2010 MLB Predictions

by on March 8, 2010   10 Comments

In less than one month, the biggest day of the year for myself and many like me will arrive.  I’m not talking about Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, or any other official holiday, although it certainly is a like holiday for many.

As Roger Hornsby once said, “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring,” and I can certainly understand exactly what he was talking about.

Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season kicks off on Sunday, April 4th, and it just can’t get here soon enough.

Of course, Spring Training is great. It’s already arrived and is in full swing, but it’s been more than four months since a meaningful game of professional baseball has been played, and that’s about four months too long.

Regardless of whether or not you care about the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, it certainly will be a breath of fresh air when those two rivals take the field on Opening Night.  Just to see that packed stadium and those players take the field for a game that actually counts in the standings will surely be enough to bring a smile to any baseball fan’s face.

So, with that, I bring you my predictions for the 2010 Major League Baseball season.

American League East

The Yankees won the AL East in 2009 by a comfortable margin, and I don’t see anything changing at the top of that division in 2010.

While New York let a few aging stars in Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon walk, they added centerfielder Curtis Granderson, formerly of the Detroit Tigers.  Granderson, coming off a down year of .249/.344/.828, should vastly improve those numbers in the stacked New York lineup.  In 2009, Granderson’s numbers took a hit across the board, except in the power column, in which he set a career high with 30 homeruns.  In New York’s lineup, however, he won’t be relied upon to provide the power, and should bounce back to an average of around .280, while being a 20/20 guy.

The Boston Red Sox should be able to keep the division race interesting enough in the AL East, at least until the last month or so of the regular season.  While Boston added John Lackey through free agency, they lost outfielder Jason Bay to the New York Mets, and Boston just didn’t do enough to catch up with New York.

Tampa Bay and Baltimore should both hover close to the .500 mark this season, while Toronto, in a rebuilding mode, should only win about 65 games.

American League Central

In the AL Central, I’m looking for the Chicago White Sox to bounce back from a 79-win season to recapture the division crown.  In 2009, Chicago traded for righthander Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres.  Peavy, who was injured, never took the mound for the Southsiders in 2009, but should be healthy and ready to go in 2010.  In 2009, Carlos Quentin experienced a significant decline in his numbers from the previous year, and if he can come up with a season similar to his ’08 campaign, the White Sox should win a tight three-horse race in the Central, with the Sox finishing just ahead of Joe Mauer’s Twins and the Detroit Tigers.

American League West

The AL West is, in my opinion, the toughest division to predict.  While the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have taken the division in five out of the previous six seasons, they lost many key players this offseason.  With Vladimir Guerrero leaving for the Texas Rangers, John Lackey heading to Boston, and Chone Figgins moving North to Seattle, LA’s run of three consecutive titles ends in 2010.

With the additions of Chone Figgins through free agency and Cliff Lee through trade, Seattle should move from the 85-win team we saw in 2009 to a 93-win team in 2010.  With a pair of studs at the top of the rotation (Felix Hernandez and Lee), Seattle should find themselves in a close race with Nolan Ryan’s Rangers and the Angels, but it’s a race that the M’s will win.

National League East

The Philadelphia Phillies have won the NL East each of the last three seasons, and that streak won’t end in 2010, despite the division improving this year.  While the New York Mets adding Jason Bay and the Washington Nationals signing a slew of free agents certainly won’t push either team to the top of the division, it should result in a few more wins for each of those teams, and consequently, a few more losses for Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Florida.

While the back end of Philadelphia’s rotation and bullpen may have some question marks, they aren’t quite big enough to predict any other team catching up with them.  The Phillies late-innings relief was incredibly terrible last season, and they still managed to win 93 games.  It’s hard to imagine 2010 being any worse than 2009, so if Philadelphia’s bullpen is even remotely close to 2008’s version, Philadelphia could be looking at a 97-100 win campaign and fourth division title in as many years.

The Atlanta Braves should finish second, with a record that should be good enough to have a chance at a Wildcard, while the Mets, Marlins, and Nats should battle it out for the rest of the division.

National League Central

With the best player in the game, Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals will be looking at another NL Central crown this season.  The Cardinals were able to resign Matt Holliday, and while the 2009 seasons of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright aren’t likely to be repeated, the Cardinals should easily win the Central.

Unlike most other divisions, the NL Central really doesn’t have a clear number two team to me.  Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati should all be fairly close to where they were a year ago, hovering right around .500.  I’m watching for Cincinnati to make the jump up to second in the division this year, while the Cubs will fall to fourth, with the Brewers sandwiched in the middle.  Ed Wade’s Astros will finish fifth, while the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely have yet another losing season and Andrew McCutchen will be counting down the days until he hits free agency.

National League West

In 2009, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West, but this year, they will fall to third or possibly fourth.  In my upset pick, I’m predicting the 92-loss Arizona Diamondbacks to win the NL West in 2010.  Arizona should be vastly better than last season, which saw starting pitcher Brandon Webb go down with an injury.  Webb, before the 2009 season, had been a perennial Cy Young candidate, winning the award in 2006.  However, he made just one start in 2009, but looks to be healthy for the start of 2010.  Arizona should also have a healthy Connor Jackson in left field this season.  Jackson has the potential to bat .300 while possibly being a 20/20 guy.  Arizona also added Adam LaRoche to solidify a potentially potent lineup that also contains emerging stars Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds.  Arizona added Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy as well, and they should improve a starting rotation that already includes Webb and Dan Harren.  If Webb stays healthy, Jackson produces, and Upton doesn’t experience a decline similar to the one his brother B.J. experienced in his second full season in the Majors, the Diamondbacks could win this division with around 90 wins.

So, there you have it, my totally genius predictions (also known as total guesses) for the 2010 Major League Baseball season.  Regardless of what happens in the 2010 season, I’ll just be glad that there’s baseball on again.

Author: Matt Pennington
Categories: Major League Baseball (MLB)

10 Comments »

  1. I eager to see how the uproar in LA affects the Dodgers – although it will be tough to beat that lineup as most of that division really stinks offensively (combined with lights out pitching staffs).

    AL East, NL Central and NL East seems pretty obvious, which is bad for baseball, but I’m excited to see what the young guns in Balitmore and Cincinatti can do – I think they have made really great progress to competing in the next 3-4 years (which is kinda sad to see in writing).

    AL Central and NL West are the most competitive with three-four teams each that have a legitimate shots. The AL Central will have a lot to do with what the Tigers can get out of the back-end of their starting rotation – if just one of Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, and Nate Robertson can have a bounce back year, they will be really tough to beat.

    Likewise, I don’t believe the Mariners have enough behind King Felix and Cliff Lee to compete with the Angels. Their farm system is also way behind, which means all those dog days with guys getting banged up here and there will give the Angels the edge. Chone Figgins is a tough loss, but their lineup is so good that his replacement Brandon Wood, who is a stud by just about everyone’s projections, will just have to hit 9th. They’ve already proven they can win without Vlad, who spent a lot of important games on the DL in the past few years, and ditto with John Lackey.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

  2. If the M’s get Bedard back healthy for the second half they could really go on a tear with Felix, Lee, Bedard top 3.

    Comment by Mac
    March 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

  3. Other than Figgins over Woods, who would you take on the Mariners over the Angels position by position? The only debatable spot is Ichiro over Abreu in RF. Given Felix/Lee are tops in one-two, three/four/five all go to Angels as does the entire bullpen.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm

  4. AL West-I would take Ichiro over Abreu for sure and Figgins at 3B also as Jason said. I would not take Eric Bedard over whoever ends up being the number 3 guy in Anaheim because there rotation really could vary depending on what Sciscia see’s and thinks with his guys. He has so much to play with in the rotation and the bullpen and because pitching wins championships the Angels should win the division. Everyone likes what the Mariners are doing including myself but I think it is just to early without some more high quality hitters like the Angels and even Texas.

    AL East- I agree with for the most part but I think Tampa Bay is going to be hot again like they were in 2008. They have so much speed and pitching depth and maybe the best homefield advantage in baseball. I think they will be right there.

    NL West- I think it’s going to be a 3 way race but I think Arizona will end up in 3rd. Pitching wins here again so it’s between Los Angeles and San Francisco. San Fran has the better staff but LA has the experience and a far superior hitting team so I’m saying LA wins the west again.

    As always who knows what will happen and maybe their will be a new Cinderalla team and maybe the Yankees won’t win the title. Much to watch and look foward to anyways.

    Comment by Brian LaRue
    March 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  5. I would take the M’s starting rotation as a whole over the Angels starters, as well as Figgins and Ichiro at their positions. I also really like Franklin Gutierrez in center a lot, although not necessarily more than Hunter…yet. Gutierrez has a great chance to be a 20/20 guy this year.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 10, 2010 at 1:45 am

  6. Snell, Rowland-Smith, and Vargas over Saunders, Santana, and Pineiro?

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  7. Individually, obviously no. But the rotation as a whole, I’ll take Seattle’s staff, and the fact that they get to play half their games in Safeco over the Angels staff. Yeah, LAA’s mid/back of the rotation is better, but the front of the rotation for Seattle is head and tails above the Angels.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm

  8. We are in agreement there, but right now it looks like King Felix, Lee, and pray for rain. No one on the Mariners reached the 100 IP mark last year except for Felix, those innings have to be accounted for from someone. Roland-Smith is a good arm, but it’s anybodies guess after that, and the bigger question is, do they have the bullpen arms to hold leads on a consistent basis? The Angels starters only need to go about 5-6 with the guys they have in the pen.

    I don’t want to completely discount the Texas Rangers, either – I think they got better and will be a handful themselves, but I just have a hard time getting past the overall organizational depth of the Angels. Injuries are going to happen, and the Angels are in a better spot handle them than most organizations. It will be close until the beginning of August, but I see the Angels by 5-6 games at least.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm

  9. I agree about the Rangers. They’ve got a lot of really good young players in Kinsler, Young, Borbon, Andrus, and Cruz. Neftali Feliz was really good last year in the small amount of innings he threw, although the Texas starters are nothing impressive at all.

    I think it’s going to be a pretty good race most of the season in the AL West, but I think it will come down to LA and Seattle. For some reason, I just feel that Seattle will win the division. On paper, the Angles may have the advantage, but for some reason, I like that Seattle club.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm

  10. Seattle still has some weak spots offensively and the pitching is a toss up for starters, and the bullpen goes to LAA, so I think LA will win. I lived in Seattle as a kid and now I live close to LA so I want to see them battle each other out.

    Comment by Brian LaRue
    March 14, 2010 at 5:33 pm

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