Early Season Convictions

We’re nearly a week into the regular season. There’s a few things that I either wrote on or thought we would see happen in this 2010 season, and I want them on record because I’m even more convinced of them after a week into things. This would be like SI’s Peter King’s ’10 things I think I think’, but only the MLB version and Diamond Hoggers.
So here they are:
  • Carlos Gonzalez (CarGo) of Colorado is the type of player who could lead the NL in hits and hit over .300 for the season. I think he is a perennial 200-hit guy.
  • Chris Perez won’t relinquish the Indians closer role. He’ll do so well filling in for Kerry Wood that the Indians will be able to trade Wood if they want or use him in another role. Perez will be a bright spot for the Indians. He’s 2 for 2 in save opportunities so far.
  • The Reds lineup is particularly thin. When guys like Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen don’t hit you get what we’ve had the last couple of games. An ugly two or three runs by the Reds offense. Jay Bruce has started this season poorly and the pressure is seemingly mounting with every at-bat until he gets out of this bad luck funk.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are for real. I don’t know why others picked them to be one of the best teams in baseball, but I saw them as a team who is loaded both up and down the lineup and in their starting pitching. Matt Garza has Cy Young stuff, and Evan Longoria is going to have as good of a year as anyone in the big leagues.
  • Chad Billingsley is a lot better then the #3 starter for the Dodgers, but going against other #3’s is going to benefit him greatly. The guy will be their top starter by the end of the year.
  • Grady Sizemore is going to return to his pre-2009 form.
  • Justin Upton has a legitimate shot at going 40/40.
  • The Red Sox are the third best team in the AL East, which still might make them one of the better teams in baseball. We find out who is the best team in the division this weekend when Tampa hosts the New York Yankees.
  • The Atlanta Braves have a lot of character and have every reason to play hard and win every night due to the players love for Bobby Cox. When guys go to the Braves, they often say he’s the finest manager they’ve ever played for. This is a HUGE factor in terms of what you get out of a collective group. They’re going to be a tough game for the entire slate of 162.
  • Jason Heyward will win the NL ROY. He’s not going to be without his struggles, but his talent isn’t going anywhere. He won’t have the success Pujols had as a rookie but he’ll be without the struggles Justin Upton had before he broke out. He’s somewhere in between which is head and shoulders above the rest.
  • Shin Soo Choo is going to be viewed as a pretty darn good Major League Player by seasons end. The Indians brass already knows what we do not. A .300/25/100 is totally within the realm of possibility.
  • The Giants have a ton of pitching and with any lineup at all could win the AL West. Problem is, after Pablo Sandoval their lineup isn’t much to write home about.
  • Andrew Mccutchen is a legitimate young star for the Pirates.

There’s more, I’m just not remembering everything. I wanted to have these things on record as they are thing I strongly believe we’ll see as a theme over the course of the season.