Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Last year included probably the most exciting baseball season of my life.
The season ranked right up there with 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa went back-and-forth in search of the homerun record. I was at Coors Field when McGwire hit a homerun that year and remember watching batting practice and thinking it was one of the greatest displays of showmanship I had ever seen. I remember checking SportsCenter every night to see if McGwire or Sosa went deep. I remember sitting on a coffee table in my parents' living room when McGwire finally hit No. 62.
Last year was different but better.
It was indescribable to see the Colorado Rockies' run. The playoff-clinching game against San Diego will always be in my pantheon of five greatest sports moments ever. The way a team could go from the kid with no friends to the prom king runner-up in three months, was unbelievable.
Unfortunately, last year's over. Las Vegas currently has the Rockies over/under for wins at 83. Not sure how I feel about that number, but here are a few predictions I'm confident in:
A.L. Rookie of the Year
Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay
A number of players could win this award, but Longoria is best suited for a full season. He tore it up in college and the minors and should do so in the majors.
N.L. Rookie of the Year
Cameron Maybin - Florida
Maybin might be the most exciting young outfielder in the game. He'll definitely get his chances with the Marlins, as outside of Hanley Ramirez, Florida's devoid of a lot of proven talent.
Curtis Granderson - Detroit
Last year, Granderson hit 20 homeruns and had 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 steals. With Detroit's lineup being one of the toughest in the game, Granderson will continue to flourish. Don't be surprised to see all those numbers reach 30.
David Wright - New York
The best hitter in the best National League lineup. Look for Wright to hit .330 with 40 homeruns and 120 RBI.
A.L. Cy Young
Justin Verlander - Detroit
The best young starter in the league. There's no doubt he'll get run support, so Verlander's the best bet in the American League to be a shoo-in for 20 wins.
N.L. Cy Young
Jake Peavy - San Diego
Peavy's the most consistent pitcher, has some of the best stuff and plays in the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the game.
A.L. West Champion
A.L. East Champion
A.L. Central Champion
A.L. Wild Card
N.L. West Champion
N.L. East Champion
N.L. Central Champion
N.L Wild Card
A.L Championship Series
Boston def. Cleveland in six
N.L. Championship Series
Arizona def. Chicago in five
Arizona def. Boston in seven
You heard it here first.