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MLB Prediction 2004

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MLB 2004 has begun, and with that, my predictions are overdue. Every spring I like to predict the order of each division's final standings, the major award winners, and records that may or may not be broken. This year, I'm adding something new: a position-by-position dream team of current players, based on recent and/or expected performance. I'll keep this short and sweet: NL East Atlanta Braves Philadelphia Phillies (wild card) Florida Marlins New York Mets Montreal Expos NL Central Chicago Cubs Houston Astros St. Louis Cardinals Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers Pittsburgh Pirates NL West Los Angeles Dodgers San Diego Padres Arizona Diamondbacks San Francisco Giants Colorado Rockies AL East Boston Red Sox New York Yankees (wild card) Baltimore Orioles Toronto Blue Jays Tampa Bay Devil Rays AL Central Minnesota Twins Kansas City Royals Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers Cleveland Indians AL West Anaheim Angels Seattle Mariners Oakland Athletics Texas Rangers The Angels are going to be very, very good this year. The Braves are going to be surprisingly good in a very close race in the NL East. The Yankees are going to be very, very expensive, and no one will be able to afford the talent necessary to beat them over 162 games; however, the Red Sox will do so anyway, just because. The Reds, Royals, and Padres will be surprisingly good, but the Cubs will prove that this is their year. And I feel bad for the Indians, but for once, the Tigers have to do better than somebody. The Playoffs I don't know how the Division Series will be aligned, since those rules change each year, but I'll go ahead and pick your league champions: Red Sox and Cubs. Have fun picking a winner. I'm going to predict a marathon game seven that's delayed into November, a hurricane (in Chicago), then an earthquake at the make-up game (in Boston), and then it will rain sulfur before the World Series is called off to prove, once and for all, that both teams are cursed. Award Winners Hank Aaron / Hitter of the Year: Albert Pujols (Cardinals) and Manny Ramirez (Red Sox) Cy Young / Pitcher of the Year: Kerry Wood (Cubs) and Jeff Weaver (Yankees) Rookies of the Year: Adam LaRoche (Braves) and Joe Mauer (Twins) Comeback Player of the Year: J.D. Drew (Braves) and Jermain Dye (Athletics) Ancient Wonders of the World: Julio Franco (Braves) and Edgar Martinez (Mariners) 2004 Dream Team RHP: Kerry Wood (Cubs) LHP: Mark Mulder (Athletics) Setup: Octavio Dotel (Astros) Closer: Erig Gagne (Dodgers) C Javy Lopez (Orioles) 1B Todd Helton (Rockies) 2B Alfonso Soriano (Rangers) 3B Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) SS Rafael Furcal (Braves) LF Barry Bonds (Giants) CF Carlos Beltran (Royals) RF Vladimir Guerrero (Angels) I did not intentionally make sure no two players play on the same team; that's just an interesting happenstance. Also, while no Braves appear on my primary dream team, at least three would be on my secondary team: John Smoltz (closer), Marcus Giles (2B), and Andruw Jones (CF). Also on such a secondary team would be a few Yankees: Jorge Posada (C), Jason Giambi (1B), Derek Jeter (SS), and Gary Sheffield (RF). Albert Pujols (LF) and Eric Chavez (3B) would round out the offense, and Pedro Martinez would be the righty on the mound. I don't know who I'd take as a second lefty or second setup man. Well, this was just a frivolous glimpse at where I expect you can find success in 2004. Note that I ignored players I already know to be injured and missing significant amounts of playing time (such as Mark Prior and Nomar Garciaparra). Hopefully, they'll be back to prove me wrong! Come back in October and see how wrong I was! Fair warning: I was incredibly accurate last year, predicting all six division winners correctly. This year, I'm hoping for more of the same!

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