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2009 Season Preview - National League East

Cole Hamels in spring training
The 2009 NL East will be the most exciting division in Major League Baseball, bar none. Last season the world watched as the Philadelphia Phillies, a team thought to be competing for a wild card spot at best, went on to win the division and eventually defeat the Tampa Bay Rays to bring a World Championship to the city of brotherly love. Despite their recent success, this off-season’s transactions have guaranteed one thing: a division title is anything but a guarantee for this 2009 Phillies team. New York Mets GM Omar Minaya went out and imported two flame throwing relievers, J.J Putz and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren signed veteran sinkerballer Derek Lowe to anchor their rotation, and the Washington Nationals signed slugging first baseman/outfielder/Sabermetrics golden standard Adam Dunn to a two year deal. What does this mean? This means that the NL East will have 5 teams with a legitimate shot of finishing the year with a record over .500. If everything falls into place, 2009 should provide some intriguing late season baseball.

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2008 MLB Predictions - World Series And Award Champs

Posted by Dennis Velasco Categories:

Before we talk about the World Series winner, take a look at whom I think will win the various divisions and wildcard for the American League and National League. When you’re done, come on back…

Welcome back! And the winners are:

World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks over the Cleveland Indians

I am totally picking the Diamondbacks because a former A’s pitcher will lead them! I’m kidding. Although I do think that Dan Haren is going to make a big difference for the D-Backs, as well as a healthy Randy Johnson who does a Curt Schilling and wins one more World Series in his old age (sans bloody sock). I like the young talent here with Upton, Drew, Young, Jackson, mixed with the veterans Byrnes, Orlando Hudson, and Chad Tracy. Plus, part of this pick is gut instinct. I could be totally wrong, but really, in November will anyone remember me picking the D-Backs all the way in March? Doubt it… however, I will tell you this much… if the D-Backs do win it all, I WILL be mentioning this blog post and proclaim myself a GENIUS!

And now, we move on to the individual awards for 2008.

AL MVP - Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox

Yes, everyone’s favorite enigma of a ballplayer is my choice for being the A.L.’s best in 2008. ManRam had an off-year last season due to injuries, but it’s a contract year and what better way to comeback than in a contract year, right? Either way, Ramirez is one of the better hitters in the game (1.003 career OPS as of this writing allows you to claim that title) and he actually worked out during the offseason. Yes, the guy is looking trim… for him anyway. I’m sensing a .330/45/140 type of season.

NL MVP - David Wright, New York Mets

New York’s other man in the hot corner gets better and better and the numbers the past three seasons prove it. Wright will make last season’s choke job a thing of the past and he will help his team get over the hump and make it back to the playoffs. As you can see I have the D-Backs winning it all, so the Mets don’t get far, but just getting back to the postseason will help people forget about last year. Wright will be a huge part in that happening.

AL Cy Young - Rich Harden, Oakland Athletics

All Harden has to do is stay healthy and I know he’s determined to prove to everyone that he’s a gamer and can bring it for a full season. As my mantra has been - Harden + 30 Starts = Cy Young Award.

NL Cy Young - Johan Santana, New York Mets

Santana will be worth the money… this season at least. It’s a new league and some hitters have never faced a pitcher like Santana, which will give him an advantage. Also giving him an advantage will be the pitcher-friendly homes of N.L. East teams. Johan won’t have to deal with any pesky designated hitters or the superior A.L. offenses as well. Not that Santana needed any help, but he’s going to get some on top of his undeniable pitching ability.

AL Rookie of the Year - Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria was sent down to the minors to start the season, but he’ll be back up before long and just rake. Longoria has good command of his hitting zone and has succeeded at every level he’s played in. Longoria should put up some really good homerun numbers and has the potential to hit 30 on the regular. For his rookie season, he should continue the tradition of recent 3B call-ups with pretty good pedigree - the abovementioned Wright and Ryan Zimmerman.

NL Rookie of the Year - Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

As Longoria, Bruce was also sent down to the minors, but should be up soon. Bruce can hit for average and power. He’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball and once he makes it up to the big show, he should do well as he can hit in all directions. Last season in three levels of the minors, Bruce had an OPS close to a thousand. He can hit to all fields and if you’re in a fantasy keeper league, Bruce is one of the top guys to own.

AL Manager of the Year - Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers

Leyland won the award two years ago in 2006 and with the stacked lineup he has on offense, he should do it again with the Tigers this year. In fact, I believe the Tigers will end up with the best record in baseball and for that, the manager deserves an award.

NL Manager of the Year - Willie Randolph, New York Mets

Willie goes from potential scapgegoat and thisclose from being fired in 2007 to being hailed in 2008. Randolph is the type that should learn from his mistakes and with a disastrous slide in 2007, you have to think that Randolph will be that much more focused in his approach. For example, shut up and leave Jose Reyes alone. That’s easy enough to do. Know how to use your bullpen in-game and in-series. I think he gets it now… so much so that he’ll get the coaching hardware. And, just a note… Randolph’s mentor, Joe Torre, will come close to winning the award himself for his work with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


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