Saturday, January 14, 2006

Baseball Post: January Predictions for 2006

It's about one month until catchers and pitchers report to spring training. Just for fun, here are my current predictions for the season ahead based on educated guessing and gut feeling:

AL West final standings:

(1) Los Angeles Angels
(2) Oakland Athletics
(3) Texas Rangers
(4) Seattle Mariners

Yes, I predict a repeat of the 2005 standings in the AL West. Texas has improved its pitching this off season. But not enough to catch Oakland. I would love to see Seattle finish ahead of Texas, but I don't think that will happen at this point.

AL Central final standings:

(1) Chicago White Sox
(2) Cleveland Indians * Wild Card
(3) Minnesota Twins
(4) Detroit Tigers
(5) Kansas City Royals

Another duplicate of 2005's results. But this time I think Cleveland will take the Wild Card berth. I expect the Royals to stink it up for another year.

AL East final standings:

(1) New York Yankees
(2) Toronto Blue Jays
(3) Boston Red Sox
(4) Tampa Bay Devil Rays
(5) Baltimore Orioles

The AL East has seemed set in stone over the past few years. New York will take the division yet again. But I see Toronto being more competitive this year as Boston sinks. And I see crash and burn for Baltimore. So much so that the Devil Rays will move out of dead last for the first time in franchise history.

Predicted AL Postseason:

Los Angeles Angels defeat the Chicago White Sox in 5
Cleveland Indians defeat The New York Yankees in 4

Los Angeles Angels defeat Cleveland Indians in 6

Pennant goes to the Angels.

NL West final standings:

(1) Arizona Diamondbacks
(2) San Diego Padres
(3) San Francisco Giants
(4) San Diego Padres
(5) Colorado Rockies

Still a weak division, I see the D-backs rising above on the acquisition of Orlando Hernandez alone. I'd like to try and catch one of his starts this season on the off chance of seeing his eephus pitch. (The eephus is a particular obsession of mine. In my next life I'd like to be a left-handed starting pitcher with a good eephus pitch. I'm only aware of 3 active pitchers who throw such a pitch: Casey Fossum, Livan Hernandez and Orlando Hernandez. The unbalanced schedule should bring Orlando out my way more frequently than the other guys.)

NL Central final standings:

(1) St. Louis Cardinals
(2) Houston Astros
(3) Chicago Cubs
(4) Milwaukee Brewers
(5) Pittsburgh Pirates
(6) Cincinnati Reds

I'm pretty confident with first and last in this division. The stuff in the middle may vary.

NL East final standings:

(1) New York Mets
(2) Atlanta Braves * Wild Card
(3) Philadelphia Phillies
(4) Washington Nationals
(5) Florida Marlins

I'm going out on a limb on this one. For the first time in 14 seasons the Braves will not take the division. But they'll ride in on the Wild Card anyway for an unbroken chain of playoff appearances.

Predicted NL Postseason:

St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Atlanta Braves in 3
New York Mets defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in 3

St. Louis Cardinals defeat the New York Mets in 5

Pennant goes to the Cardinals

World Series prediction:

St. Louis Cardinals defeat Los Angeles Angels in 7 games.

World Championship awarded to the Cardinals.

Actual results may vary. I may have to update my predictions every month or so.

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