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

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Opening Day.jpg

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!!

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.