Thursday, April 05, 2007

Money Ball: MLB predictions for 2007

Sadly the NCAA basketball season is over. Lucky for us, on the eve of the national championship game, we start the baseball season. Here are my predictions for the upcoming season

AL East:
Boston RedSox – This team has it all; A great potent offense, a stellar starting rotation and a solid bullpen. The reports out of spring training on Dice K have been outstanding. He will have his moments of greatness, hit a wall, pull himself together and end up with 15 wins and 4.00 ERA. Ortiz will have a monster year again with Manny backing him up. The Yankees with their mega million dollar payroll and their pathetic pitching staff will not be their biggest competition. The Bluejays will give the BoSox their biggest challenge in the division.

AL Central:
Twins – The Twins have the blueprint for a fantastic team. Solid and underrated offense, led by a potent 3,4,5 of Mauer, Cuddyer and Morneau. Any team with Johan Santana is going to competitive. Throw in some young arms like Boof Bonser and a Mid May call up to Matt Garza and this team will be tough to beat. When they get tired, simply turn the ball over to the best reliever in baseball, Joe Nathan.

AL West:
Angels – Same team as last year, but hopefully they can stay healthy this year. Vlad should get some help from young bucks, Howie Kendrick, Casey Kotchman, and eventually hot shot Brandon Wood.

AL Wildcard:
Indians – This team should be fun to watch. They will score a ton of runs with guys like Sizemore, Hafner and Victor Martinez. Ryan Garko will be so good, he will bump somebody out of a starting job. Their Achilles heel will be their pitching, both starting and bullpen.

NL East:
Braves – 14 years in a row, and then they stumbled, badly. They still have a lot of talent and a great bullpen. But this pick is based more on the disbelief of the Mets or Phillies winning the division, than the Braves being that solid.

NL Central:
Cardinals – This is a pretty weak division, but the Cardinals are still the head of this class. They are led by ace Chris Carpenter, and future aces, Anthony Reyes and Adam Wainwright. Their rotation will be strong and keep them at the top of their division. Plus, having a guy like Albert Pujols doesn’t hurt.

NL West:
Dodgers – This pains me to write this, but the dodgers are clearly the class of this much improved division. The Dodgers have a fantastic mix of youth (Martin, Kemp, Ethier, Martin and eventually Loney) and veteran leadership (Nomar, Furcal, and Schmidt).

NL Wildcard:
Diamondbacks- Randy Johnson is back and he is leading the charge with a bunch of diaper dandies. Chris Young is a five tool star waiting to happen. Stephen Drew is doing his best to not imitate his big brother and stay healthy and productive. Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin will put up big numbers.

World Series
Twins over the Dodgers

Giants note:
At the beginning of the season every team thinks they have a chance. While the Giants may think this, they clearly do not. For them to be successful, they will need a Cy Young year from Zito (won’t happen) another career year from the cleanup batter Ray Durham (no chance), Bonds to stay healthy and out of jail (unlikely), Feliz to take a walk and not swing at pitches in the dirt (impossible) and for Benitez to get hit by a bus (I wish).

Best case scenario: 70-92 and second to last place

Bonds breaks the homerun record on July 24 at home vs. the Braves. Bud Selig and Money will not be in attendance.

AL MVP: David Ortiz
NL MVP: Derek Lee

AL Cy Young: Rich Harden
NL Cy Young: Brett Myers

AL ROY: Philip Hughes
NL ROY: Chris B. Young

Monday, April 02, 2007

Gator bait

So one by one, Money’s bold predictions have been dying off. Kansas was ousted in the Great 8, Acie Law could not make a lay-up to seal a game sending A&M packing and Arizona will not be cutting down the nets this year. So does Money have any fabulous predictions left?

Florida will not win back to back games. This is becoming more difficult to prove by the minute. As B. Anthony said, Florida is getting better with each game. We may not have seen their best game yet. Scary thought.

But the Buckeyes are no pushover themselves. I’ll admit, they will need the shooting night of Villanova in ’85 and the “shock the world” mentality of Uconn in ’99 to pull off the victory, but I think it will happen. I have yet to see an “expert” pick Ohio State to win this game.

OHIO STATE +5 vs. Florida
The OSU guards will prove to be too much for Florida. Taurean Green had 24 points when these two teams played in December and this won’t happen again. Lewis and Conley go off, Oden finally stays out of foul trouble and we finally see the real first round draft pick. Florida crumbles in their “shining moment” and Donovan takes the job at Kentucky to boot.

OSU 71 – Florida 68


We have reached the end of another great year of college hoops. "One Shining Moment" will play at some time around 9:00PM PST tonight, and I will likely cry, again! It is not because this song is great, or because the highlights are inspiring, it is just the fact that I won't watch another college game until November!

However, I will not dwell on the inevitable passing of this year, but rather the enjoyable 40 minutes of hoops.

I am struggling to pick a winner, because the 5 point spread has me thinking that someone believes that Florida will finally put together the complete package for an entire game start to finish. This is very possible, as they have been improving steadily and not only have the most complete first 7 players, but also a hard work, maniacal coach, who probably has done the best job of the year.

OK, I have convinced myself.... The winner of the National championship and the cover belongs to ......

Florida Gators. 81-73.

Here's why:

This game will go up and down because Conley will dominate from the point, and he will get the Buckeyes out on the break when Taurean Green turns the ball over. ( He is the weakest link on the team). However, Florida will like this tempo and they will get 4 or 5 three pointers from Humphrey and several drives and buckets from Corey Brewer ( see Most Outstanding player). I really like Greg Oden and he will play well tonight, but it won't be enough.

Don't be afraid when this game is close for the first 20-25 minutes. The change will come:

The key to this game will be early in the second half, when Donovan finally switches Corey Brewer over onto Mike Conley. He is long enough to keep him out of the paint, and this will make the difference. With limited penetration, the close game will shift to a 8-10 point game, and the experience of Florida will keep it there. (if he opens with this defensive match-up, and Conley is not effective, it will be a mismatch)

Enjoy the highlights, there will be many. Oden will block a dunk attempt by Noah and he will fall on his ass, but Horford will lay in the change and it will look like a good play. This will be the type of play that makes the difference in the Florida cover.

One extra Note:

Next years Final four!


Good Luck!
B. Anthony!!!!