The 2011 baseball season is full of potential to be one of the best yet. Last season gave fans of pitching a real treat with the __ perfect games and no-hitters (and a few close calls). It also saw the San Francisco Giants, carried by pitching and a lightning-in-a-bottle offense, win the World Series.
Questions asked heading into this season include:
Were the Giants a one-year wonder? Will the Phillies super rotation carry them to the top? Are the Red Sox the best team in baseball? Is baseball a pitcher’s game again?
So the TTB staff of seven (yea, we’re growing like Shaq in second grade) got together to make their preseason picks of division winners and annual awards. Don’t worry, I didn’t make them pick Silver Sluggers or Gold Glovers or else I would have lost all six of them.
Division Winners & Wild Cards*
Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta seemed to be main-stays in everybody’s picks. Oakland, Colorado and the Angels got surprise picks. There is always going to be a surprise team or two that makes the playoffs each season. It will be interesting to see who gets it this year.
John: BOS, CWS, TEX, TB*, PHI, MIL, COL, ATL*
Dan: BOS, CWS, TEX, NYY*, PHI, MIL, SF, ATL*
Chris: BOS, MIN, TEX, NYY*, PHI, CIN, SF, ATL*
Brian M.: BOS, MIN, OAK, TB*, PHI, CIN, SF, ATL*
Brian J: BOS, MIN, LAA, NYY*, PHI, CIN, SF, ATL*
Christian: BOS, MIN, TEX, TB*, PHI, CIN, SF, ATL*
Allison: BOS, CWS, OAK, NYY*, PHI, MIL, SF, ATL*
I don’t think there is any question on who is going to win the American League. Even though I went with the tide, I’m surprised the White Sox didn’t get as much love as I thought.
John: Phillies, Red Sox
Dan: Giants, Red Sox
Chris: Phillies, Red Sox
Brian M.: Phillies, Red Sox
Brian J: Phillies, Red Sox
Christian: Phillies, Red Sox
Allison: Phillies, Red Sox
Boston and Philly. No surprise here.
John: Red Sox
Dan: Red Sox
Chris: Red Sox
Brian M.: Phillies
Brian J: Red Sox
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, 1B
This is where the picks started to get interesting. Brian J’s pick of Jason Heyward to win the NL MVP was the big surprise. Brian M picking Benny Fresh had to either be a joke or he needs to get his head examined.
John: Joey Votto, Robinson Cano
Dan: Prince Fielder. Adrian Gonzalez
Chris: Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
Brian M.: Ben Francisco, Josh Hamilton
Brian J: Jason Heyward, Ichiro Suzuki
Christian: Albert Pujoles, Adrian Gonzalez
Allison: Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton
Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox, SP
Everybody loves Roy Halladay and Jon Lester to win. Dan thought we would see a repeat of last year’s winners while Brian and myself went in different directions and picked Cole Hamels and Zach Grienke respectively. I was mulling my Grienke pick a bit because he’s going to miss most of April but I think he’s going to absolutely destroy the NL Central when he returns.
John: Zach Grienke, Jon Lester
Dan: Roy Halladay, Felix Hernadez
Chris: Roy Halladay, Jon Lester
Brian M.: Roy Halladay, Jon Lester
Brian J: Cole Hamels, C.C. Sabathia
Christian: Cliff Lee, Jon Lester
Allison: Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez
Managers of the Year
Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves, manager
This is practically a crap shoot. Manager of the year usually goes to a team that isn’t necessarily the best. I liked seeing Freddy Gonzalez and Bob Geren getting picks. I took Maddon because everyone is writing off the Rays. I’m not.
John: Jim Tracy, Joe Maddon
Dan: Fredi Gonzalez, Ozzie Guillen
Chris: Fredi Gonzalez, Bob Geren
Brian M.: Charlie Manuel, Bob Geren
Brian J: Dusty Baker, Terry Francona
Christian: Fredi Gonzalez, Terry Francona
Allison: Charlie Manuel, Ozzie Guillen
Comeback Players of the Year
Manny Ramirez, Tampa Bay Rays, LF/DH
Rooting for a team in the AL East, we all realized that there are some players in need of a bounce back year. Oh, and I’m not just picking Manny Ramirez for comeback, I’m guaranteeing it.
John: Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez
Dan: Jason Bay, Grady Sizemore
Chris: Chipper Jones, Carlos Pena
Brian M.: Jimmy Rollins, Brian Roberts
Brian J: Chipper Jones, A.J. Burnett
Christian: Francisco Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett
Allison: Jimmy Rollins, Manny Ramirez
Rookies of the Year
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals, 3B
Another crap shoot. Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman have grabbed some attention before the season already. Aroldis Chapman is a solid pick as he could either turn into a closer or a starter by mid season for Cincy. I like this Jeremy Hellickson kid from Tampa a lot. Brian J.’s pick of Kyle Drabek stood out the most. I can’t wait to see the former Phils prospect in the majors.
John: Freddie Freeman, Jeremy Hellickson
Dan: Aroldis Chapman, Mike Moustakas
Chris: Freddie Freeman, Mike Moustakas
Brian M.: Domonic Brown, Tsuyoshi Nishioka
Brian J: Bryce Harper, Kyle Drabek
Christian: Domonic Brown, Kyle Drabek
Allison: John Mayberry, Jeremy Hellickson