The 2008 MLB Season (A look back)
As the regular season comes to a close, I took a moment to look back at one of the first things I wrote for this fine blog. I thought I’d show off my ability of prognostication and tell everyone just how the season would go. I, as I’ve been told a million times, am a complete moron. First, a quick look at my standings as they were to stand at the end of the season.
AL EAST (X denotes a playoff team)
X – Boston 94 68
NY Yankees 85 77
Toronto 85 77
Tampa Bay 75 87
Baltimore 1 161
X – Cleveland 98 64
X – Detroit 97 65
Chi Sox 80 82
Minnesota 75 87
Kansas City 70 92
X – LA Angels 100 62
Seattle 88 74
Texas 70 92
Oakland 63 99
X – NY METS 95 72
Philedelphia 88 74
Atlanta 85 77
Washington 80 82
Florida 72 90
X – Chi Cubs 90 72
X – Cincinnati 88 74
Milwaukee 80 82
St. Louis 70 92
Houston 68 94
Pittsburgh 0 162
X – Arizona 95 67
San Diego 87 75
LA Dodgers 85 77
Colorado 80 82
San Francisco 75 87
I’ll start with the AL East and say that if anyone out there expected the Rays to come together this season and do what they are doing, I applaud your vision. The Rays have gelled, in part because they have one of the best managers in the game, and also because they are stock piled with talent. That many high draft picks HAS to work out eventually. Evan Longoria has become a top tier 3B and will be an All-Star for many years to come. The pitching has been outstanding, and they showed that they are a mature team when team leader Carl Crawford went down for the season. I also have to toot my own horn, because I didn’t buy into the Yankee hype. They have to lose the rest of their games to have the record I predicted, but an October without the Yankees is a great thing. Lastly, I have to apologize to THE fan in Baltimore. I underestimated the talent on that team. They still finished in the basement, but they have legitimate ball players on that team, and they played teams a lot tougher than expected.
Let’s just skim through the AL Central…the Tribe imploded…the Tigers couldn’t pitch…the Sox are playing like they should have been the past 3 years…the Twins are a complete surprise…and the Royals still really really stink.
Now the AL West, the Angels are the best team in baseball. They have good pitching and good hitting. The July trade for Mark Texierra made them a force at the plate. They are the only team in the league that has a legitimate shot at breaking 100 wins and are my pick to win the whole thing. My next pick was…well…a total miscalculation of a real dump of a team. The Mariners are TERRIBLE. They may not win 60 games this year. They couldn’t hit…couldn’t pitch…couldn’t do anything well. As for the other teams, they did what you expected. The A’s sold off their top players and the Rangers were fun to watch, but couldn’t put it all together. I did, however, become a Josh Hamilton fan.
To the NL East and the yearly collapse of the Mets, they are still in the hunt for the pennant, but they have the worst bullpen in all of baseball, including AA and AAA. The Phillies are again surging for the pennant as they should with that much offensive power. The surpirse to me is Florida. Is there ever a time when this team isn’t winning? They get rid of their best players and they just replace them with more talent. This team, if they can solidify some pitching will be very tough to beat next yearr. As for the Braves and Nationals…they aren’t good….period!
The NL Central has been a one horse race all season. The Cubs are the best team in that mess, but the late season struggles should worry everyone in the Windy City. I overplayed my hand with the Reds, hoping that they got it together. Instead, they traded away Griffey to the White Sox and Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks. They look to be rebuilding again, but have a couple real talented young arms in their rotation, but my 88 wins is laughable. The Brewers have been much better than I expected, and partly due to their acquisition of CC Sabathia. They are fading a bit, and not because of Ned Yost, but they have played extremely well this season. I don’t think highly of this division, but everyone has been competitive. Okay, not the Pirates, but who expects them to be? They unloaded their best players and seem to enjoy losing in an beautiful empty stadium.
The NL West was last year’s darling division. It was so competitive and so wide open. This year…ehh. The Dodgers have become a playoff team with the addition of former Indians, including Manny Ramirez. My belief that they finish with 85 wins is very doable, but the rest of the division is so poor, that will win it. The Diamondbacks have fallen apart in recent weeks, and if it weren’t for Brandon Webb, they would be totally out of it. They are tettering at .500, and that is the best they can do. The Padres stink, the Rockies where a flash in the pan, and the Giants did what everyone figured they would.
I predicted that the Indians would beat the Red Sox in the ALDS and then beat the Angels in the ALCS. The Angels would have beaten the Tigers. In the NL, the Diamondbacks would beat the Reds in the NLDS and the Mets in the NLCS. The Mets beat the Cubs in their NLDS. In my fantasy World Series, the Indians outplayed and outlasted the Diamondbacks for their first Championship in 60 years. No dice!
So, I’m going to take this last opportunity to make predictions. These are the guys that I have picked as the award winners for this season. I can’t believe the year went this quick, but that just mean we are getting closer to the 2009 Opening Day.
AL MVP: Francisco Rodriguez, LA Angels. (Call me crazy, but it’s only been 16 years since Eck did it).
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals. (How long before he wants out?)
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians. (He deserves it! A year for the history books)
NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks. (Sorry CC, you had to be perfect to get it)
AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay. (An immediate Super Star).
NL Rookie of the Year: Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs. (Fukodome’s collapse opens door for teammate.)
AL Comeback Kid: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers. (What he’s overcome is truly amazing)
NL Comeback Kid: Lance Berkman, Houston Astros. (Catalyst to surprising Astros club).
AL Breakout Player: Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox. (Throw away player becomes All Star)
NL Breakout Player: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants. (Will have a Cy Young in next five years.)