This is going to be my attempt to do a season preview. I don’t know why, but it seems to be all the rage with baseball bloggers, so I might as well do it also. I’ll be breaking it down by division, doing one a week, which should lead up to the beginning of spring training. The teams will be graded on the following positions:
Designated hitter (for American League teams, and only because I have to)
Starting rotation (front 3, because most teams don’t have more than 3 guys)
Back end (the last two, or whoever can fill the role)
Bullpen (the combination of lefty/righty, the quality, and who could step in at closer)
Closer (because managers still believe, even if most of us don’t)
Back-up catcher (because it’s more important than you think)
Back-up first baseman (because this is usually the stud of the team)
Back-up infielder (needs to be versatile)
Back-up outfielder (can he play all three positions)
This gives 13 position players, which is what most American League teams will carry. The National League team will get an additional bench player to look at, mostly as a pinch hitter type.
The teams will also be graded on the following areas:
Team speed (to include base running)
Team defense (because you have to catch the ball)
Team batting (because you have to hit the ball)
Team pitching (because you have to throw the ball)
How they will be graded is a point system, from -2 to +2. Each area will get that grade, and the team will get an overall score. That is not necessarily how they will be picked to finish, as there are many other factors involved, but it’s a start.
The grade will not be sabermetric, nor will it be based on traditional stats. It will not be based on some super secret formula, or voodoo. It will be based on the worst possible thing that could ever happen in baseball: my perspective.
I will try to take into account injuries, contract years, attitudes, bounce back years, how they look this year compared to last year, have they upgraded/downgraded, and if the player is due for a decline. Simples. Nothing fancy, just what I think.
I’ll start with the American League East, because baseball is all about its East Coast bias
Then the American League Central
The American League West
The National League Central (because the AL West has 4 teams, and the NL Central has 6, and I can keep on schedule --- but you knew that already, didn’t you)
The National League East
The National League West
Then the week after, I’ll do a recap of each division and pick the winners, wild cards, and all the other good stuff we think we know in advance, but really don’t.