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April 1, 2007

Preseason Predictions

2007 Staff Picks, American League

by Baseball Prospectus

Index: Voting Results | Individual Ballots

Our annual predictions arrive this year as our Hope and Faith series comes to an end. While the beauty of spring training is that every team can think it has a chance, somebody has to take the losses. For today, we concentrate on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series.

Each author's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year voting. A slight shift at the bottom of the AL East rankings, a rising favorite in the AL Central, and anarchy in the AL West highlight our staff's guesses.

Standings:

AL EAST


Team                    Average
New York Yankees        1.5
Boston Red Sox          1.6
Toronto Blue Jays       3.3
Tampa Bay Devil Rays    3.9
Baltimore Orioles       4.7

AL CENTRAL


Team                    Average
Cleveland Indians       1.3
Detroit Tigers          2.4
Minnesota Twins         2.8
Chicago White Sox       3.5
Kansas City Royals      5

AL WEST


Team                    Average
Los Angeles Angels      1.5
Oakland Athletics       2.3
Texas Rangers           2.6
Seattle Mariners        3.5

Individual Awards:

For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that's been used elsewhere, dropping fourth and five place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first place vote, 3 for a second place vote, etc).

Next to each selection we've listed the (1) total number of ballots followed by the (2) total number of points, followed by (3) the number of first place votes in parentheses, if any were received.

AL MVP

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF, Indians. 7 67 (6)
  2. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees. 7 48 (1)
  3. Travis Hafner, DH, Indians. 3 30 (3)
  4. David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox. 5 29
  5. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees. 4 28
  6. Manny Ramirez, LF, Red Sox. 3 24 (1)
  7. Vladimir Guerrero, RF, Angels. 2 15 (1)
  8. Joe Mauer, C, Twins. 3 15
  9. Carl Crawford, LF, Devil Rays. 1 10 (1)
  10. Michael Young, SS, Rangers. 1 5
  11. Johan Santana, P, Twins. 1 5
  12. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Rangers. 1 5
  13. Carlos Guillen, SS, Tigers. 1 5

AL Cy Young

  1. Johan Santana, Twins. 11 51 (9)
  2. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox. 7 13
  3. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers. 5 11
  4. C.C. Sabathia, Indians. 3 9 (1)
  5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. 4 8
  6. John Lackey, Angels. 2 6 (1)
  7. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays. 2 6
  8. Kevin Millwood, Rangers. 1 5 (1)
  9. Justin Verlander, Tigers. 1 5 (1)
  10. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays. 1 1
  11. Rich Harden, Athletics. 1 1
  12. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox. 1 1

AL ROY

  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox. 12 56 (10)
  2. Alex Gordon, Royals. 11 37 (3)
  3. Delmon Young, Devil Rays. 9 17
  4. Philip Hughes, Yankees. 3 3
  5. Andy Marte, Indians. 1 1
  6. Brandon Wood, Angels. 1 1
  7. Adam Miller, Indians. 1 1
  8. B.J. Upton, Devil Rays. 1 1

As you'll see below, we've added a few other matters of import for our experts to weigh in on. Each BPer has cited a matchup he is looking forward to as a Game to Watch, along with his pick for the first manager to get fired in 2007.

We're also dishing out two preseason awards: the Cristian Antonio Guzman Award for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time, and the Brian Kingman Award for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games. Lastly, we've asked our crew to give their guess at Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka's first major league line.

In the division standings, the Wild Card team is marked with an asterisk.

Individual Ballots:

Kevin Goldstein

Game to Watch: Thursday July 5th, Twins at Yankees in a day game. Philip Hughes' pro debut. That's my gut.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Phil Garner

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Why, Cristian Guzman, of course.

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Gil Meche

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 19-7, 2.92, 211

STANDINGS

AL EAST           AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Red Sox           Indians             Angels
Yankees*          Tigers              A's
Devil Rays        White Sox           Mariners
Blue Jays         Twins               Rangers
Orioles           Royals

AL MVP

1. Manny Ramirez
2. Grady Sizemore
3. Alex Rodriguez

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Felix Hernandez

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Delmon Young

Joe Sheehan

The First Manager to Get Fired: John Gibbons

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Cesar Izturis

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Ricky Nolasco

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 18-5, 3.41, 215

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees          Indians             Rangers
Red Sox          Tigers              A's*
Orioles          White Sox           Mariners
Blue Jays        Twins               Angels
Devil Rays       Royals

AL MVP

1. Grady Sizemore
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Johan Santana

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Felix Hernandez
3. John Lackey

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Delmon Young
3. Alex Gordon

Dan Fox

Game to Watch: August 16, Giants at Braves. In the game Barry Bonds will hit home run number 756 and the game will be remarkable because of the lack of fanfare surrounding the event. The game is not a sellout, Braves fans boo, and there is no official ceremony.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Mike Hargrove

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Tony Pena Jr.

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Gil Meche

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 17-12 4.22 179

STANDINGS

AL EAST           AL CENTRAL        AL WEST

Red Sox           Indians           Angels
Yankees*          Tigers            Rangers
Blue Jays         Twins             A's
Orioles           White Sox         Mariners
Devil Rays        Royals

AL MVP

1. Grady Sizemore
2. Derek Jeter
3. David Ortiz

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Jeremy Bonderman
3. C.C. Sabathia

AL ROY

1. Alex Gordon
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Delmon Young

Marc Normandin

Game to Watch: Matsuzaka's first regular season start.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Buddy Bell

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Royce Clayton

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Any one of starters #2-5 in the Nationals pitching staff.

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 16-6, 3.79, 212

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees          Indians             Angels
Red Sox*         Twins               Rangers
Blue Jays        Tigers              A's
Orioles          White Sox           Mariners
Devil Rays       Royals

AL MVP

1. Travis Hafner
2. David Ortiz
3. Alex Rodriguez

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Halladay
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka

AL ROY

1. Alex Gordon
2. Delmon Young
3. Philip Hughes

Jay Jaffe

Game to Watch (game on the schedule that piques your interest, for whatever reason): Sunday, April 29. Matsuzaka's first start at Yankee Stadium, if my fingers can count correctly (sometime in that April 27-29 series). That or Philip Hughes' major-league debut, whenever that is.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Mike Hargrove

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Tony Pena Jr. (or maybe Cristian Guzman)

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): John Patterson

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 16-10, 3.75 ERA, 185 Ks

STANDINGS

AL EAST           AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees           Indians             Angels
Red Sox*          Twins               A's
Blue Jays         Tigers              Rangers
Devil Rays        White Sox           Mariners
Orioles           Royals

AL MVP

1. Grady Sizemore
2. Derek Jeter
3. Joe Mauer

AL CY YOUNG

1. John Lackey
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Jeremy Bonderman

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Delmon Young

John Perrotto

Game to Watch: Mets at Cardinals, April 1, NLCS rematch right out of the gate.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Sam Perlozzo

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Brad Ausmus

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Livan Hernandez

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 17-6, 3.12, 215

STANDINGS

AL EAST             AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees             Indians             Rangers
Blue Jays           Tigers*             Angels
Red Sox             Twins               A's
Devil Rays          White Sox           Mariners
Orioles             Royals

AL MVP

1. Travis Hafner
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Michael Young

AL CY YOUNG

1. Kevin Millwood
2. Johan Santana
3. Jeremy Bonderman

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Delmon Young

Nate Silver

Game to Watch: St. Louis at Detroit, Friday May 18

The First Manager to Get Fired: Grady Little

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Brad Ausmus

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Gil Meche

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 13-8, 3.57, 190

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees          Indians             Angels
Red Sox*         Tigers              A's
Blue Jays        Twins               Rangers
Devil Rays       White Sox           Mariners
Orioles          Royals
 

AL MVP
1. Grady Sizemore
2. Derek Jeter
3. David Ortiz

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. A.J. Burnett

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matzsuaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Phil Hughes

Ben Murphy

Game to Watch: September 16th, Yankees at Red Sox - Matsuzaka gets his 20th win in a Red Sox blowout at home.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Mike Hargrove

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Jose Vidro

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Horacio Ramirez

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 21-8, 3.80, 180

STANDINGS

AL EAST         AL CENTRAL      AL WEST

Yankees         Indians         A's
Red Sox         Twins*          Angels
Blue Jays       Tigers          Rangers
Devil Rays      White Sox       Mariners
Orioles         Royals

AL MVP

1. Grady Sizemore
2. David Ortiz
3. Joe Mauer

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Jeremy Bonderman
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka

AL ROY

1. Alex Gordon
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Phil Hughes

Will Carroll

Game to Watch: 4/22/07 - BOS at NYY. ESPN's Sunday Night Game, Matsuzaka vs Yanks. In two of his first three starts, Matsuzaka will face the Mariners and the Yankees, a fine coincidence of scheduling. While Ichiro vs. Matsuzaka will peak the interest across the Pacific, on this side of the ocean, it's Sox-Yanks that will get the prime time spotlight.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Phil Garner. The Astros are primed for another weak start in a tough division. Hard to believe he'll be gone quickly, but I don't see anyone else in the game who'll be fired.

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Brad Ausmus. Can Cristian Guzman win this award himself? I'd say Nook Logan if I thought he could keep the job, but I'll go with yet another Astro.

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): If John Patterson stays healthy, I think he's a lock, but I don't think he will. I'll give this to Paul Maholm, who deserves better.

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 19-11, 3.20, 195. The K's will go down as he learns to be efficient with his pitches. He'll have a lot of decisions, going deep into games in almost every start.

STANDINGS

AL EAST           AL CENTRAL         AL WEST

Red Sox           Indians            A's
Yankees*          Twins              Rangers
Devil Rays        White Sox          Angels
Blue Jays         Tigers             Mariners
Orioles           Royals

AL MVP

1. Carl Crawford
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Mark Teixeira

AL CY YOUNG

1. C.C. Sabathia
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
3. Rich Harden

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Delmon Young
3. Andy Marte

Alex Carnevale

Game to Watch: Opening Day at Safeco features Dan Haren versus King Felix, who will still be 20. Scary fun.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Eric Wedge

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Tony Pena Jr.

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Steve Trachsel

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 18-7, 4.35, 180 K

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL         AL WEST

Red Sox          Tigers             A's
Yankees*         Indians            Mariners
Blue Jays        Twins              Angels
Devil Rays       White Sox          Rangers
Orioles          Royals

AL MVP

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Manny Ramirez
3. Joe Mauer

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Halladay
3. Felix Hernandez

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Brandon Wood

Brad Wochomurka

Game to Watch: August 14th: Giants at Braves - 1st of a 4-game series… Bonds could break Aaron's record here or may be showing up in Atlanta after having recently broken it.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Mike Hargrove

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Ben Zobrist

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Matt Morris

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 16-9 3.36 175 K's

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Red Sox          Tigers              Angels
Yankees          Indians*            Rangers
Blue Jays        White Sox           A's
Orioles          Twins               Mariners
Devil Rays       Royals

AL MVP

1. Travis Hafner
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Vladimir Guerrero

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Jeremy Bonderman
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Delmon Young
3. B.J. Upton

Keith Woolner

The First Manager to Get Fired: Buddy Bell

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): Darin Erstad

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Eric Milton

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 15-9 W-L, 3.80 ERA, 190K

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Red Sox          Indians             Angels
Yankees          Tigers              A's
Devil Rays       Twins               Rangers
Blue Jays        White Sox           Mariners
Orioles          Royals

AL MVP

1. Grady Sizemore
2. Manny Ramirez
3. Carlos Guillen

AL CY YOUNG

1. Justin Verlander
2. Johan Santana
3. Jonathan Papelbon

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Adam Miller

Derek Jacques

Game to Watch: The game that could force me to get DirecTV would be a matchup between Johan Santana and Felix Hernandez, which is something that could happen as early as April 17 or as late as August 15-18. If it happens, I'll be watching. That game could feature two Cy Young contenders, just a handful of hits, and any of Santana's starts could feature him going for the lefty single-game strikeout record.

The First Manager to Get Fired: Mike Hargrove

Cristian Antonio Guzman Award (for the position player most likely to put up the lowest VORP in regular playing time): You mean the Bradley David Ausmus Award, right? So long as Ausmus remains healthy enough, the sky (or is it the basement?) is the limit!

Brian Kingman Award (for the pitcher most likely to lose 20 games): Gil Meche

Daisuke Matsuzaka W-L, ERA, K: 17-8, 3.28, 195

STANDINGS

AL EAST          AL CENTRAL          AL WEST

Yankees          Twins               Angels
Red Sox*         White Sox           Mariners
Devil Rays       Indians             A's
Blue Jays        Tigers              Rangers
Orioles          Royals

AL MVP

1. Vladimir Guerrero
2. Derek Jeter
3. David Ortiz

AL CY YOUNG

1. Johan Santana
2. Felix Hernandez
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka

AL ROY

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
2. Alex Gordon
3. Delmon Young

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