SI.com has it’s 2009 MLB preview material up, and yours truly is one of the so-called experts picking the division, pennant, and World Series and major awards winners and pontificating on the whys and wherefores.
I have the Yankees winning the Wild Card and losing to the AL East champion (and eventuall world champion) Red Sox in a hard-fought ALCS. The AL East (which should beget the pennant-winner, whoever it might be) was almost a coin-flip for me between the Yanks, Sox, and Rays (anyone have a three-sided coin?), but when push came to shove, the Sox were just deeper, younger, and had less down-side than the other two, at least in my mind. I’m bully on the Yankee pitching staff, but merely hopeful about the offense.
Surprisingly, I was the only “expert” to pick CC Sabathia to win the AL Cy Young award, though two others picked Mark Teixeira for MVP. I went with Josh Hamilton for the latter, though I could certainly see Tex taking the trophy.
In addition to my comments in the roundtable linked above, here are my responses that didn’t get used:
Which division is the best in baseball, top-to-bottom?
The AL East is the best division in baseball because it is home to the three best teams in baseball, the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees. Every division has a team as bad as the Orioles, but none has one as good as any of the top three teams in the AL East.
What is your sleeper team for 2009?
I think the Reds’ streak of eight-straight losing seasons is going to come to an end this year. I think Brandon Phillips, , and Chris Dickerson. Ramon Hernandez is a sure improvement over Paul Bako. Willy Taveras and Alex Gonzalez won’t hit much, but they’ll improve the Cincinnati defense, which was among the worst in baseball last year, something Dickerson will also help correct. That will benefit the rotation–which features the up-and-coming duo of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto as well as innings-eater Bronson Arroyo, bounceback candidate , and could be rounded out by a new and improved Homer Bailey–and the already solid bullpen. They’re not a playoff team, but for the first time in a long time, they look like a good team.is going to have a huge sophomore season. He’s surrounded by talented young hitters in Jay Bruce,
Which rookie will have the biggest impact?
Matt Wieters will win the AL Rookie of the Year award because he’s a flat-out masher who will put up outstanding numbers once he’s installed as the Orioles’ starting catcher (think Evan Longoria last year), but David Price will have the biggest impact as he’ll be entering the impossibly tight AL East race as a member of the Rays’ rotation.