Tuesday, March 31, 2015

30 Teams, 30 Haiku: My 2015 Baseball Preview

According to the latest issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, the card depicted above is worth about 50 cents. In my heart, however this card is priceless; it's a tangible reminder of last October, of the most unlikely of playoff runs, of a once-moribund franchise back in the national spotlight after decades of futility. An all-time classic tiebreaker against Oakland gave way to a small-ball manhandling of the Angels and Orioles and the third pennant in franchise history. The season may not have ended the way I would've liked --what Royals World Series isn't complete without a controversial call at first?-- and we're underdogs again in 2015, and my faith in the Boys in Blue hasn't wavered. Lowered expectations or not, this is the most excited I've been about a new baseball season in quite some time.

With that said, for the fourth year in a row I present my MLB forecast, 17 soma at a time (with asterisks noting wild cards):

1. Nationals. Bratty Bryce Harper/World Series hopes rest upon/your snotty shoulders.
2. Marlins*. Loria's pockets/run deep, but Giancarlo/needs to earn his keep.
3. Mets. Harvey and deGrom/young arms will play a role as/playoff dark horses.
4. Braves. The tomahawk chop/landed on payroll; these guys/are now rebuilding.
5. Phillies. Start the fire sale/Ryno in a china shop/a team in chaos.

1. Cardinals. Waiting for Waino/injury-prone warrior/X-factor in red.
2. Cubs. Yes, they are improved/but there's too much youth, upside/to really contend.
3. Pirates. Ann-yo, Jung-Ho Kang/this Korean sensation/is no Bulgogi.
4. Brewers. Overachieving/explains the '14 collapse/reality looms.
5. Reds. Gambling on Votto/may as well be Lotto; health/is a big question.

1. Giants. Same fightin’ Giants/third baseman notwithstanding/they win as a team.
2. Dodgers*. What an overhaul/new faces, proven talent/”west coast Yankees” thrive.
3. Padres. Many big gambles/free agent champs, regular/season also-rans.
4. D-Backs. Front office cleanout/young guns, but without pitching/these Snakes won’t slither.
5. Rockies. Who gets injured first/Tulo, Cargo, or Morneau?/Who cares, they’re awful.

1. Orioles. Despite injuries/and free agent bloodletting/O’s find ways to win.
2. Red Sox*. Panda and Papi/linebackers, or infielders?/Also, who’s the ace?
3. Rays. Stockpiled pitching/their saving grace, after all/the talent they lost.
4. Blue Jays. Bountiful power/Russ Martin, Canuck backstop/handles weak pitchers.
5. Yankees. Bombers in last? Yes/A-Rod, unloved old juicer/is needled, bows out.

1. Tigers. Atrocious bullpen/still lingers; can their power/make up for weak arms?
2. Royals. Reigning AL Champs/took a small step backwards; speed/and defense? Checkmate!
3. White Sox. Overnight rebuild/made Bridgeport heads spin; "LaRoche"/is French word for "Dunn."
4. Indians. SI cover jinx?/This Tribe will fight, but they are/far from contenders.
5. Twins. Hall of Fame skipper/thoroughly modern Molly/leads unproven bunch.

1. Mariners. Besides Nelson Cruz/this roster has few flaws; the/12th man of baseball?
2. Angels*. Giovatella/pale replacement for Kendrick/otherwise, watch out!
3. Athletics. Those poor pachyderms/sabermetrics can't explain/lack of impact bats.
4. Rangers. Injuries galore/the division has passed them/it's more than Yu need.
5. Astros. Young, fast, and rising/the galaxy's the limit/...if they're drama-free.

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver, Angels
NL ROY: Noah Syndergaard, Mets
AL ROY: Francisco Lindor, Indians
First Manager Fired: Terry Collins, Mets
2015 World Series: Mariners over Nationals in 6

Play ball!

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