There’s nothing better than the baseball season. The glorious game’s 2010 season is set to start this week as pitchers and catchers report to camp. Finally, the wait for the game that America loves so dearly is set to begin. It means warm sun, barbeques, summer storms, and much more is on its way in a couple months.
It is time for the players to work out their kinks and recover from offseason injuries and rehab to get back in time for Opening Day. It is time for players to change their stances and time for Cole Hamels to develop another pitch. Time for team bonding and hard work. Time for Florida and Arizona. Time for more bad looking batting practice uniforms. Time for autographs and time for bullpen sessions. Time for buckets of baseballs and buckets of sunflower seeds.
Its ’bout time for baseball.
Don’t get me wrong though, I love all the other sports and enjoy them while baseball is not with us but the aura of baseball is unbeatable. The freshly cut grass. The smoke that sits in front of the warehouse at Camden Yards. The Roy Hobbs homerun that lights up the sky. The ivy that lines the Wrigley Field walls. The dirty dugouts. The dim Iowa cornfields that surround an illustrious diamond at night. The 3-2 knee buckling breaking ball to end the inning. And I could go on.
All this is about to be back with the great USofA in a couple days. As usual, there are questions that surround the upcoming season. If you are one of my few readers, then you might remember the team-by-team preview I did on this blog last year. Because of my slow internet this year at school, that won’t be happening again. Heck, I’m only writing now because my class was cancelled and I wanted to stay on campus until my next one. I’ll throw out some questions and do my best to answer them with some bold predictions.
How much of a threat do the Mariners pose to the Angels in 2010?
Well last year the M’s finished over .500 and they got a lot better with huge offseason acquisitions in Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee. The problem out West is that the Rangers got better too and even the Athletics got a bit better. I think that the Mariners are a bigger threat to the Angels than last year now that the Halos have lost John Lackey. But the Angels still have a solid rotation from the top to the bottom where the Mariners have some questions. I think the the Angels’ wins go down this season but they remain division champs with Seattle and Texas close behind.
Will anyone for the Mets hit over twelve homeruns?
As if it couldn’t get any worse after the way 2007 and 2008 ended, it did (and I love it). The Mets opened their new spacious ballpark and then couldn’t hit in it or stay healthy. To answer the question though, yes. Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, and David Wright will definately have over that number while Jeff Francoer and David Murphy should get into the high teens too. Last year was a freak year for the Mets, and I expect them to be contenders once again in 2010.
Who do the Pirates trade first this year?
Sorry Pittsburgh fans, you know someone’s leaving. No one’s ever safe in Pittsburgh but I’m pretty sure Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones are safe. I’ll say Brendan Donnelly gets dealt at the deadline to a team that needs a veteran arm in their bullpen. Octavio Dotel and Joel Harahan are also potential trade pieces as well.
Who will have the best spring training record?
Texas Rangers. No reasoning.
More questions to come.
I haven’t written in a little while, my apologies. I really need to kick it into high gear if I want to finish my team previews before the season starts. So I’ll type up this one as I watch Japan play the USA.
Team Preview: Chicago White Sox
Projected MLB Rank: 17th — AL Rank: 6th — AL Central Rank: 2nd — Record: (80-82)
The White Sox have a great mix of veteran stars and young talent. Most homes in America know of Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, and Jermaine Dye. I guess we’ll see how youngsters Josh Fields and Chris Getz pan out in the infield. But here are some of last year’s contributors to one of the best offenses in the AL, that may have flown under to the average fan.
Carlos Quentin had an unbelievable year and would have probably won the AL MVP award had he not gotten injured at the end of the season. He drove in 100 runs while crushing 37 homeruns and batting .288. He may not put up the same numbers as he did last season, but he will definately be a middle of the lineup contributor for the White Sox.
Alexei Ramirez is a five tool player who was born in Cuba. He had a great rookie campaign hitting over 20 homers and driving in over 70 runs. He should only blossom this season and improve upon those numbers. Outfielder Dewayne Wise should have the starting centerfield spot this season after he filled in nicely when Quentin went down last season. He has a good combo of power and speed but really hasn’t found his average in the MLB.
The rotation is lead by southpaw veteran Mark Buerhle who has become a staple at the top of the White Sox rotation. He is followed by young arms Gavin Floyd and John Danks. Floyd was awarded for his great 2008 when he scored a big contract extension today. We will see if he can match his 3.84 ERA and 17 wins in 2009. Danks is a great young lefty who kept a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts last season. They are followed by aging injury-ridden righties Bartolo Colon and Jose Contreras. They are 35 and 37 respectively and may not start the season in the rotation but will get their shot to work their way in when they become fully healthy.
Bobby Jenks and Matt Thornton are the highlights of the southside’s bullpen. Jenks had 30 saves last season with a ERA under 3.00 and has become a very good closer in this league. Thornton, a team USA member, had a great 2008 with an ERA around Jenks in over 70 appearences. Octavio Dotel, who is 35 years old, assumes the setup role as he is a big time strikeout pitcher. Scott Linebrink also had a nice year last season with a 3.69 ERA in 50 games.
This division is weak and I seriously think that any team can win it. I’m projecting the White Sox second behind (use the process of elimination and you’ll see who I think will win it). Some of the players on this team are getting older and if the younger ones don’t pick up the slack, the White Sox may not repeat as division champions.