The SuperBowl has just ended. Congratulations Saints. Now the NFL season is over, and pitchers and catchers report in a mere 11 days. Time to pick the 2010 season.
We'll start with the National League.
1. Philadelphia Phillies: 94-68. The Phillies lost Cliff Lee, by replacing him with Roy Halladay. They still have the same lineup that they've had the last 2 seasons. The Phillies are clearly the best team in the National League.
2. Atlanta Braves: 87-75. The Braves had probably the best pitching rotation in the division last season. Despite trading Javier Vazquez to the Braves, they still have Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, and Tommy Hanson. The Braves offense is severely lacking again, and depends completely on health, but they're getting better.
3. New York Mets: 85-77. The Mets helped themselves by signing Jason Bay, but they're lacking pitching. You can't expect the Mets to have the same injury troubles that they had last season, but other than Johan Santana, the Mets rotation is undesirable at best.
4. Florida Marlins: 85-77. I am picking the Mets and Marlins to tie in the division, essentially. The Marlins are good, but they have young arms and a young bullpen that still needs some development. They're not there yet.
5. Washington Nationals: 69-93. No, this team is not gonna be good. They have hitters, but no pitchers. Expect the Nats to finish in the cellar again.
1. St. Louis Cardinals: 92-70. The Cardinals re-signed Matt Holliday, they still have Albert Pujols, and the have Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter at the top of the rotation. They'll win the division again.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: 85-77. Good, but not as talented as the Cardinals. They have Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, but their rotation leaves a bit to be desired. They'll contend, but they won't make the playoffs.
3. Chicago Cubs: 83-79. Average. The Cubs are starting to age, they don't have consistent pitching, and something always seems to go wrong for them. That streak is gonna reach 102.
4. Houston Astros: 82-80. Another average team. Great offense, no pitching. They'll make a few runs during the season and finish above .500, but that's about it.
5. Cincinnati Reds: 75-87. The Reds didn't do much to improve themselves in the offseason. If they stay healthy with Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto pitching well, they have a chance to finish better than this record, but not by much. They don't have much else going for them.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: 63-99. There's not much to say here. This team stinks.
1. Colorado Rockies: 91-71. The Rockies have something special building, and they're only going to get better. They should have Jeff Francis back this season, and other than losing Garrett Atkins who was fading, they didn't change much. They'll eke out the division.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 90-72. This is also a team that is virtually unchanged, and unless Manny Ramirez is out of his mind or gets hurt, he'll be there the whole season. They'll battle the Rockies up to the end for the division, but ultimately they'll win the Wild Card.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: 87-75. Unless Brandon Webb gets hurt again, the Diamondbacks will have a dramatic turnaround. They have a rotation consisting of Webb, Danny Haren, and Edwin Jackson. They have a young offense carried by Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton, and they should have Connor Jackson back. They'll contend.
4. San Francisco Giants: 84-78. A rotation that has Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain will contend, but the Giants horrible offense will hold them back.
5. San Diego Padres: 69-93. Not much doing here. Adrian Gonzalez will likely be dealt before the trade deadline in July.
Now for the American League
1. New York Yankees: 102-60. The Yankees had an amazing season in 2009, and don't look for a dropoff in 2010. They added Curtis Granderson, who hit 30 homers playing half his games in Comerica Park. They added Javier Vazquez to a World Series winning rotation. A-Rod will be around for a whole season and be just as comfortable as ever, and the Yankees still have the x-factor; Mariano Rivera. The losses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Melky Cabrera will be noticed, but their production won't be missed too much.
2. Boston Red Sox: 95-67. The Red Sox pitching will carry them to the Wild Card, especially with the addition of John Lackey. However, with a lack of offense (unless they acquire Adrian Gonzalez midseason) and a bullpen that's unpredictable, they won't challenge the Yankees for the division.
3. Tampa Bay Rays: 84-78. The Rays bullpen will be their downfall again. Their rotation is good, although not as good as most contending teams, and they can hit, but that bullpen will make you cringe. The Rays need to solidify that pen before they have another season like they had in 2008.
4. Baltimore Orioles: 73-89. You'll see some improvement here. The Orioles have some young players coming up that are exciting to watch, such as Matt Wieters, and emerging superstars Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, but they have a long way to go.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: 70-92. It's rebuilding time. The Jays finally traded Roy Halladay, so now there's not even any reason to buy a ticket to the Rogers Centre. Well, unless you want to see the other team.
1. Minnesota Twins: 93-69. There won't be a dramatic playoff game this year. The Minnesota Twins will have a good offense, good pitching, and oh yeah...Joe Mauer. Target Field will see more than 81 regular season games in its inaugural season.
2. Detroit Tigers: 85-77. The Tigers just didn't do enough to improve. They traded Edwin Jackson, so their rotation is a man short. Joel Zumaya is a mystery, so their bullpen has questions. They also traded Curtis Granderson. They got some young players in return, but it'll take a couple of years before they make an impact.
3. Chicago White Sox: 80-82. This is an aged team that has lost quite a bit since its 2005 World Series team. They no longer have Jermaine Dye, although he's still on the market, and their pitching leaves much to be desired.
4. Kansas City Royals: 70-92. I like the Royals to be a little better this season. Their young players have another year under their belts, they still have Zack Greinke, and they have a decent closer in Joakim Soria. They won't be good, but they'll be better.
5. Cleveland Indians: 64-98. This team is also in rebuilding mode. They need to build up a farm system again, and maybe spend a little money on free agents for a couple years to get back into contention. They've lost a lot since their amazing 2007 season.
1. Seattle Mariners: 93-69. The Mariners will be on top of the closest division in the league. They made several improvements, including adding Cliff Lee to a rotation that could also feature Erik Bedard whom they just re-signed. And let's not forget Felix Hernandez. Big improvements in the Pacific Northwest.
2. Los Angeles Angels: 90-72. The Angels lost a lot this offseason. They no longer have John Lackey, Chone Figgins, or Vladimir Guerrero. They added Hideki Matsui, but that's not going to be enough. The Angels domination of the AL West will come to and end this season.
3. Texas Rangers: 86-76. The Rangers are close to being a playoff team again. They have a terrific offense and an improving pitching staff. Signing Rich Harden was a good move, if he stays healthy.
4. Oakland Athletics: 72-90. Here's another rebuilding team. The Athletics are always stocked with young players, and can always surprise people, but that's not likely this season. Their players still need quite a bit of development.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies: These two teams will meet in the postseason for the 3rd straight year, this time in the first round. The Dodgers will put up a fight, but the Phillies will take this series in 4 games.
Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals won't have the same disaster happen to them that they did in 2009. This will be a long series, but the Cards will take it in 5.
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees: For the Twins, it's deja vu all over again. They'll have Justin Morneau healthy this time, but it won't help. Yankees in 4.
Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners: The Red Sox pitching will easily handle the lackluster Mariners offense, and the Red Sox take the series in a sweep.
NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies. This will be a good one. Roy Halladay's first postseason showings will go well, but the Cardinals will beat up on a shaky Brad Lidge and take the series in 7 games.
ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees. Heeeere we go again! The Red Sox dominating starting pitching will keep the Yankee bats from busting out too much, while the Yankees pitching staff will hold down a Red Sox offense that's simply not as strong as usual. Low scoring games leads to battles of the bullpens. The difference? Mariano Rivera. Yankees in 7.
World Series: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees. This will be one of the most interesting mini-battles in recent history, with the 3-4 hitters of each team facing off. In this case, it'll be Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols vs. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. All of these guys have World Series experience and 3 out of the 4 have won it all. However, the Yankees rotation is a little deeper, as is their lineup, and of course their bullpen. The Yankees will finish on top again in 2010, giving us our first repeat World Champions since the Yankees also repeated for a 3rd time in 2000.