Posted by: Jeremy | April 3, 2010

Checking out the American League…


Opening Day — where hope is in the air, even for the Toronto Blue Jays. Well, at least for a week or so until we close the book on any hopes of making this year interesting. I’m not betting on any 27-14 starts this season, so this may be the closest we get to hanging with the AL East bad boys in 2010. Enjoy it while it lasts, Jays fans. Now, my American League forecast:

Can A-Rod recover from his breakup with Kate Hudson to lead the Bombers back to the promised land?

AL East

1. New York (98-64): Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re really good, and I hate that with every bone in my body. Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez join a Yankees team that lost very little (sorry Hideki) from last year’s championship squad.

2. Boston (94-68): Added John Lackey to an already-strong rotation, plus a full year of Victor Martinez adds to an already-potent lineup, even with David Ortiz sans steroids clogging up the middle. I get the feeling Adrian Beltre is gonna love hitting at Fenway, too.

3. Tampa Bay (87-75): Behind James Shields and Matt Garza, the young trio of Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis (62 career starts combined) will go a long way in determining just how tough the Rays can hang with the Yankees and Red Sox in 2010. If get into the playoffs, Evan Longoria has a shot at MVP.

4. Toronto (70-92): Oh well, at least we know what we’re getting into. With a nice young core to build around, the time was right to deal Roy Halladay. Now, if only someone would come and take Vernon Well’s contract off our hands too. Kenny Williams, you still there?

5. Baltimore (69-93): Almost everyone has 2010 as the year Baltimore sneaks out of last, but I’ll believe it when I see it. They have a nice young roster that could prove me wrong, though — Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Brian Matusz have the Orioles looking like a team that could finish fourth in the division for years to come.

Mauer is gunning for his second straight MVP

AL Central

1. Minnesota (88-74): Just think how much better the Twins could be if they hadn’t completely dropped the ball on the Johan Santana (for Carlos Gomez & co.) and Matt Garza (for Delmon Young) deals a couple years ago. Still, having Joe Mauer and playing in the weakest division in the American League is likely enough to punch a ticket to the playoffs (where they’ll subsequently be swept).

2. Chicago (83-79): If Jake Peavy stays healthy, he’ll be the ace of one of baseball’s best starting fives. Even with Peavy in form, Chicago needs bounce-back years from Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios and continued development from Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham to make some noise.

3. Detroit (81-81): Remember last year, when the Tigers blew a huge lead in the final month and Miguel Cabrera decided to drink it off with the season on the line on the final weekend? Yeah, that was funny. Detroit added Johnny Damon, but he’ll soon find Comerica Park isn’t quite the funhouse Yankee Stadium is for left-handed batters. Cabrera and Justin Verlander might keep the Tigers in the hunt, but I’m not betting on them getting to the postseason.

4. Kansas City (67-95): The Royals chose Alex Gordon second overall in 2005 and Luke Hochevar first in 2006. See why they’re still this bad. Oh yeah, and their three biggest free agent signings the past few years have been Jose Guillen, Gil Meche and Jason Kendall. Zack Greinke is the only thing keeping this team from losing 180 games.

5. Cleveland (65-97): Hard to believe the Indians were a win away from getting to the World Series less than three years ago. Grady Sizemore might bounce back in 2010, but that doesn’t change the fact Cleveland is in even worse shape than the Royals.

King Felix and the M's are ready to shock the world

AL West

1. Seattle (92-70): My sleeper for 2010. Sure, the usual questions surround Erik Bedard’s health, but King Felix and Cliff Lee give the Mariners the majors’ best one-two punch at the top of the rotation. Meanwhile, Ichiro and Chone Figgins are set to drive opposing teams crazy on the basepaths and Milton Bradley is set to flat-out mash now that he’s back in the AL West.

2. Los Angeles (87-75): Losing John Lackey hurts their starting rotation. Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana and Scott Kazmir have all proven capable of either winning 15 games or having ERAs over 5.00, so who knows what to expect? Still, a well-rounded lineup should keep the Angels at least in the mix.

3. Texas (86-76): If Rich Harden’s arm doesn’t fall off again, the Rangers could push for the division. As usual, they mash with the best, provided Josh Hamilton bounces back after a disastrous 2009 (here’s guessing he does).

4. Oakland (67-95): The A’s were already bad, and they’ll be even worse now that the West had morphed into one of baseball’s best divisions. Not much to look forward to in 2010 at all in Oakland, besides Jack Cust potentially breaking the single-season strikeout record.

And now, the hardware:

MVP: Joe Mauer, Minnesota

Cy Young: Felix Martinez, Seattle

Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson, Detroit

Manager of the Year: Don Wakamatsu, Seattle

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Responses

  1. […] } Friday I checked in with my American League forecast, and here’s how I see the National League taking shape in […]

  2. I think you probably have it right. I love you took Seattle in the West as well. The Angels are still really good but I just think the M’s have that extra bit it takes this year to win the division. The only other thing you may find yourself predicting wrong is the AL East. I am taking Boston over the Yanks simply based on the fact that Cano is hitting 5th and even with him being really good he is not true 5 protection for the big boys. I think the Jays will finish 4th as well but I wont be upset if they finish 5th. We are a few years away obviously but I love the core of young kids we are building around. Wallace and Hech could be on this team in September and it will be a ton of fun watching these guys get good!

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  4. I watched the GLADIATORS at Fenway last night, and decided that I don’t think the Red Sox will win the division. I know they won, but their new pieces don’t sync up to the winning of the past couple of years ago. Cameron and Beltre aren’t good enough to be Lowell’s and Bay’s replacements. And the change of Ellsbury to left means he should basically stand on the left field line, as in a sprinter.. and go as soon as the ball’s hit to center to cover Cameron’s worn out ass!!
    Maybe Joba is trade-able?? Hughes is favored, although the fans like Joba more. I think The Yanks #4 or #5 will tank, and they’ll jerk Joba around enough to fuck him up mentally. And the outfield of Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher only has one bright spot….Curtis in center.
    BRETT GARDNER????? Swish bounced from team to team, then suddenly found greatness in NY, or did the media machine there amp him up like that???
    As for the Twins, They got Thome on the bench!!! I know he strikes out as much as he hits it, but when he connects… SEE YA!!! You didn’t put the Vlad-man as an impact in Home-Run crazy Texas. He’ll definitely help Hamilton gets good pitches, because Guerrero will swing at a ball a kid is holding up in the stands!!!

  5. Another point of interest……Vernon Wells on ‘Roids???? that could be the reason for his slumping numbers, more injuries could be as a result of getting off the juice??
    I saw this pointed out a while ago on a fan-site, and kind of took interest. After-all, A-ROID is still being asked to talk to the Feds about the Dr. in Canada (toronto) regarding roids!! And, in the landscape of MLB, Toronto is on the corner of Where St. and Really Blvd. Northern Seattle, sort of.
    think about it……

  6. Angry Mike: Anything could happen at the top of the East…with Tampa Bay and Boston, the Yankees aren’t even a lock for the playoffs. Hey, I hope you’re right about Cano…you never know what you’ll get from him — he’s looked like a .400 hitter for months on end and a .200 hitter for other stretches.

  7. bill: I like Texas too. I wanted to put them ahead of the Angels as well but just couldn’t do it. As for V-Dub on steroids, I wouldn’t be surprised…and if he was, then I’m all for him getting back on them!

  8. […] eight wins in 10 games bumps the Jays to 83-76 and promises at least 13 more wins than I had them pegged for at the beginning of the season. Humbling, yes, but not as embarrassing as my prediction of Seattle winning the West. Ricky Romero […]


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