Thursday, April 17, 2008

The League's Predictions

Who will square off in the Season 8 World Series? Let's see what the owners of Ruth World think heading into the playoffs.
*Note that not everyone voted, and percentages were rounded.
Syracuse Snow Belt (73% picked to win AL)
No surprise here, Syracuse got the bulk of the votes for good reason. The top seed won 111 games through the impressive combination of the AL's most runs scored and least runs allowed. B.J. Karl will miss the playoffs, but I don't see that hurting the Snow Belt too much. Aurilia still leads an incredibly patient offensive attack, and late innings are not a problem as Hitchcock and the bullpen slams the door on teams. After a three-season vacation from the series, Syracuse has to be feeling good about their chances for a fourth trip to the fall classic.

San Francisco Flaxseeds (13.5%)
Like Syracuse, SF has been to the postseason every season and seeks their second WS title. They'll have to get past Philadelphia or Cincinnati in the second round, then probably Syracuse in the ALCS, to get that chance. Sammy Manzanillo has been watching the last 20+ games from the bench, so he should be well rested and ready to return to the 3-hole.

Philadelphia Freedoms (13.5%)
Big Trevor Donovan and crew wants to replace the bad taste left from last season's first round sweep at the hands of San Francisco. They're back in the postseason for the second time in their history after winning the AL East. But the injury bug hit knocking SP Tom Slaughter out for the season, which hurts even more in a short series. (I also want to give credit to desanders for giving an impartial prediction, he's the only owner who picked his team to win the pennant but lose the WS.)

Editor's Pick: Syracuse- this team's stacked. Tops in pitching and hitting, they're primed to make a run at another title.

Tacoma Pixies (50% picked to win NL)
Even scarier than the Pixies' 118 wins is that they actually didn't reach their expected win total (123). As long as you know who stays HIV-free, expect to see him in almost every playoff game. With a 3.07 team ERA, the NL's 2nd best scoring offense, and a record even better on the road, Tacoma's in good shape to reach their third WS in four seasons.

Chicago Boomtown (32%)
The three 20-game winners- Bryant, Walsh and Rando- combined for 921 IP, a 2.60 ERA, and a 75-20 record. They won't have room for error, as they'd likely have to go through the top two offenses in the NL to reach their first WS. But in the back of every Chicago fan's head lies our least favorite four words ... "Wait till next year."

Los Angeles Knights (9%)
Cy Young candidate Luis Johnson leads an impressive Knights club fresh off their second straight WC berth and a 101-win season. The offense is balanced throughout, but they'll really need to click in order to get past a new and improved San Juan team in the first round, Tacoma in the second round, and probably Chicago or St Louis in the NLCS. The pitching is strong enough to carry them if the bats can provide some run support.

St. Louis Armstrongs (9%)
The defending NL Champion Armstrongs are just as strong as last season, led by the top offense in the league and 3-time defending NL MVP Marvin Aurilia. They'll be without their CF and SS for part of the round 2 matchup with Chicago, but that shouldn't affect their potent offense. The top 3 SPs- Springer, Mendez and Franco- can be lethal, and will key how far the team goes as the offense will put up runs.

Editor's Pick: Chicago- sorry, gotta do it. Not just because I'm biased, but also because in a short series all you'll see is the three horsemen. It's tough to beat one of them, moreover all of them.

World Series Winner
So who do we think will take home the title?

Tacoma (42%)
Chicago (26.5%)
Los Angeles (10.5%)
Syracuse (10.5%)
San Francisco (5.25%)
St. Louis (5.25%)

The most common World Series matchup prediction was Tacoma vs. Syracuse (36% chose this matchup), with the Pixies picked as the winner in all but one of those matchups- I wonder who that one was?

Good luck to all the playoff teams, it's time to see who the Nostradamus' of the world are.