A brutal eight-game losing streak has taken the Atlanta Braves from first to worst in the NL East.
The Weekend Takeaway
It’s not all that hard to go from first to last in nine days this early in the season. To do so as resoundingly as the Braves have, though, takes a special kind of awfulness.
At the end of play on May 20, Fredi Gonzalez’s team was 26-16 and enjoyed a 1 ½-game lead in the National League East. At the close of shop last night, the Braves had slipped to 26-24 and sat in a last-place tie with the Phillies, four games behind the first-place Nationals.
With All-Star selection around the corner, the BP staff fills out their ballots for who deserves to start in the Midsummer Classic.
It’s July, and that means another All-Star Game, one which—we might as well get this out of the way now—won’t be as exciting as those wonderful old All-Star Games when important things happened, like Ted Williams breaking his elbow and Dizzy Dean breaking a toe (Williams said he was never the same hitter; Dean destroyed his arm with altered mechanics) and Ray Fosse getting run over because damn it, Pete Rose just had to win an exhibition game.
(It is at times like these that I like to recall Mickey Mantle’s immortal words on the subject of Rose: “If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete, I’d wear a dress.”)
Gordon is off to the excellent start we've all waited years for, but is it legitimate?
He once carried so much fantasy promise. Former first round draft pick—and second overall selection—Alex Gordon was as can’t miss as they come. In his final season at Nebraska before joining the professional ranks, he swept the major collegiate player of the year awards. Upon playing his first full professional season in the Royals organization at Double-A Wichita, he won the Texas League Player of the Year Award and was tabbed the minor league player of the year by Baseball America. In our 2007 BP Annual, we were downright giddy with anticipation:
There's a rising favorite in the AL Central, as our experts weigh in on everything from division winners to Matsuzaka's line.
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.
BP staffers work their magic and offer their predictions for the American League this season.
When BP welcomes new contributors, we like to test them right away--usually by demanding that they take out their crystal ball. Yes, it's time to wrap up the off-season by predicting what things will look like at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
In part one of this two-part series, we focus on the American
League, concentrating on the division standings and the major
player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year). Tomorrow
we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with
the staff picks for the World Series representatives.