THE 2009 ROCKSOFT Baseball preview…
This week is the American league preview
Where Americans turn for the truth.
1. Angels – I hate to do this but somebody is going to have to win this division. This could go terribly wrong as out of the Halo’s top 4 pitchers (Lackey, Santana, Escobar, Saunders) none of them are healthy, added to the fact they have Kendry Morales, Juan Riveria, Erik Aybar and Mike Napoli in their lineup. Grog City! They are also dragging Chone Figgins out there to bat leadoff and start at 3rd. UGLY. But you know what? Bobby Abreu can hit, and so can Vlad, although not like he used to. Add in Howie Kendrick, Torii Hunter, and good bullpen and this team should win the division? I guess? Well go ahead look who else is coming to the AL West party.
Key Losses -M.Texiera, F.Rodriguez. Key Addition- B.Abreu, B.Fuentes
2. Texas Rangers- Yup im losing it, but also when you look at the other 2 teams in this division Texas could end up in 2nd by default. Their lineup is stacked, M.Young, J.Cruz, J.Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis, 2 catchers that can carry a stick. The bullpen should be steady with Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Everyday Eddie. Now the front end of their rotation is Kevin Millwood (Eeek) and Vincente Padilla, and not much after that. But they have 2 or 3 young arms that should be called up mid summer and help the club. If the young arms pan out 80 wins it should put these mashers in 2nd place in this brutal division, and maybe just maybe the chance of competing come September.
3. Oakland A’s – I want to say that they are going to win this division with the restocking their anemic offense, with savy solid vets, Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, and Orlando Cabrera. But with Justin Duchscherer out for a while, the A’s starting rotation equals Dallas Braden (dope name), Dana Eveland, Brett Anderson and 2 other guys you have never heard of. Not good for a team that has to go to Arlington 18 times a year. Although Anderson could be the next great one. The bullpen’s top 2 guns are Joey Devine, (who is seeing Dr. James Andrews, never a good sign) and Brad Ziegler (A soft throwing kid who came out of nowhere last year) not such promising facts.Does not look so good for the boys in Oakland. Although you cant count out the A’s no matter who they put out there, they seem to get it done. But they need a lot to go right in order to compete into September. Look for O.C. and Holliday to not make it here past the trade deadline. And hope for my sake Eric Chavvvvvvy is healthy, I miss him.
Key Loss- Huston Street | Key Addition- Jason Giambi, Matt Holiday, Orlando Cabrera
Where 3rd place happens.
4. Seattle- I dont like putting the team with potentially the best rotation in last but you cant win too many games with your 3,4,5 hitters being (Whats left of) Ken Griffey Jr, Adrian Beltre, and Russell Branyan. Ai Cabron. Their rotation bolsters King Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva, Jarod Washburn not bad, especially in this division. And they have the young flame thrower Brandon Morrow shutting the door at the end of games. But with only 3 legitamite offensive players it’s going to be hard to win, even some 2-1 games.
Key Losses – Raul Ibanez, JJ Putz
1. Chicago White Sox – Eww, is right, this division blows too, and the defending division champs are not that bad, just old and groggy, while I am writing this sentence I am already regretting making this call. I like Josh Fields now at 3rd, I love the young shorstop Alexi Ramirez (21 hrs 77 rbis), and superstar in the making Carlos San Quentin, the rotation front to back is the most consistent in the division; Floyd, Danks, Buerhle, Bartolo Colon & Jose Conteras (those last 2 guys could be trainwrecks). They have a good pen with Jenks, Linebrink, and Matty Thorton. But Come on A.j. Pierzynski? Paul “I only had 62 rbi’s last year” Konerko, and the ghosts of Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome? Really? But all they need is two of those guys to show up and then can win this mess of a division.
Key Loss- Ken Griffey Jr? Key Addition- Bartolo Colon?
2. Kansas City Royals – Yea Boi!! Here come the running Royals my anti grog squad. The Royals have a very solid 1-9 with a lot of upside. Expect a .290 avg, 12 hr , 65 rbi, 40 steal year out of CoCo Crisp, setting the table for young masher; 2nd baseman Mark Teahen, 1B Mike Jacobs, Alex Gordon at 3rd and Billy Butler. Add in my main man shortstop Mike Aviles who hit .325 last year, and veteran nut-case Jose Guillen 97 ribbies, and thats a fun team. Their rotation should also see big things from Gil Meche, and Zack Greinke (who gives matthew berry a boner). If they only didnt have Kyle Farnsworth this team would look much nicer, because you dont get much better then Juan Cruz and Joakim Soria at the ends of games, but this could be the year that the Royals finally make some noise.
Key Loss- Ramon Ramirez Key Additon – Juan Cruz, Coco Crisp, Mike Jacobs
3. Cleveland Indians – This is where this divison gets tricky, the Tribe the Twinkies and the Tigers all just bad, but not awful. The Indians need for shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and 1st baseman Ryan Garko to continue to develop. They need somewhat of a pulse from one time MVP candidate Travis Hafner, and big years from all-stars Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez (who I expect to be good). Add that to solid contributions from the SHIN SOO-CHOO train and Mark DeRosa, this offense could be one of the best in the AL but those are all ifs. And we have not even begun to discuss the rotation, where the questions range from was-ace Cliff Lee’s 2008 Cy Young season (A fluke? Probably). Will lights out sinker baller Fausto Carmona recaputre his 2007 glory, 19 wins a sub 3.5 era? (Iffy) Will Carl Pavano pitch more than 50 innings? (that whole question made me feel weird) Will Anthony Reyes bend his hat? (I hope not) To top that they have the glass arm Kerry Wood closing games. This team has high risk high reward written all over it. Eeeek.
Key Loss- C.C. Sabathia Key Addition - Kerry Wood, Mark Derosa
4. Minnesota Twins – Sorry Cole, but on the bright side sports illustrated likes them to win the division. Even though nobody knows when their star player Joe Mauer is going to take the field this year. And here are the Pros and Cons to the 09′ twins.
Justin Morneau Joe Mauers Health
Francisco Liriano Delmon Young(10 Hr’s, 600 + abs)
New 3rd baseman Joe Crede Pitchers Slowey, Perkins, & Blackburn
Nick Punto highlight reels 5 starters with under 10 homers last year
Joe Nathan Out Machine Carlos Gomez
And since Nick Punto highlight reels don’t put wins on the board its looks like these twins will lose more than they win.
They forgot to tell him to hit the ball out of the infield.
5. Detroit Tigers- I wish they were better? But with the backend of the bullpen including Fernando “I don’t know what i am doing in a close game” Rodney, and Brandon “I had an era over 10 in spring” Lyon there are going to be a lot of issues in Detroit this year. Add the pen onto the fact that we are still trying to find out what happened to Justin Verlander, trying to figure out if or when Jeremy Bonderman is going to pitch again, and how bad Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga are going to be. The pitching is not going to take these guys anywhere. But the offense should be good, and slow. Plenty of pop from Miggy Cabrrera, Magz Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and Curtis Granderson. But other than some 10-7 games it’s going to be a pretty dismal year in Detroit. Go Blue!
Key Addition – EDWIN JACKSON (man I crack myself up sometimes)
1. Boston Red Sox- Alright here we go… Z is a homer, obviously he is going to pick the Red Sox over the Yankees but hear me out. Lets throw out a question name me the top 5 AL Starting pitchers that were sure things you would say,Roy Halladay, John Lester, Josh Beckett, C.C. Sabathia, and Felix Hernandez. Thats two of the top 5, I am reluctant to put C.C. there due to his love of food and the fact that since i can remember no new Yankee hired gun pitcher has lived up to his hype. Factor in the next 2 guys Dice-K(18-3 with a 2.9 era), and Brad Penny who when healthy started 2 of the last 3 all star games for the national league. Throw in bull dog John Smoltz, savy vet Tim Wakefield and young phenom Clay Buchholz find me a better starting staff. This is the same team that was within one game of winning the Al pennant. I have not even started to talk about the bullpen that can throw out 6 top notch relivers; Ramon Ramirez(Lowest ba against righties last year), Okajima, Delcarmen, Saito, Masterson, and Papelbon. Best bullpen in baseball hands down. Yea the lineup is getting old and there is lots of question marks, but Youk and Pedrioa will hit and the vets are not gonna fall off the map, so 97 wins and the division should be a realistic feat.
Key Loss- Coco Crisp, Paul Byrd Key Addition- Ramon Ramirez, Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Saito
2. Tampa Bay Rays – You know they are good, and the scary thing is that they only had Longoria for 4 months. Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford all had down years. They didn’t have phenom fire baller David Price, or veteran power man Pat the bat Burrell. So then why Z are they not going to beat your beloved Red Sox. Well average reader, the bullpen is why and the fact that 4th starter Andy Sonnanstine is garbage, along with their whole pen. Dan Wheeler, Troy Percival, come on really? Grant Balfour who lost 5 mphs off of his heater, there are a lot of back breaking losses here waiting just waiting to happen, doesn’t mean that they wont win the wild card, which I have them penciled in for. So until then watch out baseball its the Rays world we are all just living in it.
This video makes no sense, and is not as good as the dog’s getting the haircut but enjoy.
3. New York Yankees – People are talking about all the question marks for the Red Sox what about the Yanks? Jorge Posada? Derek im getting old Jeter? A-Rod and his hip? Hideki Matsui a middle of the lineup guy? Johnny Damon’s health and productivity? Robinson Cano’s ability to hit over .220 in the 1st half? Brett Fucking Gardner? Come on people there are a lot of question marks up there, and what about C.C. in New York, or the fact that A.J. Burnett has only pitched over 200 innings twice in his career and those years were contract years, or the fact that Andy Pettite has not been very good in 2 years, or any time a big game comes around Chien Ming-Wang has not seen the other side of the 5th inning, and can any of you name me another reliver other then grandpa Rivera. So yea they can all be good and win 100 games or half of them can pan out and they can be fighting for the wild card, but to say they are the favorites to win the division, now thats a stretch.
Key Loss- Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Pudge Rodriguez Key Additions – C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Texiera, Losing Kyle Farnsworth & Carl Pavano
4. Toronto Blue Jays – I like Roy Halladay. I like Alex Rios having a 25 25 year. I like the young outfielders Adam Lind, and Travis Snider. But other then that there is not a whole lot to like about these Blue Jays, who lost there 2-4 starters from last year 2 to injury and Burnett leaving on the free agent wagon, add into that there 4 5 hitters are Scott Rolen and Vernon Wells the Blue Jays will find it hard to compete in a loaded division. You stick them in the Nl or AL west they are fighting for a playoff spot, but alas they are stuck behind the Sawx, Rays, and Yanks.
5. Baltimore Orioles – I like what they are doing, they should be getting better. They have some building blocks in catching prospect Matt Wieters,outfielders Adam Jones, Felix Pie and Nick Markakis. They also have a loaded farm system, so they don’t seem that far off from being competitive. Which I am not looking forward too, all the AL east needs is another good team. But until then the o’s will be throwing out stud pitchers Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, and Alfredo Simon.
Till next week for my nl preview!