2010 MLB Preview: NL East

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

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

Next up is the NL East.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (2)
Much like the Yankees in the American League, it’s hard to find bad things to say about the Phillies. They’re the three-time defending NL East champions and considering they’re ready to bring back the same core of players that got them to the World Series the past two years, there’s no reason to doubt them. Oh, and they added Roy Halladay. Roy, I’m going to dominate your face for nine innings, Halladay. If Cole Hamels rebounds and J.A. Happ’s 2009 wasn’t a fluke, the Phillies won’t suffer a setback this season. In fact, the pitching doesn’t even have to be that great with the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez taking up the first six spots in the order. The problem, however, is that Hamels might not bounce back and Happ’s ’09 season may have been a fluke. There’s also that nagging Brad Lidge closer issue that could haunt this club as well. That said, odds are that the Fighting Phils will be right back at the top of the NL East again this season. They’re too good, too talented and too experienced to fold and they have a great chance to reclaim their title back from the Yankees.

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A’s Bailey, Marlins’ Coghlan voted Rookies of the Year

A’s closer Andrew Bailey won the American League Rookie of the Year award on Monday, while Marlins’ outfielder Chris Coghlan won the same honors for the National League.

From MLB.com:

Coghlan’s victory continues the Marlins’ streak of three: three winners in club history, with each coming in three-year spans.
It started with Dontrelle Willis winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2003, continued with Hanley Ramirez – now among the best shortstops in the Major Leagues – claiming the honor in ’06, and now the torch has been passed to Coghlan.

A Palm Harbor, Fla., native, Coghlan beat out loads of promising first-year players in a rookie slate that really had no single favorite this year. On the list of contenders were Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson (11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts), Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (.286 batting average, 54 RBIs and 22 stolen bases), Phillies lefty J.A. Happ (12-4, 2.93 ERA in 35 games), Brewers infielder Casey McGehee (.301 batting average, 16 homers and 66 RBIs) and Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus (.251 batting average, 16 homers and 52 RBIs).

Coghlan certainly deserved the award, but I’m a little surprised that Happ or even McCutchen didn’t win the award. Happ came close (he received 94 points compared to Coghlan’s 105), but McCutchen finished behind Hanson.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Fan catches Chris Coghlan’s first home run. Fan receives arm, demands leg.

SPORTSbyBROOKS has a great piece up about Nick Yohanek and his adventures with the Florida Marlins’ Chris Coghlan. Apparently, there’s a great start-up business here: Selling home run balls back to the guys who hit them out. After Coghlan hit his first in the majors, he was approached by Yohanek (who had caught the ball) after the game. Upon giving the fan a signed game bat and photo-op, Coghlan was surprised to learn that that just wouldn’t be enough to get Yohanek to fork over his ball (the identity of the preceding pronoun is anybody’s guess). Let’s hear from Yohanek and Brooks now:

Yohanek, not surprisingly, has a different view of things. We’re a little more suspicious of his version of the facts, mainly because he’s got far more reason to lie and even in his quotes, he comes off as an unholy prick:

“I explained that ballhawking is my hobby and that what I was asking in return was fair,” Yohanek said Thursday, in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “I told him I make $50,000 a year working in law enforcement and that I didn’t feel like I was asking for too much. He responded, ‘Good for you.’ Real classy. Way to respect law enforcement. Way to respect a fan.”

Yes, exactly. Clearly his tone was indicative of a disrespect for law enforcement and fans, and in no way affected by annoyance when a grown man makes demands for what should be a treasured keepsake. Real classy, Yohanek.

I can’t help but agree with my esteemed colleague on this one. While it is true that modern athletes make an exorbitant amount of money, it’s simply a matter of capitalism: if someone’s willing to pay that amount, then make them pay it, right? Supply and demand and such…Wait a sec, I may have just agreed with Yohanek here.

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