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Prognosis for MLB 2007 season

By Aaron Laufer

Section: Sports

April 13, 2007

Baseball season has finally come around again, and this year promises to be especially exciting. Barry Bonds should pass Hank Aarons home run record, and some of baseballs hottest rivalries haven risen to a whole new level. The Boston Red Sox, armed with Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka, have increased their payroll significantly in order to rebound from last years disappointing finish. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees look to overcome a six-year drought and win their twentieth world championship. For Alex Rodriguez, this year will determine his future as a Yankee, as he can now opt out of his massive ten year, $252 million dollar deal. As the seasons begins, here are a few predictions:

AL East Winner: With the addition of J.D. Drew, Daisuke, and Julio Lugo, the Red Sox should rebound from last years dismal third place finish. Toronto will be competitive but will be unable to keep pace with the Sox and Yankees. The Yankees pitching staff is a tremendous question mark, though if the they pick up some strong pitching before the trade line they might be able to overcome the Sox.

AL Central Winner: This is the most difficult pick for the entire AL. Not only are the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers all contenders, but the Cleveland Indians should improve upon last years lackluster performance. Dont be surprised if Kansas City doesnt actually lose one hundred games again. These teams in the Central have a penchant for losing division leads down the stretch. With Francisco Liriano of the Twins out for the season, the Tigers have the best pitching staff in the division and should win a close race for the title.

AL West Winner: The Angels feature an experienced team and should be able to best Oakland in a very close race. Despite some poor team numbers put up offensively last season, Vladimir Guerrero will have a strong performance and anchor the offense. Still, if Jared Weaver and Bartolo Colon do not rebound from injuries, the Angels will fall.

AL Wild Card: While they may not win the division, the Yankees still have enough talent to make the playoffs. This will most likely be a competitive race, as Oakland, Cleveland, Chicago, and Minnesota are all in a position of contention.

NL East Winner: Atlantas dominance in the NL East has passed away, and a team as deep as the Mets should easily win the division. Despite the loss of Pedro Martinez, the Mets will hold strong and be anchored by their dominant offense.

NL Central Winner: The Cardinals have dominated the NL Central for the past few years, and despite a recent injury to staff ace Chris Carpenter, should be able to defeat the retooled Cubs. The National League has weak pitching and will be fully exploited the potent St. Louis offense.

NL West Winner: The Dodgers young talent will live up to expectations and will best Arizonas pitching staff. While the loss of J.D. Drew will damage the offense, the addition of Jason Schmidt will greatly bolster the starting staff.

NL Wild Card: The Chicago Cubs are in a weak division and brought enough talent in this offseason to clinch the wild card.

AL Pennant: With a solid pitching staff and the dangerous tandem of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the Red Sox would be difficult to defeat in the postseason.

NL Pennant: The Mets were extremely close to a World Series last year, and with the core of the team intact there should be nothing that stops them from finally getting there.

World Series: Red Sox over the Mets: While this match-up would have been more fitting last season with the 20th anniversary of the 1986 series, it will be an exciting series. The Red Sox will triumph in game six as Daisuke pitches a gem.

AL MVP: This season is becoming Alex Rodriguezs year of reckoning. Yankee fans have not supported him for years now and as he enters what could be his final year with this club, he needs to demonstrate his dominant play.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols has emerged as one of baseballs most promising and exciting stars, and in a solid lineup should be able to contend for the triple crown. He is a stellar .331 career hitter and is coming off his best year, in which he had 49 home runs and 137 runs batted in.

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana has been dominant over the past few years, and there is no sign of him letting up. He has had 55 wins and a sub-3.0 ERA the past three years.

NL Cy Young: Roy Oswalt has long been one of the NLs most consistent pitchers, averaging a 3.01 ERA over his five year career. He is long overdue for a Cy Young award.

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