We’ve been previewing teams for the past couple weeks, and now that Opening Day is finally here, it’s time to put our money where our mouths are.
Below you will find predictions from 10 THT writers, including divisional standings, major awards and what happens in October. Within a week, we may all look like idiots, but that’s the beauty of baseball.
American League East
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Alex Belth BOS NYY TOR TAM BAL Craig Burley BOS NYY TOR BAL TAM Joe Dimino NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Robert Dudek NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Aaron Gleeman NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Ben Jacobs BOS NYY TOR BAL TAM Vinay Kumar NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Matthew Namee NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Studes NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Steve Treder NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM Consensus NYY BOS TOR BAL TAM
You’ll notice that, after the first two spots, everyone pretty much has this division predicted exactly the same. I suppose that’s not all that surprising, considering the entire division, one through five, has finished in the same order for six straight seasons.
The Red Sox get just three first-place votes, which may have been higher had Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon not gone down with injuries. Interestingly, one of the Boston’s first-place votes came from the guy who runs a blog devoted to the Yankees, Alex Belth, while Ben Jacobs, a Red Sox fan, stuck with Boston.
American League Central
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Alex Belth CLE KAN MIN CHW DET Craig Burley MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Joe Dimino CHW MIN KAN DET CLE Robert Dudek MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Aaron Gleeman MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Ben Jacobs MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Vinay Kumar MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Matthew Namee KAN MIN CHW CLE DET Studes CHW MIN KAN DET CLE Steve Treder MIN KAN CHW CLE DET Consensus MIN KAN CHW CLE DET
The Royals got a lot of second-place votes, but only one person, Matthew Namee, puts them atop the division. Alex Belth is the only one to have Cleveland in the top three, picking them to win the division, while Joe Dimino and Studes both have the Indians finishing in the basement.
Minnesota picks up six of the remaining eight first-place votes, while the White Sox surprisingly get just two. Not surprisingly, just two of us think the Tigers will find their way out of last place, after finishing last season 25 games behind Cleveland.
The consensus opinion on the AL Central has Minnesota winning it for the third straight year and Detroit bringing up the rear for a third straight year.
American League West
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Alex Belth OAK ANA SEA TEX Craig Burley OAK ANA SEA TEX Joe Dimino OAK ANA SEA TEX Robert Dudek OAK ANA SEA TEX Aaron Gleeman OAK ANA SEA TEX Ben Jacobs OAK ANA SEA TEX Vinay Kumar OAK ANA SEA TEX Matthew Namee OAK ANA SEA TEX Studes ANA OAK SEA TEX Steve Treder ANA OAK SEA TEX Consensus OAK ANA SEA TEX
Geez, us statheads sure do like the A’s, huh? Eight out of 10 pick Oakland to repeat as AL West champs, while Studes and Steve Treder have Oakland in second, with Anaheim taking the division. The A’s and Angels take up the first two spots for all 10 guys, and every person has Seattle in third and Texas in last.
The consensus opinion is that Oakland will win the division for the third straight time, with Anaheim jumping over Seattle into second place. Also, we have the Rangers finishing in last place for the fifth consecutive season.
American League Wild Card/Awards
WC MVP Cy Young Rookie Manager Alex Belth NYY Vlad Guerrero Pedro Martinez Joe Mauer Eric Wedge Craig Burley NYY Vlad Guerrero Tim Hudson Matt Riley Tony Pena Joe Dimino BOS Alex Rodriguez Javier Vazquez Bobby Crosby Ozzie Guillen Robert Dudek BOS Vernon Wells Tim Hudson Bobby Crosby Ken Macha Aaron Gleeman BOS Alex Rodriguez Johan Santana Bobby Crosby Ron Gardenhire Ben Jacobs NYY Eric Chavez Curt Schilling Joe Mauer Ken Macha Vinay Kumar BOS Alex Rodriguez Javier Vazquez Bobby Crosby Ozzie Guillen Matthew Namee BOS Carlos Beltran Pedro Martinez Joe Mauer Joe Torre Studes BOS Vlad Guerrero Javier Vazquez Bobby Crosby Mike Scioscia Steve Treder BOS Alex Rodriguez Javier Vazquez Bobby Crosby Mike Scioscia Consensus BOS Alex Rodriguez Javier Vazquez Bobby Crosby 3-Way Tie
All 10 of us have the second-place team in the AL East winning the Wild Card, which means there isn’t a single person among us who believes either the Yankees or Red Sox will miss the playoffs.
The Rookie of the Year predictions were primarily split between two players, with Bobby Crosby beating Joe Mauer six to three, while Matt Riley picked up a vote from Craig Burley, who must not have gotten the memo.
The Manager of the Year picks are all over the place. As you might expect from his AL Central prediction, Alex Belth picks Eric Wedge, while Ozzie Guillen, Ken Macha and Mike Scioscia each pick up two votes.
Javier Vazquez is the consensus pick for the Cy Young, while no one, not even our two Blue Jays fans on staff, picks last year’s winner, Roy Halladay. Pedro Martinez and Tim Hudson pick up two votes each.
The MVP predictions were very close, with Alex Rodriguez narrowly edging out Vladimir Guerrero, four to three. We came very close to predicting members of the 2003 Expos winning both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards.
National League East
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Alex Belth ATL PHI FLA NYM MON Craig Burley ATL PHI FLA NYM MON Joe Dimino PHI MON FLA ATL NYM Robert Dudek PHI ATL FLA NYM MON Aaron Gleeman PHI ATL FLA NYM MON Ben Jacobs PHI ATL FLA NYM MON Vinay Kumar ATL PHI FLA NYM MON Matthew Namee PHI ATL FLA NYM MON Studes ATL PHI FLA NYM MON Steve Treder PHI ATL FLA NYM MON Consensus PHI ATL FLA NYM MON
The consensus has the Phillies breaking Atlanta’s amazing run atop the NL East, which…well, I’ll believe it when I see it.
National League Central
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Alex Belth HOU CHC STL PIT CIN MIL Craig Burley HOU STL CHC PIT MIL CIN Joe Dimino HOU CHC STL CIN PIT MIL Robert Dudek HOU CHC STL CIN PIT MIL Aaron Gleeman CHC HOU STL CIN PIT MIL Ben Jacobs HOU CHC STL CIN PIT MIL Vinay Kumar HOU CHC STL CIN PIT MIL Matthew Namee CHC HOU STL CIN PIT MIL Studes CHC HOU STL CIN PIT MIL Steve Treder CHC HOU STL CIN MIL PIT Consensus HOU CHC STL CIN PIT MIL
Opinion on this division is very split at the top, but pretty much in agreement for the final four spots. Only Craig Burley has either Houston or Chicago outside of the top two spots, placing the Cardinals #2.
Also, we all agree that the division is definitely split into two parts, as no one has Houston, Chicago or St. Louis in the bottom half of the standings.
The Cubs won the division by one game over Houston last year, but our consensus has them flip-flopped this season, with Houston taking home the title.
National League West
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Alex Belth SFG LOS SDP ARI COL Craig Burley LOS SFG SDP ARI COL Joe Dimino LOS SDP ARI SFG COL Robert Dudek SFG SDP ARI LOS COL Aaron Gleeman SDP SFG LOS ARI COL Ben Jacobs ARI SFG SDP LOS COL Vinay Kumar SDP SFG ARI LOS COL Matthew Namee LOS SFG SDP ARI COL Studes SFG LOS ARI SDP COL Steve Treder ARI SFG LOS SDP COL Consensus SFG LOS SDP ARI COL
Everyone has the Rockies finishing last. After that, it gets very interesting…
Of the other four teams, all four of them had at two of us pick them to win the division. Not a single person picked Arizona to finish second, but Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco were eached picked to finish second by at least two people.
Meanwhile, San Francisco didn’t get any third-place votes, although Joe Dimino picked them to finish fourth. Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona all got picked to finish third by at least two of us. And finally, all four non-Colorado teams got picked to finish fourth in the division at least once.
The consensus (using a point system) comes out as San Francisco-Los Angeles-San Diego-Arizona-Colorado. The only person who has personal predictions that match the group’s consensus on the NL West? Alex Belth.
National League Wild Card/Awards
WC MVP Cy Young Rookie Manager Alex Belth CHC Sammy Sosa Mark Prior Kaz Matsui Bobby Cox Craig Burley STL Albert Pujols Mark Prior Adam LaRoche Bobby Cox Joe Dimino CHC Todd Helton Roy Oswalt Khalil Greene Jim Tracy Robert Dudek CHC Barry Bonds Andy Pettitte Kaz Matsui Bruce Bochy Aaron Gleeman HOU Barry Bonds Randy Johnson Ryan Wagner Bruce Bochy Ben Jacobs CHC Richie Sexson Roy Oswalt Kaz Matsui Bobby Cox Vinay Kumar CHC Lance Berkman Mark Prior Ryan Wagner Bruce Bochy Matthew Namee HOU Jim Thome Kerry Wood Adam LaRoche Jim Tracy Studes HOU Albert Pujols Josh Beckett Adam LaRoche Bobby Cox Steve Treder HOU Albert Pujols Roy Oswalt Kaz Matsui Dusty Baker Consensus CHC Albert Pujols Prior/Oswalt Kaz Matsui Bobby Cox
Each and every one of us picked the second-place team in the NL Central to win the Wild Card. For most, that meant the Cubs, but Craig Burley had St. Louis and four guys had Houston.
The majority of us initially picked Mark Prior to win the Cy Young, but most changed their minds when news came out that he’ll likely miss significant time. Still, even with the injury concerns, Prior did get three votes, which ties him with Roy Oswalt.
Bobby Cox, surprisingly (to me at least) was the consensus Manager of the Year pick, receiving four of the 10 votes. Bruce Bochy was the pick of three guys, two of whom picked San Diego to win the division (which makes sense).
AL Champs NL Champs WS Champs Alex Belth New York Yankees San Francisco Giants New York Yankees Craig Burley Boston Red Sox Houston Astros Houston Astros Joe Dimino New York Yankees Houston Astros Houston Astros Robert Dudek Oakland A's Chicago Cubs Oakland A's Aaron Gleeman Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Boston Red Sox Ben Jacobs Boston Red Sox Houston Astros Boston Red Sox Vinay Kumar Boston Red Sox Houston Astros Boston Red Sox Matthew Namee Boston Red Sox Los Angeles Dodgers Boston Red Sox Studes Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs Steve Treder New York Yankees Chicago Cubs New York Yankees Consensus Boston Red Sox Houston/Chicago Boston Red Sox
While only three of us have the Red Sox winning the AL East, six of us have them winning the American League. Over in the NL, we are split, with three of us picking the Cubs and three picking the Astros.
And who’s going to win it all this year? Well, according to us, the Red Sox. Four out of 10 picked Boston to win their first World Series since 1918.