Free agency frenzy has come and gone, opening day is 3 days away, and spring training injuries have had their time. Which means its time for predictions. Here is an American League breakdown:
1—Toronto Blue Jays
How can you pick against easily the most talented team on paper? Their staff could be tops in the AL and their lineup, which was already very good, got even better. Good for Canada.
2—Tampa Bay Rays
This is all about the pitching. If their starting staff stays healthy, this team will be in it all year. Hopefully, they will be able to add a big bat at some point to make them a bigger force.
Last year was somewhat of a fluke if you look at run differential and how bad their starting pitching was. Buck Showalter has done an incredible job with this team and I could see them finishing as high as 2nd, but I am just not convinced this pitching can get away with being as bad as they were last year.
4—Boston Red Sox
If completely healthy, I think this team could finish 2nd or 3rd. If they get some bounce back seasons from their starting staff they might be able finish ahead of the Orioles…. Barely.
5—New York Yankees
I know it’s the Yankees and they always find a way to be in the hunt, but this year just doesn’t feel right, at all. Too many injuries and regular season games have not even started yet. Can Pettitte, Jeter, Mo, etc all hold up? I am not sold.
This is hands-down the best team in easily the weakest division in baseball.
2—Kansas City Royals
I am trying to will this into being a little bit. The Royals made some nice offseason moves and have played really well this spring. This would be good for baseball, fingers crossed.
The Indians were really busy in the offseason, but I am not convinced that they will be better this year because of it. Time will tell, but they should hover around .500.
4—Chicago White Sox
Not a huge fan of their bullpen, back end of rotation, or consistency of lineup. If things go well and they stay healthy, the White Sox could prove me wrong, but I think this team will struggle to get 80 wins.
As easy as it was to pencil in the Tigers, this may be even easier. This team doesn’t have a lot to look forward to this year.
1—Los Angeles Angels
It’s really hard for me to predict this, because I don’t have a ton of faith in their pitching. With a potent offense though, that included stealing away Josh Hamilton from divisional rival Texas, leads me to believe their offense can get the job done.
I was really tempted to put Texas here until Oakland proves to me that they are for real, but I went with my gut. Young pitching and a gritty offense should be good enough to get the job done.
Losing Napoli and Hamilton will hurt, but maybe not as much as Michael Young. Young was the heartbeat of this team for years and I don’t think the Rangers offense will be good enough to overcome that and overtake Oakland and Los Angeles. Although, they still have plenty of experience, so I am not counting them out.
This team has the potential to reach .500 for only the 3rd time since 2004. King Felix will need to be every bit of King Felix though. Watch for some young guys in their lineup to step up as well.
Less than 100 losses, at this point, would be incredible.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson