Home > Uncategorized > It’s Baseball Time in Texas…and everywhere else.

It’s Baseball Time in Texas…and everywhere else.

Wow, it just seems like yesterday that the beloved Texas Rangers were losing to the gritty-gutty San Francisco in the World Series. Spring training seems like it lasted only 5 days and everyone is getting their fantasy baseball teams in order. It is baseball time. Opening Day should be a national holiday (Obama..please?) and EVERY American should feel the experience of going to a Major League ballgame. Like I do every year, I am going to make my picks for the upcoming season. It should be a good one.

*Pick to Click: Someone who I think will have a breakout or good year.

American League East:
1. Boston Red Sox: The signings of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez were huge, but the key to this team will be the pitching. Lester, Buchholz and Lackey are a strong threesome, and any rotation that has Josh Beckett as a #4 starter is pretty good. If the team stays relatively healthy, they will win this division.
Pick to Click: Adrian Gonzalez- he hit .298 with 31 homers a year ago in un friendly Petco. This year he is in Boston, so I guess .285 average with 40 homers.

2. New York Yankees: It seems like the same thing every year, the Yankees are in the running for the East division crown. The payroll is still astronomical, but some key players are starting to get a little long in the tooth. As always though, the Yankees will be tough.
Pick to Click: Curtis Granderson- while his power numbers were good, his average was again in the .240’s. Look for his average to raise and power to stay around the same production. .274 average and 21 homeruns.

3. Tampa Bay Rays: How does this sound, Carl Crawford leaves and you replace him with Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Hmm. Crawford is a HUGE loss for the Rays, seeing as how he was the face of the franchise for so long. David Price is a complete stud biscuit on the mound, but the pitching rotation will continue to be the question.
Pick to Click: David Price- runner up in the Cy Young vote last year. I think his numbers slide, but he will still win 17 games.

4. Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays had the surprise of the season last year in Jose Bautista. While it was impressive, someone may want to check his Cheerios for any added supplements. Ok ok, just kidding. The Blue Jays are a nice young team, lead by Bautista and Adam Lind. The rotation is young, but could be this years surprise of the season. Look for them to challenge Tampa Bay for 3rd place in the division all season.
Pick to Click: Adam Lind- horrible season last year, he will rebound big time. I hope. I think he hits around .272 with 32 homeruns.

5. Baltimore Orioles: It has been FOREVER (13 seasons) since the Orioles have even had a winning record. That hurts. The Orioles have made some big off season moves which will make them a little more competitive this season. Derek Lee and Vlad Guerrero were the big names added, but Mark Reynolds at 3rd will be a big help as well. The rotation is why this team will finish last though. Young stars Matt Weiters and Adam Jones will break out this season.
Pick to Click: Adam Jones- the last two seasons he has raised his average from the previous year. This one is no different. .302 average, 25 homeruns.

American League Central:
1. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers added Victor Martinez in the off season to help out behind the plate and at the plate. Austin Jackson is one of my favorite young players and we ALL know about Miguel Cabrera. He will once again have a stellar year. The rotation is young, but powerful. Verlander is a legit Cy Young candidate and Scherzer, Porcello and Penny will be great 2-4 guys.
Pick to Click: Austin Jackson- Great rookie season last year, and he will only get better. Projected: .305 average, 11 homeruns, 30 stolen bases.

2. Chicago White Sox: The central will be one of the best races to watch all season. The White Sox have a good lineup and add some serious pop with Adam Dunn joining the team. Alexei Ramirez is a shining star at short stop and Gordon Beckham hopes to continue his good second half last season. If Jake Peavy’s arm doesn’t fall off, the rotation could keep them in the playoff hunt.
Pick to Click: Alexei Ramirez- .289 average, 20 homeruns

3. Minnesota Twins: If you like baseball, the Twins should be one of your favorite teams. Year in and year out they seem to compete with what SEEMS to be lesser talent. While that may not be true, the Twins certainly are competitive every year. Joe Mauer is the leagues best hitter and Justin Morneau is one of the best first basemen in the league. The BIG question mark will be the rotation (we always say that). Francisco Liriano is a great #1, but the problems lie 2-4.
Pick to Click: Francisco Liriano- the injury bug has bitten before, but this year he stays healthy..maybe. 3.55 era, 16-9 record.

4. Cleveland Indians: Not a lot of bright spots on a team that won only 65 games last season. One was unheralded outfielder Shin Soo Choo who hit .300 with 20 homers last year. This team is young, and will probably have another year where wins are not too common. Fausto Carmona is the #1 guy in the rotation no question, but there is not much after him.
Pick to Click: Sin Shoo Choo- gets better every year. This year: .315 average, 24 homeruns.

5. Kansas City Royals: Ahhh yes, the best AAA team in the majors. I LOVE the Royals, don’t get me wrong, but this is not your daddy’s Kansas City team. Go ahead, who lead the team in homers last season (no googling allowed). This team is very young, and lost their #1 pitcher Zack Greinke to the Brewers. The Royals do boast one of the best closers in the game in Joakim Soria, who could be trade bait before the season ends. It will be a long season in KC, but the Royals DO have the top farm system in all of baseball. This team might just get younger during the season.
Pick to Click: Billy Butler- Royals have NO offense, need this guy to swing big. Projected: .306 average, 29 homeruns.

American League West:
1. Texas Rangers: What a magical season last year. Making the playoffs was a great success, but beating the Rays and Yankees to make it to the World Series was magic. Even though the Rangers fell short of the championship, it gave them great hope for 2011. Losing Cliff Lee hurts, but the Rangers feel o.k. with the rotation they have in place. It will be the key this season. Adrian Beltre was added in the off season to play 3rd base, and Josh Hamilton is still in the lineup. If the pitching staff can stay consistent, this team will once again be atop the West, but I DO think that is a BIG question. Expect to see some “what the heck” moments from this pitching staff.
Pick to Click: Ian Kinsler- missed some time last year, hopes to stay healthy. Projected: .287 average, 31 homeruns.

2. Oakland A’s: A surprise 2nd place finisher last year, the A’s look to put more heat on the Rangers this season. A superb pitching staff is the strength of this team. Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez are as good as a 1-2 punch as anyone in the majors (calm down Phillies fans). Dallas Braden showed signs last year, if you can call a perfect game a sign. Brett Anderson is a young stud that will help out as well. The question will be the offense and if they can help the arms out. The biggest addition was David Dejesus who is coming off an injury, but was really playing well in KC before he got hurt. These guys will push the Rangers for top spot all season, should be a fun race.
Pick to Click: Daric Barton- seemed to rake every time I saw him last year. This year: .300 average, 18 homeruns

3. Anaheim Angels: I know this isn’t the team of old, but something about this team always scares me. After a very disappointing 2010 season, the Angels look to rebound in one of the weakest divisions in baseball. Vernon Wells is an Angel this season, but that was after losing out on Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. The pitching staff is good, not stellar.
Pick to Click: Vernon Wells- yeah, he is getting older, but a new home will revive Wells. Was good last season. Projected: .275, 25 homeruns (down from last season)

4. Seattle Mariners: Meh. I think most Ranger fans are just hoping this team is horrible and wants to trade Felix Hernandez before the trade deadline. Hey, a man can dream. Ichiro is still the face of the franchise, but he has to be getting close to a slide soon, right? King Felix will once again dazzle, but there is not much help in this rotation.
Pick to Click: No one, just kidding. Franklin Gutierrez- numbers slipped last year after a good 2009. I think he rebounds. .281 average with 23 homeruns.

American League Playoff Picks: Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Yankees (Wild Card)

National League East:
1. Philadelphia Phillies: Probably the most unanimous decision in the majors. While teams CAN disappoint, this team will be close to a sure playoff bet. The rotation is the best in baseball: Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton. Scary. The offense is still great, lead by Utley, Howard and Rollins. Scary. The only story that would be a surprise with this team is if it doesn’t win this division easily. Injuries could easily make this team good, not great though.
Pick to Click: Roy Halladay- this guy will be great again. 3.15 era, 19-7 record.

2. Atlanta Braves: Definitely one of my favorite teams. Bobby Cox is no longer the manager, which will look really strange when the season starts. My favorite young slugger Jason Heyward will have an even bigger year than his .277 average and 18 homeruns (try doubling that). The pitching staff is really good, but is over shadowed by the Phillies. If the Phillies can’t stay off the DL, the Braves could sneak into an East crown.
Pick to Click: Jason Heyward- no where to go but up. Give me….280 average, 32 homeruns.

3. Florida Marlins: Hanley Ramirez is still considered one of the best players in the game, but his offense alone won’t carry this team. Young guys like Mike Stanton will need to contribute on a consistent basis if this team wants to threaten the Braves or Phillies. The rotation is solid, lead by all star Josh Johnson.
Pick to Click: Hanley Ramirez- guy is a stud. Projected: .319 average, 30 homeruns

4. New York Mets: Oh man, the Mets. Every year it seems like they make big moves only to get bitten in the butt and falter. This year, no big additions were made, but the Mets will continue to disappoint their fans. David Wright is still one of the best third basemen in the league, but he won’t have much help in this lineup. The rotation is a bit weak, and no Johan Santana for awhile puts more pressure on Pelfrey and Dickey. This team will battle the Nationals for last place supremacy.
Pick to Click: David Wright- lowest BA of his career last year, but he will improve on that. .305 average, 27 homeruns.

5. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg isn’t pitching for awhile, nothing to see here. The Nats did sign Jason Werth to a HUGE contract, but a lot of his offense came because of Utley, Rollins and Howard hitting around him. He doesn’t have that in D.C. This starting rotation is the worst in the East.
Pick to Click: Ryan Zimmerman- Under appreciated player, will shine this year again. .310 average, 30 homeruns

National League Central:
1. Cincinnati Reds: Last year’s surprise team. The Reds had a monster break out season from Joey Votto last year, and he will continue to be one of the league’s brightest young stars. Throw in youngsters Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs, and you have yourself a pretty salty lineup. The rotation is under the radar with Arroyo, Cueto and Volquez, but they will be able to win games with this offense.
Pick to Click: Drew Stubbs- HUGE breakout year for the crazy skilled CF. .295 average, 27 homeruns

2. St Louis Cardinals: Losing Adam Wainwright really hurts the Cards, but Cris Carpenter is still there to help shoulder the load. While the rotation after Carp is questionable, the Cardinals lineup still has Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. If the Cardinals lose Carpenter or Pujols for any reason for an extended period of time, it could mean trouble.
Pick to Click: Matt Holiday- guy can rake. Projected: .320 average, 24 homeruns

3. Milwaukee Brewers: It seems like yesterday the Brewers were making playoff runs with C.C., now, they just have guys who get hurt playing the wrong sport. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are two of the best sluggers in baseball, but the rest of the lineup doesn’t excite. This team can score runs (top 5 last year) but the question, as always, is pitching. Zack Greinke was added to be the true #1, but he will be out for some time with a basketball injury. Haha. Shawn Marcum was also a great addition to the rotation.
Pick to Click: Ryan Braun- The Hebrew Hammer, really? .315, 35 homeruns.

4. Chicago Cubs: Sorry Cubs fans, this is not your year. The Cubs have some good pieces to the puzzle, but I just don’t see them making much noise in the division. Starlin Castro is a nice young player, and the addition of Carlos Pena will help the offense out. The main question is the pitching staff which I think will be a train wreck. Zambrano is Zambrano, and new addition Matt Garza will look to strengthen things up.
Pick to Click: Starlin Castro- .311 average, 12 homeruns

5. Houston Astros: Texas’ other team. The Astros had their World Series run a few years ago, but just like the Rangers, couldn’t bring it home to the Lone Star State. For Stros fans, that seemed like a LONG time ago. 76 wins in 2010 was better than I thought they would be, but this team probably won’t get much better. The outfield is average with Pence, Lee and Bourn and the infield might be the worst in the league. The pitching staff won’t be much better. Go ahead, name 2 of the Astros starters……
Pick to Click: Hunter Pence- they need him to go 01 Barry Bonds, won’t happen. .280 average, 26 homeruns.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gone are the days of Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. Now we have Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay. Meh. New manager Clint Hurdle brings some new energy to Pittsburgh, but this will be another long season for the Pirates. 18 straight losing seasons will easily become 19.
Pick to Click: Andrew McCutchen- guy always hits .286. I think he does better: .290 average, 15 homeruns and 30 stolen bases.

National League West:
1. San Francisco Giants: I get ragged a lot for wearing my three year old San Fran hat, but its one of the best in baseball. It means even more when they win the World Series. What a story last year. A team that seemed to have ZERO offense and great pitching showed that it is possible to win it all with out big name sluggers. Miggie Tejada was added to the lineup, which gives the Giants a bit more pop, but the real offensive stud is Buster Posey. This guy is Joe Mauer 2.0. The pitching staff will again be the key to this team. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner are baseball’s second best rotation no matter who you put in at #5. Brian “The Beard” Wilson will once again close out the games. Watch out for newcomer Brandon Belt this year.
Pick to Click: Buster Posey- Definition of breakout. .312 average, 26 homeruns.

2. Colorado Rockies: My pick to make the World Series LAST year disappointed, but still have a good core for 2011. I believe they can push the Giants if things fall into place. Dexter Fowler is a great young center fielder, and Troy Tulowitzki might be a dark horse MVP candidate. Ubaldo Jimenez is a true #1/stud, but the question will be the rest of the rotation and bullpen, minus Huston Street. That guy is good. Carlos Gonzalez might be the best player no one has heard of.
Pick to Click: Carlos Gonzalez- breakout season of the year last year. He stays about the same: .311 average, 35 homeruns.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers: Could push for first, second or third, depending on injuries. The NL West is tough year in and year out, and this year is no different. I like the staff of this team, lead by youngster Clayton Kershaw. The young offensive core of Ethier, Loney and Kemp will keep the Dodgers from getting shut out too often, but the pitching staff will need to keep them in games.
Pick to Click: Clayton Kershaw- 15-8, 3.00 era

4. San Diego Padres: Had a great run last year, but fell apart in the last part of the season and missed the playoffs. They lose their best offensive weapon in Adrian Gonzalez, which is a little scary for a team who struggled scoring runs last year. Mat Latos and Clayton Richard are a good top part of the pitching staff. I think the lack of offense will hurt this team this year, but they will win games because of their pitching and defense.
Pick to Click: Mat Latos- 15-9, 2.90 era

5. Arizona DIamondbacks: Remember them? I swear I haven’t seen them play in about 5 years. Ok, just like I did before, try and name 5 Arizona starters. It’s tough. Justin Upton is still there, so is Stephen Drew, but this team is going to not win a lot of games this season. The pitching staff is one of the league’s worst, going with Joe Saunders as the opening day starter. If this team wins 70 games, it would be a major surprise.
Pick to Click: Justin Upton- someone needs to hit for this team. .290 average, 28 homeruns.

National League Playoff Picks: Phillies, Reds, Giants, Rockies

World Series Champions: Colorado Rockies (beat Yankees in 6 games). 2nd year in a row I have picked them.

American League MVP: Miguel Cabrera
American League Cy Young: David Price
National League MVP: Buster Posey
National League Cy Young: Roy Halladay

Categories: Uncategorized
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