Predicting Two Thousand and Nine

Grab your crystal ball or Gray’s Sports Almanac, volume two of course, because it is Prediction Friday at the CCO. Last year there was a three-part contest that included player and pitcher predictions, but this season the CCO is going to make it easy…one contest and one winner.

The Chicago Cubs are the favorite to win the National League Central Division for the third season in a row. Most think on paper the Cubs have one of the best teams in the league and in all of baseball. Some even think Lou Piniella’s crew could represent the Senior Circuit in some group of games at the end of the season that will stretch into November this year.

But what does the Faithful think? While the Cubs prepare to open the new Yankee Stadium, let’s have a little fun on the last Friday before Opening Day….

The NL Central

The mainstream media has spent the last week focusing on the Eastern Division in both leagues. Many feel those two divisions will feature the best teams in either league as well as the most competition….but that is why they play the games.

Going into last season, the NL West had gone from the worst division to the best according to many of the experts and the Central was still the ‘Comedy Central‘ before the year began.

While the Cubs won the division a year ago, the Central ended up being the most competitive from top to bottom in the NL, and arguably, in both leagues.

Here are a few of the mainstream predictions for the NL Central:

PECOTA is predicting the Cubs to win the Central with a 95-67 record and the rest of the division to shake out as follows:

  1. Chicago Cubs – 95-67
  2. Milwaukee Brewers – 84-78
  3. St. Louis Cardinals – 82-80
  4. Cincinnati Reds – 79-83
  5. Houston Astros – 70-92
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates – 64-98

Athlon Sports:

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Houston Astros
  4. Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Cincinnati Reds
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Red Sox beating the Phillies in the World Series

The Sporting News:

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Houston Astros
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Yankees beating the Cubs in the World Series

Dave Kaplan has the Cubs posting 99 wins this year…as well as the CCO’s own, Shaun O’Rourke.

But this is not about the experts, it’s about the Faithful. So what is your prediction for the NL Central for the upcoming season?

The Rest of Baseball

So if Lou Piniella’s crew is able to win a third straight crown, which teams could the Cubs wind up facing in October?

PECOTA is predicting the other races to finish as follows:

NL East

  1. New York Mets
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Florida Marlins

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. San Francisco Giants
  4. Colorado Rockies
  5. San Diego Padres

AL East

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

  1. Cleveland Indians
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Minnesota Twins
  5. Kansas City Royals

AL West

  1. Oakland A’s
  2. Los Angeles Angels
  3. Seattle Mariners
  4. Texas Rangers

So here’s the contest. Correctly predict the Cubs win-loss record for 2009. The winner will be donned the ‘Coolest Commenter on the CCO for 2009‘ and will receive something via the mail that we deem cool. Last year, the winners received a book I contributed information to. Predictions can be made up to first pitch on Monday night but the time stamp on your comment must be before 6:00pm.

Now here’s the twist…or tie breakers:

  • First tiebreaker – Correctly predict the finishing order of the NL Central. Not the records of all six teams, just the finishing order.
  • Second tiebreaker – Number of home runs for Kosuke Fukudome in 2009
  • Third tiebreaker – Number of home runs for Carlos Zambrano in 2009

Have fun, after all isn’t that what baseball is supposed to be…FUN!

And remember, Stay Classy Cubs Fans!

Opening Day is in THREE DAYS!

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe