Tank’s 2011 Preview
Overview: Simply put this is the Phillies division to lose. Champs of the NL East the last four years the Phillies are even stronger this year with the addition of Cliff Lee, while the Braves are too old, the Nats are too young, the Mets too screwed up and the Marlins suck too much.
Philadelphia Phillies 102-60
As the season begins in Philadelphia, the health of the Phillies has become a major concern, as their line up is not as strong as it was in recent years, with the loss of Jayson Werth and the injury to Chase Utley. However, as long as their four aces remain healthy it will hard to imagine, the Phils not winning 100 games, as the true test will arrive in October.
Atlanta Braves 85-77
The Braves enter the season with a new manager for the first time in 20 years as Bobby Cox retired at the end of last season. The Braves if everything falls right could make some noise in the East, but they are going to rely a lot on many old players like Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson who have had trouble staying healthy. While the team lacks a reliable closer to replace Billy Wagner.
Washington Nationals 78-84
Bright day are ahead for Nationals, its Morning again for the Washington baseball. Their will still be struggles for the Nats this year, as they are far from contending, but a solid offense and some big stars developing in the minors they could soon be a regular in October. As for this year looking for lots of runs on the board as the Nationals flirt with .500.
New York Mets 73-89
Field of schemes is the Mets theme as they enter the 2011 season. A billion dollar lawsuit hangs over Owner Fred Wilpon for his role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Their payroll may undergo a fast fire sale especially if they are unable to find a new business partner while the team looks like it may begin to rebuild, while struggling to keep fans interested. It is one giant mess in Flushing, and the Mets could plunge further or drift aimlessly the longer this lingers.
Florida Marlins 65-97
Manager Fredi Gonzalez was fired last season shortly after clashing with star Shortstop Hanley Ramirez. This is not going to help Ramirez develop as a disciplined manager like Gonzalez was good for him and the fish. The Marlins open their new park next year and in a front loaded division this team could fade fast and spend most of the season sleeping with the fishes especially if Josh Johnson is not able to start every five days.
Overview: This may be the most wide open division in baseball, as four teams enter with legitimate shots at capturing the flag. It's not because they are great teams, as all four have flaws. The Brewers have the parts, the Reds have the crown, the Cardinals have the pedigree, and the Cubs have some hope. Meanwhile Pittsburgh and Houston just have problems.
Milwaukee Brewers 89-73
Get you lederhosen now; it will be October fest at Miller Park as the Brewers will win their first division title since 1982. The added pitching of Zach Grienke and Shawn Marcum to a solid offense gives the Brewers the best team in the league, which will be key as Prince Fielder is in his walk year, and a winning team could help keep with the Beer Makers.
Cincinnati Reds 87-75
The Reds enter the season as the favorite in the National League Central after winning the title last season. In winning the title Joey Votto took home MVP honors. Jay Bruce is capable of matching those numbers giving the Reds a 1-2 punch. However, Bruce has yet to reach his potential and it will be hard for Votto to match his 2010 success. The Reds had a lot go right in 2010 and will need the same this year to repeat.
Chicago Cubs 85-77
The Cubs are always an enigma to their fans, as they often come out of nowhere and surprise in their first season with a new manager. Mike Quade did take over in the second half last season, but this still is his first year to put his stamp on the team. The addition of former Rays Matt Garza and Carlos Pena should make the Cubs better and they should be able to stay in the race all season, especially if Carlos Zambrano is able to continue to show the maturity he had an the end of last year.
St. Louis Cardinals 78-84
Questions surround the red birds as the season begins, with Adam Wainwright already lost for the season. They still have Chris Carpenter, at the front end, but the Cards pitching depth has always been the key to their edge. Meanwhile the Sword of Damocles hangs over Albert Pujols who will be a Free Agent at the end of the season, and if that becomes a distraction the Cardinals could be in for a long season.
Pittsburgh Pirates 66-96
Yo Ho Ho the Pirates will shiver me timbers and set sail away from the ship yard of last place seasons. However, the escape will have nothing to do with them being a winning team, as they will surely endure their 19th straight sub .500 season. However, with the addition of Lyle Overbay their offense will be better and they should be a little more competitive.
Houston Astros 61-101
Houston, you got a problem. The Astros offense may just be the worst in baseball, and with rebuilding being the only solution it could get worse as Carlos Lee could be more valuable on the trade block for a package of prospects from a contender. Their pitching staff has some good arms, but no front line starting pitcher as they will lose a lot of games in hard luck as the Astros approach 100 losses.
Overview: The Giants enter the season with a bull's eye on their back as defending World Series Champions. They have the arms to repeat, and their offense is stronger but will the pressure be their undoing? The Rockies have a solid team that can make a run, while the Padres will have a difficult time equaling last year's success. The Dodgers are still a mess and the Diamondbacks are at least a year away.
San Francisco Giants 94-68
As October showed the Giants pitching is damn good, and with Tim Lincecum at the front end, and Matt Cain coming into his own they may actually get better in the next few years. Meanwhile their offense which was their weak spot in the past is getting better as Buster Posey enters his second season. Repeating may be tough, but they should at least be there in October.
Colorado Rockies 90-72 (Wild Card)
Health is the key for the Rockies, a team that has made the playoffs twice in the last four years should be able to return this year as the Wild Card, provided they are able to keep Troy Tulowitzki on the field. However, the Rockies have a solid bench and a strong pitching staff, and if Ubaldo Jimenez is able to come close to his first half numbers from last year the Rockies could be a real threat in the National League.
San Diego Padres 85-77
The Padres were the surprise team in the National League last season, before coming down to earth at the end of the season and losing the division on the final day of the season. The loss of Adrian Gonzalez could be costly, but with a solid starting rotation and one of the best bullpens in the National League the Padres should win more games than they lose.
Los Angeles Dodgers 70-92
The Dodgers could go either way. They have a lot of spare parts stuck together to form a line up and rotation. If they all gel the Dodgers could be the big surprise team, if they don’t the Dodgers could fall apart like a cheap suit. Add the fact Don Mattingly has never managed before on any level and you have the makings of a bad team. The only hope the Dodgers have is for Andre Etheir, Matt Kemp or James Loney to develop into a MVP caliber player.
Arizona Diamondbacks 69-93
The Diamondbacks will host the All-Star Game this summer, but if they are going to take a step forward this year they need some of their young players, particularly Stephen Drew and Justin Upton to develop into All-Stars. The Snakes will also rely on young arms to carry the way, as Ian Kennedy is viewed as a potential ace, while they hope Daniel Hudson can equal his 2010 performance and prove the pieces are there for the D-Backs to soon get back to October.
Overview: A billboard says the World will end on May 21st of this year. That will be the only way the Red Sox or Yankees do not see October. Since 1995 either one and in some cases both have made the postseason, and the re-tooled Sox look ready to regain the division crown. The Yankees can't be counted out; the Rays are hurt by payroll issues, while the angry birds will fight for last place.
Boston Red Sox 96-66
When the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 they spent the winter spending money and entered the 2009 re-energized and went on to win the World Series. Last year injuries prevented the Red Sox from making the postseason and they have spent money and gotten stronger. It’s now their division to win, and they will win it. Whether they win the World Series or not is much hazier.
New York Yankees 90-72 (Wild Card)
The Yankees rotation is full of questions beyond CC Sabathia, but they have the money and prospects to make a big addition if desperate at the deadline. Until then they will rely on their offense. The Yankees have some age issues, but overall they are still one of the top teams in baseball and while it may be a battle they will get the Wild Card in the American League.
Tampa Bay Rays 85-77
The Rays played with the big boys the last three years, but their hard financial realities are beginning to take their toll, as they were forced to say good bye to three key players from last year’s division champs. Their bullpen is the biggest question as Kyle Farnsworth begins the year as the closer, while they are hoping to find some thunder left in the aging bats of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.
Baltimore Orioles 83-79
After taking Buck Showalter took over as Manager last year, the Orioles posted a record of 34-23, which was the best record in the American League over that period. A full season of Buck in Baltimore should be able to lift the Orioles to respectability. They won’t shock the world and win the division or anything, but posting their first season since 1997 will be good enough to get Baltimore believing again.
Toronto Blue Jays 79-83
Last year Toronto became a launching pad as the Blue Jays bashed the ball led by Jose Bautista. It is hard to imagine Bautista can come anywhere close to matching his career season last year, as he never came close to posting stats like that in the past. The Jays have some good young arms that will take their lumps in the AL East, as the Jays end up at the bottom of the toughest division.
Overview: The Central Division will come down to the Twins and White Sox in another battle that could come down to the wire. The Tigers if all goes right could make it a three team race, but they need some help. The Royals are showing signs of life, while the Indians wallow in Cleveland.
Minnesota Twins 89-73
The Twins enter the season with a lot of questions, but when have the Twins not had any questions? They always seem to find a way to win their division, and overcome some adversity along the way. They have a solid pen, a decent rotation and a strong line up. Justin Morneau should bounce back, and Joe Mauer could win another MVP, and this could be the year they solve their problems with the Yankees.
Chicago White Sox 88-74
The White Sox have the weapons to win the Central as they have added some extra power to their line up with Adam Dunn. Add a solid rotation and you have team that could even go far in the postseason if the chips fell right. It should be close all year, as they battle the Twins, but in the end the White Sox bullpen will be the Achilles’ Heel as they fall short again.
Detroit Tigers 78-84
As spring training began, Tigers star Miguel Cabrera was arrested for suspicion of DUI. For a player with a past of alcohol trouble this has to be a major concern for the Tigers as they will need another big year from Cabrera to compete in their division. They have some good young players, and Justin Verlander is a certified ace, but if Cabrera becomes a question the Tigers will struggle.
Kansas City Royals 74-88
Bright days are ahead in Kansas City as the Royals have a farm system that is labeled the best in baseball. However, it likely won’t bear fruit until next season. Still the Royals should begin showing signs of hope towards the end of the year as some like Eric Hosmer begging to make their debuts and begin to become everyday players.
Cleveland Indians 57-105
Cleveland home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Carlos Santana is the Indians starting catcher. Not the same Santana you say, but does it matter. The Indians are in a word awful, so maybe they are a perfect match for Cleveland the town LeBron could not wait to leave, and the town where the real Browns left in 1995 and never returned. The Tribe are clearly the worst team in baseball with a weak lineup and pitching staff that will be among the worst on both sides.
Overview: The A's are the time on the rise, who have been considered a team to watch the last few years, but now they have an open door, the Angels are down and the Rangers have the added pressure of high expectations while needing to match last year's performance as the Mariners drift on a sea of loneliness.
Oakland Athletics 91-71
The rotation is armed and ready to go, as the Athletics are loaded for a return to October baseball. Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill both appear ready to become reliable frontline starters while Dallas Braden left arm is one of the strongest in the American League. Add to this a revamped line up and the A’s appear to be the best in the West.
Texas Rangers 87-75
The Rangers already lost Cliff Lee, and the staff will be hard pressed to equal what they did last year. Meanwhile the health of MVP Josh Hamilton is always a question mark, as Adrian Beltre is expected to be an All-Star at 3B. If all falls right the Rangers will be back in October, but things hardly fall right two year in a row. The Rangers will be in the race, but they will miss Lee when it comes down to crunch time.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 75-87
After years of dominating the West the Angels may not be in a rebuilding mode, but they certainly need to re-tool. The rotation lacks a proven ace, the bullpen has many holes and the line up needs a few more bats. However, never doubt Manage Mike Scioscia getting the most out of his team, the problem is there is not much more he can get out of them.
Seattle Mariners 67-95
Felix Hernandez should sue the Mariners for lack of support. He was able to win a Cy Young despite a mediocre 14-13 record last year, but the losses and lack of wins had more to do with he Mariners anemic line up. The line up has not improved much and the remaining rotation after Felix is equally as week. Last place is the only lace this team is heading, as they have a lot of needs to get back to winning baseball.
LEAGUE LEADERS AND AWARDS
- Troy Tulowitzki Rockies
- Ryan Howard Phillies
- Prince Fielder Brewers
- Jose Reyes Mets
- Carlos Gonzalez Rockies
- Cliff Lee Phillies
- Roy Halladay Phillies
- Tim Lincecum Giants
- Washington Nationals
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Jose Reyes Mets
- Edison Volquez Reds
- Starlin Castro Cubs
- Ian Kennedy Diamondbacks
- Andre Ethier Dodgers
- Tim Hudson Braves
- Shawn Marcum Brewers
- Lance Berkman Cardinals
- Carlos Beltran Mets
- Ted Lilly Dodgers
- Huston Street Rockies
- Freddie Freeman Braves
- Jim Tracy Rockies
- Prince Fielder Brewers
- Cliff Lee Phillies
- Troy Tulowitzki Rockies
- Batting Crown
- HR Leader
- RBI Leader
- SB Leader
- Runs Leader
- Win Leader
- ERA Leader
- K Leader
- Surprise Team
- Disappointing Team
- Comeback Player
- Comeback Pitcher
- Breakout Player
- Breakout Pitcher
- Disappointing Player
- Disappointing Pitcher
- Best Acquisition
- Worst Acquisition
- Falling Star Hitter
- Falling Star Pitcher
- Rookie of The Year
- Manager of The Year
- Hank Aaron Award
- Cy Young
- Robinson Cano Yankees
- Alex Rodriguez Yankees
- Kevin Youkillis Red Sox
- Carl Crawford Red Sox
- Derek Jeter Yankees
- CC Sabathia Yankees
- Felix Hernandez Mariners
- Jon Lester Red Sox
- Baltimore Orioles
- Detroit Tigers
- Justin Morneau Twins
- A.J. Burnett Yankees
- Matt Wieters Orioles
- Trevor Cahill Athletics
- Miguel Cabrera Tigers
- Jake Peavy White Sox
- Carl Crawford Red Sox
- Vernon Wells Angels
- Bobby Abreau Angels
- Daisuke Matsuzaka Red Sox
- Mariano Rivera Yankees
- Kyle Drabek Blue Jays
- Buck Showalter Orioles
- Alex Rodriguez Yankees
- Jon Lester Red Sox
- Robinson Cano Yankees
- Troy Tulowitzki RockiesBatting Crown
- Ryan Howard Phillies HR Leader
- Prince Fielder BrewersRBI Leader
- Jose Reyes MetsSB Leader
- Carlos Gonzalez RockiesRuns Leader
- Cliff Lee PhilliesWin Leader
- Roy Halladay PhilliesERA Leader
- Tim Lincecum GiantsK Leader
- Washington NationalsSurprise Team
- St. Louis CardinalsDisappointing Team
- Jose Reyes MetsComeback Player
- Edison Volquez RedsComeback Pitcher
- Starlin Castro CubsBreakout Player
- Ian Kennedy DiamondbacksBreakout Pitcher
- Andre Ethier DodgersDisappointing Player
- Tim Hudson BravesDisappointing Pitcher
- Shawn Marcum Brewers Best Acquisition
- Lance Berkman CardinalsWorst Acquisition
- Carlos Beltran MetsFalling Star Hitter
- Ted Lilly DodgersFalling Star Pitcher
- Huston Street RockiesFireman
- Freddie Freeman BravesRookie of The Year
- Jim Tracy RockiesManager of The Year
- Prince Fielder BrewersHank Aaron Award
- Cliff Lee PhilliesCy Young
- Troy Tulowitzki RockiesMVP
- Robinson Cano YankeesBatting Crown
- Alex Rodriguez YankeesHR Leader
- Kevin Youkillis Red SoxRBI Leader
- Carl Crawford Red SoxSB Leader
- Derek Jeter YankeesRuns Leader
- CC Sabathia YankeesWin Leader
- Felix Hernandez MarinersERA Leader
- Jon Lester Red SoxK Leader
- Baltimore OriolesSurprise Team
- Detroit TigersDisappointing Team
- Justin Morneau TwinsComeback Player
- A.J. Burnett YankeesComeback Pitcher
- Matt Wieters OriolesBreakout Player
- Trevor Cahill AthleticsBreakout Pitcher
- Miguel Cabrera TigersDisappointing Player
- Jake Peavy White SoxDisappointing Pitcher
- Carl Crawford Red SoxBest Acquisition
- Vernon Wells AngelsWorst Acquisition
- Bobby Abreau AngelsFalling Star Hitter
- Daisuke Matsuzaka Red SoxFalling Star Pitcher
- Mariano Rivera YankeesFireman
- Kyle Drabek Blue JaysRookie of The Year
- Buck Showalter OriolesManager of The Year
- Alex Rodriguez YankeesHank Aaron Award
- Jon Lester Red SoxCy Young
- Robinson Cano YankeesMVP
Managers to be Fired
- Manny Acta-Indians
- Jim Leyland-Tigers
- Edwin Rodriguez-Marlins
2011 World Champs