I know the season started, I usually get these out way sooner. Been swamped lately. Here would be my predictions excluding any knowledge from the first 6 games (I wish I could get my AL East prediction back).
AL East:AL West:
AL MVP: I want to go sleeper, but I just think Adrian Gonzalez is going to mash in Boston. My dark horse is Ian Kinsler.
AL Cy Young: I'm going with Jon Lester. No way the voters give it to Felix again. Despite his sick numbers, the wins and losses won't be there again. Eventually that has to mean something. Can he go back to back with a barely .500 record? I don't think so. Lester is the choice that makes sense. David Price is my dark horse.
AL Rookie of the Year: Sorry, I'm not drinking the Jeremy Hellickson cool-aid. He has filthy stuff, but he isn't dominating in the AL East as a rookie. My pick comes from the AL East and he plays Catcher for the Jays...JP Arencibia. He can hit in the minors, it's time for it to carry over to the majors. My dark horse is Michael Pineda of the Mariners.
AL Manager of the Year: I always pick an AL West manager and fall flat on my face. This one hurts me to type...Ozzie Guillen. No more commentary on this, let's move on.
AL Comeback player of the year: You'd think I love the White Sox, but it's quite the contrary. I like Carlos Quentin for this award, though there's plenty of good candidates. I think Quentin returns to the form that nearly won him the MVP in 2008. Yes, he put up above average power numbers in 2010...he also hit in the .240 range. If he gets to his 2008 numbers or beyond, he comes home with the trophy and the Sox come home with the Central. I'll go Brian Roberts as my dark horse. Morneau can qualify for the award too after missing half of last season and adds to the million candidates for the award (see Aaron Hill, Grady Sizemore, Jacoby Ellsbury, Manny Ramirez, etc).
NL Central:NL East:NL West:
NL MVP: As much as I love Votto, he won't repeat...not with the field of potential MVP's coming from the NL Central alone. Although there's 3 good picks in the Central, I'm deferring to the West and taking Troy Tulowitzki. My dark horse is Ryan Braun (4 straight for the NL Central perhaps).
NL Cy Young: Hard to ignore Roy Halladay, but I like to take risks. I like Lincecum to bounce back in a big way and retake his throne. My dark horse is Clayton Kershaw, but I'm not sure if he will get the wins to overtake Timmy Jim and Halladay.
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt. This year's Buster Posey, on the same team too. My dark horse is Freddie Freeman. I think Belt is more of a pure hitter than Freeman, it just depends if Belt will get the at bats when Cody Ross returns.
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez. He's taking over the Braves and leading them to a playoff birth in the first year without Cox in over 20 years. Dark horse is Ron Roenicke. If the Brewers overtake the Reds in the Central behind a rookie manager, the award is his.
NL Comeback player of the year: I nabbed this player in an NL only league and I think he will start being owned in a lot more fantasy leagues soon (mixed and NL alike). He is Nate McLouth of the Braves. He's healthy and should produce a 20-20 season. Dark horse pick is my boy Aramis Ramirez. No way he can follow up that disastrous 2010 campaign with another bad one, especially in a contract year...or can he?
Some quick thoughts. I think the wild card races in both leagues are going to be really exciting to watch unfold. The Wild Card in the AL always goes through the East, but there's some worthy foes in the Central this year. In the NL there's a contender from each division that won't win the division. The division races should all be tight, making the wild card race that much more exciting in the NL.
- Tony La Russa doesn't last through the season (See Lou Piniella's exit in 2010).
- Only one team from the AL East will be playing into October.
- The Orioles finish above .500, but fall short of a playoff birth.
- Jhoulys Chacin will be the best Rockies pitcher this year.
- Roy Halladay will not be the best pitcher on the Phillies.
- Jose Reyes will be on a contender by July 31st.
- Carlos Beltran too if they can move him.
- Prince Fielder too, if the Brew fall out of the race.
- The A's will have a pitcher in the top 3 of Cy Young voting. My bet is on Trevor Cahill, but Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez are both very capable as well. Shades of Zito-Mulder-Hudson? This trio has the chance to be even better.
- This season won't one up the year of the "no hitter" last year, but there will be 3-4 no hitters.
- Starlin Castro finishes in the top 5 in the NL in batting average...hell he might take home the batting title.
- Adam Dunn leads the majors in home runs.
- Carlos Pena hits 40+ homers.
- Jose Bautista does not.
- Over under on Nelson Cruz DL trips = 3...I'll take the under with 2.
- Jake Peavy over under on starts = 15..I'll take the over.
- Same question for Brandon Webb...I'll take the under. The guy just can't get healthy.
- Games until Derek Jeter reaches 3,000 hits. Over under = 75 games. I'm going under. I think he gets there by early June.
- Barry Bonds years in prison...o/u = 1 year. Sadly I'm going under with the lack of a strong case presented by the prosecution.