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The Rich's 2008 Predictions!
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Final Standings

AL East W L Pct. NL East W L Pct.
New York Yankees 92 70 0.568 New York Mets 98 64 0.605
Boston Red Sox 88 74 0.543 Atlanta Braves 90 72 0.556
Toronto Blue Jays 86 76 0.531 Philadelphia Phillies 85 77 0.525
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 78 84 0.481 Washington Nationals 73 89 0.451
Baltimore Orioles 61 101 0.377 Florida Marlins 69 93 0.426
AL Central W L Pct. NL Central W L Pct.
Detroit Tigers 102 60 0.630 Chicago Cubs 88 74 0.543
Cleveland Indians 86 76 0.531 Milwaukee Brewers 87 75 0.537
Kansas City Royals 79 83 0.488 Cincinnati Reds 80 82 0.494
Chicago White Sox 75 87 0.463 Houston Astros 74 88 0.457
Minnesota Twins 69 93 0.426 St. Louis Cardinals 71 91 0.438
Pittsburgh Pirates 67 95 0.414
AL West W L Pct. NL West W L Pct.
Los Angeles Angels 95 67 0.586 Arizona Diamondbacks 92 70 0.568
Seattle Mariners 89 73 0.549 Los Angeles Dodgers 87 75 0.537
Oakland Athletics 75 87 0.463 San Diego Padres 83 79 0.512
Texas Rangers 70 92 0.432 Colorado Rockies 81 81 0.500
San Francisco Giants 60 102 0.370

Individual Leaders

Hitters American League Stat National League Stat
AVG Ichiro Suzuki 0.342 Hanley Ramirez 0.336
OBP Miguel Cabrera 0.434 Albert Pujols 0.432
SLG Miguel Cabrera 0.636 Prince Fielder 0.618
OPS Miguel Cabrera 1.070 Albert Pujols 1.042
R Curtis Granderson 152 Jose Reyes 136
H Ichiro Suzuki 229 David Wright 226
2B Nick Markakis 49 Jeff Francoeur 52
3B David DeJesus 18 Jose Reyes 25
HR Alex Rodriguez 48 Ryan Howard 49
RBI Miguel Cabrera 152 Jeff Francoeur 138
BB Jack Cust 138 Albert Pujols 121
SO Jack Cust 195 Mark Reynolds 192
SB Carl Crawford 62 Michael Bourne 65
CS Grady Sizemore 14 Jose Reyes 23
IP Joe Blanton 244.1 Aaron Harang 235.2
W Justin Verlander 23 Johan Santana 20
L Jeremy Guthrie 18 Barry Zito 16
ERA Erik Bedard 2.92 Johan Santana 2.42
H Joe Blanton 252 Jeff Francis 236
K Erik Bedard 236 Aaron Harang 228
HR Livan Hernandez 42 Rich Hill 33
BB Daniel Cabrera 112 Carlos Zambrano 106
Sv Francisco Rodriguez 42 Billy Wagner 46
LSV J.J. Putz 6 Billy Wagner 7


Awards American League National League
Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera (.325-38-152) Jeff Francoeur (.322-36-138)
Cy Young Justin Verlander (23-7, 3.18, 208 K) Johan Santana (20-6, 2.42 ERA, 215 K)
Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria (.313-23-82) Jair Jurrjens (14-7, 3.63)
Comeback Player Rich Harden (13-10, 2.99, 175 K) Pedro Martinez (17-5, 2.75, 195 K)
Surprise Player Alberto Callaspo (.317/.370/.437) Ryan Church (.291-22-101)
Disappointing Player Joe Blanton (9-15, 5.01) Brandon Phillips (.262/.318/.422 -13-75)
Dave Kingman Josh Fields (.256/.316/.432 - 22-81) Pedro Feliz (.239/.279/.418 -24-78)
Alex Gonzalez of the Marlins Gary Mathews Jr (.313-12 / .236-4) Eric Byrnes (.322-13 / .249-6)
Mark Redman Joe Blanton (7-5, 3.68 / 2-10, 6.46) Braden Looper (9-4, 3.33 / 4-7, 5.63)
Josh Towers Cliff Lee (3-9, 5.89) Adam Eaton (4-12, 6.02)


American League National League
Division Series Detroit over Seattle 3-0 New York over Chicago 3-2
Los Angeles over New York 3-2 Arizona over Atlanta 3-0
League Championship Detroit over Los Angeles 4-2 New York over Arizona 4-1
World Series Detroit over New York 4-3

Comments on the Upcoming Season

When the Tigers traded six young players to the Marlins in exchange for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, many took it as a sign that Detroit was looking to win and win now. But with long term extensions given to both Willis and Cabrera, the Tigers look to be serious about being competitive for the next several years. Look for that trade to begin paying dividends immediately, as 2008 brings Detroit their first World Championship since 1984.

With Cabrera in the middle along with Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, and Curtis Granderson joined by Edgar Renteria at the top, this Tiger lineup should find itself scoring runs at a prolific pace. Meanwhile, Willis joins holdovers Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and veteran lefty Kenny Rogers to form one of the gameís best rotations. The combination should result in the Tigers running away with the AL Central, with Cabrera taking home the leagueís MVP Award and Verlander winning the ALís top pitching honors.

Elsewhere around the league, you can expect the Yankees, energized by the fiery Joe Girardi, to once again take the AL East, while the BoSox end up a disappointing second. The Angels as expected will take the AL West while the Mariners, backed by a solid rotation led by Cy Young runner up Erik Bedard, will unexpectedly sneak by both Boston and Cleveland to grab the Wild Card.

In the NL, the Mets led by new ace and NL Cy Young winner Johan Santana, as well as a rebounding Pedro Martinez, will recover from their historic í07 collapse to take the tough Eastern division. Look for Atlanta however, led by MVP Jeff Francoeur and a strong veteran pitching staff, to make it back into October baseball by winning the Wild Card ahead of the Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers. The Cubs have enough to grab the Central, though not enough to end their World Series drought, while the young Diamondbacks, led by dual aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, will lead the way in the wild, wild West.

Among the other award winners in 2008, you can expect to see Rich Harden rebounding along with Martinez to win their respective leagueís Comeback Player Awards while Jair Jurrjens and Evan Longoria take home top rookie honors.

And Iíll bet you didnít know that new Mets right fielder Ryan Church wacked 43 doubles in 2007. Expect the unexpected from him as the surprise player of the year in the NL, while the surprising Alberto Callaspo will help lead the Royals out of obscurity and out of last place.

And Iíll bet even further that you didnít know that Brandon Phillips, according to Hit Tracker, led the NL in long balls that travelled just far enough and was third in ďluckyĒ dingers. Donít expect a repeat of his 30 home run season unless you want to be disappointed. You can also look for Joe Blanton to repeat as the AL leader in hits allowed, although his luck will run out in the second half as he garners both the AL Most Disappointing Player distinction as well as the leagueís Mark Redman Award.

Josh Fields was a close runner-up last year in the race for the AL Dave Kingman Award, and Pedro Feliz was robbed of a deserved third straight in the NL. Expect both to rectify that in the coming year, unless of course the White Sox fail to trade Joe Crede. In that event, Fields may not get enough at bats to win the award but Crede himself makes a fine backup choice. Can we just give the award collectively to the Sox third basemen?

Also, you can bank on Ichiro, just 130 away from collecting his 3,000th professional hit, winning his third major league batting title, while Hanley Ramirez will win his first. Jack Cust will pull a rare double by drawing the most walks in the AL while also setting a new league record for strikeouts, while Mark Reynolds will whiff in prolific quantities in the NL. Oh, and that troublesome elbow of Albert Pujolsí? Expect him to battle through yet again and put up, well, Pujols-like numbers. But donít expect the Orioles to get by just fine without Bedard. Pseudo-ace Jeremy Guthrie will lead the league, but not in a category youíd like to see; most losses. Meanwhile Livan Hernandez might end up on the DL with a neck injury from watching so many of his pitches leave the yard in Minnesota.

Indeed, unless youíre a fan of the Oís, Twins, Rangers, Pirates, Astros, Cards or Giants, you can expect your team to provide you with plenty of excitement and be competitive at least into August. For the aforementioned teams however, the hope that springs eternal every baseball season isnít likely to survive past spring. Well at least the Cardinals will have Pujols to look forward to. That is unless that troublesome elbow finally gives out.