MLB.com pundits weigh in with predictions
Columnists, analysts offer their picks in each league
The beginning of the Major League Baseball season means it's time for predictions, and MLB.com has a quintet of experts ready to offer their opinions as to how 2010 will shape up.
Columnists Peter Gammons, Mike Bauman and Hal Bodley have offered their picks, along with MLB.com analysts Jeff Nelson, who is a former big league reliever, and Jim Duquette, a former executive.
This fabulous foretelling five-some was asked to predict the winners of every division plus the two Wild Cards, and accurately project the winners of the League Championship Series and World Series. In addition, the experts named their selections for the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in both leagues.
They were also asked to make one bold prediction, and the results are intriguing to say the least.
In the American League East, everyone picked the Yankees to repeat as division champion except for Bodley, who tabbed Boston -- his eventual pick to get to the World Series before losing to Philadelphia. There was not much disagreement about the top two teams in the AL East. Each selector had Boston or New York either winning the division or the Wild Card.
And while Nelson picked the Yankees to win a second straight World Series, beating the Cardinals, Gammons and Duquette had the Wild Card-winning Red Sox storming through the postseason and to claim their first Fall Classic since 2007 -- Gammons writing that they'd beat Colorado and Duquette predicting a World Series win over St. Louis. Bauman, meanwhile, had the Yanks ultimately bowing out to the Phillies in a reversal of 2009.
In the AL West, all five picked the Angels to win their fourth division crown in a row and four of the five tabbed the Twins to repeat in the Central. Nelson was the only one who differed there, picking the White Sox to upend Minnesota.
The National League brought about similarities of opinion, too, with Gammons, Bauman, Bodley and Duquette picking the Phillies, Cardinals and Rockies to win the East, Central and West, respectively. Nelson also took the Phils and Cards but strayed from the pack by picking the Dodgers to once again prevail in the West.
Everyone agreed that Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves would win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, but they split on such honors for the AL, with two votes for Detroit's Austin Jackson, one for Cleveland's Michael Brantley, one for Tampa Bay's Sean Rodriguez and one for Texas phenom reliever Neftali Feliz.
Cy Young predictions were a tale of fours, with a quartet tabbing Felix Hernandez in the AL and four experts picking NL newcomer Roy Halladay of the Phillies. Only Nelson and Duquette strayed from the pack there, with Nelson picking Arizona ace Dan Haren in the NL and Duquette selecting Red Sox lefty Jon Lester in the AL.
The most surprising prediction was an omission. None of the panel members picked Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to win the NL MVP award, with Bodley and Gammons going with Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Bauman picking Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, Duquette tabbing Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Nelson slotting Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder.
Also up in the air was AL MVP, with reigning award winner Joe Mauer of Minnesota getting the votes of Bodley and Bauman but Yankees contenders Mark Teixeira (Duquette) and Alex Rodriguez (Nelson) getting a vote apiece and Gammons turning in one of the true surprises of the entire exercise by naming Rays center fielder B.J. Upton as his 2010 AL MVP. Gammons went even further with that, predicting that both Uptons -- brother Justin of the NL's D-backs being the other -- will finish in the top five in MVP balloting.
2010 MLB Predictions
|AL East||Yankees||Red Sox||Yankees||Yankees||Yankees|
|AL Central||Twins||Twins||Twins||Twins||White Sox|
|AL Wild Card||Red Sox||Yankees||Red Sox||Red Sox||Red Sox|
|NL Wild Card||Dodgers||Braves||Dodgers||Dodgers||Rockies|
|ALCS winner||Yankees||Red Sox||Red Sox||Red Sox||Yankees|
|World Series winner||Phillies||Phillies||Red Sox||Red Sox||Yankees|
|AL MVP||Joe Mauer||Joe Mauer||Mark Teixeira||B.J. Upton||Alex Rodriguez|
|NL MVP||Ryan Howard||Chase Utley||Hanley Ramirez||Chase Utley||Prince Fielder|
|AL Cy Young||Felix Hernandez||Felix Hernandez||Jon Lester||Felix Hernandez||Felix Hernandez|
|NL Cy Young||Roy Halladay||Roy Halladay||Roy Halladay||Roy Halladay||Dan Haren|
|AL Rookie of the Year||Michael Brantley||Austin Jackson||Neftali Feliz||Sean Rodriguez||Austin Jackson|
|NL Rookie of the Year||Jason Heyward||Jason Heyward||Jason Heyward||Jason Heyward||Jason Heyward|
Doug Miller is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.