Fearless predictions for 2006
OK …. I know you’ve been waiting for this …. my picks for 2006
Atlanta Braves – pick them every year until they fail
New York Mets – improved offense will be offset by lack of quality starting pitching
Philadelphia Phillies – 3B is a mess, Gordon is a risk closer, and not enough starting pitching
Washington Nationals – Bowden’s Bunglers won’t come anywhere NEAR 81 wins this time
Florida Marlins – Girardi will have them playing hard, but there is just too much inexperience on the team
St. Louis Cardinals – corner OF concerns, recovery of Rolen are keys to repeating
Milwaukee Brewers (WC) – youth movement continues to make progress, but still 1-2 years away from being "The Team to Beat"
Houston Astros – no Bagwell means a better overall lineup, but starting pitching shallow after Pettitte and Oswalt
Chicago Cubs – Zambrano is the only reliable starter, but improved offense should make for lots of 8-7 games
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jason Bay can’t do it all. Can Duke improve on his rookie stats?
Cincinnati Reds – the worst pitching staff in the NL
Los Angeles Dodgers – deep pitching staff will carry them far; defense needs some work though, and Furcal needs to be 100%
Arizona Diamondbacks – D’backs youth movement making progress; can Webb win 20?
San Diego Padres – some very old past-prime players in key positions, but Barfield will be fun to watch
San Francisco Giants – speaking of old …. the Giants will be sponsored by AARP. Bonds’ health will of course mean the difference between 4th and 5th place.
Colorado Rockies – back to the "great hitting/lousy pitching" days, only this time with kids
NL pennant: Dodgers
New York Yankees – they’ll score 950, and give up 875
Toronto Blue Jays – even with addition of Overbay and Glaus, not enough consistent offense, and defense will miss Hudson
Boston Red Sox – fragile pitching staff, and they lost a LOT of offense during the offseason
Baltimore Orioles – if they had the Devil Rays offense …. they’d be dangerous
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – if they had the Orioles starting pitching … they’d be dangerous
Cleveland Indians – time to take the next step; bullpen will be key (can Wickman do it again)
Chicago White Sox (WC) – best starting pitching in division, but the bullpen looks very shaky; Thome’s bat will make the difference between 85 wins and 90 wins.
Minnesota Twins – Santana can’t pitch all 162, and the addition of Castillo, White not enough on the offense side; Morneau should rebound nicely though
Detroit Tigers – could very well beat out Twins … IF the young pitchers come through
Kansas City Royals – have already been mathematically eliminated from post-season contention
Oakland A’s – prohibitive favorite on basis of best pitching in AL; Thomas the perfect DH; Street the real deal as closer
L.A. Angels of Anaheim – Guerrero will need help from youthful lineup to cover middling starting pitching
Texas Rangers – the Soriano deal was terrific, IF Wilkerson is healthy. Still not enough quality starting pitching
Seattle Mariners – Beltre will rebound from subpar 2005, but starting pitching is a shambles
AL Pennant: A’s
WS: A’s over Dodgers in 6