MLB.com's predictions for '08 season

MLB.com's predictions for '08 season

"We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives."
-- The Amazing Criswell

When it comes to predicting baseball's future for 2008, you could go pick up preview magazines like you always do. Sure, that's one way to do it.

Or you could ask Criswell.

The late psychic decades ago hosted a television show in L.A. and appeared in some really bad movies, notably Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space," where he uttered the above as part of a bizarre monologue. In a nutshell, Criswell made some predictions that were quite logical and in fact accurate, and many that were just plain loony, or beyond reproach.

But, hey, what's the difference between that and the annual baseball predictions?

Well, some practical research and baseball expertise to be sure, but it's still one person's or one group of people's opinion on something undetermined. In the end, they might be logical and accurate but they also might end up being plain loony.

Before we get all Criswell for MLB.com's predictions, let us retire first to the magazine rack, where we'll find the more traditional sources of annual baseball projections:

The Sporting News
The "Baseball Bible" recently merged with another preseason staple with staples -- Street and Smith's. The 2008 Sporting News Yearbook is one of the few publications going with the Red Sox as repeat champions, winning the World Series over the Cubs -- a far more popular pick to reach the World Series across the different publications.

World Series: Red Sox over Cubs
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Indians
NL East: Braves; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: D-backs; Wild Card: Phillies
AL MVP: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; NL MVP: Mark Teixeira, Braves.
AL Cy Young: Josh Beckett, Red Sox; NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano, Cubs.
AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Rays; NL Rookie of the Year: Cameron Maybin, Marlins.
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Rays; NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, Braves.

Sports Illustrated
World Series: Tigers over Cubs.
AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Indians
NL East: Mets; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Rockies; Wild Card: D-backs

ESPN the Magazine
World Series: Indians over Cubs.
AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Indians; AL West: Mariners; AL Wild Card: Red Sox.
NL East: Mets; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: D-backs; NL Wild Card: Rockies.

Lindy's
World Series: Tigers over Phillies
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Yankees
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: D-backs; Wild Card: Rockies
AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, Indians; NL MVP: David Wright, Mets.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers; NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano, Cubs.
AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Rays; NL Rookie of the Year: Jay Bruce, Reds.
AL Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland, Tigers; NL Manager of the Year: Charlie Manuel, Phillies.

Athlon
World Series: Red Sox over D-backs
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Yankees
NL East: Phillies; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: D-backs; Wild Card: Dodgers
AL MVP: David Ortiz, Red Sox; NL MVP: Ryan Howard, Phillies.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers; NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, D-backs.
AL Rookie of the Year: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; NL Rookie of the Year: Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs.

Beckett
World Series champion: Tigers.
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; AL Wild Card: Indians.
NL East: Mets; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Dodgers; NL Wild Card: D-backs.

MLB.com
Before we break it down, let's take the Criswell approach. His predictions usually went like this:

I predict full medical attention by vending machines.

OK, so . . .

A shortstop will win the National League MVP again, and that player's team will win the NL East. But it won't be Jimmy Rollins.

The Cubs are going to the World Series. We said going, not winning.

No one will hit 50 homers, but someone will win 20 games.

There will be zero no-hitters.

There will be a 163rd game again, this time in the American League.

Alex Rodriguez will have another Hall of Fame season, but the Yankees will lose that 163rd game to the Mariners.

Barry Bonds will play in '08. In Japan. Roger Clemens will not play.

Ichiro will break his single-season hits record and push toward 150 runs.

The MVP of the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium will be Derek Jeter.

The Tigers will score more than 1,000 runs and push the modern record of 1,067.

Now here's the breakdown of the basics:
World Series: Tigers over Cubs
ALCS: Tigers over Red Sox
NLCS: Cubs over Rockies
AL East: Red Sox; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels; Wild Card: Mariners
NL East: Mets; NL Central: Cubs; NL West: Rockies; Wild Card: Dodgers
AL MVP: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners; NL MVP: Jose Reyes, Mets.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers; NL Cy Young: Dan Haren, D-backs.
AL Rookie of the Year: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; NL Rookie of the Year: Jay Bruce, Reds.
AL Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland, Tigers; NL Manager of the Year: Lou Piniella, Cubs.

Of course, that's just one Criswell fan's opinion. And certainly as likely to be loopy as accurate.

John Schlegel is executive editor for the West Divisions for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.