Zennie62 on YouTube

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Major League Baseball 2007 Season Predictions, Part 2

By David

It's the week before the season starts and I'm nervously counting down the hours until Chris Carpenter throws out the first pitch of the year against the NL East champion New York Mets.

At the same time, there are many youngsters on every roster who can't wait to play in their first major league game. After six weeks of spring training it's time for the real thing to begin and this means watching Alex Gordon and countless other rookies break in to the majors for the first time. It is also a difficult time for me to predict who will be the top rookie in each league, if Daisuke Matsuzaka can live up to the grand expectations he has received and if their is that one surprise player who comes up mid season and tears up every pitching staff.

While Alex Gordon and Delmon Young might dazzle the baseball world and prove that they are the future stars of baseball, there is something special about Matsuzaka that will make him a star pitcher on the major league level. For that reason I believe he'll be the Al Rookie of the Year. He will quickly become the ace of the Red Sox's staff and by his outings in spring training he appears to throw some deadly pitches.

In the NL, there is not a celebrity list of rookies, but rather hard working players who'll leave their stamp on National League pitchers. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff will be good with the Padres, but my selection for NL Rookie of the Year is the Diamondbacks center fielder Chris B.Young. Young is a five tool player in the making who has both power and speed. It will not be long until the baseball community hears the name Chris B.Young and the names of many of his young teammates who are quietly making the D-backs into a real contender in the NL West.

It's very difficult to decide who the home run leaders will be because any year a certain player can have a breakout season. In the NL, Ryan Howard seems like the consensus pick to me because he plays in an extremely favorable hitters park and possesses fantastic power to all parts of the field. Even though Albert Pujols is a power hitter I seem him hitting more extra base hits than long balls.

Still, there is something telling me that Andruw Jones is ready for another 50 home run season and being that it's his contract year he wants to look impressive to potential buyers. A pair of Rockies sluggers, Matt Holiday and Garrett Atkins, are primed for career season's, but they are more in the range of 30-40 dingers. So is Miguel Cabrera, Derrek Lee and Lance Berkman.

In the AL, the home run race will come down to Alex Rodriguez, Travis Hafner and David Ortiz. All three players are the offensive leaders of their teams and can easily belt 45-50 homers. My choice for home run leader is Alex Rodriguez because I feel that he will finally silence the critics and produce a monster season.

Dark horse choices to belt the most dingers are Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Jim Thome. If Thome can remain healthy he can have a 40 plus season and A's slugger Nick Swisher is quickly turning into an elite hitter. Year in and year out Teixeira remains a triple crown threat and is definitely capable of hitting 45-50 home runs.

In my next column, I will reveal who the batting champions and comeback players of the year will be in each league.

Angels give Shields $14.6 million, 3-year extension- yahoo!sports.com

While Scot Shields may be an elite reliever, I believe that the Angels' overpaid to keep him in uniform through the 2010 season.
Even though he is the set up man on one of the best relief staffs in baseball, he does not deserve to make $14.6 million over three seasons. Only time will tell if general manager Bill Stoneman made the right decision.

March 29, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles Angels reliever Scot Shields agreed Thursday to a $14.6 million, three-year contract extension through 2010.

Shields, the Angels' setup man, had agreed last month to a $3.4 million, one-year contract. The new deal adds salaries of $4.25 million in 2008, $5 million in 2009 and $5.35 million in 2010.

The 31-year-old right-hander was 7-7 last season with two saves and a 2.87 ERA in 74 games, the fourth-most appearances in the AL. It was the second-highest games total in franchise history behind his 78 in 2005.

Shields pitched 87 2-3 innings last year, and his 284 2-3 innings over the past three seasons are the most among major league relievers.

"Scot has been crucial to the success of our bullpen," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said in a statement. "He is one of the most reliable and resilient relievers in the game and we are thrilled to keep him in an Angel uniform for a while."

Shields goes into the season with 31 career relief wins, three shy of tying the Angels record held by Dave LaRoche.

Overall, Shields is 35-29 with 14 saves in 293 games, including 14 starts.

He becomes the third Angels player under contract through at least 2010. Reliever Justin Speier also is signed through 2010, and center fielder Gary Matthews Jr.'s five-year deal runs through 2011.

The club also announced Thursday that Troy Percival, the Angels' career saves leader, will sign a minor league contract before Monday's season opener against Texas and immediately retire -- as a member of the Angels. Percival then will throw out the honorary first pitch.

Currently a special assignment pitching instructor for the Angels, Percival was with them from 1995-2004, then with Detroit from 2005-2006.

Updated on Thursday, Mar 29, 2007 6:32 pm EDT

Major League Baseball 2007 Season Predictions, Part 1

By David

After reading the predictions by Yahoo! Sports columnist's Jeff Passon, Mark Pesavento and Tim Brown, I agree with them on many predictions and also disagree with some of their selections.

There were a plethora of predictions made by all three men, ranging from who the MVP's will be to who the first general manager to be fired will be. So in an effort not to bore everyone , I will divide each column into different parts.

Al MVP is very difficult to choose. There are many great power sluggers and other hitters who make tremendous impacts on their team. I will count out Travis Hafner, reigning MVP Justin Morneau and David Ortiz. The runner up to Morneau in last year's balloting, Derek Jeter, will once again lead the Yankees to the playoffs, but I don't feel that it's his year to take home the hardware. My choice for Al MVP is Gary Sheffield. It might seem like an unlikely pick, but he will be the leader of the Tigers team and with an excellent offense he can guide his new team to another World Series appearance.

The choice for NL MVP is a lot simpler than the American League, but there are still many players who make a significant impact on their club. While Ryan Howard can win the award, he has too many great players on his team[most notably Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins], who will both overshadow his success. While Lance Berkman is a monster with the bat, his team will not post an impressive record. Likewise, the Cubs will not be so improved that either Derrek Lee or Alfonso Soriano can make an argument for the award.

So, my choice for NL MVP is Albert Pujols. He is lethal with the bat and is unquestionably the most valuable player on his team. Without Albert the Cards would not be competitive and would not have won the World Series last year. My only concern is that recently the award seems to be going to the player who had the most outstanding season, not the player who had an outstanding season and was extremely valuable to his teams success.

The race for CY Young in both leagues will be very competitive, but in the end there are a select number of pitchers who quickly stand out from the rest. For example, Johan Santana is a beast on the mound and is by far the best pitcher in baseball. While I think his team could struggle this season he will still be the AL Cy Young award winner. Roy Halladay, John Lackey, C.C Sabathia and Jeremy Bonderman are all amazing pitchers, but they take a step back to the talent level of Santana.

In the NL, Brandon Webb is very capable of being a repeat winner of the award. He not only has a better team than he did last year, but he has Randy Johnson to help him out on a daily basis. With that said, I believe Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter will be taking home this year's award. After seeing him pitch in Spring Training the 2005 winner is on top of his game and will be counted on heavily this season to lead an inexperienced pitching staff.

I fully expect Jake Peavy to have a bounce back season and once again be regarded as an elite pitcher. It would also not surprise me if Houston's Roy Oswalt was the Cy Young winner and if the Cubs Carlos Zambrano straightens out his control issues he could be adding another award to his resume before he enters the free agency period.

In my next column, I will reveal who this season's Rookie of the Year's and home run leaders will be in each league.

Visit the new Zennie62.com

Google Analytics Alternative