It's now less than 24 hours until the first pitch of the Atlanta Braves 2011 season is thrown, so I guess it's a good time to join the throngs of analysts/writers/bloggers/etc. and offer my predictions for the upcoming major league season. You probably won't be surprised by the picks..this is a Braves fan blog, after all. Drum roll, please.....
Braves - 94-68
Phillies - 92-70
Marlins - 82-80
Mets - 75-87
Nationals - 72-90
National League: Braves (East), Brewers (Central), Giants (West), Phillies (Wild Card)
Braves defeat Brewers, Phillies defeat Giants
Braves defeat Phillies
American League: Red Sox (East), Twins (Central), Rangers (West), Rays (Wild Card)
Red Sox defeat Twins, Rays defeat Rangers
Red Sox defeat Rays
World Series: Red Sox defeat Braves, 4-2
NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki
NL Cy Young: Matt Cain
NL ROY: Freddie Freeman
AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
AL ROY: Desmond Jennings
While some of my post-season award picks might be a bit of a stretch, the Rookie of the Year picks were the most difficult for me. Most of the obvious candidates in each league are (starting) pitchers. But starting pitchers haven't had much success in ROY voting over the past decade. The most recent in each league were Justin Verlander in 2006 for the AL and Dontrelle Willis in 2003 for the NL. Until that changes, I'll take my chances on getting burned for those picks in 2011.
The National League looks to have another good stock of rookies, but looking through my red, blue and white glasses, I'll go with Freeman. He's slotted for the starting spot right away and I think the team's due. In fact, there's been a Braves rookie in the top 3 in voting four of the past six years (Heyward '10, Hanson '09, Jurrjens '08 and *cough* Francoeur '05 *cough*). Yunel Escobar (again, cough) also finished tied for 6th in 2007.