With opening night set to kick off Wednesday night, I have decided to briefly preview the 2012 MLB season by discussing where I think teams will end up in the AL this year. Here are my predictions:
1. New York Yankees– With the addition of Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation, the Yankees have one of the best pitching staffs in the big leagues. As always, their lineup will be loaded top-to-bottom with excellent hitters.
2. Boston Red Sox– New coach Bobby Valentine will have a very talented team once the season gets rolling. Their pitching staff is top heavy with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz leading the way but the offense has enough firepower to put the Red Sox in contention every year.
3. Toronto Blue Jays– A potential sleeper in the AL East. With solid young arms in the rotation and Jose Bautista anchoring down the lineup this team could sneak up on a lot of teams this year.
4. Tampa Bay Rays– They have been excellent so far in spring training, but it’s just spring training. I expect Matt Moore to have a big rookie year. Their lineup has a lot of power but the question will be if they can get any guys on before they launch long balls.
5. Baltimore Orioles– I personally think this will be one of the worst teams in the MLB. They lack any really solid player outside of Adam Jones. Expect another lousy year Orioles fans.
1. Detroit Tigers– I think Detroit is the obvious favorite to win the AL Central crown this year, with little or no resistance. Outside of the Tigers, who seem absolutely loaded this year, their is no one in the division that will come as a challenge.
2. Minnesota Twins– This prediction is pretty biased because I have been a Twins fan since I was 8 years old. I am extreme optimist and pray that Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will return to their old ways this season. But it probably won’t happen and the Twins will be fighting Chicago for the cellar in the division.
3. Cleveland Indians– I don’t expect them to be as good as they were last year. Maybe they will surprise people again this year. I really like Carlos Santana. Could everybody in this division besides the Tigers have a sub .500 record?
4. Kansas City Royals– I actually think the Royals will be pretty decent this year. However, I say that every year and they prove me wrong. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler should steady this very average lineup.
5. Chicago White Sox– Losing Ozzie Guillen kind of sucked but at least they got a good replacement in Robin Ventura. I think this a rebuilding year for the White Sox. Could this be a comeback year for Adam Dunn?
1. Los Angeles Angels– With the signing of Albert Pujols, the Angels have punched their ticket into the playoffs. This is pretty much a World Series ring or bust type of season for them. They are still lacking a solid fifth starter, but do you really need one in the playoffs these days?
2. Texas Rangers– Back to back World Series appearances with no rings is hard come back from. What’s scary is, this team is better than they were the last two years, on paper at least. It will be fun to watch Yu Darvish, as he tries to break the curse of Japanese pitchers who can’t succeed in the MLB.
3. Oakland Athletics– The first thing that jumps out at me is that Coco Crisp is the number three hitter. That should be a red flag right away if this team had any shot of keeping up with the Rangers or Angels. Yoenis Cespedes should have a stud rookie campaign.
4. Seattle Mariners– Felix Hernandez will dominate again. The Mariners will suck again. Ichiro is growing old but I still seem him slapping out 200+ hits again. I do not plan on watching any Seattle Mariners games this year.
Wild Card Playoff– Rangers over Red Sox
Division Series- Angels over Rangers; Tigers over Yankees
Championship Series– Angels over Tigers