The monks offer our very early, very unofficial first shot at predicting the 2011 season. Enjoy and comment away!
1) Why will the Giants’ Repeat?
- Jon: Because they are awesome. After not winning the WS for 56 years, they are due to win at least 4 times in a row! Don’t argue…it’s a game of statistics and this stat only makes sense.
- Tim: Giants repeat because: Our pitching staff is strong as ever, and we are getting all the big guns back. It was just announced today that Cody Ross is pulling on the orange for another year, and with him and Huff swingin’ the lumber, and Panda already 15 pounds lighter, we’ll finally have some consistent run support for our amazing pitching staff.
- Josh: The Giants will defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series. I think it would be really cool to knock off the team I hate more than any other… besides the Dodgers.
- Steve: They win again because the youth of the staff means the pitching holds up for another deep run, plus the offense is improved with pablo bouncing back, full seasons of posey/burrell/ross, the emergence of belt, and more goodness from huff/torres/sanchez.
2) Favorite to Win (Non-Giants Division)
- Jon: Phillies…it feels strange picking a team the Giants’ made to look like weepy little school boys in the NLCS, but their pitching and above average hitting will be tough. Despite their solid lineup they didn’t perform to potential last year. If their pitching stays healthy and their hitting meets potential, they can take it in 2011.
- Tim: Twins…I was initially leaning towards the Phillies, but I’ve decided on this was too rational. Minnesota Twins. Doesn’t sound rational? With Justin Morneau looking to be healthy at the start of the season, and Joe Mauer locked up for all eternity, all these small town boys need to do is finally get by the Yankees in October.
- Josh: New York Yankees vs. Phillies. How can you not pick these two teams at this point in the year? Injuries can change everything but the sound mind says these two teams will meet. Oh and Vegas thinks so too!
- Steve: Red Sox…I actually think it will be the Phillies, but they’re covered, so I’ll go with the semi-homer pick. I do have legitimate concerns about the pitching, but if the rotation is healthy they have PLENTY of offense to get them to the post-season where Lester and an improved bullpen will carry them through.
3) Sleeper Picks (NL and AL)
- Jon: Brewers in the NL…I just have a feeling. Grienke, Gallardo, Braun, Fielder, and NOT Hoffman. A’s in the AL…no, this is not because I’m from the Bay Area. This team competes every year with guys I’ve never heard of (Mike Sweeney anyone?). This year they not only have a credible line up with DeJesus and Matsui and Willingham, but their rotation is top 3 in the league.
- Tim: Although my Twins Prophecy sounds like a sleeper, the real sleeper here is the Rockies. They have so much young talent, and the rest of the league is finally taking notice. We were lucky to slip by them in our division last year, but Ubaldo Jimenez is throwing the heat, and he and his teammates will ride the flowing mullet of Troy Tulowitzki all the way to a ring. In the AL, this is the year of the year of the A’s. I am mostly basing this pick on the fact that their cross town rivals took home the glory in 2010, and it’s lit a fire under their butts. They signed Grant Balfour today, and he had a great year with Tampa Bay last year, which should help their struggling bullpen. Adding Hideki Matsui at DH was a smooth off-season pickup. I would love nothing more than a Battle of the Bay Vol. 2. Hopefully the A’s can step it up.
- Josh: AL pick is the Twins. I guess this isn’t much of a sleeper since they went to the playoffs last year, but they always build their team well. Bill Smith (GM) is a smart cookie and he builds a great squad with a decent payroll of just under $100 million and Ron Gardenhire can get the most out of his rotation and lineup. In some ways, I see a lot of similarities to the Giants. NL…I think the Braves could creep up on some people. The first year without the legend of Bobby Cox should be intriguing and they could be a great story or this could be the dumbest pick ever. Their rotation could use some help in the back-end but the addition of Dan Uggla could be huge for them and Jason Heyward should only be getting better (scary). By the way, I hope this pick fails. I hate the stupid Braves.
- Steve: I too like the Brewers…a lot, but I’m going to go with the Marlins as a true sleeper. If Vasquez pitches like he did in ’09 and the rest of the rotations stays healthy, they have as good a 1-5 as anyone in MLB. Plus they have a stable of young, athletic hitters who could come together around Hanley. I might be a year early on them, but watch out for FL. In the AL, I love the A’s, but again that’s been covered, so I’m touting the White Sox. Good pitching, power, defense, a crazy manager…they play in a winnable division and have the pitching depth to make a serious run if they get in.
There you go…second guess away!