AL East: We all know everyone is discounting the Yankees completely and already trying to anoint the Blue Jays as World Series favorites, but for what exactly? I have been saying since December that Reyes and Buehrle didn’t exactly do much to create wins in Miami and Dickey & Johnson give them a nice 1 – 2 at top of the rotation (provided Johnson stays healthy) but this is still a team that needs its previous players to take that next step.
Nope, it is going to be a tight race with all five teams in the mix but I like teams with great starting pitching…and that ain’t Toronto.
1. New York 2. Tampa 3. Toronto 4. Boston 5. Baltimore
AL Central: Tigers – Do I even need to explain this one? Unless the Royals see HUGE leaps forward by three or four guys AND find a legitimate No. 2 & no. 3 starter between now and opening day nobody will come within a half-dozen games of them this year. And don’t be surprised if it is more like 10 games.
1. Detroit 2. Chicago 3. Kansas City 4. Cleveland 5. Minnesota
AL West: The Angels made a big splash this off-season by signing Josh Hamilton away from their division rivals, but none of that is enough to overcome the fact that their pitching is just not good. Weaver is fantastic, though he comes up short versus better teams (his ERA versus Yankees, Rangers, Rays & Tigers is in the mid-4.00’s), but beyond that they have a lot of hopes & dreams. Wilson is a stat compiler who owns an abysmal playoff record and has even worse numbers than Weaver versus the cream-of-the-crop. Blanton & Vargas are cast-offs. Bottom line, this team’s pitching just isn’t good enough.
1. Texas 2. Anaheim (I refuse to call them anything else) 3. Oakland 4. Seattle 5. Houston
AL Wild Card Numero Uno: Rays
AL Wild Card Numero Dos: Angels
AL Champion: It’s a crapshoot but I’ll say Yankees over Rays. It’s all about the pitching and these teams have the deepest staffs from their ace to the closer.
NL East: The Nationals have tons of pitching and just enough offense to get it done. The Braves will keep them honest, but their outfield is so over-rated it hurts. You have a young group full of potential but also full of questions about attitude, work ethic and mental fortitude. Side note: B.J. Upton has his first full blown “idiot” moment by Memorial Day.
1. Washington 2. Atlanta 3. Philadelphia 4. New York 5. Miami
NL Central: It’s hard to bet against the Reds. They have decent pitching, Chapman is a monster as a closer and they can put up runs in bunches. Cardinals will, as always, be in the mix but I don’t think they can hang over a full season.
1. Cincinnati 2. St. Louis 3. Milwaukee 4. Pittsburgh 5. Chicago
NL West: The Dodgers have spent a ton of money but I think they have done little more than line themselves up for a metric truckload of ridicule when it is all said and done. Crawford, League, Eithier, Beckett & even Adrian Gonzalez are all grossly overpaid. Kemp needs to show he is A. healthy and B. the monster of a player he has only been for about one & a half seasons.
1. San Francisco 2. Los Angeles 3. Arizona 4. San Diego 5. Colorado
NL Wild Card Numero Uno: Atlanta
NL Wild Card Numero Dos: St. Louis
NL Champion: Washington over San Francisco in a close NLCS.
World Series: Yankees over the Nationals in a pitching fan’s paradise.