Last year I tried to make some predictions, and mostly they were terrible.
Teams I missed on:
Yankees. I penciled them in for 95+ wins and it didn’t quite happen that way.
White Sox. I thought they’d be one of the worst teams in the AL and they won the division. To be honest, I still don’t know how.
Rays. I thought they’d be good… not that good though.
Teams I was right about:
Tigers. I said they were overrated, especially their lineup and catcher. Too bad that catcher ended up playing for the Yankees.
Mariners. If you remember, there was a lot of buzz about the Mariners winning the AL West, but anyone who looked at their run differential could see that they would not be good in 2008.
This year, rather than taking all the time to break down every team, I’m just going to list some teams I like more than most people and some I like less.
Teams I like:
Rangers. If Texas can get anything at all from their rotation, they should be a potential sleeper in the west. Their lineup could be the best in the AL.
A’s. Another potential sleeper. The rotation has a bunch of nobodies, but remember, Zito, Mulder, and Hudson were nobodies once upon a time too. The offense is much improved with the return of the Big G and his golden thong.
Braves. Their lineup is a little sketchy, but that starting rotation should be great, even with the pitcher formerly known as Tom Glavine holding the fifth spot for now.
Marlins. Probably won’t compete for a playoff spot quite yet, but I thought last year that the Rays were still a year away.
Teams I don’t like:
Mets. I still think they have enough to get into the playoffs, but with their resources, it shouldn’t even be a doubt. They really dropped the ball in free agency this year. Their bullpen problems were highly publicized, but where they really need help in with their rotation. Who do they have after Johan? What if he gets hurt?
Angels. Like the Mets, I could very well see the Angels still in the playoffs; I just think they missed an opportunity to make themselves really good this year. Manny made so much sense for them.
Phillies. Hamels is out and Utley is coming back form injury. Ibanez is a downgrade from Burrell. No way Lidge is as lucky this year as last year. I’m sure they’ll still win a decent number of games, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they miss the playoffs. Needless to say, I think the NL East will be very interesting.
I really believe that this year the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays are the best teams in baseball. It would be nice if baseball went back to a two division format and had two wild cards but that’s not going to happen, so one of those teams won’t make the playoffs.
But you want to talk about parity in baseball? Every single division is open. Sure, some teams probably won’t factor into their divison race (Balt, Tor, Pitt, etc) but really only the Cubs stand out as a clear division favorite. If you told me Texas, Florida, San Francisco, and Minnesota would all end up in the playoffs, I wouldn’t be that surprised (though I can’t say I think that will happen). The point is – there are a lot of teams who have a good shot at being relevant all season long.
Should be a fun year.