Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prince Albert in a Can: My Midseason Baseball Breakdown

It's been almost a week since the TV.com blog bug started, and since I don't know if and when I can post new blogs on the site, this week's missive will be posted exclusively on this site. If anything has come from the inexplicible disappearance of 175-plus blogs, I've noticed that my stance on the political spectrum has inched a lot closer to the center, at least compared to my rant in WU #38. Was "Quailgate" really that big a deal? That rant is so underinformed it's almost embarassing, though my heart was certainly in the right place.

Today's the All-Star Game, so clearly I have baseball on the mind. Here's some stray observations on the season so far and what's coming ahead:

+ Looking at my preseason predictions, I was either right on the money on some team's forecasts or dead, dead wrong on others. My thoughts on the AL West are eerily accurate, though my AL Central picks are a mess. When I said Washington would win 65 games, I didn't think I was being generous; right now they're easily the worst team in baseball and to avoid 110 losses would be an uphill battle. I took a risk picking San Francisco to win the NL West, and now they're my undisputed choice for the NL Wild Card. Bruce Bochy is a far greater manager than he's credited for. The so-called experts goofed us into thinking there would be a Rays-Cubs World Series, but I was only half-fooled.

+ If Albert Pujols retired tomorrow he'd still be a hall of famer. An article in this week's Sports Illustrated suggests that Prince Albert might have the best first 8 1/2 seasons of any player in major league history, and I can't disagree with that statement. He hit the ground running when he made the bigs in 2001, and outside of one or two minor hiccups Pujols just hasn't relented. In his worst offensive season so far (2002), Pujols batted a pathetic .314 with a measly 34 home runs and a paltry 127 RBI. At his current pace, #5 will smack 57 homers and 154 ribbies to accompany his .330-plus average. Plus, if it's worth noting, he hasn't had a single steroid allegation. Albert Pujols is not only my NL MVP for 2009, but probably 2010 as well.

+ I was down in Bloomington-Normal last weekend, so I didn't hear about Jonathan Sanchez' no-hitter until the morning after, when I read it on the ESPNews scroll on the bottom of the screen. Worse yet, I didn't see the highlights until early Monday evening. I really get a kick out of a dominant pitching performance, especially since the MLB is still recovering from its post-steroid hangover, so it looks like I missed a really fun ballgame. Than again, Chicagoans couldn't care less about west coast night games unless one of the local teams are involved.

+ I predict Zach Greinke will win 22 games... and the Royals will lose 95. On that note, Zach Greinke will win the AL Cy Young Award and the Royals will have the fourth or fifth pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. If we gave the poor guy any defense in the infield, he'd still have an ERA below two.

+ Since Wieters and Andy Mac haven't made an immediate impact, I'm changing my Rookie of the Year picks to Gordon Beckham and Colby Rasmus. Both guys are playing like they were ready-made for the bigs, with plenty of upside to boot, and I'll let the stats speak for themselves.
+ As for my latest World Series prediction, I see the Dodgers cutting down the Red Sox in 6 games. If the National League could be summed up like outdated college student stereotypes, Los Angeles is the BMOC, the undisputed golden boy with his finger wrapped around the whole campus. (In turn, the Chicago Cubs are that solid-B student that spends all his free time playing World of Warcraft.) Boston probably has the more talented roster, but the Dodgers keep squeezing out wins in spite of injuries (Will Ohman), suspensions (Manny), and prolonged batting slumps (Russ Martin).

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed that you've gone more toward the center too, and I think you can tell that I'm also more moderate now than I was when I came to Tv.com and the SNL/Conan boards.

    I don't know very much about Baseball, so I don't have much to say here. The only sport that I really follow is Football and I'm excited for the next season because it looks like the Bears and the Cardinals can make it to the playoffs this year.