Given that the Major League Baseball season actually begins in just a couple hours, I figured now would be a good time to start an 2004 MLB season discussion thread, if its not then I’m sure it will be closed. First let me say I’m not a fan of the way the MLB did this. I don’t like the season starting in Japan, I don’t like that the Devil Rays lose 2 home games and the Yankees none, why not each team lose one? But, in terms of exporting the game across the globe, it’s a good thing and that I won’t deny. I don’t have a problem with the Yankees being the team to play the opener over there, they’re the most famous sports team in the world. Anyway, with the season starting in a couple of hours, and then another game on Sunday before things opened for real, I thought I’d give some predictions. MLB Predictions: *I’ll revisit these around the All Star break… AL East 1.New York Yankees 2.Boston Red Sox 3.Toronto Bluejays 4.Baltimore Orioles 5.Tampa Bay Devil Rays Comments: The division has wound up with this finish for like 4 years in a row, and I don’t see any reason for it to be different this season. Even if the Yankees suffer injuries it won’t matter because they just trade for whatever they need to replace. This is IMO the best division in the American League. Toronto could win 90 games and miss the playoffs. AL Central 1. Kansas City Royals 2. Minnesota Twins 3. Chicago White Sox 4. Cleveland Indians 5. Detroit Tigers Comments: I’m taking the Royals to win the division because I like the offseason moves they made, and Minnesota has slipped a bit with questions about the pen. This could be the most competitive division in baseball with 4 teams having a shot to win it, but it will also be the division won with the least number of wins in the 85-90 win range. I’m sure Detroit will be better, maybe they’ll only lose 100 and not 119? AL West 1.Anaheim Angels 2.Oakland Athletics 3.Seattle Mariners 4.Texas Rangers Comments: The easiest part of picking this division is filling Texas in last place. I like Anaheim more than the other 2 teams, but all 3 have a shot at it. AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox NL East 1.Atlanta Braves 2.Philadelphia Phillies 3.Florida Marlins 4.Montreal Expos 5.New York Mets Comments: This is not an impartial projection for this division, I refuse to pick against my team, although if I were to be honest I’d go Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta, Montreal and New York. NL Central 1.Houston Astros 2.Chicago Cubs 3.St. Louis Cardinals 4.Milwaukee Brewers 5.Cincinnati Reds 6.Pittsburgh Pirates Comments: This division contains 2 really good teams, 1 above average team, and 3 awfully bad teams. I would be shocked if the wildcard team does not come from this division. NL West 1.San Francisco Giants 2.San Diego Padres 3.Los Angeles Dodgers 4.Colorado Rockies 5.Arizona Diamondbacks Comments: The Dodgers still can’t hit, the Padres are the rising team in the division, but they’re not to the Giants level just yet. The Rockies will be better, of course I seem to say that about the Rockies every year, and I predict that Randy Johnson will be traded off of the Diamondbacks before the deadline. NL Wildcard: Chicago Cubs World Series Prediction: Angels over Astros Just for the fun of it, even though I’m less sure on these than my standings predictions… AL MVP: Vernon Wells (Blue jays) NL MVP: Barry Bonds (Giants) AL Cy Young: Javier Vazquez (Yankees) NL Cy Young: Kerry Wood (Cubs) AL Rookie of the Year: Joe Mauer (Twins) NL Rookie of the Year: Adam LaRoche (Braves) Actually, I know very little about the NL rookies this year. Lets have a good season, and I wish all your teams well, unless they’re Atlanta’s division rivals.