Home Sports The Concordian previews and projects Major League Baseball’s 2006 season

The Concordian previews and projects Major League Baseball’s 2006 season

by Archives March 29, 2006

National League

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Aaron Rowand
RF Bobby Abreu
2B Chase Utley
LF Pat Burrell
1B Ryan Howard
C Mike Lieberthal
3B Abraham Nunez

Rotation

Jon Lieber
Brett Myers
Cory Lidle
Ryan Madson
Robinson Tejeda

Closer
Tom Gordon

Fantasy Boom: Ryan Madson
Fantasy Bust: Mike Lieberthal

Prediction: 1st

One of these years, the Braves are not going to win the division and this year is as good as any. The Phillies on paper have a weaker pitching staff, but Padilla and Wolf were injury-plagued wrecks. Some new blood in Tejeda, Floyd and Madson (who will make the transition from uber-reliever to top-flight starter) should be an improvement.

New York Mets

SS Jose Reyes
C Paul LoDuca
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
3B David Wright
LF Cliff Floyd
RF Xavier Nady
2B Kaz Matsui
Rotation

Pedro Martinez
Tom Glavine
Steve Trachsel
Victor Zambrano
Aaron Heilman

Closer
Billy Wagner

Fantasy Boom: Xavier Nady
Fantasy Bust: Carlos Delgado

Prediction: 2nd

The Mets are perennial underachievers, and with many pundits picking them to take the East, another letdown is likely. Finally they’re giving Heilman a chance to prove he’s one of the game’s top young hurlers, but I think Delgado will suffer from the same initial shock that plagued Carlos Beltran grandiose arrival last season. The wind is cold in Shea, don’t you know?

Atlanta Braves

2B Marcus Giles
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Chipper Jones
CF Andruw Jones
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jeff Francoeur
LF Ryan Langerhans
C Brian McCann

Rotation

John Smoltz
Tim Hudson
John Thomson
Horacio Ramirez
Kyle Davies

Closer
Chris Reitsma

Fantasy Boom: Blaine Boyer
Fantasy Bust: Horacio Ramirez

Prediction: 3rd

If the Braves win the division, there truly is no justice. This team sucks. The rotation, always the team’s strength, is hanging by a 38-year old thread and a strained oblique that never seems to heal. Edgar Renteria is the Richard Zednik of the baseball world: a player whose potential has gone down the drain due to an inexplicable erosion of talent.

Washington Nationals

CF Ryan Church/Marlon Byrd
2B Jose Vidro
1B Nick Johnson
RF Jose Guillen
LF Alfonso Soriano
3B Ryan Zimmerman
C Brian Schneider
SS Royce Clayton

Rotation

Livan Hernandez
John Patterson
Ramon Ortiz
Tony Armas
Pedro Astacio

Closer
Chad Cordero

Fantasy Boom: Ramon Ortiz
Fantasy Bust: Alfonso Soriano

Prediction: 4th

Arlington protected Soriano from his glaring weaknesses – no more. RFK will make a boy out of the man who swings at everything, but any starter stands to have improved stats thanks to its vast outfield. Just ask Esteban Loazia. Hell, even Tony Armas had respectable numbers at home.

Florida Marlins

SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla
RF Jeremy Hermida
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Mike Jacobs
LF Josh Willingham
C Miguel Olivo
CF Eric Reed

Rotation

Dontrelle Willis
Jason Vargas
Sergio Mitre
Brian Moehler
Scott Olsen
Closer
Joe Borowski

Fantasy Boom: Josh Johnson
Fantasy Bust: Dontrelle Willis

Prediction: 5th

F**k ’em.

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers

CF Brady Clark
2B Rickie Weeks
LF Carlos Lee
RF Geoff Jenkins
3B Corey Koskie
1B Prince Fielder
C Damian Miller
SS J.J. Hardy

Rotation

Ben Sheets
Doug Davis
Chris Capuano
David Bush
Tomo Ohka

Closer
Derrick Turnbow

Fantasy Boom: Rickie Weeks
Fantasy Bust: Chris Capuano

Prediction: 1st

OK, this one’s a stretch, but Milwaukee has been lurking in the shadows, getting slightly better each season. Now it’s time to take the next step. Rickie Weeks could very well be the best second baseman in the NL this year (even better than Chase), while Sheets/Davis can match up with the big one-two punches in the division.

St. Louis Cardinals

SS David Eckstein
2B Junior Spivey
1B Albert Pujols
CF Jim Edmonds
3B Scott Rolen
RF Juan Encarnacion
LF Larry Bigbie
C Yadier Molina

Rotation

Chris Carpenter
Mark Mulder
Jeff Suppan
Jason Marquis
Sidney Ponson

Closer
Jason Isringhausen

Fantasy Boom: Sidney Ponson
Fantasy Bust: Jim Edmonds

Prediction: 2nd, NL Wild Card

Save for Pujols, this team is getting older, and there’s been too much movement. The outfield corner spots seem like afterthoughts, and Spivey and Miles are trying to out-suck each other in the second base race. It’s all up to Dave Duncan now.

Houston Astros

CF Wily Taveras
2B Craig Biggio
1B Lance Berkman
3B Morgan Ensberg
LF Preston Wilson
RF Jason Lane
SS Adam Everett
C Brad Ausmus

Rotation

Roy Oswalt
Andy Pettitte
Brandon Backe
Wandy Rodriguez
Ezequiel Astacio

Closer
Brad Lidge

Fantasy Boom: Wily Taveras
Fantasy Bust: Jason Lane

Prediction: 3rd

Like the Cardinals, the Astros are better than the sum of their parts, but taking Clemens out of the equation, even if its only for the first few months, could cost them the playoff spot they barely won last year. The hitters’ stats are inflated because of where they play, and Jason Lane is the supreme offender in home/road splits.

Chicago Cubs

CF Juan Pierre
2B Jerry Hairston/Todd Walker
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Jacque Jones
C Michael Barrett
LF Matt Murton
SS Ronny Cedeno

Rotation
Mark Prior
Carlos Zambrano
Greg Maddux
Glendon Rusch
Jerome Williams

Closers
Ryan Dempster

Fantasy Boom: Jerome Williams
Fantasy Bust: Kerry Wood/Mark Prior

Prediction: 4th

Sad but true: In my weaker moments I actually believe the possibility of Prior and Wood having healthy seasons. I also believe the Expos are still around.

Cincinnati Reds

2B Ryan Freel
SS Felipe Lopez
CF Ken Griffey
LF Adam Dunn
RF Austin Kearns
3B Edwin Encarnacion
C Jason LaRue/Javier Valentin
1B Scott Hatteberg

Rotation
Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Eric Milton
Dave Williams
Brandon Claussen

Closer
David Weathers

Fantasy Boom: Austin Kearns
Fantasy Bust: Dave Williams

Prediction: 5th
Trading Pena for Arroyo was out of necessity; they needed pitching and had to trade a potential 40-HR guy for him. The old adage is that pitching wins championships, and the Reds have recognized that, but they still don’t have any.

Pittsburgh Pirates

CF Chris Duffy
SS Jack Wilson
1B Sean Casey
LF Jason Bay
RF Jeromy Burnitz
3B Joe Randa
C Ryan Doumit
2B Jose Castillo

Rotation
Oliver Perez
Zach Duke
Paul Maholm
Ian Snell
Victor Santos

Closer
Mike Gonzalez

Fantasy Boom: Mike Gonzalez
Fantasy Bust: Jack Wilson

Why in their right minds did they think Jeromy Burnitz was a superior option in the OF than Craig A. Wilson? There’s a reason why this team has remained in the cellar for over a decade. The Burnett/Bullington/Van Benschoten trifecta can hopefully start some games in the second half. Don’t count on it, though.

NL West

San Francisco Giants

SS Omar Vizquel
CF Randy Winn
2B Ray Durham
LF Barry Bonds
RF Moises Alou
3B Pedro Feliz
1B Lance Niekro
C Mike Matheny

Rotation

Jason Schmidt
Matt Morris
Noah Lowry
Matt Cain
Brad Hennessy

Closer
Armando Benitez

Fantasy Boom: Matt Cain
Fantasy Bust: Omar Vizquel

Prediction: 1st

This division blows. If Barry stays healthy, the Giants will find themselves at the top of the dung pile, with a sterling 81-81 record. The rotation is underrated and better than last season, but it’s more because of youngsters Cain and Lowry, and less about the aging Morris.

Colorado Rockies

CF Cory Sullivan
SS Clint Barmes
1B Todd Helton
LF Matt Holliday
3B Garrett Atkins
RF Brad Hawpe
2B Luis A. Gonzalez
C Yorvit Torrealba

Rotation

Jeff Francis
Jason Jennings
Aaron Cook
Byung-Hyun Kim
Zach Day

Closer
Brian Fuentes

Fantasy Boom: Luis A. Gonzalez
Fantasy Bust: Brian Fuentes

Prediction: 2nd

It’s unlikely that Colorado will finish above .500, but in this division they have as good a chance as anyone to play bridesmaid to Barry. The team’s attitude has changed from one of veterans using the mile high to pad their stats, to a hard working team of no-talent retreads.

San Diego Padres

LF Dave Roberts
SS Khalil Greene
RF Brian Giles
1B Ryan Klesko
C Mike Piazza
CF Mike Cameron
3B Vinny Castilla
2B Josh Barfield

Rotation

Jake Peavy
Chris Young
Shawn Estes
Woody Williams
Chan Ho Park

Closer
Trevor Hoffman

Fantasy Boom: Chris Young
Fantasy Bust: Brian Giles

Prediction: 3rd

What the hell happened to this team? When did the lineup get so old? When did the likes of Estes, Williams and Park infiltrate this once young and upstart rotation? Vinny Castilla? Jake Peavy aside, this team is definitely headed in the wrong direction.

Los Angeles Dodgers

SS Rafael Furcal
CF Kenny Lofton
RF J.D. Drew
2B Jeff Kent
1B Nomar Garciaparra
3B Bill Mueller
RF Jose Cruz
C Dioner Navarro

Rotation

Derek Lowe
Brad Penny
Odalis Perez
Jae Seo
Brett Tomko

Closer
Eric Gagne

Fantasy Boom: Odalis Perez
Fantasy Bust: Rafael Furcal

Prediction: 4th

This team is a Frankenstein created by multiple GM’s and their crazy, partially-implemented plans. Even though the underrated Cesar Izturis will be ready in May, the Dodgers felt compelled to sign Raffy Furcal to a bloated contract. Nobody knows how Nomar will rebound, and Kenny Lofton is so old he should be playing for the Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks

CF Eric Byrnes
2B Orlando Hudson
LF Luis Gonzalez
3B Chad Tracy
RF Shawn Green
1B Conor Jackson
C Johnny Estrada
SS Craig Counsell

Rotation
Brandon Webb
Russ Ortiz
Orlando Hernandez
Miguel Batista
Claudio Vargas

Closer
Jose Valverde

Fantasy Boom: Jose Valverde
Fantasy Bust: Luis Gonzalez

Prediction: 5th

They made the right decision in starting Conor Jackson at first; unfortunately it came at the expense of their best hitter, Tony Clark. This team lacks real focus, they have two players moving positions defensively, and a rotation that seriously believes El Duque will be anything better than mediocre. This team won the World Series with a killer starting rotation, so it makes it all the more hilarious when Russ Ortiz takes the mound.

American League

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

2B Brian Roberts
CF Corey Patterson
3B Melvin Mora
SS Miguel Tejada
1B Javy Lopez
RF Jay Gibbons
C Ramon Hernandez
DH Kevin Millar
LF Luis Matos

Rotation

Kris Benson
Erik Bedard
Rodrigo Lopez
Bruce Chen
Daniel Cabrera

Closer
Chris Ray

Fantasy Boom: Eric Bedard
Fantasy Bust: Melvin Mora

Prediction: 3rd

If they can get decent production out of Patterson, the lineup is one of the best in the league. Add Leo Mazzone to a young pitching staff, and they can be very surprising.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

LF Carl Crawford
SS Julio Lugo
2B Jorge Cantu
RF Aubrey Huff
DH Jonny Gomes
CF Rocco Baldelli
1B Travis Lee
3B Sean Burroughs
C Toby Hall

Rotation
Scott Kazmir
Seth McClung
Casey Fossum
Mark Hendrickson
Doug Waechter

Closer
Dan Miceli

Fantasy Boom: Jonny Gomes
Fantasy Bust: Julio Lugo

Prediction: 5th

Same old Devil Rays. They will be closer to the rest of the pack, though.

New York Yankees

CF Johnny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
RF Gary Sheffield
LF Hideki Matsui
1B Jason Giambi
C Jorge Posada
DH Bernie Williams
2B Robinson Cano

Rotation

Randy Johnson
Mike Mussina
Chien-Ming Wang
Shawn Chacon
Carl Pavano

Closer
Mariano Rivera

Boom: Octavio Dotel
Bust: Jorge Posada

Prediction: 2nd

The Yanks do not have the defense or the pitching to beat the Blue Jays. Baltimore might even pass them if Mazzone can work his magic.

Boston Red Sox

CF Coco Crisp
2B Mark Loretta
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
RF Trot Nixon
C Jason Varitek
3B Mike Lowell
1B Kevin Youkilis
SS Alex Gonzalez

Rotation

Josh Beckett
Curt Schilling
David Wells
Tim Wakefield
Matt Clement

Closer
Keith Foulke

Boom: Wily Mo Pena
Bust: Josh Beckett

Prediction: 4th

The loveable losers are no longer lovable. But they are still losers. Josh Beckett will probably get a blister two weeks into the season opening a Sam Adams. But as long as Ortiz and ManRam are around, it’s possible they can prove me wrong.

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Russ Adams
LF Frank Catalanotto
CF Vernon Wells
3B Troy Glaus
1B Lyle Overbay
DH Shea Hillenbrand
C Bengie Molina
RF Eric Hinske
2B Aaron Hill

Rotation

Roy Halladay
A.J. Burnett
Gustavo Chacin
Ted Lilly
Josh Towers

Closer
B.J. Ryan

Fantasy Boom: Ted Lilly
Fantasy Bust: A.J. Burnett

Prediction: 1st

Blue Jays, why the hell not? J.P. Ricciardi has spent lots of loonies to rebuild their pitching staff and shored up some weak positions in the batting order. This team is ready to end the dark reign of the Yankees and Red Sox.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins

LF Shannon Stewart
2B Luis Castillo
C Joe Mauer
CF Torii Hunter
1B Justin Morneau
DH Rondell White
3B Tony Batista
RF Jason Kubel
SS Jason Bartlett

Rotation

Johan Santana
Brad Radke
Carlos Silva
Kyle Lohse
Scott Baker

Closer
Joe Nathan

Fantasy Boom: Justin Morneau
Fantasy Bust: Kyle Lohse

Prediction: 2nd

Any team with Tony Batista in their lineup should automatically finish 0-162, but the Twinkies counteract this by having the best starting pitcher in baseball. Luis Castillo was a nice addition but the year isn’t 1999.

Chicago White Sox

LF Scott Podsednik
SS Juan Uribe
1B Paul Konerko
RF Jermaine Dye
2B Tadahito Iguchi
DH Jim Thome
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Joe Crede
CF Brian Anderson

Rotation

Mark Buehrle
Freddy Garcia
Jose Contreras
Jon Garland
Javier Vazquez

Closer
Bobby Jenks

Fantasy Boom: Neal Cotts
Fantasy Bust: Jon Garland

Prediction: 3rd

Crazy Ozzie and the Boys actually won the whole thing last year. Not really sure how that happened. The addition of Thome is a risk worth taking yet I can’t see lightning striking twice.

Cleveland Indians

CF Grady Sizemore
LF Jason Michaels
SS Jhonny Peralta
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
3B Aaron Boone
RF Casey Blake
1B Ben Broussard
2B Ron Belliard

Rotation

C.C Sabathia
Cliff Lee
Paul Byrd
Jake Westbrook
Jason Johnson

Closer
Bob Wickman

Fantasy Boom: Jhonny Peralta
Fantasy Bust: Aaron Boone

Prediction: 1st

On paper, this is the best team in the division. This year, they should finally pass the teams they should have been beating for years. C.C. Sabathia is ready to become an elite pitcher and the star of this franchise.

Detroit Tigers

CF Curtis Granderson
2B Placido Polanco
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Magglio Ordonez
DH Dmitri Young
LF Craig Monroe
SS Carlos Guillen
1B Chris Shelton
3B Brandon Inge

Rotation

Jeremy Bonderman
Kenny Rogers
Nate Robertson
Mike Maroth
Justin Verlander

Closer
Todd Jones

Fantasy Boom: Jeremy Bonderman
Fantasy Bust: Ivan Rodriguez

Prediction: 4th

Major League Baseball may see its first managerial fatality. Jim Leyland will be rushing back to the Old Folks home after Mike Maroth’s first start of the season. Batting Pudge in the three-hole will ensure the offence stays anemic.

Kansas City Royals

CF David DeJesus
2B Mark Grudzielanek
1B Mike Sweeney
LF Reggie Sanders
DH Matt Stairs
RF Emil Brown
3B Mark Teahen
C John Buck
SS Angel Berroa

Rotation

Mark Redman
Scott Elarton
Joe Mays
Runelvys Hernandez
Denny Bautista

Closer
Mark MacDougal

Fantasy Boom: Jeremy Affeldt
Fantasy Bust: Mark Grudzielanek

Prediction: 5th

Another hopeless season in Kansas City.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

3B Chone Figgins
CF Darin Erstad
RF Vladimir Guerrero
LF Garret Anderson
SS Orlando Cabrera
1B Casey Kotchman
DH Juan Rivera
2B Adam Kennedy
C Jeff Mathis

Rotation

Bartolo Colon
John Lackey
Jeff Weaver
Kelvim Escobar
Ervin Santana

Closer
Francisco Cordero

Fantasy Boom: Jeff Mathis
Fantasy Bust: John Lackey

Prediction: 3rd

This team is not a lock for the post-season and its debatable how many more years they can squeeze out of Garret Anderson. But, the Angels have the best balance of hitting and pitching in the division.

Oakland Athletics

2B Mark Ellis
RF Milton Bradley
3B Eric Chavez
DH Frank Thomas
1B Dan Johnson
SS Bobby Crosby
LF Nick Swisher
CF Mark Kotsay
C Jason Kendall

Rotation

Barry Zito
Rich Harden
Danny Haren
Joe Blanton
Esteban Loaiza

Closer
Huston Street

Fantasy Boom: Bobby Crosby
Fantasy Bust: Milton Bradley

Prediction: 2nd, AL Wild Card

Signing Esteban Loaiza was really un-Billy Beane like. Loading the roster with 20-80 guys and not finding a true cleanup hitter wasn’t.

Seattle Mariners

RF Ichiro Suzuki
CF Jeremy Reed
1B Richie Sexson
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez
DH Carl Everett
C Kenji Johjima
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt

Rotation

Jamie Moyer
Joel Pineiro
Felix Hernandez
Jarrod Washburn
Gil Meche

Closer
Eddie Guardado

Fantasy Boom: Jose Lopez
Fantasy Bust: Carl Everett

Prediction: 4th

Will it be a problem that the team’s starting catcher can’t speak a lick of English? How will Jamie Moyer signal 80 straight changeups? Felix Hernandez is already a potential all-star and he hasn’t even finished his first season.

Texas Rangers

CF Brad Wilkerson
SS Michael Young
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Hank Blalock
RF Kevin Mench
LF David Dellucci
DH Phil Nevin
C Rod Barajas
2B Ian Kinsler

Rotation

Kevin Millwood
Vicente Padilla
Adam Eaton
Kameron Loe
Edison Volquez

Closer
Francisco Cordero

Fantasy Boom: Brad Wilkerson
Fantasy Bust: David Dellucci

Prediction: 1st

They can still mash but this year they actually tried to get some pitchers. They did this a few years ago as well and his name was Chan Ho Park. Washington will regret dealing Brad Wilkerson for the adventure in left field that is Alfonso Soriano.

Now that our predictions are complete, here are some more indepth predictions that may or may not be right…

Jared Book

NL pennant: St. Louis Cardinals

AL pennant: Toronto Blue Jays

World Series: Toronto

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, STL

AL MVP: Brad Wilkerson, TEX

NL Cy Young: Jake Peavy, SD

AL Cy Young: Scott Kazmir, TB

NL Rookie of the Year: Ryan
Zimmerman, WSH

AL Rookie of the Year: Ian
Kinsler, TEX

NL Comeback Player: Jose Vidro, WSH

AL Comeback Player: Jim Thome, CWS

NL ‘One-hit wonder’: Lance Berkman, HOU

AL ‘One-hit wonder’: Derek Jeter, NYY

Ready for the next step:
Ryan Howard, PHI and Rich Harden, OAK

Overrated: Alfonso Soriano, WSH

Underrated: Grady Sizemore, CLE

Erik Leijon

NL Pennant: San Francisco Giants

AL Pennant: Cleveland Indians

World Series: Cleveland

NL MVP: Barry Bonds, SF

AL MVP: Bobby Crosby, OAK

NL Cy Young: Ben Sheets, MIL

AL Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia, CLE

NL Rookie Of The Year: Matt Cain, SF

AL Rookie Of The Year: Kenji Johima, SEA

NL Comeback Player: Carlos Beltran, NYM

AL Comeback Player: Adrian Beltre, SEA

NL ‘One-hit wonder’: Rafael Furcal, LA

AL ‘One-hit wonder’: Johnny Damon, NYY

Ready for the next step: Rickie Weeks, MIL and Justin Morneau, MIN

Most overrated: Derek Jeter, NYY

Most underrated: Adam Dunn, CIN

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