Tuesday, March 22, 2011

30 Teams, 30 Haiku: My 2011 Baseball Preview

This week's blog entry is a milestone, but personally I'd rather be practical than self-congratulatory. With spring training in its last throes and the regular season a mere ten days away, what better time than now to post my baseball predictions for 2011? After all, there is a certain symbolism to the number 300 in baseball: a strong batting average, the unofficial minimum number of career wins to enter Cooperstown, a ridiculous amount of strikeouts in any given season. Granted, 300 home runs won't get you into the Baseball Hall of Fame --not in this day and age-- but it'll grab people's attention.

As such, my annual baseball preview typically has some type of quirk. In 2009, I explained why your team won't win the World Series, regardless of whether they were serious contenders or playing for pride. Last year, I posed a serious question about each team. This year, I'm exchanging short-order cynicism for the most simplistic yet elegant form of poetry: the haiku. That's right folks: I broke down all 30 MLB teams, seventeen syllables at a time. (Okay, sorry, moras.) Some of my prognostications are informative, others are witty, though a few are bordering on abstruse. Below my metrical compositions are my usual, concrete individual predictions for the year to come.

(playoff teams in bold)


1. Red Sox: Behold, Great Gonzo!/the power hitter they need/to repeat glory.
2. Rays: No dismantling yet/youth and vigor in Tampa/means a Wild Card.
3. Yankees: One starting pitcher/is all the pinstripes have now/Lee screwed them over.
4. Orioles: Youth movement's growing/gives you one early warning/watch out for Wieters!
5. Blue Jays: Unhappy Canucks/woeful in the Great White North/is hope on the way?

1. Twins: Only 83 wins/might conquer this division/ho-hum, but sturdy.
2. White Sox: If pitching's healthy/might ignite a pennant race/if not... Big Country?
3. Tigers: Miguel, stop boozing/Motor City needs Sheen blood/and less Foster Brooks.
4. Indians: Panic in the Cleve/remember Pronk and Grady?/they used to produce.
5. Royals: Young and unproven/95 losses seems fair/can't wait until '12.

1. Rangers: No Lee or Vlady/makes for an uphill battle/but the bench is deep.
2. Angels: Proven veterans/the pitching is heavenly/tread lightly, Texas!
3. Athletics: Contenders? Hardly!/their grit wears opponents down/so I'll give them that.
4. Mariners: All-defense fizzled/so back to the drawing board/long year at Safeco.


1. Phillies: Halladay, Hamels/Oswalt and Lee, beastly arms/assured destiny.
2. Braves: Without Cox, are Braves/now Indian princesses?/surely critics jest.
3. Mets: So many questions/Beltran's glove, K-Rod's temper/this soap opera drags!
4. Marlins: Raw and unfocused/fish won't bite in '11/insert sushi joke.
5. Nationals: Strasburg and Harper/are mere glimmers in the eye/same old crap this year.

1. Reds: Impressive bats, but/a matter of time before/Baker wrecks Chapman.
2. Brewers: All hail Zach Greinke/the hero has run support/repeat of '08?
3. Cardinals: Pujols' wanderlust/and all those injured starters/birds go south early.
4. Cubs: Are you kidding me?/first baseman hits .200/simply staggering.
5. Pirates: Andrew McCutchen/and 24 other guys/all you need to know.
6. Astros: The least improved team/so-so arms and good speed/will not be enough.

1. Giants. They are dwarves no more/the kids have proven themselves/a dynasty looms?
2. Dodgers. High payroll, high hopes/the divorcing boys in blue/men on the rebound.
3. Rockies. Ubaldo's first half/was quite beastly in '10, but/can he pace himself?
4. Padres. Oh dear, that offense/won't help mighty rotation/80 low-score wins.
5. D-Backs. Expecting progress/with no power, weak bullpen/quite a tall order.

AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Moustakas, Royals
NL Rookie of the Year: Domonic Brown, Phillies
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester, Red Sox
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, Giants
AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Twins
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Red Sox
NL Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Braves
First Manager Fired: Edwin Rodriguez, Marlins
2011 World Series: Phillies over Red Sox in 6

Next Week: the year in music, 2001.


  1. Only an 83-win A.L. Central? Hell 93 might not be enough. I think the Twins & Tigers will battle it out, the White Sox will get 3rd, and K.C. & Cleveland will duke it out for 4th place. Mauer will not be an MVP because his '09 power numbers were a fluke in pending free agency, and I don't think he's 100%. First fired manager? Oz-zie! Oz-zie! Oz-zie! :D

    I think the Rays are done & I think they lost too much. Replacing Crawford's production won't be easy, and he went to a division rival. Losing Garza's 15 wins will really hurt.

    Mets will probably end up leading the league in released players, and each release will be more popular with the fans resulting 25 minor league call-ups and daily sellouts :P The real downfall to the Braves was in 2006 when they switched from vertically arched names-on-back (NOB) to common radially arched NOB :P

    The Padres do have pitching, thanks to Kenny Williams. Should have never traded for Peavy.

  2. I'm sorry, but I'm not that bullish on the Twinkies or anybody else in the AL Central. For starters, they still don't have a real ace; they pitch to contact and hope the infield nabs the groundout. I see Minnesota going 83-79, the Sox 82-80, the Tigers 80-82.

    The Vegas oddsmakers seem to think Mike Quade will get sacked first, but I think the Cubs will be very patient with him if they struggle (and trust me, they will). As long as Kenny and Jerry are the Sox' brain trust, you're stuck with Ozzie. :(

    Imagine if the White Sox' bats were on the same team as the Padres' rotation. That would really be something.

  3. I don't know, Liriano, Pavano & Duensing is pretty good, maybe even better than Buehrle, Danks & Floyd, and the Twins get the edge due to the pitcher-friendly ballpark. I don't think much of Edwin Jackson & Humber is probably going to be a terrible 5th starter.

    Plus the Twins will have Capps & Nathan for full seasons as their setup/closer 1-2 punch, while the Sox will have an inexperienced closer and lost their reliable setup man.

    The Twins have Tsuyoshi Nishioka & possibly a healthy Morneau, and you know Konerko is going to come back down to earth to his averages and who knows if Beckham can sustain a full season of decent hitting, and way too many question marks in Morel & Quentin. Another thing, the Sox are a very old team, maybe the oldest in the league. And of course, the Twins have a superior manager.

    Made this graphic the day he was signed:

    Both Dunn & Reynolds get to go at the Whiff race in new leagues this year. I have a feeling Sox fans will turn on Dunn. Didn't like that signing one bit.