The Crystal Ball

I know Andy is desperately waiting for this, so to help him get over his worries, I present my 2008 predictions.  Please don’t use these for any wagering, besides being illegal in the US, I offer zero guarantees.  Anyway, here we go….

AL East

1- Boston- I go back and forth on this one and I have changed my mind all spring, but on March 30th I think the Red Sox will win the AL East, so they go first today.  Ultimately, the healthier team will prevail and I have no idea which team will have the better luck in that department.

2- Yankees- see above but I will say less runs scored but also less runs allowed equals 90+ wins

3- Toronto- I know Tampa is the trendy pick, but I think the Blue Jays will make some noise this year and probably challenge the Yankees and Red Sox for the AL East crown well into September.

4- Tampa- Kazmir is starting the season hurt and while the lineup is looking great, the pitching is very shaky.  They should easily improve on 66 their wins from last year though.

5- Baltimore- I can’t believe that the Orioles used to be the class of the AL East.  This team is simply a joke and will be the worst in the league.

AL Central

1- Cleveland- I would have picked Detroit if I liked their pitching.  Cleveland will have a better lineup and the pitching is good, so they are on top.

2- Detroit, they will score in bunches, but I don’t think they have enough pitching to take the crown.

The thing about the Central is that things really drop off in a huge way after the top two clubs.  I will pick them to finish….

3- Chicago

4- Minnesota

5- Kansas City

…but to be honest I could see the three finishing in any order.

AL West

1- Seattle- I am going to pick them as my surprise team this year and I think Hernandez and Bedard are going to be dominant.

2- Angels- Losing Escobar is a big loss.  

3- Texas- I like the direction of this team, but I don’t think they are ready to challenge the big guys yet.

4- Oakland- Clearly building for the future and it will show in the standings.

Now onto the NL

NL East

1- Mets- Until the Santana trade I would have picked Philadelphia, but I just love Santana in the NL and the Mets have four pitchers who could each win 15 games or more.  The offense is shaky, but Wright and Beltran are as good a 1-2 punch as any other team in the NL

2- Phillies- Brett Myers back in the rotation is big and I think they will stay on the Mets’ tails all season.

3- Atlanta- Back-to-back third place finishes for the Braves is strange

4- Nationals- Very interesting outfield

5- Florida- They traded their two best players and got some stars for the future, check back in 2011 or so.

NL Central

1- Cubs- I won’t predict the end of a 99-year drought, but I think they win the division

2- Millwaukee- Should be right on the heels of the Cubs, but they won’t catch them

3- Cincinnati- I think they will surprise people and finish above .500

Just like the AL Central I think there is a big drop and I think the following three teams could finish anyway but I predict….

4- Houston

5- St. Louis

6- Pittsburgh

NL West

1- Arizona- love the pitching and I think some of the young offensive players will be very good this year

2- San Diego- They will fall just short- again

3- Colorado- too bad they couldn’t win the World Series last year because they won’t be back there in 2008

4- LA Dodgers- Joe Torre is going to finish outside of the top two spots in the division for the first time since 1994

5- San Francisco- Another team that I can’t figure out.  The Zito contract looks like an enormous mistake and I have a feeling we will be saying the same thing about the Rowand deal next year.  

As for the playoffs, I am picking the Yankees and Phillies as my wild card teams and Cleveland and the Mets as the two best records.  

In the matchups I think Seattle shocks Boston and Cleveland beats the Yankees with Cleveland winning the AL crown

For the NL I will pick the Mets over the Cubs (remember they can’t play the Phillies) and Arizona over the Philies with the Mets winning the NL

And, I think the Mets win their third championship over Cleveland next October.

And now it’s time to PLAY BALL!