OK, time to put up or shut up.
By Friday night, all but one team in MLB will have kicked off their road to heartbreak.
Thusfar, I've been sniffing around the Spring Training blogs and reports -- The Giants look good, save for a somewhat unnerving oblique strain to B Wheezy and a not-quite-alarming leg injury to Cody Ross.
Let's not forget that Wheez is stronger at the end than he is at the beginning, so maybe the extra week(s?) off will save us from a couple blown stinkers.
And, as much as I like the Rodeo Clown, Cody was strong for all of 10 games last year -- and they weren't before the leaves fell.
Besides, Schierholtz has been strong enough, and I think it's time to give the ol' boy a couple weeks to start the year and see exactly what we got (finally).
So, now without further ado, my division picks (after the fold)
NL West: SF Giants
Why delay the inevitable? We all know who I got to win the West. The Giants were division winners last year, and this year they're better. I foresee great things for all of their pitchers, now that Z's in the 4-hole. I forsee a .310/25/90 year for Panda Bear, .300/20/95 for Buster, .290/25/100 for Huffy, and .270/35/90 for Burrell (if he gets the ABs) -- and I won't even speculate on the kid Belt yet (but he is on my fantasy team).
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
The popular pick for the central this year is the Reds, especially with the Cards ailing. The Brew Crew always has a quality team, and let's not forget that they were a force just two short years ago. In a 162-game season, Brewers have a few more arms, a few more bats, and a little bit more room for a trade deadline deal.
NL East: The ATL Braves
I was reluctantly leaning Phils as little as a couple weeks ago. I'm actually not totally in line with the ATL, but they are kind of a default pick while the Phils sort out their injuries. A Cox-less Braves is not going to be nearly as potent in the regular season as a a Brave squad packin' Cox, but the Phils are leaning way too much on over-the-hill hitting (without their consistent bat Utley for at least the first quarter of the season), and a pitching rotation that looks good on paper, but is due to have major health issues. So, by defualt, I think the Braves will have the legs.
Wild Card: Colorado
Assuming that their pitchers are all now seasoned enough to last through the 2nd half again, and that none of their hitters hit a season-long slump, the scary-ass Rockies will be as scary as they ever are. Youthful experience is on their side, and a horse race with the Giants will ultimately give them the WC consolation -- which is almost a leg up through the post season.
AL West: Texas Rangers
What the hell.....it's either going to be the Rangers or the Angels, right? So, I'll go with the reigning league champs. Despite a little bit of turmoil, fiscal problems .... no Ace pitcher .... a third baseman that wants out....maybe I should reconsider.
AL Central: The Twinkies
Minnesota is literally the best run organization in the American League, and, with the promise of a healthy 9 this year, they generally rule the only division that can be won with well-played, fundamental baseball.
AL East: Bosox
As much as I hate to admit it, the Sox have purchased a fine product for their loyal and loveably drunken fan base. Every move made this off season by the Beaneaters has added to the team, and aside from keeping Lackey and perhaps a freaky hole at closer, Boston has very few weak spots in their armor.
AL Wild Card: Angels
The Angels are as good as ever. They're a little old, and I can see them breaking down a bit at the end of the season to save the Wild Card (rather than sprinting to win it), but amongst the rest of the AL -- there's not many teams with more talent. This includes the Yanks, Rays, Chisox, and A's.
So there you have it:
Giants, Brewers, Braves, Rocks
Rangers, Twins, Bosox, Angels