The 2010 season is upon us as there are 4 days remaining until pitchers and catchers report. I already previewed the NL Central where I predicted:
The Cardinals have Pujols and Holliday, and Carpenter and Wainwright as both top tier pitching and hitting duos, and they are too talented not to win the central. Here’s how everything else will shake out I believe.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay and Hamels will combine to win around 35 games by themselves and the Phils also feature one of the best lineups in baseball from top to bottom. They will overpower the rest of this otherwise average division.
2. New York Mets-Wild Card
At least this season, the Mets won’t collapse down the stretch and come in second. They simply won’t be able to keep up from the Phils. I think David Wright’s power numbers will rebound and Jason Bay and Johan Santana give the Mets a shot at the wild card. I think they get it.
3. Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson is quietly developing into one of the best unknown pitchers in baseball. Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, and Chris Coghlan will give them a solid lineup, but I think inconsitency will plague them, and too many holes will be exposed for them to win the division.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Braves and Frank Wren baffled me this offseason with some of their moves. Trading Javier Vazquez for an average outfielder who will only block Jason Heyward’s path to the majors makes no sense to me, even taking money into account. Troy Glaus is not the answer to their hole at first base. However the Braves still have some solid starters with Hudson, Hanson, and the often overlooked Jair Jurrjens.
5. Washington Nationals
There is only one reason to care about the Nats this season: Steven Strasburg. How will he do?
1. San Francisco Giants
I think this will be a suprisingly really good team this year. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are both all-stars. A quick glance at the Giants lineup will raise the question can they hit enough but I believe that as a group Sandoval, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, and Mark DeRosa etc will combine to create an offense which will score enough runs to support their pitchers
2. Colorado Rockies
The NL West is really a toss up between the Giants and Rockies I think. The Rockies have a lot of good young players. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge de la Rosa have learned how to pitch in Colorado and pitch very well.Watch out for Ian Stewart this season. Hit BA is less than spectacular but dont be suprised to see 32-35 homers from him this season.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Not as good as people may think. Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, Padilla is a very average top 4 pitchers in the rotation.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
Talent at some positions but too many holes from top to bottom. Webb is even a question mark this year after a lost 2009 campaign.
5. San Diego Padres
Hey, they’ll beat the Nationals. But a lineup with Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Will Venable, and David Eckstein is hard to believe in!
No one in the Queen City knew if they liked Edwin Encarnacion. One day you would love the guy who went 3-5 and hit an upper deck home run, but the next day you would be frustrated to death when he threw a ball into the dugout trying to throw to first. The fact is that Encarnacion was never a consistent ball player and in turn was not a good player for playing winning baseball. He did not consistently perform at a high level which is required to sustain success.
Certain players are just winners and EE wasn’t really one of them. Kevin Youkilis, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia: they are winners. They play winning baseball and don’t make little mistakes that can end up costing their team a game. They demand perfection from themselves and in turn from their teams.
Scott Rolen will serve as a leader for a young lineup. The Reds have really only had veteran leadership in the bullpen this year and that has been the best part of the club. Reds pitchers can also sleep a little easier as Rolen will provide great defense behind them. Rolen was hitting .320 with 8 homers and is making 11 million this year and is due to make 11 million next year.
He has had some back problems in recent years. Walt Jocketty’s first question to Blue Jays GM Ricciardi was is he healthy and he was assured he was. Rolen will most likely hit 4th or maybe 5th in the Reds lineup. Go Reds