Surprise AL team: Tampa Bay. (Last year: Cleveland. Dead on.)
Cleveland, last year, eh? Pecota had them at 90 wins. Their Pythag for 2006 was 89-73 (they finished 78-84). I guess I can't fault him for being right, but it sort of seems like it was an easy prediction. Maybe I'm being picky.
Disappointing AL team: Chicago. (Last year: Toronto. Good call; 83 wins and a non-factor.) The White Sox have much too far to go to make up ground on Detroit and Cleveland. This team lost 90 games last year, was outscored by 146 runs and is staring smack in the face of aging issues. They might not be as bad as last year, but so what?
Ooooookay. I call bullish. Wouldn't a team have to have some expectation of success to be a potential disappointment? As Verdukes says himself, they were bad last year and are one year creakier now. They won 72 games last year, and are bringing in a couple good-not-great hitters in Orlando Cabrera and Nick Swisher. Pecota has them at 77-85 this year. Some reknowned author said of the AL Central "I don't see much separation between the other three clubs: Chicago, Kansas City and Minnesota." All this indicates that a .500 finish is probably asking too much. So what exactly will they need to do to disappoint? 100 losses?
I'm rambling. The point is, this call was made so that next year, after the White Sox win 74 games, Tom can say "Dead On." like he was the only man on the planet who didn't have them winning 93 games.
Disappointing NL team: Houston. (Last year: San Francisco. Dead on.) I like the unorthodox style and production from Hunter Pence, and the Astros may score a few more runs, but I just don't see enough pitching on hand here.
Same deal. Nobody expects anything of Houston, so how can they disappoint?
In conclusion: wheeeee, baseball's here.