2005 Predictions

I don’t know why so many people are enamored of predictions, because most everyone always ends up getting it wrong. Sure, you might predict the division winners quite handily, but anything else of order of finish and playoffs is a crapshoot. It’s fun to do predictions, sure, but the possibility of being wrong is horrendously high. That being said, I think I’ll make some predictions! Mostly out of boredom, mostly out of the fact I want to see how I do in predictions, because I make a couple of predictions that are a little “out there”.
Playoffs are so hard to project, because its all about luck. Perhaps it should be that way, perhaps it shouldn’t. You can’t consistently tell which players will show up for the Real Season, which teams will do well in the playoffs, etc. etc. Teams that win in the playoffs win for two reasons. One, they have luck involved. Two, they have players that cowboy up for the postseason. Three, they’re the best. But what fun are predictions without going out there on a limb? So I will project the playoff winners, but not the number of games it takes to win. And you guessed it, I picked the Red Sox to win it all. I’m sorry, but I look at this team and I see this team better than last year. I look at the competition, and to be honest, I don’t see any playoff team that improved over last year except for the Angels.
AL East Standings
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees (Wild Card)
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how anyone can pick the Yankees over the Red Sox. Keep in mind we finished three back of the Yankees last year, and if we had played the way we did minus Nomar (22-22 with Nomar, 87-45, or over a full season, 107 games, best in the majors – including the postseason) all year long and the fact that the Red Sox improved more than the Yankees, well then …
Don’t believe me? What did the Red Sox do? Subtracted Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Orlando Cabrera, John Halama, Doug Mientkiewicz, Dave Roberts, Pokey Reese. They added Matt Clement, (an era under 3.00 through the All-Star break, but still ended up with an ERA better than Pedro) David Wells, Wade Miller, Edgar Renteria, John Halama, (who does what Myers did for us, only a lot better) Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez. We got better. The Yankees? Well, sure, their rotation this year on paper beats last year, but Randy I have huge questions about. Can he survive an entire year on that leg of his? He did have a 4.26 ERA in 2003. How will he adjust to the DH again? Will he hit a wall, like most people who get up there in age, do? Is Carl Pavano for real? They’re also taking a big flier on Jaret Wright. They took a massive step back with Tony Womack. Bernie Williams is out there in center fulltime, and that’s worse than last year, when he started 93 games in centerfield, Lofton 62. Everyone’s a year older. Jorge Posada, Gary Sheffield, Mariano Rivera, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill. Derek Jeter – could his horrific April-May slump of 2004 extend to a year-long slump this year?
There’s way too many questions for this team, but that won’t stop pundits from picking them. I do pick them to win the Wild Card, however, because they’re still good enough. The Orioles will also be a lot better with a devasating bullpen and Sammy Sosa, taking wins away from the Yankees. They won’t take additional wins away from us, though, because they always kill us. The Blue Jays I think are going to rebound, but the Devil Rays take a step back because they plan on starting Alex Gonzalez instead of going young, and plus they’re discussing trading Jose Cruz Jr. and Aubrey Huff? This team is about to take a massive step back.
AL Central Standings
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals

I originally had Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago picked because I don’t think the Twins’ second base, shortstop, and third base positions are going to amount to anything, but the more I think about it, Cleveland is still going through some growing pains and question marks, while the Twins are going to benefit from Morneau the entire season – Mauer, too. So I have to go with the Twins. Then the White Sox have deep pitching, and are going to be more conditioned to play Ozzieball, so I think they’re in the wild card hunt all season long. The Indians are going to continue to mature, but just like last year, I think will stumble again. The Tigers, with the Magglio Ordonez signing, have a great chance to finish at .500, a long way from where they finished 2003, but they still have too many missing pieces, namely pitching. The Royals … well, they’re rebuilding. Again.
AL West Standings
1. Anaheim Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Seattle Mariners

I had no trouble picking this order. I think the Angels got stronger and will assure their hold on the division. The Rangers offense should bounce back, but I think the pitching will take a little bump from last year when it was among the best. They should still have progressed enough to compete for the Wild Card all year, but to get over that hump, they need a bona fide ace. The Athletics are still going to be up there in wins … they could even finish second if the Rangers pull a 2003 to 2004 Royals, which is a distinct possibility. I’m just not excited about the Mariners at all. Yes, they added home-run sluggers in Beltre and Sexson, but that’s pretty much it, and they play in a pitcher’s park. They’re going to be an exciting losing team.
ALDS:
Minnesota @ Boston – Boston
New York @ Anaheim – Anaheim

I think that Boston is just going to squeak by Minnesota in a tense-filled series, while Anaheim is going to fight New York and emerge victorious. Most people don’t realize that outside of the 2001 playoffs, Randy Johnson has not done so hot in the playoffs.
ALCS:
Anaheim @ Boston – Boston
This I think is going to be somewhat of a letdown after the 2003 and 2004 ALCS, dramawise, but we’re just going to prove to be too much for Anaheim, and it will be good, clean baseball.
NL East Standings
1. Florida Marlins
2. Atlanta Braves (Wild Card)
3. New York Mets
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Washington Nationals

I feel really, really uneasy about picking the Braves to finish in second, but I really like the Marlin bullpen, rotation, and lineup, especially with Delgado in there, so I’m going to play it safe somewhat and pick the Braves to win the Wild Card. I’ll go on record here though and say that I can see the Braves winning the division and the Marlins grabbing the Wild Card. The Mets have improved a ton, but I still see a few question marks on that team, and while Pedro and Beltran will notch them wins, I don’t see them contenders. Yet. The Phillies, I just can’t figure out what their plan is, and the Nationals have an incompetent general manager running them (not too incompetent, but he makes way too many questionable moves) and it’ll take a while for the Nationals to dig out of their hole. Time to bring back the old saying, just twisted a little. Washington: First in war, first in peace, last in the National League.
NL Central Standings
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Houston Astros
5. Cincinnati Reds
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

I think the Cardinals got worse, in the middle infield, but not so much worse that people are obsessing over. Renteria to Eckstein is a big loss, but not when you compare Eckstein to Womack, who is a near certainy to regress this year. Grudzielanek is a downgrade from Renteria, but it’s not a massive downgrade. They won’t be among the best in baseball, but they will win the division. In my shocking predictor, I think the Brewers will finish second. I really, really like them this year. As for the Cubs, they could finish fourth or fifth. My caveat here is that I just cannot pick the 3, 4 and 5 place finishers. I can’t. I can see Cubs, Astros, Reds. I can see Astros, Cubs, Reds. I can see Cubs, Reds, Astros. You get my point, but I’m obsessing over this. Either the Cubs finish third or fourth. The Astros finish third, fourth, or fifth. The Reds finish fourth or fifth. I just don’t like the Cub moves at all and I think they’re headed for a massive dissapointment. The Astros lost power in Kent and Beltran, but I think they can hang steady. The Reds improved, but not to the point of contendership, and the Pirates, while they have improved, are finding themselves in an increasingly competitive division. If they can trade for Aubrey Huff, and Jeromy Burnitz puts up 2004 numbers for the Cubs, then this division is going to be a see-saw battle all year long. This is the one division I cannot with near certainy, pick top to bottom the finishers.
NL West Standings
1. San Francisco Giants
2. San Diego Padres
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Colorado Rockies

Much easier for me to predict. The Giants really improved this offseason, and should be a force this year. The Padres are continuing their climb back to respectability, and should battle for the Wild Card all season long. The Dodgers, I’m not too impressed with. The Diamondbacks are going to be near the bottom for four years (coincidentally, the contract length for Ortiz – or is it not a coincidence that I think this?) and the Rockies … what a tough-luck team. Best of luck to them.
NLDS:
Atlanta @ San Francisco – Atlanta
St. Louis @ Florida – Florida

Yes, I know I said the Giants would be a force and I picked Atlanta for the Wild Card, but in a 5-game playoff series, I have to go with Atlanta. And Florida I think will dispose of the Cards quite easily.
NLCS:
Atlanta @ Florida – Florida
The NL West matchup that I think will be the best series of the entire 2005 season, with Florida winning at the last second in Game Seven. It could even be Atlanta that overcomes Florida, that’s how evenly I think the two are balanced.
World Series:
Boston @ Florida (yes, the NL wins the All-Star Game) – Boston
A pretty good display of baseball nets Boston their second World Series since 1918 and puts pundits whispering about a possible dynasty. Seven trophies down, twenty to go!
Awards
AL MVP: David Ortiz, BOS
NL MVP: Barry Bonds, SF

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, MIN
NL Cy Young: Ben Sheets, MIL

AL Rookie of the Year: Jhonny Peralta, CLE
NL Rookie of the Year: Dave Krynzel, MIL

AL Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge, CLE
NL Manager of the Year: Ned Yost, MIL

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Juan Gonzalez, CLE
NL Comeback Player of the Year: John Smoltz, ATL

We’ll revisit this November 1, 2005 and see how horribly I failed.