Sunday, October 25, 2009

World Series Predictions

This week I will give my predictions for the World Series for both the Phillies vs. Yankees scenario and for the Phillies vs. Angels scenario.

Phillies vs. Yankees: Philadelphia in 7
Here’s how I would have it playing out:
Game 1: CC Sabathia (NYY) over Cliff Lee (PHI) in New York
Game 2: Cole Hamels (PHI) over AJ Burnett (NYY) in New York
Game 3: Pedro Martinez (PHI) over Andy Pettite (NYY) in Philadelphia
Game 4: Cliff Lee (PHI) over CC Sabathia (NYY) in Philadelphia
Game 5: AJ Burnett (NYY) over Cole Hamels (PHI) in Philadelphia
Game 6: Andy Pettite (NYY) over Pedro Martinez (PHI) in New York
Game 7: Cliff Lee (PHI) over CC Sabathia (NYY) in New York

I think that Cliff Lee will be the difference-maker in this series. Nobody so far has been able to match up with CC Sabathia this postseason, but Cliff Lee is pitching just as well as CC right now, and I think will win two out of three times facing CC. AJ Burnett and Cole Hamels have both been struggling this postseason, so I think they are about equal. Both Pedro and Pettite are good clutch pitchers, and so I have them splitting, too.

The offenses of both these teams are the best two in all of baseball. Here’s how I break down their lineups:
1: Derek Jeter (NYY) over Jimmy Rollins (PHI) – Jimmy Rollins just isn’t himself this year, and, even if he was, he’s still no Derek Jeter.
2: Shane Victorino (PHI) over Johnny Damon (NYY) – Shane Victorino is hitting .361 this postseason while Johnny Damon is only hitting .211.
3: Chase Utley (PHI) over Mark Teixeira (NYY) – Mark Teixeira has only a .256 OBP this postseason, while Chase Utley has a .439 OBP.
4: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) tied with Ryan Howard (PHI) – Even though A-ROD has better stats so far, Ryan has been to the World Series, while A-ROD has not.
5: Jayson Werth (PHI) over Hideki Matsui (NYY) – Jayson already has 5 home runs this postseason, while Matsui only has 1.
6: Raul Ibanez (PHI) over Robinson Cano (NYY) – Robinson has only five RBI’s, while Raul Ibanez has nine.
7: Jorge Posada (NYY) over Pedro Feliz (PHI) – Pedro is hitting .161 this postseason. That’s horrible.
8: Carlos Ruiz (PHI) over Nick Swisher (NYY) – Carlos is hitting .346 with a .500 OBP so far this postseason, while Swisher is hitting .103.

Phillies vs. Angels: Philadelphia in 6
Here’s how I have it playing out:
Game 1: Cliff Lee (PHI) over John Lackey (LAA) in Anaheim
Game 2: Joe Saunders (LAA) over Cole Hamels (PHI) in Anaheim
Game 3: Pedro Martinez (PHI) over Jered Weaver (LAA) in Philadelphia
Game 4: Cliff Lee (PHI) over John Lackey (LAA) in Philadelphia
Game 5: Joe Saunders (LAA) over Cole Hamels (PHI) in Philadelphia
Game 6: Pedro Martinez (PHI) over Jered Weaver (LAA) in Anaheim

John Lackey couldn’t quite match up with CC, so I don’t think he’ll be able to match up with Cliff Lee. Even though Joe Saunders isn’t that great, Cole Hamels has been horrible this postseason, so I have Joe winning both their match-ups, and then Pedro is just a good clutch pitcher.

The Phillies offense, in my opinion, is better than the Angels offense by a fairly large margin:
1: Jimmy Rollins (PHI) over Chone Figgins (LAA) – Figgins has two hits this postseason and is hitting .065.
2: Shane Victorino (PHI) over Bobby Abreu (LAA) – Bobby is hitting only .267 this postseason, which is only because Victorino is hitting .361.
3: Chase Utley (PHI) over Torii Hunter (LAA) – Torii is hitting only .276 with only one home run this postseason.
4: Ryan Howard (PHI) over Vladimir Guerrero (LAA) – Howard tied the record for most consecutive playoff games with an RBI earlier this postseason with 8. Vlad can’t match that.
5: Jayson Werth (PHI) over Juan Rivera (LAA) – Jayson has 5 home runs. Juan has none.
6: Raul Ibanez (PHI) over Howie Kendrick (LAA) – Howie has worked no walks this postseason, and that really hurts his OBP.
7: Kendry Morales (LAA) over Pedro Feliz (PHI) – Even Kendry’s .200 batting average is better than Pedro’s .161 batting average.
8: Carlos Ruiz (PHI) over Mike Napoli (LAA) – Carlos is hitting .346 with a .500 OBP. Mike is hitting .154 with a .267 OBP.

Come back next week for my Results vs. Predictions Comparison.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

End-of-Season All-Stars

This week I will give my all-stars for the year in both the NL and AL.

AL Starters:

C: Joe Mauer, MIN (.365 AVG, 28 HR, 96 RBI): He leads all catchers (with at least 7 at-bats) in batting average at .365. He also leads all catchers in home runs and is second in RBI’s.

1B: Mark Teixeira, NYY (.292 AVG, 39 HR, 122 RBI): Mark leads all first basemen in RBI’s, is tied for the lead in home runs, and has a very solid batting average.

2B: Aaron Hill, TOR (.286 AVG, 36 HR, 108 RBI): Aaron has a solid batting average, and leads all AL second baseman in both home runs and RBI’s.

SS: Derek Jeter, NYY (.334 AVG, 18 HR, 66 RBI): Derek leads all shortstops in batting average, is tied for 4th in RBI’s, and is 1st in home runs.

3B: Michael Young, TEX (.322 AVG, 22 HR, 68 RBI): Michael leads all AL third basemen in batting average, and has solid power numbers at 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s.

OF: Jason Bay, BOS (.267 AVG, 36 HR, 119 RBI): Jason leads all AL outfielders in both home runs and RBI’s, so, even though he’s only hitting .267, he’s still deserving.

OF: Michael Cuddyer, MIN (.276 AVG, 32 HR, 94 RBI): Michael is third among AL outfielders in home runs and has 94 RBI’s, so even though his average is a little low, he still deserves it.

OF: Bobby Abreu, LAA (.293 AVG, 15 HR, 103 RBI): Bobby has 103 RBI’s, a .293 batting average, and, most impressive, a .390 on-base percentage.

SP: Zack Grienke, KC (16-8, 2.16 ERA, 242 K): Zack had the lowest ERA in the majors, had 242 strikeouts, and had 16 wins with the Royals.

AL Reserves:

C: Victor Martinez, BOS (.303 AVG, 23 HR, 108 RBI)
1B: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.324 AVG, 34 HR, 103 RBI)
Kendry Morales, LAA (.306, 34 HR, 108 RBI)
2B: Ben Zobrist, TB (.297 AVG, 27 HR, 91 RBI)
Robinson Cano, NYY (.320 AVG, 25 HR, 85 RBI)
SS: Jason Bartlett, TB (.320 AVG, 14 HR, 66 RBI)
Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE (.308 AVG, 6 HR, 68 RBI)
3B: Evan Longoria, TB (.281 AVG, 33 HR, 113 RBI)
Alex Rodriguez, NYY (.286 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI)
OF: Nick Markakis, BAL (.293 AVG, 18 HR, 101 RBI)
Shin-Soo Choo, CLE (.300 AVG, 20 HR, 86 RBI)
Ichiro Suzuki, SEA (.352 AVG, 11 HR, 46 RBI)
Marlon Byrd, TEX (.283 AVG, 20 HR, 89 RBI)
P: Felix Hernandez, SEA (19-5, 2.49 ERA, 217 K)
CC Sabathia, NYY (19-8, 3.37 ERA, 197 K)
Justin Verlander, DET (19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 K)
Roy Halladay, TOR (17-10, 2.70 ERA, 208 K)
Scott Feldman, TEX (17-8, 4.08 ERA, 113 K)
Jon Lester, BOS (15-8, 3.41 ERA, 225 K)
Jon Danks, CWS (13-11, 3.77 ERA, 149 K)
Josh Beckett, BOS (17-6, 3.86 ERA, 199 K)
Andrew Bailey, OAK (26 SV, 1.84 ERA, 91 K)
Mariano Rivera, NYY (44 SV, 1.76 ERA, 72 K)
Joe Nathan, MIN (47 SV, 2.10 ERA, 89 K)
Brian Fuentes, LAA (48 SV, 3.93 ERA, 46 K)
Jonathon Papelbon, BOS (38 SV, 1.85 ERA, 76 SV)
David Aardsma, SEA (38 SV, 2.52 ERA, 80 K)

Players per Team:
New York Yankees – 6
Boston Red Sox – 5
Texas Rangers – 3
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 3
Minnesota Twins – 3
Tampa Bay Rays – 3
Seattle Mariners – 3
Cleveland Indians – 2
Toronto Blue Jays – 2
Detroit Tigers – 2
Baltimore Orioles – 1
Kansas City Royals – 1
Chicago White Sox – 1
Oakland Athletics – 1

NL Starters:

C: Brian McCann, ATL (.281 AVG, 21 HR, 94 RBI): Brian leads all NL catchers in home runs and RBI’s, and also has a very respectable batting average.

1B: Albert Pujols, STL (.327 AVG, 47 HR, 135 RBI): Albert leads NL first basemen in batting average and home runs, and is 3rd in RBI’s.

2B: Chase Utley, PHI (.282 AVG, 31 HR, 93 RBI): Chase is second among NL second basemen in RBI’s, is tied for 1st in home runs, and has a solid batting average.

SS: Hanley Ramirez, FLA (.342 AVG, 24 HR, 106 RBI): Hanley leads NL shortstops in batting average, RBI’s, and is second in homers.

3B: Ryan Zimmerman, WAS (.292 AVG, 33 HR, 106 RBI): Ryan has a good batting average, leads NL third basemen in RBI’s, and is 2nd in home runs.

OF: Ryan Braun, MIL (.320 AVG, 32 HR, 114 RBI): Ryan has a great batting average, leads all NL outfielders in RBI’s, and is 4th among NL outfielders in home runs.

OF: Matt Kemp, LAD (.297 AVG, 26 HR, 101 RBI): Matt Kemp is solid in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s, and is one of the only ones to be solid in all three categories.

OF: Carlos Lee, HOU (.300 AVG, 26 HR, 102 RBI): Carlos is hitting .300 (a century-mark), had 100 RBI (a century-mark), and had 25 homeruns (another century-mark).

SP: Chris Carpenter, STL (17-4, 2.24 ERA, 144 K): Chris leads the NL in ERA, and is up there in wins with 17.

NL Reserves:

C: Miguel Montero, ARI (.294 AVG, 16 HR, 59 RBI)
1B: Prince Fielder, MIL (.299 AVG, 46 HR, 141 RBI)
Ryan Howard, PHI (.279 AVG, 45 HR, 141 RBI)
2B: Brandon Phillips, CIN (.276 AVG, 20 HR, 98 RBI)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, COL (.297 AVG, 32 HR, 92 RBI)
Miguel Tejada, HOU (.313 AVG, 14 HR, 86 RBI)
3B: Pablo Sandoval, SF (.330 AVG, 25 HR, 90 RBI)
Mark Reynolds, ARI (.260 AVG, 44 HR, 102 RBI)
OF: Adam Dunn, WAS (.267 AVG, 38 HR, 105 RBI)
Andre Ethier, LAD (.271 AVG, 31 HR, 106 RBI)
Jayson Werth, PHI (.268 AVG, 36 HR, 99 RBI)
Raul Ibanez, PHI (.272 AVG, 34 HR, 93 RBI)
Justin Upton, ARI (.300 AVG, 26 HR, 86 RBI)
P: Adam Wainwright, STL (19-8, 2.63 ERA, 212 K)
Tim Lincecum, SF (15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 K)
Ted Lilly, CHC (12-9, 3.10 ERA, 151 K)
Johan Santana, NYM (13-9, 3.13 ERA, 146 K)
Ubaldo Jimenez, COL (15-12, 3.47 ERA, 198 K)
Bronson Arroyo, CIN (15-13, 3.84 ERA, 127 K)
Josh Johnson, FLA (15-5, 3.23 ERA, 191 K)
Ross Ohlendorf, PIT (11-10, 3.92 ERA, 109 K)
Heath Bell, SD (42 SV, 2.71 ERA, 79 K)
Francisco Cordero, CIN (39 SV, 2.16 ERA, 58 K)
Ryan Franklin, STL (38 SV, 1.92 ERA, 44 K)
Brian Wilson, SF (38 SV, 2.74 ERA, 83 K)
Jonathon Broxton, LAD (36 SV, 2.61 ERA, 114 K)
Trevor Hoffman, MIL (37 SV, 1.83 ERA, 48 K)

Players per Team:
St. Louis Cardinals – 4
Philadelphia Phillies – 4
Milwaukee Brewers – 3
Los Angeles Dodgers – 3
Arizona Diamondbacks – 3
Cincinnati Reds – 3
San Francisco Giants – 3
Colorado Rockies – 2
Houston Astros – 2
Florida Marlins – 2
Washington Nationals – 2
Chicago Cubs – 1
New York Mets – 1
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
San Diego Padres – 1
Atlanta Braves – 1

Come back next week for playoff predictions.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

End of Season Awards

This week I will give my end-of-the-season awards.

Rangers Awards:

MVP: Michael Young, TEX (.322 AVG, 22 HR, 68 RBI): Michael Young is the Rangers’ MVP even after missing most of September. If he hadn’t done that, he would’ve gotten 200 hits, possibly 25 home runs, and probably 75 RBI’s. That’s pretty good, but he doesn’t even need that to be the MVP.
Runner-up: Marlon Byrd, TEX (.283 AVG, 20 HR, 89 RBI)

Cy Young: Scott Feldman, TEX (17-8, 4.08 ERA, 113 K): Scott Feldman threw the second most innings on the team, had the second most strikeouts on the team, the most wins on the team, and the second best ERA among starters on the team, and he didn’t even start the first month of the season.
Runner-up: Kevin Millwood, TEX (13-10, 3.67 ERA, 123 K)

Rookie of the Year: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.267 AVG, 6 HR, 40 RBI): Elvis should be the AL ROY, so he’s obviously the Rangers ROY.
Runner-up: Julio Borbon, TEX (.312 AVG, 4 HR, 20 RBI)

AL Awards:

MVP: Joe Mauer, MIN (.365 AVG, 28 HR, 96 RBI): He missed the first month of the season, is ‘only’ (by MVP standards) tied for 16th in the AL in RBI’s, and is ‘only’ tied for 17th in the AL in HR’s. But his .365 batting average makes up for all of that and more. In my mind, he’s the obvious choice.
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.324 AVG, 34 HR, 103 RBI)

Cy Young: Zack Grienke, KC (16-8, 2.16 ERA, 242 K): He is on the Royals and he still has 16 wins. That’s pretty incredible. He leads all of baseball with a 2.16 ERA. He’s also 2nd in the AL in strikeouts with 242. I think that those two categories will make up for the three extra wins that CC and Verlander have on him.
Runner-up: Justin Verlander, DET (19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 K)

Rookie of the Year: Elvis Andrus, TEX (.267 AVG, 6 HR, 40 RBI): Elvis may not have the best stats out of all the rookies, but he has the most stolen bases and the best defense by far out of all of them. And he had a solid average to go along with that.
Runner-up: Gordon Beckham, CWS (.270 AVG, 14 HR, 63 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Ron Gardenhire, MIN (87-76, 1st place): Ron took a team that really wasn’t very good to the playoffs and had a huge run at the end to get them there. I don’t think there’s much more to say.
Runner-up: Mike Scioscia, LAA (97-65, 1st place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Albert Pujols, STL (.327 AVG, 47 HR, 135 RBI): Albert Pujols was 3rd in the NL in RBI’s. He was 3rd in the NL in batting average. He was 1st in the NL in home runs. He was 1st in the NL in on-base percentage. And he’s 1st in the NL for my MVP vote.
Runner-up: Prince Fielder, MIL (.299 AVG, 46 HR, 141 RBI)

Cy Young: Chris Carpenter, STL (17-4, 2.24 ERA, 144 K): Chris leads the NL in ERA at an outstanding 2.24, and is second in the majors only to Zack Grienke. He also has 17 wins and, to me, had a better season than the other Cy-Young-worthy Cardinal.
Runner-up: Adam Wainwright, STL (19-8, 2.63 ERA, 212 K)

Rookie of the Year: Garrett Jones, PIT (.293 AVG, 21 HR, 44 RBI): Garrett is a Pirate, I know. And Pirates don’t win awards, I know. And the Pirates don’t have anyone most people in Pittsburgh have ever heard of, I know. But Garrett leads all NL rookies with 21 home runs, has 44 RBI’s, and has a solid .293 batting average. This is probably the only time you’ll see me say a Pirate should win an award, so read this closely. A Pirate deserves to win this award.
Runner-up: J.A. Happ, PHI (12-4, 2.93 ERA, 119 K)

Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, COL (72-42, 2nd place): The Rockies were 20-28 when he took over from Clint Hurdle and now they are 92-70 and in the playoffs. I’d have to say that makes him a deserving manager.
Runner-up: Tony La Russa, STL (91-71, 1st place)

Come back next week for a playoff analysis.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Playoff Predictions

The Rangers finished their season today with a record of 87-75, twelve games over .500. If they were in the AL Central, they would’ve won it. In fact, they have the 4th-best record in the AL. This was a great season. The pitching and defense were great, but the offense let them down. They played great against the good teams, but struggled against the bad teams. That’s the sign of a talented young team, but it cost us the playoffs, because ultimately it’s hard to make the postseason when you’re losing to teams like the A’s. But nothing should take away from the fact that it was a great season. I can’t wait for 2010, when the Rangers will win the AL West.

Following are my playoff predictions.


Colorado vs. Philadelphia: Colorado in 4

The Rockies will have a good #1 starter in the playoffs. Ubaldo Jimenez was on the ’07 playoff team for the Rocks and had a 2.25 ERA in his three postseason starts. This year he is 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 198 strikeouts. The Rockies will have a solid (not great, but solid) #2 starter. Aaron Cook was also on the ’07 team, and had very similar numbers this year. He had a 4.12 ERA (4.16 this year) in 166 IP (158 this year). They will also have good #3 and 4 guys. Jason Marquis is 15-12 with a 3.95 ERA this year, and even though he has given up four or more runs in 3 of his last 4 starts, he has three years of playoff experience and should get back on track. Jorge De La Rosa is 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA. He has also pitched well of late, pitching 6 quality starts in his last 8 games. The Rockies can also hit, as they are 2nd in the AL in runs scored.

Unlike the Rockies, the Phillies might not have a shut-down #1 guy. Cole Hamels has really struggled this year, as he is 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA. And even though he did well in the playoffs last year, he was hot going into them then. He isn’t now. He has had three straight bad outings. And Cliff Lee, after a hot streak after the trade to the Phils, has really struggled since. He has had only one quality start in his last seven outings. He’ll need to get it back on track in his first year of the playoffs (and I don’t think he will). The #3 starter, Joe Blanton, has a 4.05 ERA and has allowed five runs in six innings of work or less in both of his last two starts. J.A. Happ, a rookie, might be the best in the group. But he probably won’t even pitch if they’re behind in the series when it comes to his turn. He has a 2.85 ERA this year, and is hot. He has allowed three runs or less in 9 of his last 10 starts. The Phillies have won games off of their NL-leading offense, but that doesn’t help as much in the playoffs. That’s why I think the Rockies will win.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles: St. Louis in 3

Chris Carpenter is an NL Cy Young candidate and the NL ERA leader. Adam Wainwright is an NL Cy Young candidate and is the MLB wins leader. Joel Pineiro is 4th in the NL in wins. They have Albert Pujols. They have Matt Holliday. They have allowed the 3rd least runs in the NL. That is all it takes and more to beat a team that is 38-35 since the All-Star break. The Cardinals are 42-28 since the All-Star break. I think that pretty much explains my prediction.

The Dodgers, as I said above, are only 38-35 since the All-Star break and are extremely cold. They are 3-7 in their last 10. They also don’t have great pitching. Their number one starter has a 4.03 ERA (Chad Billingsley), and although that’s a good number 2, it’s not a good number 1. And even though Randy Wolf has done well this year, he has never been to the playoffs, so he might struggle under the pressure. And while Kershaw has done well, this is his first full season in the majors and also his first playoffs. Hiroki Kuroda is out for the first round. Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier are all in slumps. They just don’t have a good team.


Detroit/Minnesota vs. New York:

The Yankees are not going to get by the Tigers or Twins in my opinion. The Tigers have great pitching and the Twins are hot. The Yankees’ playoff rotation consists of CC Sabathia, who has struggled mightily in the playoffs in his career, AJ Burnett, who has gotten only two wins in his last ten starts, and Joba Chamberlain, who is still young, unpolished, and inconsistent. That is not good. And you just can’t live off the home run, and runs in general, in the playoffs like you can in the regular season. I think that they have a great regular season roster, but that when it comes to the playoffs, they don’t have a very good team. It would be different if CC had pitched better in the playoffs before, or if AJ Burnett wasn’t pitching the way he has been lately.

Boston vs. Los Angeles: Boston in 4

The Red Sox have a good playoff pitching staff. Josh Beckett just came back from injury, and Jon Lester is still pitching well. Clay Buchholz is also pitching well. Those three are solid for the playoffs, but compared to the Angels’ rotation, they are incredible. The Red Sox also have a pretty good offense. Here are the first six:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Kevin Youkilis
4. Jason Bay
5. Victor Martinez
6. Mike Lowell (.353 AVG with 2 HR’s and 15 RBI’s in ’04 playoffs)

Normally, pitching wins you series, but, against the Angels, it could be either pitching or hitting.

The Angels have some of the worst pitching in the AL. It’s the 5th worst in the AL and worst in the playoffs. John Lackey has allowed 12 runs in his last 13 innings (three starts). Ervin Santana has a 5.10 ERA. Joe Saunders has a 4.62 ERA. Jared Weaver has the lowest ERA of the group (3.75), and he’s the #4 guy. Plus, their offense is old. Very old. They depend too much on guys like Vladimir Guerrero, and Torii Hunter, who’s coming off an injury. I just don’t see them going anywhere playoff-wise.


St. Louis over Colorado in 6


Detroit/Minnesota over Boston in 7

World Series:

St. Louis over Detroit/Minnesota in 6

Come back next week for my Championship Series Analysis.