2011 MLB Picks; Read it and weep.

A month has come and gone in the 2011 Major League Baseball season.  This is when all the lucky starts begin to fade and slow starts are overcome.  The trip through a long season begins to take form.  Some speculate that it takes about a month to really know what you’re going to get from your favorite team for the year.  Others may say it takes up to 50 games.  We’re going to dive into it at this point.  We’re going to provide our picks for MVP’s, Cy Young’s, and ROY’s for each league, and also some input as to why we chose them.

Doing it now also helps see what some of the major injuries are that could sway our picks.  For example, Josh Hamilton will most likely not repeat as AL MVP, and Adam Wainwright will not be winning a Cy Young award in the NL.  We will also pick all four playoff teams from each league.  Then, pick how we see the playoffs unfolding to crown the 2011 World Series champion.

Without further ado, The Wolf Lair’s 2011 MLB selections:

*Rookies of the Year.

A.L.

Lucas Bradford – #53 LHP Zack Britton – BAL

One month into the season and Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles is already making a splash in the big leagues.  He has posted a 3-1 record with an ERA of 3.16.  He has also gone past six innings in each of his four starts.  His three wins? TB, TEX, and MIN.  Not too shabby.  He is still raw, but has shown the ability to get good line-ups out.  Don’t go into Baltimore and expect to rout them when they have Britton on the mound.  He is my pick for A.L. ROY.

Corky York – #36 RHP Michael Pineda – SEA

This young Dominican born pitcher is only 22 years old, but he’s built like a man.  He stands 6’7″ tall and hurls two different fastballs in the mid-to-upper 90’s.  His first four major league starts have all been Quality Starts, earning him an early season record of 3-1.  His ERA has dropped after each one of his starts and is now sitting at 1.78, which is 4th in the AL and 5th in all of baseball.  He also has 21 K’s in just 25.1 innings pitched.  Teamed with King Felix, the Mariners look to have a very strong One-Two punch for the next decade, if they can hang on to both of them that is.

N.L.

Lucas Bradford – #9 OF Domonic Brown – PHI

Domonic Brown is a 5 tool player.  He’s a left-handed outfielder with a strong arm and good speed.  He can hit for both power and average and is coveted as the MLB.com’s #4 Prospect.  He has started the 2011 season on the DL with a fractured hand that occurred in a spring training game.  He is playing in Triple A getting his swing back and has already shown he’s well on his way.  With Raul Ibanez getting old and Ben Francisco’s production slipping, I think it’s only a matter of time before the Phillies bring up Brown.  He will reward them.

Corky York – #46 RP Craig Kimbrel – ATL

Craig is taking over the Closer role for the Braves this year and he’s off to a great start.  He currently has 6 saves with 1 blown save.  His ERA sits at a very low 0.96 in 9.1 innings pitched.  In those 9 innings he has only allowed 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run.  He has also struck out 14 batters.  With these kind of stats he should hold on to the closer role for the rest of the season and finish the year as one of the league leaders in saves.

* Cy Young Awards

A.L.

Lucas Bradford – #36 RHP Jered Weaver – LAA

Jered Weaver is the Los Angeles Angels ace.  One month into the season, you can see why.  He has pitched in 6 games.  He has won all of them.  He is boasting a 6-0 record with a minuscule ERA of 0.99.  His two most recent starts are back to back complete games.  He has struck out 49 batters in 45.2 innings pitched.  Domination.  One of the best starts in recent memory and he only seems to be getting better.  I think he will snatch up this Cy Young with ease if he pitches to his ability all year.

Corky York – #24 RHP Dan Haren – LAA

I’m going with Weaver’s teammate Dan Haren.  While Weaver is looking better on the surface, I think Haren is on track to have the better season.  Dan is 4-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 6 starts.  That includes his first start of the season where he allowed 1 run in 7 innings, but got a no decision.  He should be sitting at 5-1.  He’s also only walked 5 batters in 37 innings, which is terrific.  It looks like he has great command this year and that can only mean a low number of runs.  I predict a lot of wins (maybe 20) and an ERA below 2.80.

N.L.

Lucas Bradford – #44 RHP Roy Oswalt – PHI

Roy Oswalt is a proven ace.  He has shown this throughout his stellar career.  What happens when you throw a proven ace into the third spot in a rotation? What happens when you throw a proven ace behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee?  A Cy Young Award winner is born.  He will be facing the third pitcher for other teams, which let’s face it, won’t compare to him in any way 90% of the time.  Also, take the rush of trying to keep up with 2 former Cy Young winners ahead of you and you get unneeded motivation on top of just wanting to win.  This proves to be an overwhelmingly great year for Oswalt and the 3-1, 3.33 ERA start shows it.

Corky York – #55 RHP Josh Johnson – FLA

This just may be Josh Johnson’s year.  Last year he led the NL with a 2.30 ERA and this year he looks even better!  He’s currently 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his first 5 starts.  In 34 innings he’s only allowed 13 hits, and 4 earned runs while striking out 33.  Opponents are batting a meer .116 against him this year.  His opponents also remain hitless against him their first time through the order.  That means no one has gotten a hit on him in the first 3 innings of ANY game this year.  That is an amazing stat.  He has also taken 2 no-hit bids into the 7th and 8th innings this year already.  It’s hard to pick against multiple Cy Young contenders Halladay, Lincecum, and Lee, but this just might be Johnson’s time.

*MVPs

A.L.

Lucas Bradford – #28 1B Adrian Gonzalez – BOS

Adrian Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent players in all of baseball for the past few years.  Being stuck in a pitcher’s park, in the middle of a less than average line-up, allowed him to sneak under the radar for some time now.  He is poised to take his high average, high RBI bat to the American League.  He is being thrown into the middle of one of the best line-ups in all of baseball in a hitter friendly park.  The green monster will be a double producing machine for Gonzalez who has power to all fields.  With the teammates getting on base in front of him, he is set to have a career year.  If he does, the sky is the limit for A-Gonz.  Defense on your mind?  Gonzalez is a two-time gold glover.  He will lead Boston back to the postseason.

Corky York – #24 1B Miguel Cabrera – DET

Cabrera was my AL MVP pick before the season began.  He’s in the prime of his career at the age of 28.  He also has a career average of .314.  Since 2004 he has averaged 34 HR and 117 RBI.  Those are his AVERAGES for the past 7 years, but last year was actually his best overall; hitting 38 HR, 126 RBI, and batting .328.  He is just hitting his stride and will have another fantastic year.

N.L.

Lucas Bradford – #2 SS Troy Tulowitzki – COL

Troy Tulowitzki is a big guy.  He swings a big time bat.  He also plays arguably one of the most important positions in the game, Short Stop.  He is good for a .300 average and mid 90s RBIs every year.  I think he will top both this year.  He is in one of the best hitting parks in a good line-up.  He is also off to a smoking hot start this season, which is following one of the hottest months in recent memory to end last year.  He is straight mashing the ball and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.  His power is catching up to his size and he is going to produce outrageous numbers from the Short Stop position.  Watch for him to take home some hardware this year.

Corky York – #2 SS Troy Tulowitzki – COL

I also picked Tulo before the season began and he hasn’t disappointed so far.  As Lucas mentioned he finished last year smoking hot and he picked up where that left off this year.  He has already had a streak of 7 HR in a span of 10 games this year.  He gets hot quick and stays there.  He’s only 26 and he’s in for a big year.

*Postseason Predictions

Lucas Bradford –

In the AL this year I am going to roll with the Yankees, Tigers, and Rangers winning their divisions and the Red Sox sneaking in for the wild card over the Indians.  I think Cleveland is a good team and will push until the very end of September, but they are backed by a young inexperienced starting rotation that can only take them so far.  The Sox will be firing on all cylinders by the middle of the season, which will make up for this early lost ground.

The NL was much harder for me.  I feel every division has two legit contenders.  I have the Phillies, Rockies and Brewers taking the divisions with the Reds grabbing the wild card.  I feel the Reds have an adequate staff and a great line-up.  They edge out the Braves who lose ground due to facing the staffs of the Phils and Marlins too many times.  All of these division races, I think, come down to the wire.

For the World Series, I have the Phillies facing off with the Yankees.  I feel that both teams have been doing it for a while now and the experience will shine throughout the playoffs.  Both line-ups can be lethal, when clicking, and what edge the Phils have in the starting rotation, is evened out in the bullpens.  This will be a hard fought series with the Philadelphia Phillies prevailing in a series that goes the distance.

Corky York –

In the AL I’m taking the BoSox, Indians, and Rangers to win their divisions with the Angels winning the wild card.  I think the Yankees will be a contender but I just think their aging line-up and lack of starting pitching behind C.C. are going to be an issue all season.  I think Boston will eventually get everything together with their great rotation and line-up to take the division as well as the league.

In the NL I have the Phils, Brewers, and Rockies winning their divisions with the Atlanta Braves taking the wild card.  I know that leaves out the defending world champion Giants, but I just don’t see their batters clicking like they did last year and I don’t think Sanchez will have that great of year for them.  The braves have solid starting pitching and a very nice line-up from top to bottom.  I have Philly coming out of the NL again this year.

A little home town bias here, but I have to go with the Phightins over the BoSox this year.  I think Chase will come back strong and Domonic Brown will also have an impact before this year is over.  They’ve been here before and this is the greatest pitching rotation they have ever seen.  Maybe the greatest anyone has ever seen once the playoffs come around.  No doubt that Boston has a tremendous line-up that has speed and power, but their pitching is just a little too erratic for my liking.  They might win it all a couple of times in the next 3 or 4 years, but this year is the Phillies’ year!

About lucasbradford

I'll suck you in like a Cyclone.

Posted on April 27, 2011, in SPORTS/ACTIVITIES and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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