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…


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 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.