First a couple of housekeeping notes. Before you read what’s a part Tiger preview/part league preview, I’ve been out and about doing things for other sites. If you haven’t checked them out, I recommend you check out the chat I took part in over at Baseball Analysts and my five questions preview over at Hardball Times.
I’d say this is a tradition, but it’s only my second spring season blogging so last year was the first year I tried this. You can check out my 2004 predictions by clicking here. Some is good, some is not so good. I did pretty well in the AL East, but I also picked the Royals to win the AL Central (I really didn’t know their pitching was that bad). Also no where to be found were the Cardinals. I did pick Boston to go to the World Series, and I did come withing two wins of (luckily) predicting the Tigers win total, so it wasn’t all bad. First, what big things will happen this season…..
1) Carlos Pena will be the first Tiger since Bobby Higginson to hit 30 homers. Hasn’t happened since 2000.
2) A Tiger starter will win 15 games this year. Sadly that hasn’t happened since 1997 when Willie Blair and Justin Thompson both did it. The Tigers were 79-79 with four games left, and they lost all four. Jeremy Bonderman will be the Tiger that wins 15 games.
3) I’ve always been a Bobby Higginson fan, and because he played during a time when the Tigers were so bad, he doesn’t quite get the recognition he deserves. As far as careers go, he’s had a solid one. I have a feeling that when he ends up with the Marlins, that he does as well, if not better, then the Tiger’s leftfielder.
4) I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the Tigers will win 85 games. They’ll finish in second place to the Twins, and the win total will include three game sweep of the Twins in the final series of the season (by then the Twins will have clinched the AL East. What I’m hoping for is that the Tigers have a meaningful series with the Twins in their weekday series from September 12-14.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the league:
AL East – New York Yankees
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
AL West – Oakland A’s
AL Wildcard – Boston Red Sox
NL East – Atlanta Braves
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals
NL West – San Francisco Giants (I’m banking on Bonds being back sooner then he seemed to indicate)
NL Wild Card – Philadelphia Phillies
AL Champion – New York Yankees
NL Champion – San Francisco Giants
World Series Champions – San Francisco Giants (Barry Bonds finally gets his ring).
AL MVP – Eric Chavez
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (the writers finally have a reason to vote against Bonds because he misses the first month of the season)
AL Cy Young – Johan Santana
NL Cy Young – Tim Hudson
Al ROY – Scott Kazmir
NL ROY – Jeff Francis