Monday, March 28, 2011

Predicting the 2011 MLB Season

Carlos Quentin will overcome injuries in 2011 to win his first AL MVP

While this blog will always be Washington Nationals centric, that does not mean that we cannot take the time to discuss the upcoming 2011 MLB season. Without going into great detail, here is what For Love of the Nationals sees happening in 2011.

2011 MLB Predictions

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Rays
4. Jays
5. Orioles

Analysis - The Red Sox, with their acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford will prove too strong for the rest of their AL East foes. While the Yankees will be good enough to snag a Wild Card spot, the Red Sox will win the division going away.

AL Central
1. White Sox
2. Tigers
3. Twins
4. Royals
5. Indians

Analysis - For Love of the Nationals absolutely loves the 2011 White Sox. 1B/DH Paul Konerko finally has protection in the lineup in the form of former Nationals 1B Adam Dunn. Coupled with a young, but tested rotation as well as what this blog believes will be a massive season out of oft-injured Carlos Quentin, and the White Sox are a sleeping giant that is about to be awakened.

AL West
1. A's
2. Rangers
3. Angels
4. Mariners

Analysis - The A's? Yes, the A's! With a lights out rotation that should only be better in 2011 with a healthy Brett Anderson, the A's finally have the bats to compete in a very winnable AL West. Texas will struggle with pitching and injuries while the rest of the division will have problems even playing .500 ball.

NL East
1. Braves
2. Phillies
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals

Analysis - We don't trust the Phillies, that is, until playoff times come. As for the regular season, the Braves should only be better than last year with an upgraded offense to compliment their solid pitching staff. Philly will make the playoffs, but they'll have to scrap and claw for the Wild Card spot.

NL Central
1. Brewers
2. Reds
3. Cardinals
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros

Analysis - While Zack Greinke was the big addition to the Brewers this offseason, SP Shawn Marcum, acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason will be the real key to the Brew Crew's success in 2011. Also, don't be surprised if a focused Nyjer Morgan surfaces in Milwaukee and stabilizes their uncertain plans in CF.

NL West
1. Giants
2. Rockies
3. Dodgers
4. Diamondbacks
5. Padres

Analysis - The San Francisco Giants will win their second consecutive NL West Title with more outstanding pitching as well as an MVP season out of Catcher Buster Posey as well as the debut of monster rookie 1B/OF Brandon Belt.

AL Playoffs

White Sox over Yankees
Red Sox over Oakland

Analysis - The White Sox will be too much for the Yankees who just don't have the horses in the rotation to compete in October. The Red Sox make quick work out of the upstart A's as their pitching staff proves not yet ready for prime time.

AL Championship

White Sox over Red Sox

Analysis - In an upset, the White Sox take down the heavily favored Red Sox. Ozzie Guillen tweets that he's the best manager in the history of baseball.

NL Playoffs

Phillies over Brewers
Braves over Giants

Analysis - The Phillies, proving pitching is king, wake up just in time for the post season and sweep the Brewers behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels. The Braves offense is the key in this series. There will be no repeat of Brooks Conrad kicking the ball around the infield in 2011, Braves in five.

NL Championship

Braves over Phillies

Analysis - Pitching rules, but if your team has no offense, how are you going to win games? The Phillies are left asking that question as the young Braves take down their division rivals.

World Series

White Sox over Braves

Analysis - Ozzie Guillen is proved correct as the White Sox slug their way to a World Series Championship. Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez prove to be a solid duo at SS and 2B, and the Sox bats are just too strong for the Braves to keep up.

AL MVP - Carlos Quentin - OF - White Sox

Analysis - One of these years Quentin has to stay healthy. Playing in a lineup filled with mashers, 2011 is finally the year Quentin avoids the DL... and proves to be the key cog in the White Sox title run.

NL MVP - Buster Posey - C - Giants

Analysis - Posey proved to be an offensive threat in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2010; in 2011, Posey breaks out into a bona fide Superstar.

AL Cy Young - Gio Gonzalez - A's

Analysis - Gio Gonzalez is a stud. In 2011, you'll finally know it. Armed with can't hit stuff, Gonzalez will cut back on his walks to bring the AL West their second consecutive AL Cy Young.

NL Cy Young - Tim Lincecum - Giants

Analysis - The Freak will be just that in 2011. After a 'down' year in 2010, Lincecum will return with a vengeance and a dedication to training that will prove to be the key to Lincecum's third Cy Young award.

AL ROY - SP Michael Pineda - Mariners

Analysis - Meet King Felix's new best friend. Pineda, who has torn up every minor league stop he's been at, just recently was named the Mariners fifth starter. Pineda will not disappoint while pitching in the spacious confines of Safeco Field.

NL ROY - SP Brandon Beachy - Braves

Analysis - Beachy, who beat out fellow prospect Mike Minor for the fifth spot in the Braves rotation will be a key ingredient in the Braves NL East Division winning run.

Comeback Player of the Year - SP Jeff Francis - Royals

Analysis - Francis, the former Rockies ace, makes his return after missing quite a bit of time with shoulder troubles. Though it is only Spring Training, Francis has flashed the skill that made him such a big part of the Rockies run to the World Series in 2007.

Breakout Player of the Year - OF Andrew McCutchen - Pirates

Analysis - Want to know who is the next big star the Pirates will trade away? Meet Andrew McCutchen. The Center Fielder, blessed with five tool skill, McCutchen is an absolute star in the making. Surround him with talent, watch McCutchen become one of the biggest stars in all of the game.

1 comment:

  1. Re: NL Central
    I think with Quade as coach, the Cubs are going to surprise you this year, and I am really surprised to see that you have the Brewers first. I think the Cardinals will win the division and it will be either the Cubs or the Reds in second, with the Brewers in fourth.

    However I agree with your last place predictions across the board. Orioles, Nationals, and Mariners especially. I think it would take entirely new teams to improve over last season's performance and I just don't believe they have it in them.