Winners! Losers! Awards! Your 2010 predictions, guaranteed correct or your money back

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Never make predictions, especially about the future.

— Casey Stengel

That’s some great advice, Casey, but it’s Opening Day, we’re all happy and giddy and optimistic and everything, so let’s moot the entire season right now by telling you everything that’s going to happen.  As the headline says, 100% correct or your money back.

THE DIVISION RACES

If you’ve been following the Springtime Storylines you already know what I think is going to happen in all the races this year, but let’s put them all down in one place so that they’ll be easier to find this October when you’re all ready to congratulate me for my shocking prescience. Links go to the full-blown team preview.

AL East: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays
AL Central: Twins, Tigers, White Sox, Royals, Indians
AL West: Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Athletics

NL East: Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Mets, Nationals
NL Central: Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Cubs, Astros, Pirates
NL West: Rockies, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres

Predicting the playoffs is a fool’s errand because approximately 3,252 things are going to happen between now and October that will impact all that, but why not?

  • Yankees beat the Twins and the Rays beat the Angels in the ALDS
  • Yankees beat the Rays in the ALCS
  • Braves beat the Cardinals and the Rockies beat the Phillies in the NLDS
  • Rockies beat the Braves in the NLCS
  • Yankees beat the Rockies in the World Series

Oh, stop your complaining. It’s not like you know any better.

AWARDS

AL MVP: Kendry Morales. I can’t say why other than to say that no one on the Yankees or Rays will get credit for a great year because it’ll be viewed as a total team effort and because writers will only vote for Mauer and Morneau so many times.

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, partially because he’s awesome, partially because Pujols fatigue will cause voters to search for other candidates despite the fact he’s still the best player in baseball.

AL Cy Young:  CC Sabathia because, despite the fact that Greinke will pitch better than him, the writers won’t want to give another 16 game winner the Cy Young. And no, last night’s game won’t matter in all of this, so just cut it out.

NL Cy Young:  Roy Halladay, who will simply abuse the NL this year.

AL Rookie of the Year:  Austin Jackson, not because he’s better than all the other rookies, but because he’ll have a lot more plate appearances and will compile some respectable numbers.

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward. We are all witnesses.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, for managing an insanely talented team whose talent people won’t fully acknowledge past a flawed Red Sox team that no one will admit is flawed.

NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox. Part retirement gift, part legitimate for passing the Phillies, who everyone on the planet except me is picking to win the East.

So that’s that. As Johnny liked to say in the World Series threads last fall: MARK IT DOWN!!

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”