14-10

4.) J. Sanchez- 10-10

5.) M. Bumgarner- 6-12

4.) San Diego Padres ( 79 – 83 )

Padres have a good mix of veterans and amateurs but not a good mix of overall talent. Though competitive the few past seasons, they haven’t been able to keep stride with the Giants, Rockies and Dodgers. Yes their youth is good but this young squad isn’t taking enough strides this organization would like. None of the Padres batted over .280 nor knocked in over 100 runs. Adrian Gonzalez who has hit 30 + home runs the past three season did fall one run short of reaching 100 rbi’s and struck out 30 times less last year. S.D. does have a solid defense and do have players than can run the base pads. My main concern with this team is what should the Padres do with their talent? If they wait and the players just become avg. big leaguers, than they will have to dump a lot of players to just gain one great player. If they players do become good, do they dump the veterans and rebuild again while sitting at the bottom of the West? I don’t see this team making any major strides due to a very low payroll and a limited budget.

The rotation does show promise but with Jake Peavy leaving midway to the Whitesox, they do not have any true leadership. Chris Young will be their ace and considering how mediocre this staff is now, he is a good number one. Other than last year, Young has posted winning seasons and two of them winning over ten games. Winningest pitcher last year, Kevin Correria will be number two starter and long time Whitesox pitcher Jon Garland will be number three. Correria and Garland have the skill to help the Padres to finish at the .500 mark. Closer Heath Bell took over ex closer Trevor Hoffman without missing a beat. Saving 42 games out of 48, Bell should put up around the same numbers this season with a lower ERA. The rest of the bullpen shouldn’t seem an overwhelming amount of innings pitch, but if they do get in trouble during games then Bell might be seeing some early action.

Player to watch is Tony Gwynn Jr. Last year owning the starting role in CF, Gwynn’s lack of  respectable offensive numbers has him now fighting for the job with Scott Hairston. Hairston who was with the Padres the first half of 2009 was traded to Oakland. While with the Padres his numbers were impressive, almost batting .300 with ten home runs. While in Oakland, Hairston saw a drop in numbers. Now back in S.D, expect a career season and even a spot on the all-star list.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) Chris Young- 13-8

2.) K. Correria- 13-9

3.) J. Garland- 10-12

4.) C. Richard- 11-9

5.) M. Latos- 5-9

5.) Arizona Diamondbacks ( 77 – 85 )

With the new six-year, 51 million dollar deal with B.J. Upton, the Arizona Diamondbacks have assured themselves at least one all-star player. Now if Arizona had another $200 + million they could become the Yankees of the N.L, but they don’t. They instead have talent that would give the Kansas City Royals a run for their money. Third baseman Mark Reynolds had over 100 RBI’s and 44 home-runs during 09 but also lead the league in total strikeouts with 223. Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves will be playing 2nd base this year for the Backs’ and boasts the offense.  Kelly was usually a middle of the line up type of guy for the Braves but now with Arizona in Chase Field, expect him to be the # 3 or 4. The rest of the starting players are past their youth breakout seasons and will either slowly get better or become stagnant. The bench does have talent as people should pay attention to Gerarado Parra, Ryan Roberts and first year rookie Cole Gillespie. Parra who was the Diamondbacks starting LF,  batted .290 and drove in 60 RBI in 2009 will now be a utility player  in the outfield. Like Parra, Roberts was the main starter at 2B but with Kelly Johnson being implemented to the team, Roberts will now have to work his way back as a starter. One thing stood out about this team was their speed. Mark Reynolds and Upton both had over 20 + steals while Young had 10 +. If this team can get on base more, expect more run production and more wins.

With Brandon Webb being out all of 2009, this really hurt Arizona win at least half of their games. Now with a Webb back in the rotation, expect an extra 15-18 wins. Also with Webb back and Dan Haren being the number two starter, Arizona will have the 3rd best 1-2 starters in the N.L.W.  Only going 14-10 last season, Haren still had an ERA of 3.14 and a whopping 223 strikeouts. Edwin Jackson will be a viable number 3 that showed upside and if he can win double digits, this will be another reason the D-Backs will reach .500. The inexperience of newly aquired Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks 2009 Minor League Player of the Year, Billy Buckner, will have to be groomed a few more years before any serious push toward the playoffs can be made.

The bullpen isn’t quite there yet but with a healthy closer in Chad Qualls and a rising set up man, this bullpen’s performance this year shouldn’t surprise anyone as they will have their up and down moments. B.J Upton new contract is most deserved for the young stud, but will all this money go to his head and affect his performance? If he cannot live up to the $51 million, than the Diamondbacks will be cutting a lot of future talent to regain stability.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) Brandon Webb – 17-7

2.) D. Haren- 15-8

3.) E. Jackson- 13-11

4.) I. Kennedy- 5-9

5.) B. Buckner- 8-11

National League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 1, 2010 at 9:13 am

The Central

1.) Chicago Cubs ( 89- 73 )

Even though the Cubs finished second last year, they played very mediocre for the amount of talent on the field and ran into a lot of injuries too. Projected to finish first, the Cubs could never seem to find a rhythm and due to the lack of overall powerhouse teams in the NLC, Chicago was luckily to only end up 7 1/2 games behind the Cardinals. 2010, the Cubs look poised to win the weak NLC as the Cardinals seem to be rebuilding slowly. One of the lower run producing teams in 09′, LF Alfonso Soriano and CF Marlon Byrd will need to be more effective producers to help this team generate more runs. Xavier Nady was attained and will be rotated in RF with Kosuke Fukudome, especially when there is a lefty on the mound. The infield is the same and were the main big bats as 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez concluded the year with the highest batting avg. First baseman Derek Lee lead in RBI, HR and runs, while Ryan Theriot had the most hits and stolen bases.

The starting five isn’t too shabby either but 2009 might have spoken otherwise.Though the main star pitchers ended up with records above .500, the overall quality was less than spectacular. Ace starter, Carlos Zambrano, didn’t reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2002. Nevertheless for being older, Zambrano still has a couple good seasons left in him and expect him to return to his younger self. Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster will be 2-3 and need to also rebound as they too saw drop off from their 08 to 09 year. Carlos Marmol will be one of the top closer this year as he put up phenomenal numbers for the short amount of save opportunities he had in 2009. Now with no one else vying for the closer role, Marmol will be the go to man and expect him to end up with 35 + saves this season.

Player to watch is Alfonso Soriano. Soriano is older and like older players, he is coming off surgery. He needs to really have a great season to keep the Cubs afloat because his overall play really affects the teams overall performance.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) Carlos Zambrano- 17-9
2.) T. Lilly- 15-7
3.) R. Dempster- 16-12
4.) R. Wells- 9-4
5.) T. Gorzelanny- 6-7

2.) St. Louis Cardinals ( 84 – 78)

You would think a team that consist of Albert Puljos, Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick, and Yadier Molina would be in first in a weak NLC. Well not this team as the Cardinals lost a lot of talent from the 2009 to 2010 transition, especially in the infield. Mark DeRosa, Troy Glaus, Kahlil Green, and Rick Ankiel all departed and even though they are not significant all star players, their minor contributes helped propel St. Louis into first place. So instead of going out and shelling big bucks for a all star replacement player, the Cardinals went the smart route and promoted their younger studs into now full time starters. Only starting 17 games last season, 3rd baseman David Freese has the starting job. CF Ankiels separation from the team allows Colby Rasmus a clear path as the starter of the 2010 season. Even though all these young players are good, they all haven’t really showed that they can play great all year and this might be concerning for the Cardinals as they have heavily invested in Puljos and Holliday. The Red Birds are not very deep as 2nd base Skip Schumaker will be playing a huge roll as a utility player. 3rd string Tyler Greene will probably see the most playing time as a reserve as he is listed in three infield position as the alternate player.

The Cardinals starting rotation would be pretty competitive in the AL and should be dominant in the NL. Brad Penny will be new to the rotation and should fit in the rotation as a strong number 4. Former starting pitcher and now closer, Ryan Franklin will be back again as closer and after a stellar performance last year, expect the same numbers. Just like the Chicago Cubs, the rest of the bullpen is good enough to keep this team in contention and possibly gain a the wild card spot.

One of the most underrated players the last three years, Skip Schuamker will be a player to watch because if he can again produce another .300 batting avg season, his stock will rise and teams will be coming at him hard to steal him away.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) A. Wainwright- 20-10
2.) C. Carpenter- 17-6
3.) K. Lohse- 8-13
4.) B. Penny- 11-12
5.) K. McClellan- 8-11

3.) Milwaukee Brewers ( 81-81)

Competitive the last four years, the Brewers are finally become a team that will soon completely break out of their shell and win this division. Right now, they are not just at that point as they wait for a few couple year rookies to gain their stride. One four-year vet, Carlos Gomez, will be a new face at CF with the exit of Mike Cameron (Boston). This might be the biggest replacement for the Brewers as Cameron was one of their big sluggers. Another double-digit home-run producer that left too was SS J.J. Hardy ( Twins) and this will slow down their chances to win this division this year. The younger replacements do have speed and upside that will become prevalent in the near future.

There will be a new signer caller this year as Gregg Zaun has signed a one year contract with the Brewers. For someone at his age, experience comes but with a one year deal, his main roll will be help bring up the 2nd and 3rd string catchers, George Kottaras and Angel Salome. Craig Counsell age has finally caught up to him and even though he had a very good season in 09, new faces have been able to knock Counsel back to a reserve. Randy Wolf (Dodgers) and Doug Davis (Diamondbacks) will be two new starting pitchers and both have had a good 2009 season and should make this rotation better. Milwaukee still needs to get a true ace because now any of these 1-4 could probably be a number one in this rotation.

Closer Trevor Hoffman’s first year with the Brewers was probably one of his best years as a closer but now being 42, 2010 might not look so dominant as he is slowly losing steam off his fastball. 1st baseman Prince Fielder will be the player to watch as he absolutely had a scorching 2009 season. Driving in over 140 runs while smashing 46 home runs in his fifth year, Fielder’s 2010 looks even better and expect to see numbers that could break records.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) Y. Gallardo- 14-9
2.) R. Wolf- 16-11
3.) D. Davis- 9-6
4.) J. Suppan- 7-13
5.) M. Parra- 9-12

4.) Houston Astros (76- 86)

Even with new head coach Brad Mills, this might be the last time to see the Astros at the middle of the pack as their two main stars are reaching their peak, Lance and Oswalt. Lance in his last year of his contract might not be with the Astros next year and if he wants to leave, you might see another less than par performance this year. Oswalt, who had a rocky 2009 will need a good 2010 outing or a trade will be in hand. Hopefully with the signing of Brett Myers, this will help relieve Oswalt’s pressure of carrying the load. During the eight years will the Phillies, Myers was able to rack up a 73-63 record with a 4.40 ERA. Now in a weaker NLC, expect better numbers but not significantly great due to a very poor offensive producing team. Houston ranked 27th in total offense production and 24th in overall pitching.

Along with Myers from the Phillies came 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz. Though he has never batted over. 300 in his career, Feliz has always been a consistent RBI producer, which is must need for this Houston team. 6 time all – star M. Tejada has left and went back to the Orioles, thus opening the SS for Tommy Manzella. Entering his 2nd year, this sounds like he has a chance to make a big impact for Houston in the future, unfortunately he is already 27 and was average player at best in the minors. Astros know they are not going anywhere fast for the next 3 or four years, expect them to use Tommy Manzella in a package deal with Oswalt for a big name player down the road.

One upside of the 2009 season was the emergence of speedy outfield Michael Bourne. Bourne stole a total of 61 bases last season which dropped him in 2nd behind Jacoby Ellsbury. Expect 2010 numbers to be better as M. Bourne has been working on being a more consistent hitter. The rotation is better and if Wandy can work on winning on the road, expect career numbers this year. Astros signed two closers to give them a good back nine as both Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon will battle out the spot during spring training. The rest of the bullpen showed signs of dominance but then showed more signs of disappoint all last year. I don’t see their numbers improving much but I do not expect to see them rack up as many innings this season. Player to watch is Matt Lindstrom because of currently he is the closer but will his inexperience force him to give up his job to a more seasoned Lyon.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) R. Oswalt- 16-9
2.) W. Rodriguiez -14-13
3.) B. Myers- 13-10
4.) B. Norris- 7-6
5.) F. Paulino 6-11

5.) Cincinnati Reds ( 72-90)

A team that may have a more of a better 1-9 than the Astros, their starting five isn’t near as strong. Reds ace, Aaron Harang has performed terrible the last two years with a combined record of 12 and 31 and an skyrocketing ERA of 4.49. Second out of the gate Bronson Arroyo has pitched well as he had another year with more than 10 wins. He just hasn’t been able to piece together a great season though as his losses almost matches his victories every year. His hits allowed decreased from 08 to 09 but so did his strikeouts. One thing the Reds have to look forward to is one of their biggest prospect, Aroldis Chapman will be making his season debut as the number five starter. Being the only left hander in the rotation, Chapman been clocked over 100 mph and possesses a nasty slider.

Two new position players been added to the left side of the field, LF Jonny Gomes and SS Orlando Cabrera. Gomes, not know for his bat but more for his glove, will help solidify the outfield play. Cabrera has always put up around 80 RBI and with a career .275 batting avg., look to see these numbers while with the Reds. I don’t expect this team to make great strides this season and will stay under the .500 win mark.

Just like Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals, Aroldis Chapman will become of the face of this team and he will be the player to watch. Probably be rocked early in his career, hopefully with the right support and coaching, Chapman is posed to be the next ace for many years to come.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) A. Harrang- 8-14
2.) B. Arroyo- 10-16
3.) J. Cueto- 8-8
4.) H. Bailey- 5-10
5.) A. Chapman- 8-13

6.) Pittsburgh Pirates ( 106- 56 )

Despite all the young faces the Pirates keep bringing in, they never seem able to make any type of serious run. One game short of losing 100 games, the Pirates will reach that mark this year. Only one player of the 8 fielding players showed any signs of being a future star and that 2009 rookie sensation is Andrew McCutchen. Andrew finished second amongst Pirate hitters and do not be shocked to not see a sophomore slump this year. No one finished close to 100 RBI nor 100 runs in 09. Combined with the lack of runs & poor batting average, the Pirates finished dead last in overall hitting. These numbers will not change this season despite the landing of 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamura and 1st baseman Jeff Clement.

Pirates pitching ranked 25th overall and with no new faces in the starting rotation, expect a total ERA to be above 4.00. 2010 starters combined record for 09 was a dismal 39-53. Though being a year more experience for these players, the wins might increase but with a terrible bullpen and a washed up closer in O. Dotel, the losses will rise too. The bench will mainly consist of Delwyn Young, Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby. These three players will see a lot of playing time and could even fight to become a starter. Overall this team needs a lot of work and at a snail’s pace this team is going at, do not expect to see them with a winning percentage over. 500 for a very long time.

Watch left fielder Lasting Milledge. Though a little more seasoned than McCutchen, he has a chance to become one of top players for the Pirates. If Lasting and Andrew can become stars, than this will be great for the Pirates to build around.

Starting Pitching Win/Losses

1.) P. Maholm- 10-15
2.) R. Ohlendorf- 9-13
3.) Z. Duke- 13-15
4.) C. Morton- 4-8
5.) K. Hart- 6-11

National League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

The East

1.) Philadelphia Phillies ( 99-63)

This will be your NL champs once again as the Philadelphia Phillies are hands down the best team. Absolutely loaded at every possible position, this team has leadership, speed, power, defense and pitching that will lead them deep into the playoffs. The Phillies know that they are a very good ball club and want to return to the World Series where they will most likely will face the NY Yankees again. One big move that will help them was the signing of 17 game winner Roy Halladay. Already being loaded with left handers, the Phillies needed to sign to right-handed pitching that was going to help carry this ball club back to The Fall Classic. Roy being added to the rotation gives the Phillies the best 1-5 combination in the Bigs.

Departing the 2008 World Series Champs will be 3rd basemen Pedro Feliz (Astros), the Phills, went out and picked up 2009 Gold Glove winner, Placido Polanco. Polanco, who has played 2nd base the past four years has been used mainly as infield utility player. With 2nd base being occupied by 2009 all-star Chase Utley, Polanco will replace Feliz as the 3rd baseman.

The achilles hill for this team in 2009 was their bullpen. Closer Brad Lidge return to his old form as he blew 11 saves after previously being perfect in 2008. If Lidge struggles again this season, the Phillies can either go to their new signee Danys Baez or Ryan Madson. Player to watch will be starting pitcher Jaime Moyer. Moyer will be entering his 24th season and should be intriguing to see how he will hold up. 2009 saw significant drops in innings pitched, Ks, and games but increase in ERA, HR, and WHIP. Will Moyer be able to last all season or will Kyle Kendrick be rotated in?

Starting Pitcher Win/Loss

1.) C. Hamles- 15-10
2.) R. Halladay- 20-9
3.) J. Blanton- 14-11
4.) J.A. Happ- 11-5
5.) J. Moyer- 9-6

2.) New York Mets ( 86-76)

This is will be the year that the Mets do not choke away their season. Loaded with speed and consistent hitting, this team should be on the heals of the Phillies majority of the summer. Catcher Rod Barajas, LF Jason Bay, and CF Gary Matthews will be the three main new faces in Mets uniform. Gary Matthews now is projected to be a backup player but expect him to start CF as Carlos Beltran is still recovering from knee surgery that might push his return till May. Jason Bay will add a much-needed bat and defense to left field now that Gary Sheffield is a free agent. Due to the loss of 2009 catcher Brian Schneider, the Mets went out and signed Barajas to a 1 year deal. Barajas isn’t a top-tier hitter but combined with defense along with C. Coste veteran leadership, this should make for a great catcher combo.

1-5 rotation didn’t changed at all as Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine will be the first three out of the gate. All three of these pitchers had mediocre years last season and will need to return back to their normal forms soon or else they might be seeing their last couple years in a Mets uniform. Strong bullpen is always a main key to being successful and the Mets have one especially with top-tier closer Francisco Rodriguez who is looking to bounce back from an average year. If K-Rod can save 55 + games, this Mets team will be in the Wild Card hunt at the end of the season. Player to watch will be Carlos Beltran. Beltran has the capabilities to bounce back after surgery but will he able to maintain his consistency knowing that very talent Gary Matthews is sitting behind him vying for the starting roll.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.). Santana- 18-9
2.) M. Pelfrey- 15-11
3.) J. Maine- 17-13
4.) O. Perez- 12-10
5.) F. Nieve- 6-5

3.) Atlanta Braves ( 84-78)

Figuring out which team would end up two and three in this division will be close. The Braves have experience and talent but players with a lot of miles on them. Atlanta went out and grabbed a couple good starters, LF Melky Cabrera ( Yankees) and 1st baseman Tony Glaus (St. Louis). On paper this team overall looks like a playoff contender but with the Phillies being the same divison, I do not see the Braves coming anywhere close. Other than M. Cabrera, there really isn’t anyone one this team that stands out with that “wow factor.” Chipper Jones is past his prime as majority of his 2009 numbers dropped off from 2008 and I do not expect them to return in 2010. The rest of the team other than McCann and Cabrera are B-C type players that will produce but as whole won’t be enough to contend. The Braves do have a pretty decent bench as they have two good utility players, Omar Infante and Eric Hinske.

I look at Atlanta’s starting 5 and to me there isn’t a true #1 on this team. Though their starting pitcher, Jair Jurrjens, is young and shows a lot of true potential, his numbers don’t seem to overwhelm me to consider him great. Twelve year vet. Derek Lowe will be a good number two but he is getting older and won’t look like the Lowe from Boston. The Braves picked up closer Billy Wagner who should fit in perfectly with this team. Suprisingly for being 39, Wagner is still consider a top tier closer as he still possesses a 95 + fastball.

Atlanta always had a decent bullpen and this one isn’t any different though they have two pitchers that recently have come off Tommy John surgery, Wagner and Moylan. Player to watch is Melky Cabrera as he will be carrying most of the load for this team. Young and skillful, Melky will become the new face of the Braves organization .

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J. Jurrjens- 13-9
2.) D. Lowe- 14-11
3.) T. Hanson- 11-9
4.) T. Hudson- 13-6
5.) K. Kawakami- 7-12

4.) Florida Marlins ( 78-84)

This team pretty much describes consistency as the Marlins pitching and hitting were not great nor bad. Despite finishing second last year and only six games behind the Phillies, the lack of substantial offseason moves will drop the Marlins back into fourth. All the starters and second stringers are exactly the same but with the type of major offseason moves the Braves and Mets made, won’t be enough to maintain at the top of the East. Luckily for this Florida team, that isn’t a bad thing as they have ton of talent that will finally be emerging throughout the whole season. Majority of the Marlins offseason moves were signing these players to longer contracts, especially the pitching staff.

If you look at the names of these pitchers, non of them will probably ring a bell to you but three out of five of them ended up with records above .500. During spring training the Marlins will have two outstanding future aces competing for a spot in the rotation, Rick VandenHurk and Andrew Miller. The bullpen is average at best as closer Leo Nunez seem to struggle most of last season mainly due to lack of experience as a closer. Now with Matt Lindstrom gone (Astros), Nunez is the go to closer and should become more comfortable and improve his overall numbers.

Hanley Ramirez is the player to watch as he led the Marlins in every major hitting category other than coming second in homeruns to Dan Uggla. Entering his six season, expect this numbers to get better and for all you fantasy owners, Hanley is a must pick up.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J. Johnson- 18-9
2.) R. Nolasco- 14-11
3.) A. Sanchez- 7-13
4.) S. West- 8-10
5.) C. Volstad- 5-7

5.) Washington Nationals ( 66- 96)

Nationals need a lot of work and need to do it quickly as their main veterans are reaching their peak. The Nats’ do you have some younger players, especially in the outfield with four-year vet Elijah Dukes, five-year vet, Nyjer Morgan and the most experience player Josh Willingham. Though these three players have put up matching numbers throughout their careers, they don’t seem to show much upside later on down the road. To solve this problem and to gain some viable leadership, Washington went out and signed fourteen time all-star Ivan Rodriguez and 2002 World Series champ, Adam Kennedy. Where ever Ivan goes, teams tend to improve, I.E helping the Fl. Marlins win the World Series in 2003. Then he help bring Detroit from the bottom of the AL Central to consistent contenders from 04-07. Pudge has always been a great catcher but the last couple of years his numbers have dropped noticeably thus him bouncing around from the Yankees (08′) Houston & Texas (09′) and now with the Nationals.

The biggest move the Nationals made was first round & first pick in Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State University. Two years with SDSU, Strasburg had an ERA of 1.44 along with a total of 328 K’s. The main question going into this season for Washington may be calling up Strasburg from AAA to the majors. He is going to be the face of this team and I believe the Nat’s should wait a year or two and make sure that his arm is fully developed along with enough experience to be able to carry this team. The Nationals need to draft and sign more talented players to build around Strasburg before throwing him out there to carry the load. Jason Marquis will now be part of the starting rotation but his numbers are slowly declining.

Now being with the Nats, do not expect his production anywhere near his previous years. The rest of the rotation is awful especially with one of the more promising pitching Scott Olsen being a bust. Matt Capps will battle out to be the new closer as he went from one terrible team, Pittsburgh Pirates, to another. If Capps cannot succeed as a go to closer, than Brian Bruney will be next in line. S. Strasburg will be the player to watch regardless if he stays in the minors or not. Touted as the best pitcher to ever be drafted, the face of the total organization lies on him. If called up in 2010, his influence on the team should be noted because if he struggles than more pressure will be put on the rest of the team.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J. Marquis- 11-14
2.) J. Lannan- 7-16
3.) S. Olsen- 9-12
4.) J. Martin-5-11
5.) G. Mock 4-9

American League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

The West

1.) Los Angeles Angels ( 95 – 67 )

Don’t expect anything different from this Angels team as they will once again win this division for the fourth straight year. This team is exactly the same other than the third baseman, Brandon Wood, who is going to replace the departed Chone Figgins. This team offense ranked 2nd overall in the majors in total production, just behind the NY Yankees. Though they didn’t live on the deep ball, they accumulated the highest batting avg. along with the second highest RBI intake. What even makes this team better is now they have a great DH in Hideki Matsui who besides brings a very solid bat but a solid glove too if needed to replace left fielder Juan Rivera.

If the Angels could do anything during the offseason to make their team even better, they did by picking up two outstanding starting pitchers, Scott Kazmir and Joe Pineiro. Though they will fill up the 4 and 5 spots, they would be most teams # 1 or 2 starters. One thing the Angels need to hope for is a better year from pitcher Ervin Santana as he is projected to be their ace despite going 9-9 last season. Angels have one of the top ten bullpens in the league, especially when Brian Fuentes is on the mound. Fuentes lead the majors in saves with 48 while only blowing 7.

Player to watch will be Ervin Santana. Ervin needs to bounce back strong this season if he wants to help the Angels make a late October run and help knock off the Yankees.

Starting Pitcher Win/Loss

1.) E. Santana: 16-8
2.) J. Weaver: 17-11
3.) J. Saunders: 15-10
4.) S. Kazmir: 14-11
5.) J. Pineiro: 11-10

2.) Seattle Mariners ( 90 – 72)

What could surprise a lot of people is what great offseason moves the Mariners made. Picking up Cliff Lee from the Phillies now gives Seattle one of the best 1-3 starters. Right now the projected starters will be Felix Herdandez, Cliff Lee, Erik Bedard, Ryan-Rowland Smith and Ian Snell. If this holds true, this will be a very outstanding ball club as long as Seattle can become a better hitting team. Overall they were one of the worst run and RBI producing teams in the majors. This year with the signing of new 3rd baseman Chone Figgins ( Angels), LF Milton Bradley ( Rangers) and 1st baseman Casey Kotchman (Braves), the Mariners should improve hitting significantly. The Mariners are surprisingly deep with a lot of players that should make great contributions when needed. A healthy Ken Griffey Jr. at DH will only add more speed and power to the lineup and with the signing of Mike Sweeney should bring some more veteran leadership once called up from the minors.

A good bullpen, nothing spectacular but good enough to sustain consistency and competitiveness in the West. Player to watch will Rob Johnson, Mariners catcher. Known for his defensive abilities, Johnson will be recovering from offseason surgery and due to his lack of offensive productivity, will now have to battle out backup catcher Adam Moore for the starters roll.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) F. Hernandez- 19-7
2.) C. Lee- 16-11
3.) E. Bedard- 13-10
4.) R. Rowland- Smith- 11-7
5.) I. Snell- 9-9

3.) Texas Rangers ( 85 – 77)

This Rangers team shows a lot of promise due to a lot of very good outstanding young talent. Though the main problem I see with Texas is lack of consistency. They are a great hitting and fielding team but tend to go in a lot of slumps at horrible times. If one thing that might help with the hitting will be the new DH Valdimir Guerrero from the Angels. Up in age, he will bring leadership and still a big bat to this lineup, especially with the loss of Milton Bradley. If age seems to catch up with Guerrero and he becomes injury riddled, David Murphy will be an outstanding backup player.

After one of their better starts last season the Rangers same old nemesis came around and prevented them from making it to the playoffs, pitching. Despite the loss of age-old veteran Kevin Millwood, they Rangers were able to snatch up the young stud of Rich Harden who will most likely become their ace. Harden, who is a hard throwing right hander shows a lot of promise with this Rangers ball club due to good success with Oakland and the Cubs. If Harden can work on keeping the ball in the park, he and 2nd man Scott Feldman will be an amazing 1-2 combo to start out of the gate. Now the Rangers 3-5 pitcher are young and talented but will they fold like they did last year? Combined they have a total of 8 years of experience while Feldman and Harden have 12.

The Rangers have a good closer in Francisco but he follows like the rest of the team and can be very inconsistent in his performance. If the Rangers can find some consistency and gain much-needed experience in the pitching department, a couple years from now they will be your ALW champs. Player to watch will be speedster Julio Borbon. Borbon shows a lot of positive attributes to his game as he tore up minor league ball. With a full season in the Majors ahead of him, will he be able to keep up with the big boys?

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) R. Harden- 16-9
2.) S. Feldman 18-11
3.) D. Holland- 14-10
4.) B. McCarthy- 10-8
5.) T. Hunter- 7-6

4.) Oakland Athletics ( 76- 88)

This team is young and very average right now. They might be the youngest team in baseball as only two of the starting position players have more than five years of experience, Coco Crisp and Mark Ellis. This great for the future but not for the present. You will see a lot of stars emerge this season from Oakland and possibly be trade for bigger talent as other teams try to bump down in age. The Athletics will give all three other teams in the ALW headaches as they will too probably be playing huge spoiler role in hopes for the Rangers and Mariners to win the West. The A’s do not have a very deep bench so if injuries become relevant, than this season could get even worse.

Pitching wise, you have newly acquired ace Ben Sheets than a ton of second year “vets.” This is good for the A’s due to the ability to turn young talent into stars, I.E. Rich Harden, Mark Mulder, Ted Lilly, Tim Hudson, Huston Street and even Barry Zito. Very weak bullpen as they will be seeing a lot of game time throughout the season. Once again young talent encompass them but in due time they will become stars . Player to watch is Ben Sheets as he is the only true veteran that is a consistent all-star player. He will need to mentor these young arms and provide them with leadership as this will be another long season for the A’s.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) B. Sheets- 15-10
2.) D. Braden- 11-9
3.) T. Cahill- 8-9
4.) V. Mazzaro- 5-9
5.) B. Anderson- 6-7

American League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 1, 2010 at 8:54 am

The  Central

1.) Detroit Tigers ( 95-67)

The Tigers fell one game short of winning the ALC in the 2009. But this is 2010 and I see the Tigers winning this year as they have a healthy and prominent pitching staff. Though it isn’t filled with an all-star rotation, they are extremely difficult to hit off of. A healthy J. Bonderman should keep the Tigers atop of the ALC. Having two extremely hard hurlers in the bullpen, Zumaya and Valverde, the Tigers should be able to shut down any late inning comebacks. Middle relief might be a concern due to a young pitching crew. Lack of experience may hurt the younger bullpen but due to an already solid setup and closer should help late in the season.

Leaving the Yankees, Johnny Damon will be playing left field and help an already a powerful lineup. Detroit finished in the top 10 in total home runs in 2009. Austin Jackson will be making his major league debut starting at centerfield. Part of the Curtis Granderson trade with the Yankees, Jackson possess speed and consistent batting average. Player to watch this year would be Austin Jackson. How will the youngster be able to handle his rookie season on a top contending team and will he show enough to keep his place as a starter.

Starting Pitching Wins/Loss

1.) J. Verlander: 18-10
2.) R. Porcello: 15-9
3.) J. Bonderman: 16-11
4.) M. Scherzer: 13-10
5.) A. Galarraga: 9-8

2.) Minnesota Twins ( 93 – 69)

As long as you have Michael Cuddyer, J. Morneau and J. Mauer playing on the same team, you are going to be very good. With J.J. Hardy being added this season to SS and Orlando Hudson to 2nd base, you are going to be even better. This team has a great combination of speed, power and defense that will make them a tough opponent in every series. Other than the Yankees and Phillies, this could be one of the most exciting lineups to watch. This team isn’t very deep when it comes to the bench but they have enough talent to overcome limited amount of injuries.

What will separate them from the Tigers is their pitching. Though not shabby, it isn’t overwhelming difficult to hit of off. Carl Pavano will be the only new addition to the starting rotation and hopefully he can show more consistency leading into the 2010 season. Luckily for the Twins, they have a great bullpen with a top-tier closer, Joe Nathan. Player to watch will be center fielder Denard Span. Coming off an impressive rookie season, look for Span to continue as he finished with a .311 average and stole 23 bases in 09.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) S. Baker: 16-10
2.) K. Slowey: 15-9
3.) C. Pavano: 9-8
4.) N. Blackburn: 13-11
5.) F. Liriano: 6-9

3.) Chicago Whitesox ( 76-86)

Finishing under .500 last season wasn’t probably the 2005 World Series Champs were hoping for but this season doesn’t look any better. Not much changed for the Whitesox as their starting rotation didn’t add any new pitchers though they did add J.J Putz to their bullpen. I have never liked Putz as he was an always a mediocre pitcher, but he will be a great addition to an average bullpen.

Chicago added Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre to help boost their hitting that wasn’t all that impressive last year. Pierre was very impressive while replacing Manny Ramirez and should continue in the weak Central. Jones coming from the Texas Rangers didn’t put up gaudy numbers but contributed decently for the amount of playing time he was alloted. I don’t see the Whitesox making any serious push this season but they always seem to be on web gems as they finished in the top 5 in total defense. Player to watch, J. Pierre. Coming into this season without having to worry about playing the filler roll, lets see if Pierre can continue his impressive batting avg. or will it fall knowing that a Manny Ramirez type player isn’t behind him.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J. Peavy: 17-9
2.) M. Buehrle: 15-8
3.) G. Floyd: 11-11
4. J Danks. 8-11
5.) F. Garcia 9-9

4.) Kansas City Royals ( 70 – 92)

Finished tied for last with the Indians in 09, I expect the Royals to improve slightly this year. The Royals have basically revamped majority of their position players as you will be seeing a new left fielder (S. Podsednik), CF (R Ankiel) , 2nd base ( C. Getz), & catcher ( J. Kendall). Though half of these new additions have been all- stars, they are older and more than likely on their down hill of their career. KC has an extremely young infield which is great for the future but not right now. The outfield is filled with decent veterans which is good considering once again the lack of pitching the Royals have.

Everyone remembers Zack Greinke and his outstanding 2009 season. Do I think 2010 will be the same, no. He still isn’t overpower pitching and will never be. He has always worked the plate real well but I do not see that consistency continuing into this season. Will he be horrible like his previous 5 season prior to 09? No, he will continue to be their ace pitcher and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After Greinke, you have a bunch of less than mediocre pitchers that probably should still be pitching in AA. Greinke will be and continue to be the only pitcher to finish with a winning record.

Surprisingly despite how bad the Royals should be, their bullpen doesn’t seem to match it completely. Joakim Soria is a very good closer, especially what he has to work with and with Kyle Farnsworth as the set up man, this isn’t a terrible back nine combo. Player to watch will be Jason Kendall. To me he comes off as the true veteran on this team and as the catcher he will be in control of everything on the field. I don’t expect his numbers to be great, but hopefully his leadership can help this very young infield.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) Zack Greinke 15-10
2.) G. Meche: 9-9
3.) L. Hochevar: 8-14
4.) K. Davis: 6-6
5.) B. Bannister: 7-10

5.) Cleveland Indians ( 64 – 98)

Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! Not all sayings are true as this Indians will be sitting at the bottom. Though they finished 3rd last season, this team will be taking a pretty big leap backwards. Indians outfield will be the same as Choo, Sizemore, and LaPorta will play the last line of defense. The infield will have two new players starting with the catcher Lou Marson (Phillies) and talented Russell Branyan. The Philllies trade Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Knapp to the Cleveland Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. With the loss of Cliff Lee, this brings me to the pitchers.

With the loss of Lee this will hurt the Indians now but they traded talent for youth. Jake Westbrook will be starting opening day and should perform decently. Though he had surgery which hampered his 2009 play, he should show promise leading into this season as his previous seasons were not terrible. Fausto Carmona will be 2nd and 3rd will be Justin Materson. In 2007, we saw Carmona become a 19 game winner but since then, he has struggled to gain any consistency. Materson will finally be able to start his first season as a starter rather than rotating in and out of the bullpen. David Huff and Aaron Laffey will close out of the rotation as youngsters looking to make a name for themselves. You have former starting pitcher Kerry Wood as their closer and then a less than steller bullpen. Player to watch Jake Westbrook. Lets see how he performs after his surgery and if he can become a viable #1 or eventually fall back to #3 or 4.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J Westbrook: 7-10
2.) F. Carmona: 11-10
3.) J. Materson: 12-8
4.) D. Huff: 6-13
5.) A. Laffey: 7-9

American League

In 2010 MLB Preview/Prediction on March 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

The East

1.) New York Yankees ( 105- 57)

Easily the perennial favorite going into this year, the New York Yankees should win this division without any trouble. With new acquisitions boasting their outfield, Curtis Granderson should bring speed and solid defense. Despite the loss of fan favorite Johnny Damon, the Yankees were able to snatch up a solid defensive veteran in Randy Winn. Though Winn’s offensive production numbers have declined the past year, he should be a very viable replacement as an overall player. The rest of the Yankees existing starters have stayed the same as Alex Rodriguez will once again be the star player on this squad. One player to watch is Derek Jeter as he will be entering his 16th season. Though he put up a great numbers in 2009, I predict a huge fall off this season.

Starting pitching is even more solid with the pick up of Braves starting pitcher, Javier Vasquez. Finishing with a 15-10 record, Vasquez was able to maintain a very impressive 2.87 ERA. Expect C.C. Sabathia to start opening day, with A.J. Burnett and A. Pettitte following to end the series. Rivera, Marte and Chamberlin will help maintain a strong bullpen that once again will help keep the Yankees at the #1 spot

Starting Pitchers Wins/Losses

1.) C.C. Sabathia- 19-10
2.) A.J Burnett- 17-9
3.) A. Pettitte- 15-7
4.) J. Vasquez- 14-10
5) P. Hughes- 11-8

2.) Boston Redsox ( 92- 70)

To me the Redsox are in a catch-22 situation this year and it comes down with age. The Redsox are a very experience team and very old. I was very hesitant to place the Redsox in the number two spot but i believe their experience will help keep them here and hold off the Tampa Bay Rays. Like the Yankees, the Redsox picked up a new CF from the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Cameron. I believe the Redsox might have the best defensive outfield in baseball as Cameron will have both Ellsbury and J.D. Drew. With Andrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro coming in, the left side of the infield will look completely different. It seems like Boston decided to focus on defense as both of these players are not exactly offensive machines. Beltre finished in the top 20 in his respected position and Scuatro finished in the top 5 in his respected position as overall defensive numbers.

John Lackey is now in the starting rotation as he will be a solid number three. The rest of the starting rotation hasn’t changed as it looks like J. Lester will be the first one out come opening day. One player to watch will be Dice-K as he was hit with the injury bug majority of last season. I believe most MLB players have figured out how to hit DK and his numbers will not be as impressive as Redsox fans hope.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) J. Lester- 17-8
2.) J. Beckett- 18-11
3.) J. Lackey- 16-10
4.) D. Matsuzaka- 13-10
5.) C. Buchholz- 14-9

3.) Tampa Bay Rays ( 88- 74)

When I look at this TBR team, I cannot be in awe. I really like this team and the direction they are heading. They are solid in every possible fielding position and very talented when it comes to hitting. The main concern to me and what made me put them 3rd is their pitching. They have a very good #1 but to me their 2-4 could easily be shuffled around and you probably would see the same result. If David Price can return to his 08′ playoff performance, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Rays take the Wild Card Spot.

Overall, the Rays seem to possess a stronger 1-9 than the Redsox but if they have to go to their bench due to injuries, then that could be another downfall. The player to watch would be 3rd year right fielder, Matt Joyce. Joyce only played in 11 games for the Rays and is the only player on the Rays that isn’t a house hold name. It should be interesting if he can keep up or if he will struggle. The Rays will have a new closer from the Braves, Rafael Soriano. He should be a soild closer but nothing on the level of the Nathans, Fuentes and Riveras.

Starting Pitching Win/Loss

1.) J. Shields- 16-11
2.) M. Garza- 15-8
3.) J. Niemann- 8-12
4.) D. Price- 15-10
5.) W. Davis- 9-11

4.) Baltimore Orioles ( 73- 89)

After two years sitting in the AL East basement, the Orioles should finally get out. They have a few key players that could help them break out and with M. Tejada returning, this should further boost their chances. If Garrett Atkins can turn his offensive numbers around, this team has a chance to be a decent hitting ball club. The strong side of fielding hands down is the right but mentioned above, Tejada will help fill in holes in the left.

The Orioles just like majority of teams, have issues with their pitching staff. Though the acquisition of Kevin Millwood was a great boost, we will see how his age holds up later in the season. If their 2-3 pitchers can improve, the Orioles will be one of those teams that would be playing the spoiler roll late in the season. Lack of a mediocre bullpen will hurt Baltimore and will be one of the many reasons why they will never be able to finish in the top three. Player to watch will be Kevin Millwood. He will help the club with age and experience but will he be able to stay consistent or fall off.

Starting Pitcher Win/Losses

1.) K. Millwood- 16-12
2.) J. Guthrie- 13-10
3.) B. Bergesen- 9-7
4.) B. Matusz- 6-9
5.) C. Tillman- 6-12

5.) Toronto Blue Jays ( 65- 97)

The Blue Jays overall have a very decent lineup. Unfortuantely majority of their starters would be playing backup rolls on good teams. Just like the Redsox, the Jays have “revamped” the left side of the infield with new players, Edwin Encarnacion ( Reds) and A.Gonzalez ( Redsox). Though this should be a slight increase of offense production, it wont be anything noticeable to an average fan. The Jays also have a new catcher in John Buck but like I mention, Buck wouldn’t be starting if he was on a team predicted to finish .500 +.

This might be one of the worst starting rotations in the big leagues. Though I really like Rickey Romero, this year will get ugly for 1-5 all season. The loss of Roy Halladay makes this even worse now that they don’t have a solid number ace. You think the SR has it bad, wait till the bullpen has to perform. If this teams overall ERA isn’t above a 5.00 at the end of the season, than call it a success. The player I would watch should be Lyle Overbay. Overbay is the best player hands down on this team and his overall play and influence should be interesting to watch as he tries to keep this team somewhat competitive.

Starting Pitchers Win/Loss

1.) R. Romero- 14-10
2.) S. Marcum- 10-12
3.) B Morrow- 7-13
4.) M. Rzepczynski- 5-7
5.) B. Cecil- 7-8