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MLB 2012 AMERICAN LEAGUE BREAKDOWN

Baseball season may have started, but since no one really knew about it we are doing our preseason preview now.  Today will be the American League breakdown and tomorrow will be the National League.  This is a breakdown of each division and each team in the American League with a quick synopsis.  Each division will be listed in the order of how I feel the teams will end the season.  I will also make my wildcard picks.  Feel free to debate anything that I say.

AL EAST

Image1st – Even though the Yankees have a few holes in their lineup and some aging veterans, I still feel they will be able to win their division this year.  (Ed B is going to love this) They are playing in the hardest division in baseball, but with CC Sabathia at the front of arguably the best rotation top-to-bottom outside of the Phillies, I think they will finish will one of the better records in baseball.  A big factor to their success is if they can get newly acquired Michael Pineda healthy.   Record Prediction:  95-67

Image2nd – After their epic collapse at the end of the 2011 season, the BoSox will have a lot of expectations going into this season.  With Josh Beckett healthy and two new young starters, Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront, rounding out their rotation, Boston should be a team to fear once again.  Bobby Valentine as their manager will definitely add some pep to their step.  Record Prediction91-71 (Wildcard Winner)

Image3rd – After a dismal year at the plate, (25th ranked batting average of .244), you can expect for the Devil Rays to have a fairly productive year.  David Price and James Shields are two of the better pitchers in baseball and with Evan Longoria and the rest of the young and scrappy Tampa Bay players you can expect an above .500 season from them.  Record Prediction:  84-78

Image 4th – The Toronto Bluejays will be one of the more fun teams to watch this season.  They were one of the highest scoring teams in baseball last year (6th), and you can expect that number to be higher this year.  Expect Jose Bautista to continue to amaze with his bat, but the problem with the Jays is not their bats.  With one of the statistically worst pitching staffs last year, (24th ranked team ERA 4.32), and no major changes to their rotation, I feel that Toronto will surmount to nothing more than a .500 team.  Record Prediction:  81-81

Image 5th – Let’s keep this short and sour.  This is the worst team in the best division in baseball.  Their batting lineup and pitching rotation are laughable.  With Mark Reynolds as your best player you will have a lot of issues at the plate.  He struck out 196 times last year and he doesn’t show any signs of turning it around.  Expect the Baltimore Orioles to have one of the worst records in the AL.  Record Prediction:  60-102

AL CENTRAL

Image1st – This is without question my easiest prediction.  The Detroit Tigers ran away with their division last year by an outstanding 15 games and you can expect more of where that came from with the signing of Prince Fielder just adding to an already great lineup.  Justin Verlander is possibly the best pitcher in baseball and my preseason pick for the Cy Young award.  Detroit is playing in what I think is the worst division in all of baseball.  They are not only my pick to win their division but I am picking them to win it all this year. Record Prediction: 103-59

Image2nd – In a weak division, the Cleveland Indians were able to pull off a record of 80-82 last year without being a good team at the plate or on the mound.  With Carlos Santana hitting cleanup and providing most of the teams offense, you can expect for Cleveland to finish around where they did last year.  If Ubaldo Jimenez can even be a little of what he was in Colorado then maybe the Indians can be a .500 team.  Record Prediction:  80-82

Image3rd – With a couple of good hitting young players like Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon, the Kansas City Royals can expect to surpass their 71 win season from a year ago…but not by much.  With a starting rotation where you can not call anyone one of them an ace, one can only figure that KC will end up with similar pitching numbers to last season where they finished in the bottom 4 in baseball in ERA, WHIP, BAA and quality starts.  Put this team in the AL East and my prediction would be similar to that of the Orioles.  Record Prediction:  75-87

Image4th – Last season the Minnesota Twins were the proud owners of the 25th ranked batting average and 29th ranked pitching staff out of baseballs 30 teams.  The always-too-often injured Twins just had a complete collapse last year.  In 2010, the Twins won 94 games and won their division. In 2011, the Twins won 63 games and finished last in their division.  If Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau can stay healthy for the entire season then you can anticipate them to finish 2nd in the division.  I don’t think they will unfortunately.  Record Prediction:  69-93

Image5th – Robin Ventura was one of my favorite New York Mets players and he is now the head coach of one of the worst teams in baseball.  Outside of the ageless Paul Konerko, the Chicago White Sox have absolutely no offense…unless Adam Dunn’s 200 K’s a season count as offense.  On top of that, they have a pitching rotation filled with injuries and washed up players.  Their bullpen is a joke as well and there really is no upside for this team this season.  Maybe during this awful season Robin can suit up and give it a go again at third base.  I know this will hurt President Obama’s feelings but Chicago has a long season ahead of them.  Record Prediction:  64-98

AL WEST

Image1st – Two words…Albert Pujols!  With one of the best pitching staffs in baseball last year, the Anaheim Angels had one thing to address and that was their bats.  They did that in the best way possible.  They signed the most coveted free agent since Alex Rodriguez and his massive contract from Texas back in 2000.  You can expect Albert to be the same “machine” he was in St. Louis all those years and Anaheim should be able to take the AL West crown back from the Rangers.  If Jered Weaver stays healthy, he should give Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia a run for their money for the Cy Young award.  Record Prediction:  98-64

Image2nd – After another trip to the World Series, you can assume the Texas Rangers are going to have a good season this year.  It helps having the Mariners and Athletics in your division, but I think that Texas will be looking up at Anaheim as the season goes on.  Losing C.J Wilson was a big loss for a team that was already middle-of-the-pack in ERA to begin with.  Yes, they did sign the huge international free agent Yu Darvish, but I have seen this story a lot of times not pan out the way fans hope it would…i.e. Dice K.  Texas will finish with a good record and make the playoffs but I don’t feel they will be making it to the World Series again this season.  They will have the best offense once again but it won’t be enough.  Record Prediction:  96-66 (Wildcard Winner)

Image3rd – “Moneyball” was great…this team is not.  The young second baseman Jemile Weeks is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year, but outside of him there is no real upside to this Oakland Athletics team.  Bringing in Bartolo Colon strengthens their pitching rotation slightly but not enough to make them a formidable team.  You can expect Oakland to finish this season the same way they did last year.   Record Prediction:  74-88

Image4th – The Seattle Mariners are very lucky that they only have 4 teams in their division because otherwise they would have been predicted 5th.  After finishing with only 67 wins last season and then following that up by trading one of their best young players, Michael Pineda, the Mariners are looking like a team with not much future.  Ichiro is looking like his career is slowly coming to an end and there really aren’t any good major league players on this entire roster outside of their ace Felix Hernandez.  Expect Felix to have 18-20 wins and don’t expect Seattle to have much more.  Record Prediction: 65-97

I hope you enjoy these predictions and feel free to tell me how you feel this season in the American League will pan out.

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One response

  1. Reasonable picks Matt. I am not sure about the Redsox. Let’s see how their third and fouth starters pan out. Will Beckett be the Beckett of last year? They seem to not have alternatives for right field and shortstop. The Rays have lots of pitching and maybe not enough offense. If carlos Pena can hit .240 with power, that will help them. I always liked Carl Crawford, but it looks like Desmond Jennings is a Carl Crawford with more Power. I know that it is fashionable this year to pick the Rays ahead of the Sox. If I have to make a prediction right now, I have to go with the Rays second. I think the Yanks will win the division, but it won’t be easy.

    April 1, 2012 at 10:53 PM

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