Friday, March 26

2010 MLB Preview: The American League

After breaking down the 2010 National League earlier this week, which you can find below, I will now break down the American League and give you some predictions for the playoffs and awards. The American League is usually the stronger league and it looks like it will continue with that same trend. So let’s start the show…
American League West:
1: Seattle Mariners (92-70) The Mariners had a major renovation completed on their team in the offseason. They spent money on Chone Figgins, they brought in Cliff Lee to team up with Felix Hernandez to give them one of the best 1-2 punches in the Majors. They also brought in MLB’s Kanye West, his words not mine, in Milton Bradley. They also roll out one of the best defensive outfields that seem to catch every ball that is hit in the air. They did lose a valuable defender in Adrian Beltre, but they slide Jose Lopez, who will hopefully be a sleeper for me in Fantasy Baseball, over to third and put Figgins at 2B. The major question with the Mariners lies in their bullpen. Can David Aardsma have a duplicate of last season? If so, they win the division; if not they most likely finish second behind….
2: Texas Rangers (88-74) It is finally going to all come together for the Texas Rangers. They have some sleeper pitchers in Scott Feldman and Rich Harden. They also shifted set-up man/occasional closer C.J. Wilson into the starting rotation. With that solid core it looks like, on paper at least, that their starting rotation can finally keep up with their offense. I think Josh Hamilton has a bounce back year and puts up similar numbers to what he did two years ago when he was having his breakout season. The major acquisition the Rangers added on offense was with Vladimir Guerrero. He will be a nice addition in that park and add some solid offense to the Rangers. In the bullpen they trot out Frank Francisco to close and most likely Neftali Feliz as his set-up man.
3: Los Angeles Angels (87-75) The Angels, in my opinion, took a big step backwards. They lost Figgins, Guerrero, and John Lackey via free agency. They tried, unsuccessfully to trade for Roy Halladay, and they didn’t find anyone else to replace Lackey in the rotation. They will feel the loss of Figgins on the basepaths. I expect guys like Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales to improve upon their stellar 2009 seasons. However, the loss in the rotation will deeply impact this team. I don’t expect Ervin Santana to put up the numbers that he did last season, they also have question marks, in regards to health, in Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir. If they are healthy they can have a solid season as a team, but if they struggle with injuries this team will struggle to win ball games.
4: Oakland Athletics (78-84) The Athletics are going to be the worst team in the AL West. They lack any star hitters and they seem to pick up hitters who either hit a home run or strikeout. They do have some solid pitchers, Brett Anderson in particular. This is a young kid who can throw strikes and should be the ace of this team. However, the rest of the rotation can’t match his intensity and the offense doesn’t have anyone who threatens an opposing team. They do have a reliable closer in Andrew Bailey, but it doesn’t look like he will get many opportunities to close out games.
American League Central:
1: Chicago White Sox (88-74) The White Sox look like the team to beat in the AL Central. They look upgraded with Juan Pierre, and a healthy Jake Pevey. They have a solid base to build a good starting rotation around. Gavin Floyd, Pevey, and John Danks are all solid starters. They will have good offensive production with Pierre and Alex Rios setting the table for guys like Paul Konerko, and Carlos Quentin. I think Rios will have a solid season in Chicago and he will be able to put up solid numbers, like he used to do back in Toronto. Look for the White Sox to win the Central and make it back to the playoffs.
2: Minnesota Twins (85-77) The Twins are all bubbly with their recent accord with Joe Mauer. He will be the backstop for them his entire career. However, that will not be able to make up for the loss of Joe Nathan. He is done this season after having Tommy John surgery and they will have to rely on Jon Rauch as their closer. He did a decent job while with the Diamondbacks, but I wouldn’t trust him in the American League. They acquired a solid replacement for the departure of Orlando Cabrera in JJ Hardy. He struggled last season in Milwaukee, but should have a nice bounce back year.
3: Detroit Tigers (80-82) The Tigers had a major reshuffling in the offseason. In the midst of the economic downturn their owner needed to dump players in order to save on salary. They traded Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, and they traded Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks. I loved the trade for Max Scherzer, he is studly (a quote from a friend), and he shouldn’t feel the hit of moving from the NL to the AL like most other pitchers because he will pitch half his games in the friendly confines of Motown. The addition of Johnny Damon will add some leadership to the team and possibly keep Miguel Cabrera under wraps, but Damon will see a significant dip in his power numbers.
4: Cleveland Indians (76-86) The Indians are a team that has been struggling the past few seasons. They don’t have enough pitching to really contend in the AL Central. They are hoping Fausto Carmona regains his 2007 form where he won 19 games and competed for a Cy Young, but that could be wishful thinking at this point. They are also hoping Grady Sizemore stays healthy this year and can give them the numbers they have come to expect form him. But even if that happens, they still will struggle to win ball games. Kerry Wood is already starting the season on the DL and it looks like Chris Perez will take over as closer and most likely not give it back to Wood. That is only bright spot on this team, the future closer in Chris Perez. That is saying something.
5: Kansas City Royals (70-92) The Royals are a very bad team. They have Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria on their pitching staff and not much else. They don’t have many good hitters; only Billy Butler really stands out. The additions of Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel are solid ones that might give a boost to the offense, but I don’t expect the Royals to win many games or be in contention in many games this season.
American League East:
1: Boston Red Sox (99-63) Call me a homer sure, but I’m starting to fall in love with the 2010 Red Sox. Sure they wont score 10+runs a game as often as they have in years past, but they will win many games with pitching and defense. They upgraded their defense tremendously with the addition of Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro. Sliding Jacoby Ellsbury over to left is also a defensive improvement. The main concern amongst all the talking heads is how the Red Sox will score runs, but I am not concerned. I think David Ortiz has a solid year, which he did last year but people only remember that he slumped tremendously the first two months of the season. The addition of John Lackey to the rotation gives the Red Sox three aces. Teaming him up with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester will give the Red Sox the best pitching trifecta in baseball, and when you add in guys like Dice-K, Tim Wakefield, and Clay Buchholz, they have a very sound rotation. They also have a solid bullpen with Jonathan Papelbon closing out games and Daniel Bard setting him up.
2: New York Yankees (98-64) The Yankees are coming off a World Series victory and they had a minor overhaul this summer. They added Curtis Granderson to their outfield, while losing Johnny Damon. They also recently named Phil Hughes as their 5th starter as they look to improve their pitching staff. I am not a big fan of AJ Burnett’s and I don’t know how much longer Andy Petite will continue to pitch well, the wheels should come off soon. The Yankees will always be a threat to add someone at midseason, but I don’t think they have the prospects to work out a deal for anyone substantial if they are hit with prolonged injuries, which they avoided last season. Look for the Yankees to stay in the hunt for the AL East all season long.
3: Tampa Bay Rays (83-79) The Rays had a very solid campaign in 2008 and they will look to repeat that, however they don’t have the personnel to do it. They will struggle to keep up with the Red Sox and Yankees. They have some solid pitchers in Garza and James Shields, and some young flame-throwers in David Price and Wade Davis, but they are still too young. The offense isn’t as potent as the Red Sox and Yankees and they are poised to finish behind them once again.
4: Baltimore Orioles (73-89) The Orioles are not very good. They don’t have many solid pitchers and their offense leaves nothing to be desired. They have some young kids, who might make some impact, and they brought back Miguel Tejada, but that won’t help them achieve anything more than a second to last place finish in the East.
5: Toronto Blue Jays (67-95) The Jays are another team in the East that is not very good. They are expecting Shaun Marcum to bounce back form surgery and be their opening day starter, but I don’t think he will have stellar campaign. Their offense looks to rebound from a down year and they hope Vernon Wells will be back to his old ways. But even if Wells is solid this year, they won’t have the firepower to keep up with the beasts in the East.
National League Wild Card Predictions:
Phillies over Colorado in 4
Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
National League Pennant Predictions:
Dodgers over Phillies in 7
NLCS MVP: Clayton Kershaw
American League Wild Card Predictions:
Red Sox over White Sox in 3
Mariners over Yankees in 5
American League Pennant Predictions:
Red Sox over Mariners in 6
ALCS MVP: Jon Lester
World Series Prediction:
Red Sox over Dodgers in 7
WS MVP: Victor Martinez
Regular Season Awards:
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum

There you have all the predictions. Coming up once the NBA season is finished I will have my predictions for the 2010 NBA Playoffs and Finals.


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