Here are my preseason predictions, posted on RoyalBoard on April 2.
1. LA of ANA (2nd best pitching staff in AL....capable, but not overpowering, offense)
2. Seattle (Will be surprise team in AL - Underrated offense)
3. Texas (Young studs plus serviceability of Millwood/Padilla, an emerging young #3 starter)
4. Oakland (Great pitching staff, worst offense in AL)
I nearly nailed this one, except Oakland finished in third place by one game. Seattle was one of the surprise teams of baseball this season, even if they outperformed their Pythag. by an insane margin. LA of ANA once again had dominant pitching with a non-powerful offense that could get on base well.
1. Cleveland (This is the year everything comes together for them. Suspect bullpen becomes dominant in mid-May. They obtain a closer at the deadline.)
2. Detroit (See last year, except even more formidable O)
3. Chicago (Won't regress as badly as BP thinks they will - maybe around .500 - which would be an implosion for them. Many late blown leads. Ozzie gets into major trouble with media.)
4. Minnesota (Unbelievably bad pitching beyond Santana, excellent bullpen, two sparkplugs on offense but no protection.)
5. Kansas City (Allows over 900 runs, league-average offense.)
Overestimated Chicago, even if I now believe (with substantial evidence) that they deserved to finish last by a significant margin. I was dead wrong on the Royals, even if I predicted 70-92 before the season. The Royals had league-average pitching, and lousy hitting. Minnesota's pitching wasn't exactly pre-2007 levels, but wasn't unbelievably bad beyond Santana (Bonser and Silva were both average to above average). I was correct on Detroit's improved offense, and Cleveland's dominance.
1. Boston (Best pitching in AL, diverse offense)
2. New York (Offensive juggernaut, allows over 850 runs. Rivera regresses noticeably.)
3. Toronto (77-85-ish. Formideable offense but no pitching depth once again.)
4. Baltimore (75-87...still Baltimore)
5. Tampa Bay (Worst pitching in baseball...mediocre offense due to inexperience and players without positions.)
(Although Toronto finished a bit better than I expected, Baltimore finished a bit worse....but Tampa Bay's pitching was the worst in baseball.)
1. Los Angeles (dynamic pitching, so-so offense, will be a speed, pitching, & defense kinda team)
2. Arizona (emerging young offense, capable arms despite oft-injured Johnson)
3. Colorado (surprise of baseball along with Brewers & Mariners)
4. San Diego (league-worst offense, so-so pitching)
5. San Francisco (mediocrity across the board - no bullpen - many blown leads)
This division is skewed because of Arizona's flukish/lucky season. I was correct in deeming Colorado one of the three surprises of baseball. I was correct in predicting Johnson's oft-injuriness. I was correct in predicting San Fran last. I underestimated San Diego's pitching and overall record by a hefty margin.
1. Milwaukee (surprise of NL, pitching suddenly dominates in all facets)
2. St. Louis (Tony will continue to work his magic, but not quite enough this time around, see: no pitching beyond Carpenter & Wells)
3. Chicago (Disappointment...finishes slightly above .500...great but untimely offense, mediocre pitching)
4. Cincinnati (No protection for Dunn, Edwin Enflukarcion regresses noticeably, no depth in pitching staff)
5. Houston (three big stars and black holes)
6. Pittsburgh (same old Pittsburgh)
This entire division was a wash to begin with....most people probably predicted Chicago to finish first, which they did....but with a mere 85-77 record. I was dramatically off on St. Louis, who I predicted to finish just barely over .500 again. I was correct in deeming MIL a surprise club.
1. Philadelphia (this is finally the year!)
2. New York (best offense in NL hands down, zero pitching beyond Glavine...Martinez ineffective when he returns...by then, it will be too little/too late)
3. Atlanta (83-79...bullpen still sucky)
4. Florida (77-85....no improvement from last year, but not bad either)
5. Washington (little Minor League depth...and many years away)
*Patting self on back*
I foresaw a Phils-Indians World Series before the season. That won't be the scenario.