1. Tampa Bay Rays
James Shields loss should impact this team, however the Rays are excellent at
bringing up young arms to fill the spot. This ranking is based solely on the idea
that Evan Longoria can stay healthy over the course of a full season. I'm also
expecting big things from Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers.
2. Boston Red Sox
Now this may be optimistic on my part (being a Sox fan and all), but I believe
having John Farrell back in town can only help this team. No more Valentine = no
more circus (hopefully). Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia need to stay healthy;
Lester and Buchholz need to step up as leaders; and big time impacts will be needed
from Rubby De la Rosa, Allen Webster and Jackie Bradley Jr. at some point
during the season for this prediction to hold true.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
I'm not nearly as optimistic as everyone else on the Blue Jays. Big signings don't
always equal big time success. Three factors will play a large role in their win-loss
record this season... the health of Jose Bautista and Josh Johnson, and R.A.
Dickey being able to handle the move to the A.L. East.
4. New York Yankees
An old, overpaid and injury riddled roster will cause the fall of the evil empire. This
team reeks of desperation after trading for an also washed up, overpaid Vernon Wells.
Their pitching could be their saving grace, but even that won't be enough.
5. Baltimore Orioles
I didn't buy into them last year and the same applies this year. Baltimore didn't do
anything to better their club over the winter, and I seem to agree with most people
that they played over their heads last year.
1. Detroit Tigers
Having Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Justin Verlander will lead this team
much like last year. Throw in a healthy Victor Martinez to improve their lineup
with a strong season from rookie closer Bruce Rondon and I expect them to
easily take the division.
2. Kansas City Royals
The addition of James Shields, a 200 inning pitcher who thrived in the tough A.L.
East was a big coup. I'm expecting Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to continue
producing at a high level as well. However, the improvements from Eric Hosmer,
and Mike Moustakas along with a full season from Salvador Perez will push this
team into playoff contention.
3. Chicago White Sox
Jake Peavy will put up another 200 IP and 200 K season, but it won't be enough
to carry this aging roster (see Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko).
4. Minnesota Twins
Mauer, Morneau, and Willingham won't be enough offense to make up for the sub
par pitching I expect from the staff.
5. Cleveland Indians
The Indians had a very aggressive off season, adding Swisher, Reynolds, Stubbs and
Bourn. This team is relying on Ubaldo Jimenez being able to re-establish himself as
one of the better pitchers in baseball. I don't see the off season acquisitions or
Ubaldo Jimenez being able to deliver.
1. L.A. Angels
Mike Trout. Mike Trout. Mike Trout... oh yeah and Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton,
and Mark Trumbo. Is that enough offense for you? I thought so too as you can see
by the rankings. Throw in a pitching staff that includes the likes of Jered Weaver,
C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hanson (who I expect to have a bounce back season).
2. Texas Rangers
Adding A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman but subtracting Josh Hamilton from
the lineup will cause the Rangers will lose their reign atop the A.L. West. Look for
Jurickson Profar to get called up at some point around mid season.
3. Oakland Athletics
The Athletics will field a competitive team, but no one seriously believes they have
a shot at the division. They are lacking top name talents, and rely too heavily on
breakout candidates from last year in Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss. Yoenis
Cespedes is sure fun to watch though.
4. Seattle Mariners
The additions of Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales will improve their offense, but
it won't be enough to take the Mariners seriously.
5. Houston Astros
If you like minor league baseball, look no further... the Astros are your team to watch.
Roster = a mess! This could be a long rebuilding process.
SEASON PICKSAL East