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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I'm So Money, And I Know It: 2009 MLB Preview


You know the saying, "you can't see the forest through the trees"? Yeah? Do you know what it means? Listen to me. Of course you know what it means! But just in case you need a little refresher, it means that sometimes when you're only looking right in front of you, you're due to miss possibly bigger and more important things that in all likelihood you should be seeing...

Basically, it's saying that in your quest to find something or figure something out, you're blind to a lot of simple facts that normally you would see right away. You're told to look for a forest. You know that forests have trees. So you start looking for trees. You find the trees, but you never see the forest...

Kind of like when my aunt and uncle drove all the way to Provincetown and back to East Greenwich, only to tell their friends and family that they never were able to find Cape Cod (true story). Astonishing, I know, but hey, sometimes it can even happen to the best of us...

Take me for instance. As I have graciously chronicled for you right here at Rooch Nation, my NCAA bracket was about as accurate as Enron's accounting ledger. Truly a disgrace. But what happened once my bracket busted? Out of the final 7 games of the tournament, I was able to accurately predict all 7 of the eventual winners. A perfect 7 for 7...

And to even further my point, I give you my two fantasy NBA teams, Rusty Shackleford and Lt. Shineysides. Despite not having watched a complete NBA game in what seems like years, I was able to manage this teams to perfection, and they now both find themselves in their league's respective championship games...

Fluke? Perhaps. But what I see is a trend that if you sit back and analyze without any preconceived notions, or hopes and desires of your own, it's a lot easier to predict the outcome of a game or maybe even a player's performance. I mean, how else could you possibly explain it? I have no interest in the NBA, yet year after year my pre season predictions are damn close to on point (this year I had LeBron as MVP and the Cavs as the NBA champs). And once my bracket busted, and I lost any real reason to cheer for a particular team, I was able to focus on what was actually in front of me, and make correct pick after correct pick...

What's even funnier, is that while I was thinking this through, I was having a back and forth with my buddy Frosco. He was understandably shocked when I told him I had two fantasy NBA teams, but what he said in regards to how I explained my success is what inspired to do my pre season MLB predictions the way I did...

Me: I think it's easier for me because I don't watch any of the games

Frosco: OK, Billy Beane...


Ahh! There it is! It's been right in front of me all along, and I've just refused to look at it! The book that changed my life in terms of baseball, Moneyball, may very well be the solution to my woes as a wayward handicapper...

For those not familiar, Moneyball is a book written by Michael Lewis (or Mr. Tabitha Soren if you will), about how Oakland A's GM Billy Beane "changed the game" by focusing strictly on numbers, and ignoring whatever it was he saw on the field. Basically, the lesson was to not believe your eyes, unless you were reading statistics on a piece of paper. Sure it may not be the "sweet science" we all envision baseball to be, but hey, you can't really argue with results. And before you come back with the obligatory "results?!? The A's haven't won shit!", blast, just keep in mind that Moneyball is about being able to compete in the salary cap era, with less than an optimal payroll...

So this year, I'm picking strictly based on lineups, rotations, bull pens, and trends. There's still plenty of guesswork involved, mind you, but with a solid foundation of facts behind me, I feel this year's picks will the start of a new era in Rooch Nation predictions. I'm still gonna watch the games, I'm just not gonna consider anything other than numbers when I'm making my decisions...

Will I fall flat on my face yet again, or is this finally the answer I've been searching for all these years? Who knows. only time will tell...

For now, you can call be Double Down. I'm money, I know it, and I'm here to spew some knowledge on ya. And you know what? It's not even me, as it's Roenick. He's good...

Get some...


AL East
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

The Champ: Maybe because Braveheart has been running non stop on TNT this has seeped into my subconscious, but either way I find this comparison eerily appropriate. You know the scene where William Wallace is about to get beheaded, and he lets out the final yell right when the King dies? Well the King is George Steinbrenner, and William Wallace is the Red Sox. I'm not saying their an underdog like Wallace and the Scottish were, but I am saying their eventual AL East victory, in wake of the Yankees spending more than ever this off season, could be the final nail the the Boss's coffin. The Sox win, Big George takes the big dirt nap, and all is well again in Red Sox Nation...

And just to give a little credibility to my prediction, I'm actually taking the Sox because while I'm not exactly in love with their offense, I do love the depth they have at pitching. And we all know, you can never have too much pitching...

The Rest: Tampa is still damn good, but like all young teams they're due for a little setback this season. I have no reason as to why their setback will occur, but seeing as it always seems to happen to these young teams, I'm gonna go ahead and say it's gonna happen to them...

Remember that miniseries "The Bronx is Burning" that ESPN forced down our throats a few years back? Well consider this season the eventual sequel. After spending over a quarter of a billion dollars (that's billion, with a "B") this off season bringing in the likes of Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira, anything short of their first World Series this millennium will be viewed as a colossal failure....

Oh, and did I mention A-Roid? Remember him? I'm sure the tabloids won't want to focus on him while the most expensive team in history tanks their way way through the summertime. Nah....

As for the O's and the Jays, I won't say they suck, cuz they don't. But I also won't waste my times trying to convince you they have a Speedball's chance in a crack house of making the playoffs. I just repsect you too damn much...

And you see what I did there with the Speedball/snowball thing? Huh? Did ya?

Yeah, I'm clever. And nothing gives me more pleasure than pointing that out each and every day...


AL Central
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Kansas City Royals
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Detroit Tigers

The Champ: The White Sox are the only team in the Central I feel I can trust, which is saying a lot when it comes to head coach Ozzie Guillen and GM Kenny Williams. Those two are poised to blow up at any time. That being said, with no other team jumping out, I'm just gonna go chalk on this one and pick the team that one the division the year before...Easy peesy, Japan-eesy...

The Rest: With the Indians and Twins likely struggling through this year with injuries and inconsistencies, and the Tigers primed yet again to be a flat out disaster, the only other team worth watching in the Central could very well be the Kansas City Royals. With Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies manning the front of their rotation, and 1B Mike Jacobs added to the offensive mix, I'm predicting here and now that the Kansas City Royals will be the surprise team of 2009, and put together a strong end of the season to finish just a notch above the fading Twinkies and Tribe...

Hey, I figure if I'm gonna go with chalk at the top, I might as well throw in a shocker just to keep things interesting...


AL West
1. Oakland A's
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers

The Champ: It seemed just about every other week this off season that my main man, Billy Beane, added yet another piece to his team that I viewed as a great fit for his on base percentage formula. Matt Holliday, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera may be slightly over hyped (Holliday) or past their prime (the other 3), but their patient presence in the lineup should exhaust opposing pitching staffs for the entire summer...

The Rest: The Angels are scrappy, I just don't think they're gonna be able to put together enough offense with an aging Vlad and a bunch of kids...

The Mariners might be better than last year, but not by much...

The Rangers should keep on scoring a ton of runs with my man "Big H" leading the way, but seeing as they still can't pitch their way out of a wet paper sack, I can't say I love their chances of anything but a long summer in the basement...


NL East
1. New York Mets
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Florida Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

The Champ: With their '07 collapse firmly placed in their rear view mirror, the Mets are ready to make a run at the NL East crown again in 2009. With Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey at the top, and K-Rod in the pen, their pitching should be solid. And as long as David Wright and Jose Reyes are in that lineup, they shouldn't have any trouble scoring runs either...

The Rest: The Phillies and Marlins may have what it takes to contend, but a young Braves team and a crappy Nationals team will probably spend most of the year looking for silver linings and trying to line up their prospects for a trip to the Bigs in 2010...


NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Houston Astros
6. Milwaukee Brewers

The Champ: Whatever the reason (I blame the fact that there are 6 teams), I'm never able to figure out the NL Central. That's why this year, I'm going with the team that not matter what, always seems to be in the mix. The St. Louis Cardinals. Sure they may only have one player whose name you recognize (Pujols), but that doesn't mean they aren't talented, does it? New addition Khalil Green should compliment a lineup with sluggers Pujols, Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel. While starter Kyle Lohse should help stabilize a pitching staff that features veterans Joel Piniero and Chris Carpenter to go along with youngsters Adam Wainwright and Todd Wellenmeyer. Truly a solid team from top to bottom, which is why I'm installing them as the division favorite...

The Rest: The thing that probably sticks out to you the most here is the fact that I have the young and talented Milwaukee Brewers in the basement behind the likes of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Why, you ask? Well it's simple. Take the top two pitchers off of any team, especially a young one, and you're bound to see some sort of decline. That, and Prince Fielder is too fat...

I expect the Cubs to contend, only to fall short, perhaps into the Wild Card. And I expect both Cincy and Pittsburgh to be better than advertised, thanks in large part to their solid starting pitching, and good young hitters. If they're lucky, next year I'll be picking them to backslide like I am the Brew Crew this year...


NL West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

The Champ: Over the past two seasons, the Diamondbacks have averaged a mere 716 runs a season (4.4 runs per game) yet still managed to finish 1st and 2nd in the NL West. This year, I think they find a little more pop, keep up the good pitching with Haren and Webb, and are able to hold off the hard charging Dodgers to claim their second NL West title in the past 3 years...

Oh, and look for OF Chris Young (above) to have another fantastic year after taking a slight step back in 2008...

The Rest: Let's see how the left coasters like "Mannywood" when he starts taking games off and complaining about traveling secretaries. Much like the Yankees in the East, this should be more a soap opera than a baseball team, making them very entertaining to most, and very frustrating to their fans. And trust me, there's nothing worse than a frustrated Mexican...

The Rockies should be closer to their '07 World Series form than their '08 72-88 form, but it still won't be enough to make the playoffs...

The average age of the guys the Giants brought in this off season has got to be close to 40, but that doesn't mean their team isn't vastly improved. Their rotation, led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, should be solid, but it's the leaky bullpen and the fear of the old dudes getting hurt that keep me from having the West Coast G-Men finish any higher than 3rd...

And the Padres? Well when your ace asks out during the off season, and you ended last season on a downward spiral, I just don't like your chances moving forward. They certainly have the talent to compete, it's just I don't like the atmosphere down there, and we all know how clubhouse karma can play a major role in a team's success or failure...


So there you have it, boys and germs. My complete breakdown of the upcoming MLB season minus the playoffs and the post season awards. Those are for next week...

Also next week make sure to check back and read my thoughts about how Chelsea Handler is fat, humorless whore, my reflections on the NCAA tournament, a Masters recap, and your weekly update of all things Boston Red Sox...

That's right, I said fat whore...

Catch you next week, kids....

Giggity...

100...

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