The sun is shining, the snow is melting and Oprah’s weight is ballooning again–which can only mean one thing…that’s right ladies and germs, Spring Training is upon us. That glorious time of year when every team (not including the Royals, Nationals, Mariners, Orioles, Pirates or any team from the NL West) believes its their turn to win it all. A time when young players have a chance to prove their worth and seasoned vets fight for one last shot (paging Mike Sweeney to the manager’s office). A time of year when A-Rod dodges every question thrown his way and Brett Favre once again “retires” for good. A time to look at ahead at what baseball is bringing to the table in 2009 and ask important questions like: Which team will be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays? Will the Yankees off season spending spree pay off? Who framed Roger Rabbit? Can Albert Pujols hit .400? Will Manny Ramirez find a team? Who will win the World Series? It’s prognostication time! Let’s start with the individual movers and shakers in each league:
AL MVP–Grady Sizemore (Cleveland Indians CF): Just 26 years-old, this kid keeps getting better, and 2009 is the year he makes his mark and becomes a true superstar. One of the most talented all-around players in the game, Sizemore’s combination of speed and power at the top of the lineup are more frightening than Barry Bonds’ bacne. He has the potential to become the first 40HR-40SB player since Alfonso Soriano and if he can lead the Indians to the playoffs, voters will be hard pressed not to pick this 5-tool talent.
2009 projected season numbers (.285 BA-37HR-101RBI-37SB-107R)
NL MVP–David Wright (New York Mets 3B): The third baseman in New York who isn’t dating Madonna, this uber-talented diaper dandy (who like Sizemore, is just 26) excells at the dish but has also captured two Gold Gloves, and should break out with his best season yet. More importantly, the Mets finally have a bullpen, which should allow them to reach the postseason, further helping Wright’s case. He could one day win a triple crown, but he will have to “settle” for MVP this year.
2009 projected season numbers (.310 BA-40HR-129RBI-20SB-120R)
AL Cy Young–Roy Halladay (Toronto Blue Jays): “Doc” Halladay will come out with guns-a-blazin in 2009, eager to pick up the slack left by since departed teammate AJ Burnett. Arguably the most consistent pitcher in the game, Halladay epitomizes the term “workhorse” gobbling up innings like Ruben Studdard gobbles up hoho’s. He won 20 games last year, and had the highest strikeout rate of his career; as long he stays healthy, he should put up big numbers again. The Blue Jays will stink in 2009, but Roy Halladay will come out smelling like roses…or whatever flowers Canadians love.
2009 projected season numbers: (19-8, 2.85 ERA, 200 Ks, 1.07 WHIP)
NL Cy Young–Johan Santana (New York Mets): While it’s generally hard to hide out in New York, Santana’s terriffic first season in a Mets’ uniform was largely overshadowed by the teams’ late season collapse. Despite a porous bullpen, Santana finished the year 16-7 and led the league with a 2.53 ERA and finished second to Tim Lincecum with 206 Ks. He should again finish near the top of the league in ERA and Ks and will almost certainly win more games than last year thanks to the additions of JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez.
2009 projected season numbers (21-8, 2.71 ERA, 220 Ks, 1.09 WHIP)
AL Rookie of the Year–Matt Laporta (Cleveland Indians OF): Matt LaPorta (pictured right) was the crown jewel of the CC Sabathia trade last summer, instantly becoming the Cleveland Indians best prospect upon his arrival. In just 302 ABs at Double-A last season, LaPorta cracked 20 HRs and drove in 66, to go with a .288 BA and .402 OBP. He might start the year in the minors, but when he does arrive, expect a strong season from Ryan Braun 2.0.
2009 season projected numbers: (.279-18HRs-71RBIs-60Rs)
NL Rookie of the Year–Colby Rasmus (St Louis Cardinals OF): Colby Rasmus is the #1 prospect in the Cardinal’s farm system, and if he finds some way into playing time in the St Louis outfield logjam, should turn a lot of heads. A 5-tool talent, Rasmus struggled in the minors last year (.251-12HR-38RBI) but was hampered by injuries, and is expected to head into the 2009 system at full health. Look for Rasmus to team up with Albert Pujols to create a formidable 1-2 punch in the lineup for years to come.
2009 projected season numbers: (.290-20HRs-78RBIs-68Rs)
Coming soon: 2009 projected finishes and World Series winner!
Filed under: A-Rod, Baseball | Tagged: 2009 forecast, A-Rod, Colby Rasmus, cy young, david wright, grady sizemore, Johan Santana, Manny Ramirez, Matt Laporta, mvp, New York Yankees, ROY, Roy Halladay |