A fan of the Yankees, Red Sox, and large sample sizes.
I feel compelled to predict some stuff that will happen during MLB 2004. That way, I bring up the predictions that turn out, forget the ones that didn't, and come off looking like a genius. Ok, everyone reading this is probably too smart to fall for that, but even Baseball Prospectus takes credit for individual forecasting successes.
These are on a hunch. I could take some projections from different sources (PECTOA, ZiPS, Diamond Mind, Marcel the Monkey, etc), which would be the smart thing to do, but I'm going to do this subjectively off the top of my head. I have, however, looked at all these projections at some point this spring.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
It's funny, picking the Yankees is actually somewhat against the norm this year. The Sox are good, but injuries will cause them to fall behind the Yankees pace. Things might be different come playoff time, though.
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
I think the young Indians players will surprise people this year. The Royals greatly overacheived last year, and even though they appear to have gotten better, they're going to make Rob and Rany wish they hadn't started up again.
I don't like the A's offense, the Big Three are showing weaknesses, and the Angels are solid all around. Angel pitching is especially poised to break out this year, led by Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey. The Mariners will finish closer to the bottom of the division than the top.
New York Mets
Yup, that's right, the Florida Marlins will go from first to worst. That offense is ugly. One of Penny/Beckett/Pavano will have a phenomenal year, but it's unlikely that all three go crazy. Benitez will solid, but he's only a closer. The Braves offense will come crashing down, and they don't have the pitching to keep it afloat. The Mets in third? Yes, I'm crazy, but I also think they're making smarter moves this year.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals still have great fielders and solid bats. They've added a few quality starters this year which should push them over the top. I don't like the Cubs pitchers to repeat last year's performance, and the offense isn't really all that good. The Reds offense (i.e. Dunn and Kearns) will go crazy, but untill they can find people to pitch, they'll be in the bottom third.
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
I like the Padres, as do many other people, but with all their improvement, they weren't a very good club last year. The Giants managed to throw together just enough to complement Bonds. The Dodgers will get better, but it'll be next year at the earliest that all of DePodesta's moves (and gifts from Bean/Ricciardi) start paying off significantly. The Rockies should challenge the Pirates and Brewers for worst NL team.
The Red Sox and Astros will make it into the playoffs as Wild Card teams, and the Red Sox will make it to the Series, led by Pedro, Schilling, and Kim. In the NL, the Cardinals squeak out the pennant, but fall short against the Red Sox. Of course, since I'm picking the Red Sox, there's no way they'll go anywhere.
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