San Fancisco Giants:
The Giants are the defending World Series Champs and they will be contenders this year and many years to come due to Tim Lincecum. At 27 years old, Lincecum has already made three All-Star games, has two Cy Young awards and one World Series Championship ring. At only 165 lbs, he has one of the craziest deliveries I've ever seen. He can pitch against any other pitcher in the game today. A bonafide superstar.
The Rockies have a potential Triple Crown winner in Troy Tulowitzki. In 2007, he was the NL Rookie of the Year and helped the Rockies to their first World Series appearance. Injuries slowed him down in 2008, but he bounced back with two outstanding seasons in 2009 & 2010. Look for him to battle it out w/ Hanley Ramirez as the best shortstop in the game.
San Diego Padres
Matt Latos could turn out to be quite a catch for the Padres. In two MLB seasons, he's held opponents to about a .220 batting average and he averages almost 1 strikeout per inning.
Andre Ethier would start in any outfield in the bigs. He had a breakout year in 2009, when it seemed like every night, he was making the Sports Center Top Ten list for having a game winning hit. He was stung by the injury bug in 2010, which led to a drop in homeruns in RBIs, but his batting average was up 20 points from 2009.
I'm going with Chris Young on this one. He's got great power and can run. He should have some 30/30 seasons in his near future.
Keep watching as we work our way through the NL and onto the AL...
MLB Memorabilia & Merchandise for every team.
Now the NL Central...
When you're the reigning NL MVP, and you start the next season hitting .420, chances are, you're the best player on the team. Meet Joey Votto. After a little more that three full MLB seasons, he'll have 100 homeruns, hits around .315-.325. Last year, he hit 37 homeruns, and knocked in 113 RBI. If he keep putting up numbers like this, he'll be a Triple Crown threat for years.
I also like Aroldis Chapman and Edinson Volquez. When a guy can throw 105 MPH, you want him on your team and Volquez seems to have come back pretty strong after Tommy John Surgery.
St. Louis Cardinals
In 2002, he hit 34 homeruns, 127 RBIs and had a .314 batting average. In 2007, he hit 32 homeruns, 103 RBIs and batted .327. Statisticly speaking, these were the two worst years for Albert Pujols. Not too bad. He is one of the most dominating hitters the game has ever seen. By the time he's done, he probably have around 800 homeruns, 2,500 RBI and pretty close to 4,000 hits. He'll also own countless other MLB records as well.
In 2007, he exploded onto the MLB scene and won the National League Rookie of the Year. Ryan Braun has been an All Star and a Silver Slugger ever since. In 2009, he led the league in hits with 203 and he finished second in 2010, with 188. He hits for both power and average and should have a long and successful career ahead of him.
Although his best days might be behind him, Aramis Ramirez is still the best player on the Cubs roster. He still hit 20-25 homeruns this year and drive some runs in.
After a few down years in Philadelphia, Brett Myers joined the Astros in 2010 and had an outstanding year, going 14-8 and a 3.14 ERA.
The newly signed, Kevin Correia, is off to a great start in 2011. When he's on his game, he can be really good.
The NL East...
The Phillies are completely stacked. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are legitimate contenders for the HOF. So lets see, a Hall of Fame infield, what else do you need to keep balls from leaving the infield, howabout assembling one of the best starting rotations ever! Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels would be the ACE on many other MLB teams, but the guy who puts this team had and shoulders above the rest, is Roy Halladay. He's a 7x All-Star, 2x Cy Young winner, a perfect game, and only the second post season no-hitter ever. During his second career start, in 1998, he carried a non-no into the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, before it was broken up by a homerun. He still won the game, which was the first of his career. He is the best pitcher in the game today.
The Marlins have an excellent track record of home grown talent. They rarely go after "Big Ticket" free agents and they usually finish right around .500. Not too bad considering they play in the NL East. I'm not ready to jump on the Mike Stanton wagon yet (No offense Mike), but the best player on this team is the "The Manley from Miami," Hanley Ramirez. This 3x All Star is a big threat. If he puts the bat on the ball, its usually an extra base hit. If you walk him, you know he's stealing second. He's definitely a guy you want on your team.
How many pitchers go 13 years in the big leagues and not have a single losing season. I'm not sure either, but that can't be a long list. That's why I'm going with Tim Hudson. This 3x All Star was also the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year. I know 36 years old is not a exactly a spring chicken in baseball years, but checkout what Jamie Moyer did after he turn 36 at the end of the 1998 season. Of his 267 career wins, 163 came AFTER he was 36 years old. I'm not saying Tim will pitch until he's almost 50 years old, but as long as he keeps putting up W's, he'll have a place in the bigs.
I know all you Braves fans love Jason Heyward, but he's only played one season. Give him a few more years and he could be one of the best players in the game, just not yet.
New York Mets
The Mets have a solid infield w/ Ike Davis, Jose Reyes, and David Wright. All three are guys you'd want on just about any team, but the guy who makes Sports Center on a regular basis is David Wright. He makes diving stop after diving stop and he's good for about 25 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 100 RBI each year.
Since he was first called up at 21 years of age, Ryan Zimmerman has done nothing but produce. He hits the ball hard, drives runs in and doesn't strike out very often. He's got one Gold Glove so far (2009), but he could have a handful when everything is all said and done. The Nats have made so very, very good moves the last few years by drafting Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, then going out and signing Jason Werth. I like what they're doing in the Nation's Capital. They'll need to keep it up if they want to compete with the Phillies.
Now, The Junior Circuit.
If we learned anything from 2010, you don't mess with Texas! The Rangers won the AL West and virtually no one expected them to get out of the ALDS. One American League Pennant later and they finally get some respect. They are led by the most productive player in the American League, Josh Hamilton. The fact that he is even playing major league baseball is amazing by itself. He was called up to the BIGs in 2007, is a 3x All Star and is the reigning American League MVP. Despite all his setbacks, his natural ability to hit a baseball is incredible. If he can stay healthy, he stay wealthy ($12 million per year) and could have a Hall of Fame Career.