2007 Major League Baseball Predictions Part 1: Division Winners and Wild Cards
West: Dodgers. Very solid rotation (until Grady Little leaves someone in until they resemble J. Walter Weatherman) and speed at the top of the order. Lineup needs to stay healthy for them to stay ahead of the Padres and possibly surprising D-Backs.
Central: Brewers. In a division where hanging around .500 will put you in striking distance in September, Ben Sheets will anchor a good staff and allow some young talent to blossom. Plus, I lived in Wisconsin as a kid and any team tied that closely to beer deserves to win every once in a while.
East: Braves. Yes, I'm a homer. I still think this team will rebound from a "disastrous" 2006 season, where they finished 4 games under .500. Andruw is in a walk year, and Chipper, Francouer, McCann and Renteria should put up good numbers. Offense will be cobbled together from platoons and/or the hot hands at 1st, 2nd and LF. The pitching will be surprisingly solid on the front end, and with a rebuilt pen, saves won't be "blown" with the frequency of a Columbus stripper.
Wild Card: Phillies. Much better pitching than the Mets, with almost as much "thump" in the day to day lineup.
West: Angels. Even though they can't figure out which fucking city they want to be from, they're still the class of the West. The A's will hang around like usual, but unless Vlad's back gives out or Gary Matthews starts using dirty needles, the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles/Orange County Angels will take the division.
Central: Tigers. Toughest division to pick, as Cleveland, Chicago and Minnesota should all be competitive and improved over last year. And with Kenny Rogers injured (not from pine tar), the Tigers will have to rally their rotation or put up some serious numbers (having newly acquired cancer Gary Sheffield should help with that). Basically, I'm picking Detroit because Jim Leyland is the only person I know who smokes more than I do, and he (along with Keith Richards) gives me hope that I'll live to see another birthday.
East: Red Sox. Moving Papelbon to the bullpen is a great move for them, and I'm fully buying into the gyroball hype. Better pitching than the Yankees and even though Toronto will be improved as well, I think Boston takes the division.
Wild Card: Yankees. Outstanding top to bottom daily lineup, and A-Rod will put up monster numbers in what could well be a "walk year." Not enough starting pitching to keep up with the Sawx, though the Clemens sweepstakes could change all that.