[MLB] 2010 Season Preview: The AL

American League East:

Divisional Run-Down:

The New York Yankees ended last season by winning the World Series. Since then, they’ve changed around their outfield by adding Curtis Granderson and subtracting Melky Cabrera and Hideki Matsui. They also upgraded their rotation with the addition of Javier Vasquez. They are definitely the team to beat in the AL East if not all of baseball. The Boston Red Sox won the wildcard, but got swept by the Angels in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve lost big bopper Jason Bay and relievers Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner, but they’ve added Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and pitcher John Lackey. They have the look of a playoff team, but only time will tell how many runs they can put up sans Bay.

The Tampa Bay Rays missed out on the playoffs last year after making it all the way to the World Series the season before. They have one of the strongest rotations in baseball and a solid starting nine, but I still feel like they are unlucky to be in the same division as Boston and New York. The Baltimore Orioles didn’t come close to making the playoff last season. They did make a ton of upgrades in the offseason, though. They added former All-Star Garret Atkins, welcomed back Miguel Tejada and signed ace pitcher Kevin Millwood. The Toronto Blue Jays didn’t make the playoffs last year and after trading away Roy Halladay, I don’t see them having much of a chance in the very talented AL East.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1.)    New York (98-102 wins)

2.)    Boston (95-100 wins)

3.)    Tampa Bay (85-93 wins)

4.)    Baltimore (75-85 wins)

5.)    Toronto (65-70 wins)

American League Central:

Divisional Run-Down:

The Minnesota Twins won the AL Central by one game over Detroit after a one game playoff. They upgraded their offense with the addition of J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome. They lost Joe Nathan, one of the best closers in the game, to a severe elbow injury. That’ll be a big loss for this scrappy team. The Detroit Tigers are probably the best team in the Central due to their above average rotation and the additions of Johnny Damon and Jose Valverde. Adding to one of the toughest divisions to predict, the Chicago White Six will have a whole season with Jake Peavy in their rotation. They also have Mark Buerhle, Jon Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy “sometimes I’m good, sometimes I suck” Garcia.

The Kansas City Royals never make the make the playoffs, so it’s no surprise that they didn’t make it last year. They upgraded their outfield with Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel. Their infield is a bit iffy, but they have a decent rotation led by reigning CY Young winner Zach Greinke and an above average bullpen led by Joakim Soria. Remember a few years ago when the Cleveland Indians were beating the Red Sox 3-1 in the ALCS? That seems like a lot longer ago than three years. That’s mostly because they Indians have been horrible since then. They are the AL’s version of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Whenever they have an All-Star they trade him away for “prospects”. Other than Grady Sizemore, they are going to be pretty rough to watch. Potentially the worst team in baseball.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1.)    Detroit (93-96 wins)

2.)    Minnesota (90-93 wins)

3.)    Chicago (86-90 wins)

4.)    Kansas City (76-80 wins)

5.)    Cleveland (60-70 wins)

American League West:

Divisional Run-Down:

The Los Angeles Angels won the AL West by ten games last season. It was the biggest margin of victory in any division. They added Hideki Matsui at DH to replace Vlad Guerrero, but lost ace John Lackey to the Red Sox. They probably still have enough to win the West. For a minute last season, it looked like the Texas Rangers would actually challenge for the division title. Maybe they’ll have a better shot this year after adding Guerrero at DH and the often injured Rich Harden.

Few teams were as disappointing last season as the Seattle Mariners. They were expected to easily challenge the always on top Angels, but they fizzled out quickly and weren’t even close to making the playoffs. They added Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman and Milton “baggage” Bradley. I’m not sold on their rotation after Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee and their bullpen is a bit lacking. The Oakland Athletics attempted to upgrade their team after another disappointing season. They added Kevin Kouzmanoff, Coco “Best name in baseball” Crisp and Ben Sheets. They could surprise some people in the wide open West.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1.)    Los Angeles (95-98 wins)

2.)    Seattle (90-93 wins)

3.)    Texas (86-90 wins)

4.)    Oakland (82-86 wins)

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