March 30, 2011

American League breakdown

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Baseball season is nearly here and I’m sure you’ve been keeping up with Bill Lankhof’s season previews, covering every division and breaking down what teams will be up to. So, because Lanky already has the nuts and bolts down, I’ll try to break the coming season down quick hits style.
AL East: You can’t help but like the Red Sox here. They suffered through injuries last year and then went out and signed two of the biggest free agents out there. If Boston doesn’t take the East and win 100 games, it’ll be a disappointment … The Yankees bombed this winter and now will start Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia. At least they still have the offence to get by but this will be a long season in the Bronx … The Rays may have lost Carl Crawford but their never-ending stream of top prospects shouldn’t let them down. Tampa Bay should be competitive and could grab the wild card spot … Many are tabbing the Orioles and Jays as possible sleepers this season. How that is different from the past few seasons, I’m not sure. Until they put together a farm system as solid as Tampa Bay’s or get owners willing to spent like New York and Boston, these two teams will be also-rans in baseball’s toughest division.
AL Central: Are the Twins really healthy? Justin Morneau hasn’t looked even close to 100%, Joe Mauer missed some time this spring and closer Joe Nathan is coming off a major elbow injury. Plus this team has Carl Pavano near the top of the rotation. Could be trouble … As long as Ozzie Guillen manages the White Sox, there will be a soap opera going on. Their lineup can mash and their rotation is strong, but can their buillpen and team cohesiveness hold together …  This should be the Tigers time to rise back to the top. They have the bats and the arms, now all they need is a little luck … The Indians and Royals are still building for a future that might never come. It must be depressing following these big league feeder teams.
AL West: Why is everyone falling for the Athletics? I can see the skill in their rotation, but the offence just simply isn’t there. I’ll be betting the under on every Oakland game this season … The Angels’ biggest move of the off-season was dealing for Vernon Wells and his “untradeable contract.” He’s not as terrible as that statement would lead you to believe, but he is the epitome of the Angels’ squad – bigger names than results … The defending AL champion Rangers are still short on one of the most essential parts of the game: Pitching. Losing Cliff Lee was a big a blow and I’m not sure if their current staff is good enough to get them to .500 … The Mariners will once again be the worst team in the West. At least King Felix won the Cy Young last year, he won’t take it again with only 13 wins.

Coming Thursday: Breaking down the Senior Circuit.
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