Brace yourself...The Philadelphia Phillies will win the NL East in 2007 with a 92-70 record and proceed to dominate in the playoffs, finishing up October with a World Series championship. Before you try to slap my image silly with your mouse cursor, please let me entertain and illuminate you as to why I am predicting this. The 92 wins are based on a exceedingly complex mathematical formula that I devised and accounts for statistical projections, my intuition/hunch/gut feeling, a Magic 8-ball, a Ouija board, and a time machine. If you remember, it is me that predicted 85-86 wins last year, so you best believe me now. By the way, for today only I am known as Pythagoras.
1B- Ryan Howard. Let me break this down so that even Charlie Manuel could comprehend, this man is a beast! However, I do not expect Howard to duplicate his monster season of '06 (that's not pessimistic, it's realistic). I do foresee MVP like numbers though once again- .290 AVG, 45+ HR, 125+ RBI...I'll take that. Something else to look for, improved defense at firstbase from the Mammoth.
2B- Chase Utley. He is my prediction for 2007 NL MVP. I know others may put up gaudier stats, but the Phils are winning the World Series and the world is going to see that Utley is their leader. Call me crazy, but he could possibly blast 40 longballs this year.
SS- Jimmy Rollins. Last year will be his career year for "power", but don't worry he will still jack about 18. This is the season Rollins puts it all together and bats for average, takes walks to increase on base %, gets his extra base hits, steals bases, and scores tons of runs.
3B- Wes Helms. It felt oh so good not to type David Bell after that "-". Helms will do just fine with the bat. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him put up .290 AVG, 23 HR, 85+ RBI, it's the mitt we're worried about. Hopefully Helms is adequate enough at manning the hot corner so that Fuqua isn't tempted with starting No-Hit Nunez there instead.
C- Rod Barajas. I was unhappy with this signing at first, but I am liking it more and more as time goes by. Barajas has decent pop in his bat and is a quality defensive backstop and calls a good game.
LF- Pat Burrell. Many of us are Burrell fans and want nothing more than for him to succeed. He'll hit homeruns and get his RBI's, but I expect a repeat of last season.
CF- Aaron Rowand. Love his hard-nosed style play, hate his bat. He's looked horrible all spring and I just don't see him turning it around. In my eyes, he's a .250 hitter with poor on base skills, and average extra base potential. Trade him for a quality setup man!
RF- Shane Victorino. Expect a breakout season from this guy. I expect him to have double-digits in doubles, triples, homeruns, and stolen bases, not to mention scoring a butt-load of runs while playing Gold Glove worthy defense.
1. Brett Myers. He is ready to harness all of that angst and take it out on opposing teams. He's the ace, and he will win 20 games and the NL Cy Young (I'm being serious).
2. Cole Hamels. He will continue to experience peaks and valleys until he establishes himself on the inner-half of the plate against righties, but he will still win a fair share of games with plenty of k's.
3. Jamie Moyer. Grand Pappy will do exactly what we expect, which is pitch 200 innings with a mid-4 ERA and do Junior Dick-Dick Dubee's job (pitching coach).
4. Adam Eaton. If he stays healthy the entire season, it quite truly would be divine intervention and the Phillies will certainly win the World Series. I don't know what the hell to expect from Eaton honestly.
5. Freddy Garcia. Lets all take a moment to pray that we didn't get bamboozled in this trade. We NEED a healthy Garcia to give us a minimum of 30 starts.
Closer- Tom Gordon. As is the case with Eaton, if Gordon manages to elude the DL, the baseball gods are smiling on us.
Swingman- Donut-Eater. Lieber is still on the team, so I'm assuming he pitches long relief and spot starts. In the best case scenario, he ends up becoming a lights out reliever and steps in as a setup man.
The Rest- Clay Condrey, Ryan Madson, Geoff Geary, Matt Smith, Antonio Alfonseca. Wow, what a crap-heap! This group could suprise us though, here's how- Madson returns to '04 form, Geary replicates last season, Smith continues his MLB success, Condrey finds a way not to suck, and Alfonseca pitches like he did when he was closing.
Jayson Werth, Chris Coste, and Carlos Ruiz will probably all receive playing time as the receiver during the season. I love Ruiz's batting potential and Coste was awesome last year. Werth will also backup corner outfield along with Greg Dobbs who was scorching hot this spring. Abe Nunez, whom I detest, will be the primary infield replacement player. The speedy Michael Bourn has a chance at making the squad and would be a useful pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the outfield.
Pitchers- Eude Brito, Fabio Castro, Zack Segovia, Brian Mazone, Ryan Cameron, and Brian Sanches. Joe Bisenius looks primed and ready now, and I predict he will be in the Phils 'pen within a month and become a reliable cog for Manuel to use.
Positional Players- Danny Sandoval, Brent Abernathy, Jason Jaramillo, Ron Calloway, Lou Collier, and Chris Roberson.
Don't bother reasoning with me, I'm too hopped up on hope to opt out of my optimism.