With spring training almost over, and opening night just a few days away, it's time that I dust off the ol' notebook and give you my predictions for the 2005 season.
Before I go in depth, let me tell you that I like to go out on the edge sometimes. People sometimes, heck, a lot of times don't agree with me, but would I really be doing my job correctly if no one disagreed with me?
I don't really like to predict stats, like home runs or runs batted-in or anything. I just like to predict who and where and for what reason. And please, if you do disagree with me, which I'm sure will happen, let me hear it in the comment section.
American League Most Valuable Player:
LF Manny Ramirez, Boston
Homer pick? Maybe. But at least I'm not a Devil Rays fan and thinking Aubrey Huff will bring home the hardware in 2005. Ramirez is a great player who loves his job and enjoys playing in Boston - something not many people can say. 2004 should have been his season, but my 2004 MVP prediction came true and Vladimir Guerrero was awarded that honor. This year is Manny's year.
A.L. MVP Runner-Up:
1B Mark Teixeira, Texas
Maybe this is a reach in many people's books, but when you are 24 years old and you hit 38 home runs, 112 runs batted-in, with a decent .281 batting average, then you are definitely doing something right. If he was that good last season, and doesn't get hurt in 2005, Teixeira could put his name right up there with the best in the game.
A.L. MVP Sleeper Pick:
C Victor Martinez, Cleveland
Martinez blew up last season on the bottom-feeding Cleveland Indians where he was the only real contributor on the team. The Indians may be able to get some people on-base before Martinez and, if so, all of his numbers should make a turn for the better. 23 home runs, 108 RBI (most by a catcher last season) is nothing to sneeze at. Martinez will have a better year this year for sure.
American League Cy Young:
SP C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland
I know it looks like I'm actually a closet Cleveland fan, but that's the farthest thing from the truth. Sabathia will be out until April 17th, or there abouts, but I think with an improving Cleveland offense, and Sabathia gaining age and wisdom, the Cy Young award may not be a long shot.
A.L. Cy Young Runner-Up:
SP Johan Santana, Minnesota
Santana was amazing last season and I don't really expect it to be much different this season, but I don't think there is any way possible he can have a season like he had last year. The season won't be as good as it was in 2004, but it still will be a lot better than anyone else.
A.L. Cy Young Sleeper:
SP Matt Clement, Boston
Another Boston pick, I know. I really feel that if the Red Sox offense stays up to par like it has been over the past two seasons, then Clement will have a career year. He has great stuff, the only thing lacking the past two seasons has been run support and control issues. If he can get run support like Derek Lowe did (7.29 runs a game), then I think Clement will win atleast 16 games this season.