2005 MLB Predictions

Joe Beatty

While the other teams in the NL East continue to stockpile talent, the Braves keep getting it done on the field. Until they are dethroned, it is really tough to pick against them. Tim Hudson and John Smoltz should be in the Cy Young race all season.

The addition of Carlos Delgado gives the Marlins some needed pop, and if Josh Beckett can finally harness his potential for a full season, the Fish could be right back in the World Series hunt.

The Nationals may not have had gaudy numbers in Montreal, but they were pretty competitive even while playing essentially two-thirds of their games on the road. Playing in front of sellout crowds and without the threat of contraction will do wonders.

It was another year, another off-season spending spree for the Mets. Pedro Martinez has been on the down side of his career for years, and Kris Benson has yet to have one good season. Carlos Beltran and David Wright will be money, but that won’t be enough to keep the Flushings afloat.

The Phillies have quietly put together a disaster waiting to happen. Their starting pitching is a joke, and after Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu, the lineup is going to have a hard time putting men on base, much less scoring runs.

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1. Atlanta Braves2. Florida Marlins3. Washington Nationals4. New York Mets5. Philadelphia Phillies

Tye Smith

A new face at Shea Stadium means Met opponents will have a new war cry-Who’s your daddy? That’s right-the man with the Jeri Curl to shame all other Jeri Curls, Pedro Martinez, will be hurling the ball for the Mets this season. If he can’t make the difference, then perhaps the bats of Carlos Beltran (another Met newbie) and a healthy Mike Cameron can. (Mike Piazza probably can’t-too old).You would have to be an idiot not to take the Braves to win their 14th consecutive division title. That’s why I have them coming in second. I am an idiot. With John Smoltz back in the starting rotation and the acquisition of Tim Hudson in the offseason, the Braves will do what they always do-pitch the living hell out of the ball. The Marlins are good. They have a stable of awesome young pitchers like Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis (the guy with the huge kick-delivery) as well as the newly acquired veteran Al Leiter. The fish have some pretty good bats too. The Marlins have at least six hitters that could easily finish the year with batting averages over .300.The Phillies fired the high-strung Larry Bowa and replaced him with laid-back Charlie Manuel. Bowa couldn’t get any level of consistency from this team with his anger, so they’re trying something different to motivate them. Sounds like a great combination-lots of overpaid, underachieving veterans with a relaxed manager that doesn’t demand anything. I wanted to take the Nationals to win the pennant, but they didn’t have any hats at Fanzz for the picture at the top of the column. I don’t even know the names of any players on the Nationals-suffice it to say they suck-but I like the fact that they are currently undefeated as a franchise. [email protected]

1. New York Mets2. Atlanta Braves3. Florida Marlins4. Philadelphia Phillies5. Washington Nationals

Asad Kudiya

It’s really tough to pick against the Braves especially after last season. Most critics thought it was a year the Braves wouldn’t win the division, but Atlanta prevailed, and this year they are even better. Adding Tim Hudson to the rotation not only gives this team an ace on the staff, but it makes them my pick to be the division winner. Andruw Jones looked great in the spring, Chipper Jones is healthy and John Smoltz is returning to the starting rotation. How could they not win? After all, it will be in the regular season.The addition of Carlos Delgado is huge for the Marlins, who needed a big-time threat in the heart of the lineup. Josh Beckett was very inconsistent last year, but he certainly has the talent to be a great ace. The rest of the rotation is really good, but it won’t be enough catch the Braves. They will probably be better in the playoffs than the Braves, however.The Mets added Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, but that still doesn’t make up for the fact that the Mets are glorified underachievers. Pedro is not what he used to be, and the rest of the rotation is nothing special. The lineup is good but not enough to power them to the division title.Larry Bowa is gone, so the Philly players can breathe easy, but Jon Lieber is the ace of the Phillies and that is a problem. Although he had a good year last season with a 14-8 record, he is 35 and not getting any better. Fourth place it is for Philly.Expansion teams always suck their first year so the Nationals will have to deal with last [email protected]

1. Atlanta Braves2. Florida Marlins3. New York Mets4. Philadelphia Phillies5. Washington Nationals

Matthew Piper

Two notes: Fanzz didn’t have Marlins hats, nor can I stomach being seen wearing one. Nevertheless, the Marlins are the obvious pick to win the NL East, based on the futility of the rest of the division. With a $20 million paycheck, Carlos Delgado is actually one of their biggest question marks at first base. No doubt the lefty run-producing machine will still be a significant upgrade to the contact-heavy lineup. With more strong arms than North Korea, provided that Guillermo Mota doesn’t blow too many games, they should cruise.The Phillies didn’t add any big-name free agent pitchers in the off-season, and they will concede a lot of runs. Regardless, the “nowhere to go but up” rule applies here. If Pat Burrell sticks to his meds, the Phillies could have an offense to match any team in baseball. Yes, that includes the Yankees and the Cardinals.The Braves added Tim Hudson in the offseason and all of a sudden their starting pitching problems are over, apparently. I don’t buy it. Smoltz’s annual transition will give the Braves two frontline starters and one decent reliever (Kolb). They have the potential to win a lot of regular season games, but youth and depth will hinder them in August/September.The Mets followed New York City franchise ordinances, overspending for Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez in the hopes of selling more jerseys. With the exception of Jose Reyes and David Wright, every player on the Mets’ roster is well past their prime. On paper, they still look pretty good, assuming that paper is the disabled list. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nationals overtake them. Speaking of which, they have to do better playing in front of more than 2,000 people, right? Um, when you’re best player is Jose Vidro, [email protected]

1. Florida Marlins2. Philadelphia Phillies3. Atlanta Braves4. New York Mets5. Washington Nationals