Though I don’t follow baseball quite as closely as I should, seeing as I am writing for a sports blog, I feel compelled to go along with everyone else in making predictions for the season that kicks off this week. I’ll start with my league predictions:
I think the Braves are the clear favorite here. A pitching staff lined with Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux is most definitely the way to go. Not to mention Andruw and Chipper Jones are both suited for breakout seasons. Look for the Braves to win yet another division title, adding to their continuing streak.
The Central should get a little more exciting now that the Milwaukee Brewers have moved to the NL, making this into a 6-team division. But I’m going to have to go with the St. Louis Cardinals here. Coming off his 70-home run season, I don’t think anything can slow down McGwire and the Cards, pending another roll by Sosa and the Cubs.
I’m going to have to take the Rockies. Look for Luis Vizcaino to be a serious Cy Young contender, even pitching out of a hitter’s ballpark. Plus they’ve got all of the Blake Street Bombers returning for another season.
Cincinnati Reds. Bench and Rose won’t let the Reds miss the playoffs again this year.
This one is obvious, the Yankees are in. Jeter and Rivera will anchor down a team that is so well endowed it can afford to have DiMaggio batting 2nd in the lineup. Lookout for this team, a possible perfect record is in order.
In the Central, I like the Kansas City Royals. If there’s one thing I can do well, it’s evaluating career potential. And they have some young talent in this kid Bo Jackson, and trust me; he’s going to be around for a long time. Kevin Appier as well, a kid who should anchor this pitching staff for years to come. And look for breakout seasons from Rey Palacios and Gerald Perry. If George Brett can have another great season, this team is a World Series threat. I think this team could go 14-2.
In the West, I like the Lakers. The trade for Shaq should make a formidable duo with Shaq and Kobe, who can essentially run a two man show all the way to the World Series. This team could put up huge numbers come playoff time, especially if Derek Fischer can stay healthy.
Gonna have to go with the Expos here, I just feel a sleeper coming on. Gary Carter and Andre Dawson are two forces to be reckoned with.
NLCS: Rockies over Cards
ALCS: Royals over Lakers
Royals over Rockies on a 4th inning kickoff return by Bo Jackson, where he repeatedly runs back to his own endzone, all the way to the other, then back and forth, with defenders falling all over themselves in the process.
AL Cy Young: Jaime Navarro, Chicago White Sox
This is the season that Ken Griffey Jr. and Bo Jackson establish themselves as long-term stars in the baseball world. As well, this is the beginning of what I like to call the “era of power,” led by McGwire and Sosa, a couple Giambi’s, and Barry Bonds. Look for a breakout season by Bonds in the near future if he can garner some power in his mid-30s.