Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Lightning 4.4.2010

  • Playtime's over:

With the season about to start, here are my final pre-season predictions for the 2010 season. I'm going to repeat the division winners (in-depth analysis is available in prior postings) along with the previously published National League Award winners; and the unpublished American League Award winners; and of course, the post-season predictions and World Series winner.

  • National League Playoff Teams:

NL East: New York Mets

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild Card Winner: San Francisco Giants

NL Playoff Predictions:

NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets

Dodgers in Five

NLDS: San Francisco Giants vs St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals in Four.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals in Seven.


  • American League Playoff Teams:

AL East: New York Yankees

AL Central: Chicago White Sox

AL West: Los Angeles Angels

AL Wild Card Winner: Minnesota Twins

AL Playoff Predictions:

ALDS: Minnesota Twins vs New York Yankees

Yankees in Four

ALDS: Los Angeles Angels vs Chicago White Sox

White Sox in Three

ALCS: Chicago White Sox vs New York Yankees

White Sox in Seven


  • 2010 WORLD SERIES:




  • National League Award Winners:

NL MVP: Jose Reyes, SS--New York Mets

I made the selection before Reyes had the thyroid issue and as he was slated to bat third in the Mets lineup. Now, he's scheduled to be back by next week and it's still undetermined where he's going to bat. I'll stick with the pick in the hopes that something similar to last year happens as I picked Alex Rodriguez; ARod got hurt; and the Yankees won the World Series.

Scoffing at the thought that Reyes is an MVP candidate is absurd; if he's healthy, he's still one of the most dynamic players in all of baseball and is absolutely a viable MVP candidate.

NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, LHP--Los Angeles Dodgers

The shackles are being removed from Kershaw and he's primed to explode into mega-star status. I'm talking about 20+ wins, and close to 300 strikeouts.

With a power fastball and devastating curve, Kershaw has the stuff; poise; and charisma to blow up the National League.

NL Rookie of the Year: Madison Bumgarner, LHP--San Francisco Giants

Picking the Rookie of the Year is always a guess more than any other award and Bumgarner ruined my aesthetic by getting rocked in spring training and sent to the minors. Given how he devastated the minor leagues on the way up, a little adversity won't hurt him and he'll be heard from this season.

NL Manager of the Year: Jerry Manuel, New York Mets

If the Mets play poorly, Manuel will get the blame and be fired; presumably along with GM Omar Minaya. If they play well, Manuel will get the credit for "overachieving" with a team that, if you look at their roster objectively, is quite formidable if they're healthy.

  • American League Award Winners:

AL MVP: Joe Mauer, C--Minnesota Twins

This is a bit of a cop out pick given how superlative Mauer is; how important he is to the Twins. A Gold Glove catcher; who can do everything at the plate; and is a leader in the clubhouse; looking to have a big year just as he signed a long-term contract extension. But Mauer is a hitting machine; and I'm waiting for him to hit for more power and contend for the Triple Crown.

AL Cy Young Award: Jake Peavy, RHP--Chicago White Sox

With Peavy's horrible and stressful motion, the injury risk is always a factor; but he's looked healthy and terrific this spring and, playing on a legitimate title contender, is a possible Triple Crown pitching winner. When he's on and healthy, Peavy is devastating and he'll lead the White Sox with his power stuff.

AL Rookie of the Year: Scott Sizemore, 2B--Detroit Tigers

Sizemore is getting a chance to play with the departure of Placido Polanco and has put up fine numbers in the minor leagues. That's not always the best way to gauge a player of course, but Sizemore is a solid pick for the award.

AL Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen--Chicago White Sox

Amid all the lunacy; controversy; and indecipherable stream of consciousness rants, it's easily lost on what a good manager Ozzie Guillen is strategically. He creates messes himself with his outspoken nature, but the White Sox are a legitimate title contender and part of the reason is Guillen.

  • The Athletics/Jack Cust merry-go-round:

Billy Beane is losing it.

First he turns the success of a first round, journeyman bust like Jack Cust (poetry!!!) into a useful power hitter from whom at least you know you're going to get power and walks, if a load of strikeouts and a horrific glove; then it becomes a negative as he should've traded Cust at his high value when he was clearing out the house in the past several years.

After that, he non-tenders Cust this past off-season; re-signs him at a lower rate rather than go after the more useful Jim Thome; and now, the A's have designated Cust for assignment with the apparent intent of trying to use some combination of Travis Buck, Jake Fox and....Eric Chavez (for as long as his body stays patched together----good luck) as the DH.

What a mess. Cust will probably clear waivers, but add this to the list of black marks against Billy Beane as he becomes more and more human as the Moneyball hangover wears off.

  • ESPN hires Curt Schilling as an analyst:

Naturally, someone as outspoken and controversial (and with as many ridiculous things to say as Curt Schlling on any and all subjects) would be met with derision; but I think it's a great idea. Along with the hiring of the explosive and temperamental J.P. Ricciardi, ESPN has some people that are going to say something rather than spout the company line and worry about the feelings of friends and acquaintances in baseball.

I think it's great.

No matter whether you agree with what they say, like or dislike them personally for team allegiance reasons or whatever else, you have to admit when someone's interesting and willing to speak out regardless of consequences and that is what Schilling does.

  • Viewer Mail 4.4.2010:

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE the Blue Jays, Curt Schilling and me:

My hopes are on the Blue Jays being not that bad.

On the Schilling alliance, I'd advise against it. See how things worked out for the Republic once they gave Palpatine absolute powers. Then again, maybe YOU are Palpatine.

The Blue Jays won't be that bad.

Don't you trust the leader of the Family, Gabriel, to do what's best? At the very least, under Emperor Palpatine (and me) things are efficient!

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Yankees and Red Sox:

All I can say is I sure do like your prediction for the Yankees. I see the Red Sox as more of a threat than you do, but that could just be my normal paranoia.

Trust me, I understand paranoia.

I'm a Mets fan and a borderline psychotic (or so I'm told).

PairFace writes RE the Mets, the Phillies and me in a redacted comment (click here to get the whole thing):

Sorry fanboy, I have to call it like I see it. If you noticed, I haven't said one word about the Phils. But since you mentioned them, they are coming off 2 NL pennants, and added the most dominant RH starter in baseball. I don't see how they drop to 82 wins anymore than I see the Mets rising to 91. You cite the bullpen as a problem. But the bullpen was a problem last year (17 blown saves) and they still won 93 games and went to the World Series.

As for can't win the MVP from the DL. He'll need rehab time. And once he's back in the lineup, it will take some time to get into playing shape. That could run into May. How far will he be behind the other MVP candidates at that point?

Being a Mets fan, I would understand if you wanted to throw your team a bone by picking ONE of those things to happen. But for a team that's coming into the season already banged up, having all kinds of questions with starting pitchers not named Santana, and a front office that is completely inept from the ownership down, there's simply NO WAY a sane person could come to the conclusions you did, even if you turn out to be right.

I'm getting a Mark David Chapman vibe from you especially considering you're on my sites with such a frequency that it's bordering on disturbing.

You can call me names. I really don't care. It reflects on you and I don't have to resort to such things to bat down the shoddy and scattershot arguments you present. I have no idea what the "pairface" name implies, but if the second part of the "pair" is smarter than you, I suggest you call on him (or her).

You call it like you see it. The problem is that you don't know what you're talking about. The way to attack and off-season is to either bolster strengths or address weaknesses. The Phillies did neither. Their bullpen is worse than it was last year. Way worse. The back of the rotation is also worse. The lineup is similar aside from Jayson Werth----under no circumstances----being able to repeat last season's career year. The Halladay trade was a lateral move that depleted the farm system even further.

Reyes will be back by the weekend. Where are you getting May? And have you ever heard of Joe Mauer? (Missed the first month of 2009, won the MVP.) C.C. Sabathia? (Traded to the Brewers at mid-season, 2008, and contended for the CYA.) Chris Carpenter? (Missed the first month of last season, finished 2nd in the NL CYA voting.) Rick Sutcliffe? (Traded to the Cubs at mid-season 1984 and won the CYA.)

I find it funny that you're trying to hedge your bets in such a transparent way by playing both sides (I see the "pairface" reference now) and leaving wiggle room if I happen to be right by calling me insane. It'd be clever if it wasn't so obvious and wasn't coming from you. Dismiss me if I'm right by calling me crazy or lucky; that's the last vestiges of the inept and defeated.

This is the last comment I answer from you on my site. You wanna have a go at me? You do it on Twitter in front of a live audience in which you'll learn why I've acquired the reputation I have to the point that no one wants to step into the ring with me. I'll be more than happy to use you as my punching bag for the day if you muster up the courage.

Anytime, anyplace.

And in any context, if you catch my meaning.

  • The Prince on the Podcasts:

On Friday, I was a guest with Sal at SportsFanBuzz. The Podcast links are available here---- Part I and Part II.

Also, earlier this morning, I was a guest with Mike Silva at New York Baseball Digest for his Podcast. The link is here: NYBD Podcast. Now, you can listen to the whole thing or click on the I-Tunes icon at the bottom of the player and fast forward to about 1 hour, 36 minutes in where you can experience the magnitude of me.

The book is available on Amazon and I-Universe in paperback and E-book.


She-Fan said...

You really do like those White Sox. Guess I'd better take another look at them.

PairFace said...

Well it looks like I might be getting under the skin of the "Prince of NY"...Sorry Precious, I didn't realize your skin was so thin.

You are citing the Phils' back of the rotation and bullpen as the reasons for their impending downfall. However, I have already addressed the bullpen...The Phils had a suspect bullpen last year, and still went to the WS. So even if it was as BAD as last year, there's still no dropoff.

As for the rotation, The Phils' rotation on Opening Day last year was:

Cole Hamels
Brett Myers
Joe Blanton
Jamie Moyer
Kyle Kendrick

This year:
Roy Halladay
Cole Hamels
Joe Blanton
J.A. Happ
Jamie Moyer

Now I ask you, Mr. Ruthless Analyzer, which rotation would YOU rather have??? Is it even close???

This is why I see your "analysis" as flawed and weak. You claim the Phils will have problems with the back of their rotation. Who fucking cares??? The back of the rotation isn't even used in the post-season. How about the FRONT of the rotation??? Do you think Roy Halladay is a slight upgrade over Brett Myers???

Since the Mets traded for Santana a couple years ago, that was one area the Mets had a clear advantage over the Phils. However, since acquiring Lee, and later Halladay, that advantage no longer exists. Tell me fanboy, who is in the Mets bullpen or back of the rotation (or even the #2 starter) that is going to move them to the top of the division??? Are you really counting on china doll John Maine???

And btw, save the internet muscles for someone else. I run 6'3", 230. Not too many people could claim to use me as a punching bag, let alone a clown behind a keyboard like yourself. I'll be back later in the season to check in on your NL East predictions.

PAUL said...

I love it when guys reference how big they are by way of making threats.
You can't engage in a debate, so you start calling names.
I'm not printing this comment in a posting. You wanna cuss? Do it on your own unread, insignificant site as you're checking each of mine 8-9 times a day each. And I'm saving the internet muscles just for you.

PairFace said...

I just gave you some debate, Princess. Answer the questions I asked you. What rotation is better, Phils' Opening Day 2009 or 2010???

What about the front of the Phils' rotation?

Is John Maine going to be a workhorse #2 starter, when he's only made 30+ starts ONE in his career?

What about the Mets' bullpen?

C'mon Paul...give me some of that "ruthless" analysis you pat yourself on the back for.

BTW, how come you give yourself labels like "the best writer you've never heard of"??? Isn't that what someone else is supposed to say about you??? Did you give yourself the "Price of NY" nickname, too??? What a fraud.

PAUL said...

You're a typical bully. That's obvious. You ridicule; call names; talk about how big you are; and repeat the process all over again in some faint hope that it's going to work. I can't be bullied and don't care what you think. I've made my argument. You don't like it? Too bad. The season starts tomorrow. We'll see who's right.

PairFace said...

Is this your way of dancing around the questions??? Sorry I reduced your argument into a non-coherent mess. But my questions are still out there if you'd like to answer them. If not, I understand. Tough to answer real baseball questions when you're stuck talking about a team's "arrogance".

If you don't like the "bullying", perhaps you shouldn't make threats in the first place ("Anywhere, anytime...And in any context, if you catch my meaning"). I just let you know that crap doesn't work on me. I made no threats to you of any kind. But it's not surprising that your reading comprehension is on par with your in-depth analysis.

PAUL said...

If you spent as much time working on your own site as spend reading mine, someone might actually read it.

PairFace said...

Well Paul, unlike yourself, I don't need my own website to justify my existence. I'm content putting clowns like you in their place from time to time.

PAUL said...

That would make more sense if you could reach me from way down there. You've brought up an interesting question: if someone writes a blog and no one reads it, does the blog really exist?

Jeff said...

No, such an unread blog does not exist.

And if that WS matchup becomes reality, I will be in hog fucking heaven.