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2006 NFL Draft: Still a Debate?

2006 NFL Draft's #1 Overall Draft Pick Mario Williams

2006 NFL Draft's #1 Overall Draft Pick Mario Williams

Lets rewind back to the year of 2006.  The college football season had an amazing ending with Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns battled the Heisman trophy winners of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush and the rest of the USC Trojans in The Rose Bowl for the National Title.  Well we all know how that ended and we all figured those 3 players will be the top of the 2006 NFL Draft.

In the NFL Draft that year the number 1 overall pick belong to the Houston Texans.  Leading up to the draft everyone figured they had to go with either the Houston native and Texas hero Vince Young to replace the under performing David Carr or they had to get the explosive playmaker running back/ punt returner/ kick returner/ wide receiver Reggie Bush.  Then all of a sudden some random name popped into the mix, Mario Williams.  Mario Williams was a big Defensive End coming out of NC St. that quietly recorded 62 tackles, 24 for a loss and14.5 sacks. When the Texans announced that they were selecting Mario Williams with the number one overall pick just days before the draft, I along with many other Texans fans and practically every member of the media criticized this pick (I wanted VY of course).  Everyone knew that no matter what Williams did he would always be compared to Bush and Young and would never be as good as them.

Lets now fast forward to today.  Week 13 of the 2008 season.  The Titans had Vince Young sitting on the bench with old man Kerry Collins now carrying the load at qb, after Young got booed out of his own stadium on opening day and had thoughts of a possible suicide at the beginning of the 08 season, but did get the Titans to the playoffs last year.  Bush has had his moments throughout his young career.  Mainly hurt last season and missed 4 of the Saints 12 games this season.  He has been electrifying as a punt returner, but hasn’t been the consistent playmaker as a RB or WR as expected. Williams just finished his Monday Night Football debut against the Jags finishing the game with 3 sacks (11 sacks total) and could be on his way to his second straight pro bowl (2007 he had 13 sacks).  Williams has always been healthy and and never had any problems off the field.  He is deffinately becoming a fan favorite in Houston.  Its just too bad hes burried there and probably wont get the recognition he should be getting.

Ever since day one of his pro career, hes had to play for more than just the Houston Texans.  He’s had to play to win over the fans, silence his critics, and show that he was deserving of the number 1 overall pick in maybe one of the most talented drafts ever.  And im pretty sure he’s done all of the above.

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April 24, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MLB Mourns Death of Angels Prospect

Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart

Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart

If you travel a little over 30 minutes south from my hometown, you will find a little town called Williamsport, Maryland,  that was where Los Angeles Angels 22 year-old pitching prospect Nick Adenhart played his high school baseball.  After coming off of six scoreless innings for the Angels against the Oakland A’s, Adenhart was in a car hit by a drunk driver around midnight along with another passenger and the driver of the car he was in.

Coming out of high school Adenhart was projected to be a top five pick in the 2004 draft, but weeks earlier he had elbow problems and his draft stock fell.  He was drafted in the 14th round  by the Angels and had Tommy John surgery and spent four seasons in the Angels minor league system.

Adenhart made his Major League debut last year in May against the same team he made his unfortunate final start of his career against.  He finished his Major League Career with a 1-0 record, 6.00 ERA, 9 strike outs and 16 walks.  As much as he will be missed on the diamond, Angels outfielder Torii Hunter will remember him off of the diamond more.  “He was a great kid, he was funny, he was very popular in the clubhouse and off the field. People loved him,” Hunter said of him.

With a future as bright as Adenhart’s was, it is unfortunate that we will not be able to see this kid grow as not only as a pitcher, but as a person.

I was surprised by the news of his death as i was getting ready to go to Baltimore for the Yankees/Orioles game and a friend that i was going to the game with told me he received a phone call from his friend about Adenhart’s accident this morning.  I was in shock since he just pitched yesterday and it was no where on MLB Network or ESPN before we left.

My condolences are out to all of Adenhart’s friends and family.

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Panic Time Already?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

As everyone can tell from my picture I am a die hard Yankees fan.  In my spare I like to get on the Yankees message boards and talk baseball on there.  These were some of the topics I came across after the Yankees 10-5  loss to the Baltimore Orioles on opening day:  “It’s going to be a long season”, “TRADE CC”, ” TRADE TEX”, “FIRE GIRARDI”, “NO WAY ARE WE GOING TO BEAT OUT THE SOX OR RAYS”,  “MOVE JOBA TO THE PEN.”  Of course this is Yankee fan at their best.  We always expect to be 162-0 and even though we know it’s not possible.

Fans need to realize the baseball season is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Yankee fans are not the only one doing this either.  After their first championship in 28 year, the Phillies have started their 2009 season 1-2 against the Braves and their fans are in panic mode as well.  Saying things like “Rollins Sucks”, “the pitching staff sucks”, and “utterly embarassing.”

If teams gave up after a 0-3 start, we wouldn’t of had the the 1998 Yankees team who is arugably one of the best teams in baseball history.  It’s nice to get off to a fast start, but look at where the Diamondbacks finished after their fast start last year.

As much as you want to your team to get out to quick start, worry about where your team is in July, August, and September and not in April and May.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | 1 Comment

NL West Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez

As of late the NL West has had a lot of parody with every team being near the top of the division the past five years.  This year the NL West will most likely be a two team race in the end.

First place and NL West Champ: Los Angeles Dodgers-  The Dodgers are by far the class of this division.  Not only did the make the key additions of Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf, but they resigned the difference maker in the division, Manny Ramirez.  The line up is the best in the division with a bunch of young talent with James Loney, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Russel Martin.  Add in veterans Rafeal Furcal, Casey Blake, Hudson, and Ramirez and thats a darn good line up.  Their pitching rotation is young and talented with Chad Billingsly, Clayton Kershaw, and Hiroki Kuroda.  They’re closer isn’t too bad either with flame thrower JonathanBroxton closing out games.

Key Player: Manny Ramirez-  The difference maker for the Dodger last year is the key player for them.  After being traded from the Red Sox at the trade deadline last year, Ramirez brought power, character, and fans to Dodgers Stadium which is what the Dodgers needed.  Man Ram is the player with the most impact in any division in baseball.

Second Place: Arizona Diamondbacks-  After getting off to a very fast start last year, they fell apart late in the season.  The same could very well happen this year the D-backs this year as they play 18 of their 21 games in April in Arizona.  Still a very young team at the plate with Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Conor Jackson that has potential to put up a lot of runs.  The pitching rotation is solid at the top with Cy Young runner-up Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and newly required Jon Garland will eat up a lot of innings.

Key players(s): The Line up-  After getting off to an explosive start last year, the young players showed their age as they couldn’t handle the 162 game marathon.  If the line up can stay consistant throughout the year,  this team can give the Dodgers a battle for the top of the division.

Third Place: San Francisco Giants-  The Giants made moves this year for them to win now.  With an off season of acquiring both Randy Johnson and Edgar Renteria, the Giants wanted to add another good pitcher to go along with last year’s NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito who hopes to get back to his normal self.  The line up is balanced with Renteria, Randy Winn, Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand.

Key player: Brian Wilson-  I doubt the Giants will be putting a lot of runs on the board so that means they will have a lot of close games.  Wilson had 41 saves last year, but a 4.62 ERA which could use some improvement as a closer.

Fourth Place: Colorado Rockies-  Even though the Rockies traded slugger Matt Holliday this winter, they still have a pretty good line up.  Catcher Chris Ianetta is a player people should look out for as he quietly had16 homers and 65 RBIs last season.  Garrett Atkins and Troy Tulowitzki are also key to this line up and rememeber the Rockies still have Todd Helton.  The pitching staff is alright with Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales at the top.  Closer Houston Street, who was acquired in the Matt Holliday trade, takes over the closers role after some problems in Oakland last year.

Key Players: Pitching Staff-  As always with the Rockies, the pitching is key with them playing in the high altitude in Denver.  The way the Rockies got to the playoffs the other year was because of their pitching.  If they want to get back to playing in October their pitching has to come through once again.

Fifth Place: San Diego Padres-  The Padres fell apart last year as they finished with one of the worst records last year.  The Padres still have a good one-two punch at the top of the rotation with Jake Peavy and Chris Young,  otherwise the rest of the rotation is a big question mark.  The line up only has two or three offensive weapons with slugger Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Headly, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, while the rest of the line up is pretty old and are out of their prime.

Key Players:  The pitching staff-  Even though the Padres have a good rotation at the top,  the rest of the pitching is a big question mark.  Also, for the first time since 1994 the Padres will not have Trevor Hoffman to close out games.  Now the ball will be handed to new closer Heath Bell for his first ever time in the closers role.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NL Central Preview

Cubs Left Fielder Alfonso Soriano

Cubs Left Fielder Alfonso Soriano

The rivalry of the Cubs and Cardinals might not be as fierce as the famed Yankees and Red Sox rivalry, but these two rivals has taken over this division. The last time the Cubs or the Cardinals has not won the National League Central division was way back in 1999 when the Astros won. Will any one else in this division finally be able to overthrow any of these historic teams?

First Place and NL Central Winner: Chicago Cubs- After the Cubs got shutdown by the Dodgers in last years NLDS, they decided to add another bat to an already powerful lineup. Outfielder Milton Bradley adds more pop to a line up that already consists of Derek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and last year’s rookie of the year Geovany Soto. This line up will put up lots of runs, especially if the wind is blowing out in Wrigley Field. The pitching staff should be just as good as it was last year. With a rotation that has Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lily, it is by far the best rotation in the division, if not the National League. The closer should be interesting as Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg will battle it out for the role throughout the year.

Key Player: Rich Harden- Harden came to the Cubs in July last year from the A’s and made an instant impact. For him to have the same impact this season he will have to stay healthy which he had problems with in Oakland. If he stays healthy this rotation will be the deepest in the NL.

Second Place: St. Louis Cardinals- The Card quietly won 86 games last year as the team was without their number one and two starting pitchers, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and combined for only 23 starts. Those two will really help out with this team that will give the Cubs a challenge for the division crown. The line up has tons of power in the middle of it with Rick Ankiel, Albert Pujols, Troy Glaus, and Ryan Ludwick, who came out of no where last year. Along with Carpenter and Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer are solid three and four starters.

Key Player: Chris Perez- In his first full year in the bigs, Perez will be given the ball in the 9th to close out games. I expect the Cards to be in a lot of close games this year, so Perez is going to have to be very good in this role.

Third Place: Cincinati Reds- The Reds can be a surprise this year. They have a good young core with first basemen Joey Votto, outfielder Jay Bruce, second basemen Brandon Phillips and pitchers Edison kVolquez and Johnny Cueto. Also adding center fielder Tavarez will add speed and be a good table setter for the rest of the line up. The rest of the rotation behind Cueto and Volquez is veterans Aarron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.

Key Play: Aarron Harang- Harang has always been a consistant pitcher for the Reds. Last year he won 5 games. They will need a lot more wins and him to get to his old self if the Reds want to make some noise in the division.

Fourth Place: Houston Astros- The Astros also quietly tied the Cards with 87 wins last year. The ‘stros mainly stayed with the team the team with the exception of the signing of catcher Ivan Rodriguez. The line up is solid in the middle with Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee. The rotation is a veteran group led by Roy Oswalt with Mike Hampton, Brian Moehler, and Wandy Rodriguez behind him. They have a pretty good closer to end the game with Jose Valverde.

Key Player: Ivan Rodriguez- After having a disappointing year with the Tigers and Yankees last year, Pudge had a good World Baseball Classic which is the reason the Astros signed him. If he can hit this year, he can be a RBI machine at the end of the line up.

Fifth Place: Millwaukee Brewers- After a memorable 2008 season, this team should go back to the bottom of the division. The Brew Crew have a very good line up that will be together for a long time. Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, and Cory Hart are all young and will all help put up a lot of runs. The pitching is the problem and it doesn’t help that they lose C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The ace Vinney Gallardo is really good when healthy, but Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra and David Bush can raise some questions.

Key Player(s): Pitching rotation- With an offense that will have an explosive offense, the pitching staff needs to keep teams off the score board for this team to be successful.

Sixth Place: Pittsburgh Pirates- The Buccos are in rebuilding mode. When you look at this team you see some quality players in Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, and Adam Laroche, but their future and stars are out fielder Nate McLouth and catcher Ryan Doumit and hopefully will get noticed. The rotation is full of young arms. Paul Maholm had a break out year last year and Bucs fans can hope he can repeat last years performance and Ian Snell is a decent pitcher as well. Zach Duke had a pretty good rookie year a couple years ago but hasn’t had a good season since. The rest of the staff there is nothing to be really impressed by.

Key Player(s): Pitching staff- This was a really good offense last year even after they traded Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. The pitching staff really has to improve and perform for this team to get out of the basement of the division and get people in beautiful PNC Park.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Biggest Loser: The Jay Cutler Edition

Jay Cutler showing off his new Bears jersey

Jay Cutler showing off his new Bears jersey

It has been three days since it was annouced that upset Denver Broncos Quarterback Jay Cutler will be leaving the Mile High City for the Windy City, as he was traded to the Chicago Bears along with a third-round draft pick.  The Bears gave up their Quarterback Kyle Orton, first round draft pick, fifth round draft pick and their 2010 first round pick as well.  So who got the better end of the deal and who was on the losing end?

The winner:  The Broncos win this trade as they get a pretty good quarterback to replace cutler and the 12th overall pick that will most likely be used on a defensive player in which they really need to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

The loser: The Detroit Lions lose this trade even though they were not involved.  The Lions lose in this trade because they had a perfect opportunity to get an experienced quarterback  after their historical 0 and 16 season.  With the Broncos asking price being two first round draft picks for Cutler, the Lions could have traded the first overall pick and next years first round pick for a proven quarterback.  Instead, the Lions left this opportunity slip away from them to most likely draft an unproven Matthew Stafford who is the number one quarterback in this year’s draft.  What would you rather have, a proven pro-bowl caliber quarterback or a rookie quarterback that you don’t know what you are going to get?  I’d take the pro-bowl caliber quarterback, but then again these are the Detroit Lions.

April 6, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , | Leave a comment

NL East Preview

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez

The past two years we have seen the same thing happen in this division.  In the final week of the season, it’s a two team race between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Mets would lead the division and then they would suddenly start blowing leads and the Phils would get on a hot streak and end up winning the division.  Will another choke job happen again in the division this year?

First Place and NL East Champions: New York Mets-  After their last two season of failing to clinch the division in the last week of the season, the third time is a charm.  It helps too when you address your biggest needs the way the Mets did this off season.  When learning that closer Billy Wagner will miss all of the 2009 season due to injury, they decided to fill that role with the single season record holder for saves Francisco Rodriguez, but they weren’t done there.  Weeks later they picked up the dominating closer J.J. Putz from the Mariners who will now be put in the setup role.  What was a weekness the past two years is now their biggest strength.  The lineup isn’t too shabby either.  We all know about Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and recently required Gary Sheffield who may not even start.  The starting rotation has its question marks though.  After Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey there are some question marks that pop up about Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Tim Redding.

Key Player: Oliver Perez-  The Mets re-signed Perez to a pretty big contract for his caliber of pitching.  Perez is as inconsistant as anyone.  When Perez is on he means business on the mound, but when he’s bad, he is horrible.  The Mets are going to need some consistancy from him in the third slot of the rotation.

Second Place and NL Wild Card Winner: Philadelphia Phillies-  The defending World Champions of baseball will defend their title this season and the big question on everyones mind is: Is this team healthy?  With Chase Utley coming off of off season hip surgery and Pedro Feliz coming off back surgery it will be interesting to see how have recovered.  Also, during Spring Training ace of the pitching staff Cole Hamels had an elbow problem, so there is another question mark.  Without a doubt they have the hitting to score runs and the signing of Raul Ibanez replaces Pat Burrells bat.  Their pitching staff isn’t bad either, but we’ll see if closer Brad Lidge will continue to do what he did last year.

Key Player: Brett Myers-  If Cole Hamels’ elbow becomes anything bigger and has to miss time, Brett Myers will have to step up as the ace of the staff.  Myers had an adventurous 2008 season as he was sent to AAA Allentown to work on his struggles and came back a different pitcher.  If he can be the same he was down the stretch last year Myers will help out a lot.

Third Place: Florida Marlins-  The Marlins are doing once again what they are best at, devoloping talent.  The young team came out of no where last year.  This team has a very good mix of young talent.  The big name star on this club is by far short stop Hanley Ramirez as he is a 40 Home Run/ 40 Stolen Base guy.  Also not to mention they have an all star second basemen Dan Uggla is sometime forgotten.  The rest of the line up has potential to score a bunch of runs too.  Their pitching is also young, but very talented.  Led by Ricky Nolasco who really came into a zone the second half of last season.  He also has up and coming stars Josh Johnson, Anibel Sanchez and Chris Volstad.

Key Player: Matt Lindstrom-  This year is his first year closing as he will being taking over for Kevin Gregg who left to play for the Cubs.  The former setup man will now have to handle the pressure of having to now pitch in the clutch in the 9th inning.

Fourth Place:  Atlanta Braves-  The Braves are a hard team to figure out how they will do this year.  The Braves have always been a team with consistant pitching and young talent that always come through on the big stage.  This Braves team does not have the usual pitching or young stars.  The big time additions of pitchers Derek Lowe and Tom Glavine and out fielder Garret Anderson will improve the team, but all three are either toward the end of their careers or their numbers will start to decline.  The line up will put up some runs though with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann in the middle of the order.  The pitching staff is alright with Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens and Glavine, but will they be able to stop the rest of the divisions offenses?  We’ll have to wait in see.

Key Player: Jeff Francoeur-  Francoeur had by far his worst year last year.  With only 11 home runs 71 RBIs and a batting average of .239,  Francoeur will have to get back to his old ways driving in around 100 runs to help out this offense.

Fifth Place: Washington Nationals-  The Nats made a splash in the off season landing slugging left fielder Adam Dunn, but that really won’t help this team much.  The Nats have a decent middle of the line up with Lasting Milledge, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Elijah Dukes, but nothing much after those guys.  The rotation is filled with a bunch of young guys, who we will see if they are ready to face major league hitters or not.

Key Player: Adam Dunn-  Dunn is going to have to put monsterous numbers this season to keep this team interesting.  The Nats wanted to spend some money and get someone that will help put bodies in the seats of Nationals Park.  If he struggles expect a horrible season from the Nationals and a lot of empty seats in our nation’s capital.

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something Only a Fool Would Try

In the spirit of this past week’s

The Fifth Third Burger (front) compared to a regular cheeseburger

The Fifth Third Burger (front) compared to a regular cheeseburger

holiday, I’m not going to play a trick on you, but I’m going to tell you about something only a fool would try.

Introducing the Fifth Third Burger.

What’s the Fifth Third Burger? It’s a burger that is served only at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the Western Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball team. Here’s all the ingredients of the burger. A 1 pound bun, a cup of chili, 5 1/3 pound burgers, 5 slices of American cheese, salsa, nacho cheese, and Fritos chips. That’s not all, add in lettuce, tomato, and sour cream sauce and you have yourself a $20 burger that fits on a 12 inch pizza pan and weighs 4 pounds.

Now here’s the disgusting part. The burger consists of 4,800 calories, 300 grams of fat, 744 milligrams of cholesterol, and 10,000 milligrams of sodium.

No wonder America is so fat these days.

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Stadiums and Concessions | , , , | 1 Comment

Then There Were Two

UNC's Ty Lawson and Roy Williams face Michigan State's Kalin Lucus and Tom Izzo Monday Night for NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

UNC's Ty Lawson and Roy Williams face Michigan State's Kalin Lucus and Tom Izzo Monday Night for NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

There’s nothing like picking up with the latest in the NCAA Tournament when it was down to two teams. The known defensive powerhouse in Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans and the dangerously explosive North Carolina Tar Heels led by coach Roy Williams. It was a tough road for both teams.
Michigan State, the 2 seed in the Midwest bracket defeated (15) Robert Morris, the Pac-10 tournament champion in (10) USC, the defending national champions (3) Kansas, the Big East champs and the overall #1 seed (1) Louisville. Then they met another Big East foe in the Connecticut Huskies, the #1 seed out of the West bracket. Could Michigan State beat back-to-back #1 Big East teams? They definately didn’t dissapoint in the 5th Final Four appearance in the last 11 years at Tom Izzo at the helm of the Spartans. With a second half run and a defensive shutdown of A.J. Price along with the Huskies, Michigan State cruised late in a 82-73 win to put them in position to win a championship, their last coming in 2000. With the Final Four being in Michigan State’s backyard in Detroit, Michigan; the whole crowd was and will be behind Michigan State in the finals.
North Carolina, whom was the favorite coming into the season, was given the #1 seed in the South bracket. The South bracket had the most potential and was arguably the hardest region in this year’s tournament with the struggling but still tough Oklahoma Sooners, the red hot Syracuse Orange, and teams that could make run in Gonzaga, Arizona State, and even SEC regular season champs in LSU. Carolina knew they would have to beat the best to be the best and with starting PG and ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson experiencing a toe injury, championship in mind weren’t steady for this Carolina team. After blowing out (16) Radford then having little trouble with (8) LSU, (4) Gonzaga, and even a battle with Player of the Year Blake Griffin and the second seeded Sooners showed little problem for the upbeat and appearingly healthy Ty Lawson and the Tar Heels. With a balanced attack and deadly outside shooting, the Tar Heels outshot the #3 seed Villanova; who defeated conference rival Pittsburgh to win the East region. The Heels hit for 11 three pointers (Ellington 5, Green 4, Lawson 2) but missed 15 free throws even though the score left no doubt the Tar Heels are the team to beat by winning 83-69.
Down to two. This brings a Flashback early this year, December 3, 2008. North Carolina 98 Michigan State 63. A 35 point win for Carolina over this Spartan still lingers in the back of Michigan State’s minds. My prediciton: Carolina cuts down the nets winning a closer game this time,85-72.

April 5, 2009 Posted by | College Basketball | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AL West Preview

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Closer Brian Fuentes

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Closer Brian Fuentes

The American League West has been dominated by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the past few years.  Actually, they have won four of the last five division titles, with the Oakland A’s winning the other title.   Will any other of the AL West teams be able stop the Angels dominence?

First Place and AL West Champion:  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-  Even though this Angels team isn’t as good as the Angels teams the past couple years, this team will still win the division.  Even though they lost big pieces of the team in first basemen Mark Teixeira and all-time single season saves leader Fransico Rodriguez, they managed to replace those guys with closer Brian Fuentes and outfielder Bobby Abreu.  With a line up lead by power hitting outfielders Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero and speedy infielders Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick.  This team will be lead by its pitching though.  With a starting rotation that consists of John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, Joe Sanders and Kelvim Escobar is right up there with any rotation in the league.  The bullpen will also be a strong point as it is every year.

Key Player: Brian Fuentes-  Fuentes has some pretty big shoes to fill as he is replacing Francisco Rodriguez in the closers spot.  Fuentes had his shares of trouble throughout his career in Colorado and if that continues in LA, that could mean trouble for the Angels in close ball games, which will happen since this line up won’t score as many runs.

Second Place: Oakland A’s-  The A’s are always known for trading away their older/ big name players for younger and promising players.  They did the complete opposite this year as they traded young talent for slugger Matt Holliday as he will probably be a one year rental.  They also added more power with former Most Valuable Player Jason Giambi and got a reliable short stop Orlando Cabrera.  With their pitching usually being the strength of the team, this team’s rotation is filled with young and unproven pitchers who may not even be for the big leagues.  The only proven starting pitcher the A’s have is last year all-star Justin Duchscherer.

Key Player(s): Starting pitchers-  This teams’ rotation is very young and inexpirienced.  Even though this A’s team will be able to put some more runs on the board than usual.  The question is will these young pitchers be able to keep opposing teams off of the board.

Third Place: Texas Rangers- As like any Rangers team the past 12 years, this team will be all about their offense.  With a mix of power and contact hitters, this offense will be as potent as any other offense in the league.  Lead by power threats Josh Hamilton, Chris Young,  Nelson Cruz and Dave Murphy and table setters Ian Kinsler and Chris Young this team will put up a ton of runs.  Also, just like any other Rangers team the pitching staff will let up just as many runs as the offense will score for them.

Key Player(s): Pitchers-  Will this pitching staff be able to stop any offense?  Most likely not.  Veterans Kevin Millwood and Vincente Padilla will have to lead a very young and unproven pitching staff.

Fourth Place: Seattle Mariners-  After a horrible season in 2008, the Mariners had to make a splash to put some fans in the stands.  The Mariners signed former hometown favorite Ken Griffey Jr. for probably his final season, but other than Griffey, Ichiro Suzuki and young star pitcher Felix Hernandez this is a team clearly in rebuilding mode.  Also, it will be interesting to see how they use young pitcher Brandon Morrow who was really good in the bullpen last year.

Key Player:  Eric Bedard-  After an injury plagued 2008, Bedard needs to show why the Mariners traded their top prospect for him last year.  If the Mariners want to have any kind of success this year Bedard has to be healthy and pitch like he did in Baltimore two years ago.

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , | 2 Comments