I apologize for my silence today; the catcher preview is on its way, with just enough time to cover the rotation and the 'pen before Opening Day.
Baseball Prospectus got all of its writers together and predicted that the Crew would come in third (just barely). Just a hair above the Astros, two or three hairs above the Reds. Looks like a couple BPers are very bullish about the 'Stros, though. It stands to reason that an injury-prone pitching staff coupled with a starting lineup comprising of old guys and rookies would inspire a variety of opinions.
What do you think? Is third realistic?
Statistically, I think it is. I'd love to see it, especially if it took 81 wins to earn that spot. At the same time, I fear that if Houston is even remotely in wild-card contention in late July, they'll make a pickup or two (no Beltran, but something to help) that'll push them into that 3rd spot. I am confident of 4th, though: the Reds and Pirates should, and will, suffer.
The BPers also predict Ben Sheets as the Cy Young Award winner with a sizeable edge over Pedro, but no love for Doug Davis. They're figuring J.J. Hardy for 3rd in ROY voting, just a few points behind pitchers Jeff Francis (Colorado) and Gavin Floyd (Philadelphia). Prince Fielder turned up at the bottom of Will Carroll's ballot. As Will is the injury expert on staff, I'm suddenly a bit worried about Lyle.
And unfortunately, no BP writer picked the Crew to win the pennant.
I was a bit surprised that no NL pitcher got a single MVP vote from this group; they gave a couple of nods to AL pitchers. I'd certainly expect to see Sheets win the award before Troy Glaus or (?!?) Jason Bay. If Bay wins the award in the middle of Pittsburgh's "lineup" of "Major League" "starters," Ernie Banks may have to stop saying "Let's play two" and switch to "Let's play soccer."
Will Ben Sheets win the CYA?
This poll is closed
Yes, he'll earn every dollar of this contract he's negotiating.
Yes, but Pedro will deserve it, scorned because of the new "Lake Michigan Coast Bias"
No, but only because the man doesn't like guys named Ben.
No, he'll spend too much time on the DL.
Two words, baby: Brooks Kieschnick!