What’s lies ahead in the 2011 Major League Baseball season, well no one knows for sure but Opening Day is upon us and it’s time to roll out a few predictions. I can only hope to match last year when I picked the San Francisco Giants to win it all and then right before the World Series started calling it over in five games, which had a few local industry folk laughing at the gesture cause it was against their beloved Texas Rangers.
If you happened to listen to our live show a week ago then you already heard a few of these but a few have been added before today’s first pitch. So here I go (wish Calvin Casey and Rudy J would have participated).
Enjoy opening day, enjoy the season. I know I will.
American League East winner:
Boston Red Sox
American League Central winner:
Chicago White Sox
American League West winner:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
American League Wild-Card winner:
New York Yankees
American League Pennant winner:
Boston Red Sox
National League East winner:
National League Central winner:
National League West winner:
San Francisco Giants
National League Wild-Card winner:
National League Pennant winner:
American League Surprise team:
American League Disappointing team:
Tampa Bay Rays
National League Surprise team:
National League Disappointing team:
St. Louis Cardinals
American League Rookie of the Year:
Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays
National League Rookie of the Year:
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
American League Manger of the Year:
John Farrell, Toronto Blue Jays
National League Manager of the Year:
Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds
American League MVP:
Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox*
National League MVP
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
American League Cy Young Award:
Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
National League Cy Young Award:
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
*indicates changed from on-air pick
I gotta admit I have been neglecting my responsibilities when it comes to offering Sports Grind Entertainment feelings about all the moves happening at the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. Instead I’ve just been siting on my fat ass and watching as fan and enjoying that Christmas always comes early for this O.G. baseball fan. So I’ll start off by tossing the ball around the diamond with the blockbuster trade that going the hot stove burning.
The three team deal had the New York Yankees receiving All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson. The Arizona Diamondbacks received right-hander Edwin Jackson and right-hander Ian Kennedy. The Detroit Tigers acquired the most players in getting lefty reliever Phil Coke and prospect Austin Jackson and right-hander Max Scherzer and left-hander Daniel Schlereth.
I’ll go by win-loss record in breaking down each team involvement, so first up is the World Series champion Yankees (103-59) who acquired Grandson. He’s a web gem in the outfield who’s only 28 and adds another left handed bat to an already dangerous lineup. Granderson hit .249 with 30 home runs, 71 RBIs and 20 steals. But to acquire Grandson the Yankees gave up Kennedy who has been hit with the injury bug but is fairly young and has only pitched 59 innings in big leagues. Coke is also another young arm sent packing, he was the Yankees primary left-handed reliever for 2009. The Yankees dug into their farm system and sent their best prospect rated by Baseball America Austin Jackson away.
My prospective is that this move signals that they are unlikely to re-sign both Johnny Damon and World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and might have bailed on too much youth but these are the Yankees so you can almost guarantee they will always be movers and shakers if they see an area of weakness in the future.
The Tigers (86-77) are next up to bat and keep in mind that this ball club forced a one game playoff with the Minnesota Twins. Detroit received a young left-handed Coke to help out an already strong pitching staff and Austin Jackson to eventually take over for Grandson. They reeled in a strikeout machine in Scherzer who is a number two starter on most clubs but could be pushed as far down as fourth with the Tigers, he struck out 174 batters in 170 1/3 innings. Detroit also received Schlereth, the son of former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth, who has a mid-90s fastball and could be the Tigers future closer or slot in to be the setup man.
The Tigers did give up a web gem outfielder in Grandson but where able to shed his $23 million contract over the next three years and the arbitration-eligible Edwin Jackson. In return received a plethora of young talent on the mound and a possible replacement for the center field spot.
Coming in last in this trade as well as the National League West is the Diamondbacks (70-92). Arizona received All-Star Edwin Jackson who is World Series tested and fails to the number three starter behind aces Dan Haren, Brandon Webb. and replacing the young arm of Scherzer with Kennedy. Edwin Jackson finished the season with a record of 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 214 innings, his best ever in MLB.
The Diamondbacks might have given up two young arms but a huge reason why the team fail to the lows they did last year was the season ending injury to Webb after one start and the lack of run production. While the bats haven’t been address yet, the pitching staff didn’t take a nosedive.
Yankees: Winners/Tigers: Winners/Diamondbacks: Winners