I picked up two baseball magazines yesterday, wanting to see what they had to say about our Chicago teams. I was a faithful reader of Street and Smith's, and had those yearbooks going back to something like 1972, but I can't find them anymore. (Are they out of business?)
Anyway, Athlon Sports yearbook has the Cubs third behind the Cardinals and the Brewers, in the NL Central. They have the White Sox second behind Minnesota in the AL Cental.
Lindy's Sports yearbook has both Chicago teams second in their divisions, behind the Cards and the Twins respectively.
I felt that Athlon had a bit of a bias against the Cubs, placing Derrick Lee at the bottom of the second tier of major league first baggers (13th overall), for their fantasy projections. They admit that his numbers from last year would place him firmly in their so-called "first tier" players, but that his age should lead to diminished expectations. Aramis Ramirez heads up the second tier of third baemen, and then admit that it is because of his injury filled 2009 season that he's here. Stil I can't fault them ranking him as the fifth best third baseman in the majors...that sounds about right.
They have Ted Lilly ranked as the 30th best starter in MLB, placing him in the middle of the tier 3 guys, but admit that he would be higher, solidly tier 2, if he wasn't coming off shoulder surgery. The surprising thing to me was that they rank Carlos Zambrano near the bottom of the tier 3 guys, at number 46. Okay, the guy has been a head case in the past, but his numbers support him being better than this, I believe. Ryan Dempster is at 63, in the middle of the tier 4 guys. And Randy Wells is a tier 5 guy, at 89.
Then again, they rank Mark Buehrle, who will start the season on opening day for the Sox, as the 38th best starter, surpassed on his own team by Jake Peavy, John Danks and Gavin Floyd. I understand these are fantasy rankings, and that they don't necessarily relate to how valuable these guys are to their teams, but I still think Zambrano should be higher up than 46.
Anyway, spring training is in full swing and it promises to be an interesting season on both sides of town.