Tank’s 2006 Preview

EASTERN DIVISION

New York Mets 97-65

Though a little old the Mets have one of the best starting rotations in the NL, while the addition of Billy Wagner means they will have one of the game’s best closers too. While the lineup in balanced with speed at the top led by Jose Reyes and the consistent power of Carlos Delgado, while Carlos Beltran has both elements and should bounce back in his 2nd year two in New York as the Mets capture the Division.

Philadelphia Phillies 87-75

The Phillies will clearly miss Billy Wagner who anchored a solid bull pen last year, but they should still be good enough to make a solid run at the Wild Card as their lineup led by Ryan Howard should continue have a field day at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. However, their pitching will continue to be hurt by the same short dimensions and ultimately they will fall short again.

Atlanta Braves 77-85

The reign IS OVER no if and or buts about it THIS IS THE YEAR. It’s done. FINNE! Pitching Coach Leo Mazzone is gone and the ability to turn a junk pitcher into a winner is not there, and that was kept the Braves run of 14 straight complete season division titles going. Without him the John Thompson’s will be just as ordinary in Atlanta as they are everywhere else now as the Braves a not even a factor in the playoff race.

Washington Nationals 70-92

The Nationals are having a nightmare season and the first pitch has not been thrown yet two key pitchers a starter and a reliever lost to season ending injuries and their big off-season acquisition sulking like a 4-year old. Look for the Soriano problems to continue all year as the All-Star has a terrible year before the Nats cut their losses and deal him away, as they struggle to a 90 loss season.

Florida Marlins 54-108

Pop Quiz name 5 Florida Marlins, well the sunshine in Miami should be nice when it’s not raining or unbearably hot. Oh well the Dolphins should be good at least and that’s all they seem to care about any way too bad soon the Marlins will be packing up the moving vans and leaving South Florida which built separate arenas for the NBA and NHL wondering why they never gave the 2 time World Champion Marlins a stadium of their own.

CENTRAL DIVISION

St. Louis Cardinals 96-66

The Cardinals, who are moving into a new Stadium should still be the class of the NL Central as their line up will get a boost as Scott Rolen is back and healthy. Look for continued strong play from Albert Pujols who is cementing himself as the best player in the NL with another MVP award. The only questions now will be they finally figure out a way to stay on top on in October?

Milwaukee Brewers 92-70 (Wild Card)

The suds will be flowing all season as the Brewers are primed and ready to step out of a two decade funk by contending again. Many fans in Milwaukee can’t even remember the last time the Brewers played an important game in September, let alone October. This year it will be different as Miller Park will overflowing as the Brewers battle the Cardinals for the Central, as Carlos Lee makes run at the NL MVP, before happily settling for the Wild Card.

Houston Astros 84-78

So many questions for 1 player will have the Astros come back to earth after making their first World Series. The mercurial Roger Clemens will he return when on May 1st when he is eligible to speak with the Astros again or will he retire or will he go elsewhere. With or without Clemens the Astros have a solid pitching staff, but with an offense that continues to fizzle, allot of those pitchers will be able to sue for lack of support.

Pittsburgh Pirates 78-84

The Pirates have some solid players such as Sean Casey, and Jason Bay to not be a pushover this year. However, they don’t have enough players to actually complete a complete contending team. Look for them to be the spoiler nobody wants to play in September as they make a run for .500, as they could be just 1 or 2 years away from turning the corner.

Chicago Cubs 74-88

Three years ago the Cubs were just 5 outs away from the World Series, before Steve Bartman, then watched the Red Sox and White Sox ended their long droughts, leaving Cub fans to ask why not us? However, with Kerry Wood and Mark Prior already injured before the start of the season the Cubs hopes are already on the robes, look for a disappointing year all around as Dusty Baker hits the dusty trail by the All Star Break.

Cincinnati Reds 62-100

The Great American Ballpark will resemble the Great American Open-space this year as fans will have plenty elbow room watching a dreadful team that will quickly find itself in last place where they will remain all season. Look for it to be a year of more salary dumping as Ken Griffey Jr. is the hottest comity at the trade deadline, as the Reds hope to begin to lay the seeds for the future.

WESTERN DIVISION

San Francisco Giants 86-76

The road will be a long tough one for Barry Bonds, who will find the only fans he has left as those rabid Giants fans that only care only about the uniform he wears, and as long as he is in it he has their support. However, on the road the cat calls will be loud as Bonds chases history, while the Giants chase a division title. Look for Bonds to come painfully close to Aaron as the Giants win the weak western division.

Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77

The Dodgers have made allot of positive moves aimed at getting them back to the playoffs as Eric Gagne hopes to return from elbow surgery. With or without Gagne the addition of Dennys Baez should give them a string pen, as they challenge the Giants all year. However, once again their weak offense will be their undoing as they fall a few games short.

San Diego Padres 78-84

The Padres won the West last year with a mediocre 82-80 reocrd, this year they are not any better, but their competition is. Look for the Padres to stay just on the outside of the race all year while finishing in 3rd place with a sub .500 record, as players like Trevor Hoffman, Ryan Klesko and Jay Payton could be highly in demand around the trade deadline.

Arizona Diamondbacks 70-92

The Diamondback rebound nicely from a terrible 110 loss season by approaching .500 last year and challenging for the division title. However, minus Troy Glauss, and Javier Vazquez the D-Backs will be hard pressed to build off those positives look for them to take a step backward as they are battling the Rockies at the bottom of the division.

Colorado Rockies 68-94

The Rockies were young team of inexperienced players last year as they nearly lost 100 games on the way to finishing dead last in the National League. They are not much better this year as their pitching staff continues to suffer from whiplash while their offense is not good enough to win any games on the road.

EASTERN DIVISION

New York Yankees 94-68

The Yankees are not much different then they were last year a great line up with loads of question marks for an aging pitching staff, with resources to improve that staff if they can make a trade. Look for those resources to pay off as the Yankees land another big starter for the stretch drive as they win their 10th straight division title. However, in the playoffs in won’t be enough as A-Rod disappears again.

Toronto Blue Jays 92-70 (Wild Card)

In 1993 the SkyDome was rocking nightly and not just in the hotel rooms, as the Jays were drawing over 4 Million fans and winning a second straight World Series. For the first time since the Jays are a legitimate contender again as they have a strong rotation and a solid lineup. While BJ Ryan should emerge as one of the top closers. In a 3-team race all year the Jays end up getting a nice consolation prize with a Wild Card.

Boston Red Sox 89-73

Every year since 1998 the Red Sox have finished 2nd and the Yankees have finished 1st. With the Blue Jays in the picture now the Sox-Yankees battle has become a 3-team race. However, the Red Sox don’t look so good, the Yankees have a better line up the Jays have better pitching, and with Josh Burkett their big off-season acquisition history of nagging injuries the Sox will be the one team that will fade down the stretch..

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 75-87

There are some rays of hope if you look in the right spots for the Devil Rays, have new ownership that has a plan in place. Led by young stars like Carl Crawford, Jorge Cantuu, and Rocco Baldelli there is a nice young foundation of talent. With the Yanks, Jays, and Sox still among the elite the Rays won’t be a surprise team, but they wont be pushover and they wont finish last as they will be the AL East also ran to avoid in September

Baltimore Orioles 63-99

The definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result. They Orioles have brought in the pitching answer to King Midas Leo Mazzone who makes other pitchers on the trash heap look like lost gold, and Kris Benson should flourish but the rest of the Orioles other then Miguel Tejada, are a bunch of overpaid has-beens that come July will have the white flag waving as they approach 100 losses

CENTRAL DIVISION

Chicago White Sox 104-58

Last year the White Sox ended 88 years of frustration winning their first World Series since 1917. This year they may be even better, with the addition of Jim Thome the Sox could have a powerful lineup if the slugger is able to regain his old form. The addition of Javier Vazquez also gives the Sox perhaps the best rotation in baseball. The pen does have some questions, but the starters are so durable, that it could overcome it.

Cleveland Indians 91-71

For the AL East three headed monster the Indians could be the fly in the ointment as 38 games against the awful Royals and Tigers could result in allot of easy wins. However the Indians do not have the horses to get them over the top, there are holes in the line up and their pitching is not that good other then Jake Westbrook and CC Sabathia. Look for the Tribe to fall short of the playoffs again.

Minnesota Twins 79-83

Johan Santana is their biggest star and possibly a could become tradable if the Twins decide to start rebuilding as they are a non-factor in the AL Central race again. Look for the Twins line up to cost Santana allot of wins, and possibly ask for a trade as the Twins fin d themselves back in the middle of the pack again falling below .500 in the process.

Detroit Tigers 72-90

The Tigers are on a long road to nowhere as they endure yet another poor season in a charm-less stadium in the middle of a city that longs for hockey and basketball during hot summers especially when all they have to watch is the terrible Tigers. Manager Jim Leyland can’t win games and 7 years removed from the game he will be wondering why he ever came back in the first place by the end of June?

Kansas City Royals 59-103

The addition of Reggie Sanders and Mark Grudzlielanek gives the Royals a few names people actually recognize, but little else as there is no young talent anywhere to be seen, and by July both will be ready with their bags packed as the Royals will certainly trade them to land some prospects, in the end all it will mean is 100 losses again, for the Royals, who have become Kings of the Basement.

WESTERN DIVISION

Oakland Athletics 90-72

The Athletics has the solid pitching backbone still as names like Rich Harden have replaced Mark Mulder as the “Moneyball” philosophy has still managed to work despite losing the key players they built around when they become too expensive. Look for them to recapture the division title this year as their division competitors have too many problems to overcome.

Seattle Mariners 85-77

Look for the Mariners to be back in the thick of the AL West picture as their line up has several strong bats led by Adrian Beltre who was among the best hitters in the WBC. In addition fans just got a taste of young phenom Felix Hernandez last year, this year they get to have him for a full season as he immediately becomes the Mariners ace by putting up numbers by a 20-year old not seen since Dwight Gooden.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 80-82

Last year they went to the ALCS before they were frustrated by the White Sox pitching. That frustration will continue this year as their lineup lost several key cogs. Meanwhile their pitching which had a solid year last season might have a difficult time equaling their numbers as Cy Young Winner Bartolo Colon broke down in the playoff still has to be a concern.

Texas Rangers 71-91

The cellar can be as lonely as the Texas prairie good thing they Rangers are around because they will be able to explore every inch of it as they stumble and bumble all year as their line up will miss Alfonso Soriano, while their pitching short of coaxing Roger Clemens to follow in the footsteps of Nolan Ryan by finishing his career in Arlington, is just plain awful.

LEAGUE LEADERS AND AWARDS

National League

  • Barry Bonds Giants
  • Albert Pujols Cardinals
  • Carlos Delgado Mets
  • Jose Reyes Mets
  • Jose Reyes Mets
  • Mark Mulder Cardinals
  • Roy Oswalt Astros
  • Pedro Martinez Mets
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Barry Bonds Giants
  • Chan Ho Park Padres
  • Clint Barmes Rockies
  • Zach Duke Pirates
  • Billy Wagner Mets
  • Chipper Jones Braves
  • Kerry Wood Cubs
  • Alfonso Soriano Nationals
  • Billy Wagner Mets
  • Prince Fielder Brewers
  • Ned Yost Brewers
  • Carlos Delgado Mets
  • Pedro Martinez Mets
  • Albert Pujols Cardinals
  • Batting Crown
  • Batting Crown
  • RBI Leader
  • SB Leader
  • Runs Leader
  • Win Leader
  • ERA Leader
  • K Leader
  • Surprise Team
  • Disappointing Team
  • Comeback Player
  • Comeback Pitcher
  • Breakout Player
  • Breakout Pitcher
  • Best Acquisition
  • Falling Star Hitter
  • Falling Star Pitcher
  • Worst Acquisition
  • Fireman
  • Rookie of The Year
  • Manager of The Year
  • Hank Aaron Award
  • Cy Young
  • MVP

American League

  • Ichiro Suzuki Mariners
  • Manny Ramierez Red Sox
  • Alex Rodriguez Yankees
  • Scott Podesdnik White Sox
  • Johnny Damon Yankees
  • Rich Harden Athletics
  • Roy Halladay Blue Jays
  • Felix Hernandez Mariners
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • Jim Thome White Sox
  • Roy Halladay Blue Jays
  • Robinson Canno Yankees
  • Felix Hernandez Mariners
  • Bengie Molina Blue Jays
  • Javier Lopez Orioles
  • Mike Mussina Yankees
  • A.J. Burnett Blue Jays
  • Mariano Rivera Yankees
  • Delmon Young Devil Rays
  • Mike Hargrove Mariners
  • Manny Ramierez Red Sox
  • Rich Harden Athletics
  • Alex Rodriguez Yankees

National League

  • Barry Bonds GiantsBatting Crown
  • Albert Pujols CardinalsBatting Crown
  • Carlos Delgado MetsRBI Leader
  • Jose Reyes MetsSB Leader
  • Jose Reyes MetsRuns Leader
  • Mark Mulder CardinalsWin Leader
  • Roy Oswalt AstrosERA Leader
  • Pedro Martinez MetsK Leader
  • Milwaukee BrewersSurprise Team
  • Atlanta BravesDisappointing Team
  • Barry Bonds Giants Comeback Player
  • Chan Ho Park PadresComeback Pitcher
  • Clint Barmes RockiesBreakout Player
  • Zach Duke PiratesBreakout Pitcher
  • Billy Wagner MetsBest Acquisition
  • Chipper Jones BravesFalling Star Hitter
  • Kerry Wood CubsFalling Star Pitcher
  • Alfonso Soriano NationalsWorst Acquisition
  • Billy Wagner MetsFireman
  • Prince Fielder BrewersRookie of The Year
  • Ned Yost BrewersManager of The Year
  • Carlos Delgado MetsHank Aaron Award
  • Pedro Martinez MetsCy Young
  • Albert Pujols CardinalsMVP

American League

  • Ichiro Suzuki MarinersBatting Crown
  • Manny Ramierez Red SoxBatting Crown
  • Alex Rodriguez YankeesRBI Leader
  • Scott Podesdnik White SoxSB Leader
  • Johnny Damon YankeesRuns Leader
  • Rich Harden AthleticsWin Leader
  • Roy Halladay Blue JaysERA Leader
  • Felix Hernandez MarinersK Leader
  • Seattle MarinersSurprise Team
  • Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimDisappointing Team
  • Jim Thome White SoxComeback Player
  • Roy Halladay Blue JaysComeback Pitcher
  • Robinson Canno YankeesBreakout Player
  • Felix Hernandez MarinersBreakout Pitcher
  • Bengie Molina Blue JaysBest Acquisition
  • Javier Lopez OriolesFalling Star Hitter
  • Mike Mussina YankeesFalling Star Pitcher
  • A.J. Burnett Blue JaysWorst Acquisition
  • Mariano Rivera YankeesFireman
  • Delmon Young Devil RaysRookie of The Year
  • Mike Hargrove MarinersManager of The Year
  • Manny Ramierez Red SoxHank Aaron Award
  • Rich Harden AthleticsCy Young
  • Alex Rodriguez YankeesMVP

Postseason

NLCS
ALCS

Managers to be Fired

  • Dusty Baker Chicago Cubs
  • Clint Hurdle Colorado Rockies
  • Sam Perlozo Baltimore Orioles
  • Frank Robinson Washington Nationals
  • Buck Showalter Texas Rangers
  • Joe Torre New York Yankees



2006 World Champs
New York Mets

Predictions Made by Frank Fleming on April 1, 2006 at 11:10 pm EST

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