Preparin’ To Be Wrong 2K10 Edition: My Mostly Uneventful MLB Season Predictions

NL East

1. Phillies
2. Braves (WC)
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

NL Central

1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Cubs
4. Brewers
5. Astros
6. Pirates

NL West

1. Diamondbacks
2. Dodgers
3. Rockies
4. Giants
5. Padres

The Phillies and Cardinals both seem like virtual locks on paper, with the Braves most likely to emerge from an Atlanta/Florida/Random-Ass-West-Team Wildcard Pack. The Cubs got near career-years from Derrick Lee and Ted Lilly last season and still didn’t come close to competing in the Central; one slip-up or major injury and they could easily be surpassed by the suddenly extremely-pitching-deep Reds. The Giants, Astros, and Mets bore the hell out of me.

Sleeper Pick: Arizona. The West is the most wide-open division, and with the Dodgers aging ever so slightly (and starting Vincente Padilla on Opening Day) and the Rockies perhaps susceptible to just natural regression (though their pitching is deep), we might as well make one semi-unexpected pick and throw the Arizona Upsidey McUpsides into the playoffs, especially after Adam LaRoche’s certain 15-homer April. Did Brandon Webb reinjure himself as I was typing this? Dr. James Andrews is boarding a lear jet as we speak? Cool.

AL EAST

1. Yankees
2. Red Sox (WC)
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

AL CENTRAL

1. Twins
2. Indians
3. Tigers
4. White Sox
5. Royals

AL WEST

1. Angels
2. Rangers
3. A’s
4. Mariners

As much as I’d love to see the Rays squeak in the playoffs again — and they might, given the endless pitching depth they’re prepared to pump into the major league roster — it’s still risky biz to pick against the Yanks and Sox, particularly with their big-league roster additions to already loaded lineups and pitching staffs, plus the added caveat of both franchises having the ability to instantly rectify any major problems by making a payroll-adding midseason trade. I love the Rangers’ farm system, but the Angels are still surprisingly underrated offensively, and I don’t have the guts to pick against them until they show actual signs of slowing down in the regular season. The White Sox and Tigers could compete in the Central (it might only take 85-87 wins to take that division) but Chicago’s lineup and Detroit’s pitching are full of holes. I’m also not high enough on the Mariners’ offseason additions to believe they’ll improve on a fraudulent 85-77 record a year ago (their run differential was -52, 50 runs worse than the A’s).

Sleeper Pick: Cleveland. In a super wide-open division, the Indians are coming off down seasons by practically their entire roster, and should be somewhat invigorated by a combination of players playing back up to expectations (everyone in Fantasy got screwed by Grady Sizemore a year ago), any returning contribution from Fausto Carmona, and a number of MLB-ready prospects. I doubt they’ll finish far above .500, if .500 at all, but that still might be enough to keep them in the AL Central race far longer than anyone expects.

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