It’s Opening Night (last week was Opening Oh God It’s Early, I think), so with the season the brink of starting, we polled our staff and asked them to put down their selections for the playoff teams and the postseason award winners. Unlike last year, there was very little agreement among the group, and the consensus picks are often a plurality but not a majority. While there’s a pretty clear divide between the top six or seven teams and the rest of baseball, there doesn’t appear to be one dominant team that stands out from the group of contenders.
So, without futher ado, let’s get to the predictions:
AL West: Anaheim
AL Central: Detroit
AL East: New York
AL Wild Cards: Tampa Bay, Texas
AL Champ: Anaheim
|Author||AL West||AL Central||AL East||AL WC #1||AL WC #2||AL Champ|
Only six of our authors have the eventual AL champ coming from the AL East. Texas and Anaheim have changed the power balance of the American League, and along with Detroit’s easiest-path-to-the-playoffs expectation, you can fairly say that neither New York or Boston should be considered any kind of strong favorite to get to the World Series. That’s a nice change for most of the country.
NL West: Arizona
NL Central: Cincinnati
NL East: Philadelphia
NL Wild Cards: Atlanta, St. Louis
NL Champ: Arizona
|Author||NL West||NL Central||NL East||NL WC #1||NL WC #2||NL Champ|
I have to say I’m pretty surprised by the Arizona support here. The NL West is something of a coin toss, and while the Diamondbacks have some nice pieces, I have them comfortably behind Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Miami in the NL pecking order. And yes, that’s me picking the Marlins to go to the World Series. Commence tomato throwing now.
World Champ: Anaheim
18 of the 20 authors went with an AL team as the World Champ, with the Angels just edging out the Rangers as the most selected winner. It appears that everyone expects the AL West to be an absolute dogfight this year.
And finally, the awards. There was some agreement on the pool of players likely to win, but within those pools, no real favorites emerged. You could make a good case for a lot of people for most of the awards, and if you’re David Laurila, you can make a case for Jay Bruce and Ricky Romero as NL MVP and AL Cy Young winner respectively. Dude is going to look like a genius if those happen.