Conventional “baseball” wisdom says that the American League is the better league. Beating the National League for six consecutive All-Star games would prove that. Unfortunately for the AL, two out of three World Series titles have gone to the other league (Cardinals, Phillies).
In our second installment of the TSS MLB Preview, we give our staff picks to those teams who could possibly shift the balance of power back to the AL. With the snore of the AL West and the unpredictability of the AL Central, trust that the AL East soap opera will continue to dominate the sports pages.
–On a side note, I just hope I don’t have to see any A-Rod (“A” standing for arrogant) flicks ever again.
Feel free to backtrack & read yesterday’s entry previewing the National League.
AL East Projected Standings — Patrick M.
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays
This is a brutal division – the top 3 teams may be the 3 best teams in baseball and Baltimore and Toronto could both compete for a playoff spot in weaker divisions. Ultimately I’m picking the Red Sox for 3 reasons. First I’m from Boston and have been predicting the Sawx would take the Division since I was sucking on my mother’s teat. Second Tampa Bay, who has the most top to bottom (including minors) talent of any organization in baseball, will be unable to duplicate the performances of their defense and bullpen of 2008. And third, Boston’s relative youth and depth will be just enough to overcome the 450 million dollar Recession Spending Spree of the Bronx Bombers.
AL Central Projected Standings — Jason Hortillas
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers
This perennial competitive division seems to work in cycles. One year the Twins are nasty, another year the Tribe gets hot and even a couple a years ago the White Sox go and win a World Series. In this merry-go-round of a division, we can all agree on one thing – Detroit will be in the gutter of the division. I’d put my money on Minnesota to take the division based on overall young talent with the likes of Morneau, Nathan and Mauer. As for the Indians, a team does not live by Cliff alone – Cliff Lee that is. Yes, C.C. Sabathia blew for Cleveland prior to their trade but obviously the loss is still a blow to the rotation. With the return of a hopefully healthy duo of Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner, the division won’t be an absolute lock for their rival the Twins.
AL West Projected Standings — MZ
1. California Angels
2. Oakland A’s
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
Nothing summarizes the AL West better than “Outta Sight, Outta Mind” as it’s typical for three (sometimes four) teams to finish the year sub .500. With that being said, the California Angels should runaway with this division… as long as their starting pitching stays on the level it was last year. Bobby Abreu will help solidify lineup and protect Vladamir Guerrero. If the Angels were to stumble, look for Oakland or Texas to contend for the title. Billy Beane actually went out and got some marquee names, but the pitching is young and unproven. Texas is a team on the cusp and need the pitching to play to the level of their lineup. As for Seattle… at least Ken Griffey, Jr. should put some fans in the seats for awhile.
AL Wildcard Projected Standings — MZ
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
3. Oakland A’s
4. Minnesota Twins
It should come down between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and New York Yankees, because whoever comes in second in the AL Central is the wild card winner. These three teams are to toast of the AL and it will be a dogfight. The Yankees will have to deal with the ongoing A-Rod story and The Rays will be looking to not falloff after an amazing run last year. Injuries will play just as much a part of this as anything, but I’ll pick the Yankees. Why? 450 million has to count for something, even in a Recession right?
Previously Posted — TSS 2009 MLB Preview: The National League