Wednesday, March 28, 2007

2007 MLB Preview: Part I of III [Burning Questions]

So, it’s nearly MLB time. Yeah, that’s right…baseball is almost back. While most of us don’t really care about the national pastime until post-NBA Draft time, there are plenty of fans who are still salivating for the first pitch from their prospective teams.

So I decided to pop out a mini-three-part preview. Part I focuses on one burning question, selected out of a potential 4,567 per team, each squad will face this season. Part II will be a straight-up truth and myth section, with plenty of focus on the future for a baker’s dozen worth of prominent MLB superstars. Part III will be the meat and potatoes, aka predictions ala carte.

Without further adieu, let’s roll!

AL East:
Baltimore Orioles -- Is Nick Markakis really the “it-guy” that may put the Orioles back into contention?
Boston Red Sox -- Is Papelbon able to do it alone in the pen, or will Brendan Donnelly and Joel Pinero wind up being stellar off-season acquisitions?
New York Yankees -- Is Carl Pavano ready to make up for a downright hideous first two seasons in pinstripes?
Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- Can Delmon Young live up to his talent-related hype rather than the infamous bat-chucking hype?
Toronto Blue Jays -- Is the back-end of this rotation able to put up a .500 record?

AL Central
:
Chicago White Sox -- How short of a leash does out-spoken manager Ozzie Guillen have on a
team that could finish anywhere from 1st to 4th?
Cleveland Indians -- Seriously, will this team ever live up to its pre-season potential…especially with this bullpen?
Detroit Tigers -- Will Gary Sheffield be the added power this team was missing last year or will he be nothing but a clubhouse nuisance and an oft-injured veteran?
Kansas City Royals -- How does this team avoid losing 100 games?
Minnesota Twins -- Can a guy named Boof Bonser really be a legit arm to accompany the likes of Johan Santana?

AL West:
Los Angeles Angels -- Is this team willing to move prospects mid-season in order to give Vladimir Guerrero help batting in runs?
Oakland Athletics -- Simply put, who will be this year’s Frank Thomas for this team?
Seattle Mariners -- When will this team blow up its entire roster, even possibly moving a guy named Ichiro?
Texas Rangers -- How deep into the dry summer months will Texas lurk at the top of the standings before its typical late-season collapse?

NL East:
Atlanta Braves -- Can Tim Hudson and Mike Hampton possibly stay healthy 90% of the season?
Florida Marlins -- Who do they trade Dontrelle Willis to this summer?
New York Mets -- Who’s going to keep the ship righted until (or if) Pedro returns at the end of the summer?
Philadelphia Phillies -- When will this team not underachieve immensely?
Washington Nationals -- What is missing in their starting lineup that they could’ve landed for Alfonso Soriano last season?

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs -- Kerry Wood and Mark Prior?
Cincinnati Reds -- Is this the year they finally trade Griffey?
Houston Astros -- Can they talk Roger into coming back yet again?
Milwaukee Brewers -- When is Ben Sheets gonna have that long awaited Cy Young-esque year?
Pittsburgh Pirates -- Does this organization know something the rest of the Earth doesn’t about their chances this season?
St. Louis Cardinals -- Is Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols the most underrated duo of their kind in recent memory?

NL West:
Arizona Diamondbacks -- Are they that young team that nobody wants in the post-season?
Colorado Rockies -- Can Todd Helton return to MVP-form and lead this dangerous team of young talent?
Log Angeles Dodgers -- Can Nomar stay healthy and again be a leader for this team?
San Diego Padres -- How will Jake Peavy react to not pitching in the WBC.
San Francisco Giants -- How will that Bonds-character do this season?oHow

Plenty o’ questions here and plenty more still linger.

Part II is coming soon…

2 comments:

I put the dis in disgruntled said...

Are Prior and Wood really the burning questions? How about $10m/yr Ted Lilly and $7.7m/yr Marquiss?

Stupid Cubbies.

Chris Clement said...

Lilly for that type of dough is a pretty volatile issue. Ditto with several other signings.

Yet, this team's best chance for making actual NL Central and potential playoff noise...is to either distance themselves completely from their two past-aces OR to have one/both of them be ressurected from injury after injury after injury after injury and so on.