2010 MLB Season & Award Predictions

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

What’s a season preview without predictions? An incomplete one, that’s what.

To go along with our 2010 MLB Season Preview, below are predictions for the upcoming baseball season. Not only did we pick division, league and championship winners, but we also made predictions for some of the top player awards as well.

As always, feel free to bash our predictions but the rule is that if you’re going to criticize our picks, you have to make some of your own. Don’t be the guy that comes back a year later to chirp about how wrong we were. Nobody likes that guy. If you’re that guy, then let it be known that nobody likes you.

Enjoy!

AL East: Yankees.
The Red Sox have the best pitching in the division and despite popular belief, they have more than enough offense to unseat the Yankees too. But they also have too many question marks: Can John Lackey stay healthy? Will David Ortiz resemble the second half or first half player from 2009? Will Adrian Beltre rebound? The Yankees have fewer questions to be answered and a more complete roster from top to bottom. The Rays could easily jump back into the postseason mix this season, but B.J. Upton is the key. If he can rebound, then Tampa will give New York and Boston all they can handle. If he doesn’t, then the Rays will likely fall to the middle of the pack in the AL. The Orioles are a team on the rise, but their pitching will probably hold them back and the Jays will crumble without Roy Halladay.

AL Central: White Sox.
Twins and Tiger fans have reason to argue this pick but the bottom line is that this division is a crapshoot every year. The White Sox have plenty of question marks, but if Jake Peavy stays healthy then they have the best pitching in the division and while their offense is a serious concern, I’m banking on veterans Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios bouncing back and for youngsters like Gordon Beckham to make a major contribution. The Twins will no doubt be in contention throughout the year with their two MVPs Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but their starting pitching is still a question mark and can Jon Rauch (or whomever) replace Joe Nathan? The Tigers have enough talent to be dangerous, but is the front office committed to winning? After trading Curtis Granderson in the offseason in an obvious cost-cutting move, that’s debatable. As for the Royals and Indians, well let’s just say this is a three-team race and neither club was invited to the party. Although Zack Greinke is reason enough to go to Kauffman Stadium every fifth day.

AL West: Angels.
The Mariners and Rangers should scare the Angels, who lost their leadoff hitter (Chone Figgins), their main power source (Vlad Guerrero) and their ace (John Lackey) all in one offseason. But the Halos retool as well as any team in the league and they still have the best overall talent in the division. Of course, they’ll need Scott Kazmir to pitch a full season and for free agent pickup Hideki Matsui to supply power in the middle of the lineup, but the Angels should once again wear the AL West crown at the end of the season. The Mariners have the best pitching in the division after acquiring Cliff Lee, but their lineup lacks major punch. The Rangers have the opposite problem, as their offense should score plenty of runs but their pitching is once again a question mark (although youngster Neftali Feliz is my pick to win the AL Rookie of the Year award). The A’s have a couple of young pieces, but they’ll have a tough time competing this season with a lineup that is headlined by Coco Crisp and Jack Cust.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox.
How boring right? Why not someone new like the Twins, Mariners or Rangers? Well, because the best talent is in the East and I have a hard time believing that the Wild Card team will emerge from either the Central or West, even though I think the M’s are the most likely to accomplish that feat. The moves Boston made in the offseason (Lackey, Beltre, Mike Cameron) went a long way to sure up their starting pitching and defense. They may not be the offensive juggernaut they once were, but they have more than enough to make it to another postseason.

Postseason Sleeper: Rays.
As previously noted, if Upton can get his stroke back then the Rays are going to be a thorn in the sides of the Yankees and Red Sox. They have more then enough talent to make a run at the Wild Card, but they need consistent production from their starting pitching staff or else they don’t have a chance. It would be nice if youngster David Price finally emerged as the club’s ace.

Postseason Deep Sleeper: Orioles.
It’s hard not to love some of the young talent Baltimore has on its roster. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Weiters will be exciting to watch this season, but the pitching staff is a massive concern. Still, if the pitching overachieves (Brian Matusz is a legitimate ROY candidate), Baltimore could make a run at the Wild Card. It’s a long shot, but this is a young, upstart club.

NL East: Phillies.
No team in the National League has as much talent as the Phillies do. They have a stacked roster and their lineup is an offensive juggernaut hitting that gets to hit in a wiffle ball park. The addition of Roy Halladay only makes their pitching staff more lethal and assuming Cole Hamels bounces back, this club won’t fail to live up to expectations this season. That said, the Braves, who have a nice mixture of youth and veteran talent, are a team to watch for in 2010. Assuming Jason Heyward, who is highly regarded as the best prospect in baseball, lives up to the hype, then Atlanta will make a run at the postseason. As for the Marlins, Mets and Nationals, things will probably be status quo for them this season. Florida always finds a way to overachieve, while New York always finds a way to underachieve. And while the Nats are improving, they’re still a ways away from competing.

NL Central: Cardinals.
While the Cubs could bounce back this season, the Cardinals easily own the best talent in the division. They probably overpaid to retain Matt Holliday, but they needed someone to protect Albert Pujols in their lineup. Backed by one of the best offenses in the NL and a solid starting rotation, St. Louis should emerge as division champs. As for the Cubs, they enter their first season under new ownership and if they can get healthy seasons out of Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Ted Lilly, they’ll make a run. But if they don’t, their window of opportunity is closing fast and this club might be dismantled in the offseason. The Brewers have more than enough offense to be dangerous, but their pitching outside of Yovani Gallardo is frightening and while people are high on the Reds, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey need to keep their ERAs south of 4.50 if Cincy hopes to succeed. The Astros won’t be as bad as everyone thinks, but they need the bottom of their lineup and the back of their rotation to really step up for them to make any noise in the division. But chances are they’ll sink to the bottom of the NL Central, just ahead of the lowly Pirates.

NL West: Rockies.
Do you feel that? There’s a power shift coming in the NL West, as the Rockies have all the pieces in place to unseat the Dodgers in the division. Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge de la Rosa and Jason Hammel compile an underrated front four and while Jeff Francis probably won’t match Jason Marquis’ (Nationals) 2009 effort, he’ll be a valuable commodity if he stays healthy. Their closer situation is definitely shaky as Huston Street continues to battle injuries, but Colorado’s offense stacks up with any other club in the National League. As for the Dodgers, their offense should be fine but there is zero depth behind Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation. And with Frank McCourt’s divorce from wife and former CEO Jamie McCourt producing turmoil in the front office, there’s no help on the way. The Dodgers will either win or lose with what they currently have on the roster. The rest of the division is a mixed bag. The Giants have outstanding pitching, but as usual, their offense is a huge concern. The Diamondbacks have enough talent to challenge for a Wild Card spot, but Brandon Webb’s health is a major question mark and they need Justin Upton to have a big year. As for the Padres, Adrian Gonzalez will keep them in most games but they don’t have an ace after trading Jake Peavy and the starting rotation is comprised of innings-eaters at best.

NL Wild Card: Braves.
The Braves are taking a risk that Troy Glaus and Chipper Jones will stay healthy enough throughout the season to get them to the playoffs, but their offense is solid on a whole. Losing Javier Vazquez hurts, but if Tim Hudson rebounds then the starting rotation shouldn’t miss a beat. Atlanta has all the pieces in place to make it to the postseason – now they just have to get it done on the field. The Cubs and Dodgers also make logical choices for the NL Wild Card as well.

Postseason Sleeper: Giants.
The G-Men won 88 games last year – more than any team that didn’t make the postseason. With a rotation compiled of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez, San Fran will be in most games. Their bullpen is also solid, headlined by closer Brian Wilson and quality relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler. Their offense is where the problem lies. Pablo Sandoval is a stud, but if guys like Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez don’t produce, then the Giants will likely come up short of the playoffs again this season. Still, there’s a lot to like about this club and they’ve got some young prospects in Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner that could potentially help at some point this season.

Postseason Deep Sleeper: Reds.
Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey match up well with inning-eaters Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. But Edison Volquez’s rehab from Tommy John surgery is moving at a snail’s pace and who knows how long it’ll be before he’s back on the mound again. Still, the Reds have enough starting pitching to be competitive and if Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips turn in MVP-caliber seasons, Cincinnati has a chance to finally snap its nine-year losing drought.

2010 World Series: Phillies vs. Yankees.
There’s nothing more cautious then predicting the same two teams to meet again in the World Series, but nobody matches the Phillies and the Yankees’ talent levels. From top to bottom, these are the best two teams in baseball and while teams like the Cardinals, Rockies, Red Sox and Angels could get in their way, Philly and New York have the best odds to make it back to the Fall Classic. As for a World Series prediction, I’ll say that the Fightin’ Phils reclaim their title and emerge as champs again.

2010 World Series Take 2: Rockies vs. White Sox.
Since my official prediction is boring and lame, I figured I would throw out an alternative, more fun World Series prediction. The Rockies have all the pieces in place to make another postseason run and now that some of their younger players are a year wiser, they won’t get bounced as quickly out of the postseason as they did in 2009. As for the Sox, yeah – it’s a stretch. But it was a stretch to crown them NL Central champions too, so why not? Peavy stays healthy and Beckham turns out to be their offensive MVP. The ChiSox fall short in the Fall Classic though – the National League prevails this season.

2010 Individual Awards:

AL MVP: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Phillies
AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz, Rangers
NL Rookie of the Year: Eric Young Jr., Rockies
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi, Yankees
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, Braves


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