Not exactly shocking predictions. But I made them in this space three years ago.
In 2004, I forecast that the Blue Jays, Angels, Phillies and Dodgers also would win division titles, while the Red Sox and Cubs would claim wild cards. In our league previews on Pages 15 and 17 of this issue, the Baseball America staff concurs on six of the same playoff teams. My crystal ball had the Dodgers beating the Jays in the World Series--that one looks better than my Cubs over the Twins in 2006 call--while our consensus pick now is the Red Sox over the Phillies.
In subsequent years, I tabbed the Twins to defeat the Braves in a 2008 rematch of the 1991 World Series, and the Dodgers to vanquish the Angels in a 2009 Freeway Series.
Now it's time for my boldest call yet. The Devil Rays will win the 2010 World Series.
Lots Of Young Talent In
Though the Rays are payroll-challenged--a huge handicap
in the AL East--they will be able to field a formidable and cost-effective club
Developing pitching always has been problematic for the Rays, but not any longer. Scott Kazmir already is in the big leagues; Jeff Niemann soon will join him and Jacob McGee isn't far behind. Throw in projected 2007 No. 1 overall pick David Price, and that's four frontline starters.
The Indians already have much of their future core in
place in the majors.
The AL West champion Angels will have an entirely homegrown infield (Casey Kotchman, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Erick Aybar) and rotation (Nick Adenheart, John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Stephen Marek). Free-agent addition Andruw Jones will fit nicely beside Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield.
The Yankees will edge the Red Sox and Tigers for the
Dodgers Grab NL Pennant
The Mets won't have to rely as heavily on free agency as
they do now to win their division in 2010.
The Brewers will capture the NL Central with a team built
around baseball's best infield (2007 first-rounder Josh Vitters joins Fielder,
Hardy and Weeks) and slugging outfielder Ryan Braun.
While the Dodgers have favored free agents over prospects the last two years, by 2010 they will have built a division winner around self-developed products such as outfielder Matt Kemp, third baseman Andy LaRoche, first baseman James Loney, catcher Russell Martin and pitchers Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Scott Elbert and Clayton Kershaw.
An offensive-minded club led by first baseman Conor
Jackson, shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielders Carlos Quentin, Justin Upton and
Chris Young, the Diamondbacks will beat out the
In the World Series, the Devil Rays will outlast the
Dodgers. Niemann will strike out 10 in seven one-run innings to win Game Seven,
backed by homers from Longoria, Upton and Young. All four players were
top-four-overall draft picks by
You can contact Jim Callis by sending e-mail to [email protected].