Predicted Order of Finish:
Pitching: Sabathia is huge - in more ways than one. Following him are E.Jackson and Garza. Big drop off. Bullpen is Heath Bell and Soria. Both are good, but that's all there is.
Lineup: Easily the strength of the team. Where to begin... Votto, Tulo, Hanley, Braun, A-Rod. The second tier includes F.Gutierrez, Kemp, Yadier, Ethier, Polanco, and Infante. The Rhinos have an embarrassment of riches offensively. Defensively, Yadier, Tulo, and Gutierrez are 1's up the middle. Braun's 4 in LF won't hurt too much, but is necessary to get Hanley in at DH while Tulo mans SS.
Draft: The Rhinos won't be able to help themselves too much here, having only two picks in the first 50 (15, 31).
Needs: Pitching, pitching, pitching.
Best case scenario: 90-95 wins and another trip to the World Series.
Worst case scenario: 80-85 wins if they aren't able to add enough pitching, but don't bet on it.
Pitching: Cliff Lee, Liriano, de la Rosa are three pretty good lefties. Lackey would be #4, and he's not as good. The bullpen is really bare, with only Thornton and Moylan.
Lineup: As usual, the offense revolves around Pujols. This year, like last year, they revolve around him from a great distance. There are a couple of interesting pieces: C.Santana, D.Young, Rasmus, Soto... but that's about it.
Draft: Four picks in the top 50 (3, 19, 37, 47) and then another at pick 51.
Needs: 3b, RF, plus lots and lots of bullpen.
Best case scenario: 85-90 wins and a chance to challenge the Rhinos for the BUD title.
Worst case scenario: 75-85 wins and a sucky draft pick in 2012.
Pitching: Hamels and 3-4 other guys. Nolasco and Baker... Tommy Hunter, maybe. The pen isn't any deeper with Marmol, Mujica, and Frasor.
Lineup: The problem isn't the cards, it's the number of at bats those cards have. Youkilis, Morneau, Pedroia, Rollins... they all suffered injuries last year. Austin Jackson was a nice find in CF. Johnny Damon can still help out, but that's about it. Olivo and Aramis Ramirez won't scare anyone. Ditto Hafner and Soriano. The outfield defense has a cf-1, but the rest of them are all 4's and 5's.
Draft: Here's where the Wahoos will re-tool and possibly challenge the Rhinos. They have SEVEN picks in the first 50 (7, 12, 23, 28, 35, 39, 46).
Needs: Pitching, corner outfielders, catcher, and infield at bats.
Best case scenario: 85 wins.
Worst case scenario: 85 losses.
Pitching: Guthrie and Lewis are pitchable. Zito and Pineiro aren't terrible as the 3-4 guys. A deep bullpen will help. Clippard, McClellan, Adams, Franklin, and Broxton means the Goofs can take other things while everyone else is fighting over relievers.
Lineup: Shin-Soo Choo has become an elite player. Unfortunately for the Goofs, he's about it. Thome is gonna be scary at DH, but for a limited number of at bats. Phillips and A.Ramirez give the Goofs 1's at 2b/ss. Torii Hunter is still above average in cf. Hunter Pence isn't bad, but if Thome is the DH, there's no place for him to play.
Draft: Three picks in the top 50 (6, 22, 38).
Needs: LF, C, starting pitching.
Best case scenario: 80-85 wins.
Worst case scenario: 85-90 losses.