I really didn't know if I wanted to do a preview piece for this season. I don't know why I was debating it, probably procrastination. Then some real life stuff got in the way and I really didn't write at all for 2 weeks. I don't want this writing thing to be a passing phase. I love to do it, so here I am. It's my first ever season preview and predictions.
Now that I have had the chance to do research, I can make more informed opinions. A couple of weeks ago I would have just thought along with everyone else and picked a predictable World Series. The hot pick this year seems to be Tampa Bay and Washington. I wonder how often the trendy pick is there in the end? Probably not that often. That's not to say that I don't think those teams are good, I do. But I just happened along a different conclusion the more I looked at the rosters.
So here's the first 2 Out Hits' Preview and Predictions. You can find the NL and World Series Prediction here.
AL East (proj W-L)
1. Toronto Blue Jays (96-66)
The Blue Jays went through a major overhaul in the offseason. They got a lot better quickly. Jose Bautista is a possible MVP now that there are people getting on base in front of him. I expect Josh Johnson to find himself again in the Toronto rotation. This team is all new to each other so they may struggle early. August and September is when they should put it all together. They will be a tough out come Playoff time.
2. Tampa Bay Rays (94-68) WC#1
The Rays will continue to be what they have been. New talent will keep coming up through the farm and the front office will make the right moves to save money. The trade for Wil Myers already shows that. Desmond Jennings might be a breakout star and go 30/30. At the very least some guy you have never heard of will win at least 10 games and the Rays will be in contention all year.
3. Baltimore Orioles (81-81)
The surprise team of 2012 will not be as good this season. The statistics just flew in the face of everything the Orioles did last year. It won't happen again. Buck Showalter is a good, but not great manager. They don't have depth on the pitching staff and the rotation is very thin. Adam Jones is a great player on a mediocre team.
4. Boston Red Sox (72-90)
The Red Sox just don't look the same anymore. The glory days of the first decade of this century are gone. There aren't many holdovers left, and the ones that are, are old. Jackie Bradley Jr. may be the future, or he may flame out. New manager and clubhouse should make things different. Poor Lester and Buchholz may be spending their best years on bad teams.
5. New York Yankees (71-91)
Yes I went there. I think the Yankees are the worst team in their division. It is a mess of a ballclub. The wheels have fallen off. The Yankees are no more. Injuries and age have killed this team. They have no bench, a suspect bullpen, and their best players collect Social Security in about 4 years. It's time to tear it down and rebuild. I hope Girardi doesn't get blamed.
1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
The Tigers are the class of this division. They are consistently putting a good team on the field, and always have a chance to compete. The AL champions from a year ago should have an easy time cruising to a division title. Miguel Cabrera may put another run on the Triple Crown. They have a solid starting rotation with Verlander at the top. I know the bullpen is suspect, so don't be surprised if they make a mid season trade for a closer.
2. Chicago White Sox (83-79)
The White Sox are good, but not particularly great at anything. There are solid starters at the top with Peavy, Sale, and Floyd, and the bullpen is solid all around. The lineup can produce, but will they have enough people on when all the homers get hit? Konerko is getting up there at age 37, and Adam Dunn will be Adam Dunn. This team is close, but not quite there.
3. Cleveland Indians (82-80)
The Indians decided this offseason to get back in the division race. They just may be a couple of years away. I know Terry Francona counts for a lot, he brings at least 5 more wins on his own. There just isn't any pitching. I know Trevor Bauer is there, but he's young. Everyone else is a question mark. The lineup is pretty solid top to bottom with a deep bench. Cleveland is going to have to outslug a lot of teams this year.
4. Kansas City Royals (70-92)
Every season this team looks good on paper. It's always young talent that is ready to turn that corner. The Royals come out as the hot pick because this will be the year they finally get it together. Well I don't buy it. Until they shock me, KC will be an underachieving team. They have a good rotation, but an unknown bullpen. The lineup is made up of guys on their last chance or just trying to break through. The only reason they aren't last in this division is the Twins.
5. Minnesota Twins (63-99)
Didn't the Twins used to matter? What happened? They moved into that new ballpark and have totally disappeared. What was the point of the new park if they were just going to suck? Looking at this roster is like looking at the baseball scarp heap. They have no pitching, or hitting, or fans coming to games. I think it's time for Ron Gardenhire to be shown the door and new life comes to the Twins.
1. Texas Rangers (99-63)
I know, you're sitting there thinking, Texas? This may be close to a last run for them, but they have talent. By the end of the season Profar might force his way into the lineup. Alexi Ogando will be great as a starter and Beltre might hit 50 homeruns. They are the most complete team in this division. Yu Darvish should be in contention for the Cy Young. I think the fact that Houston is now in the West helps the Rangers. Now they have 9 extra games where the crowd will feel like home. It may be the few games that separates them.
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (91-71) WC#2
Is Josh Hamilton the answer? Will Pujols return to form? Can Mike Trout do it again? The Angels are full of questions. Hamilton and Pujols can both carry a team for a week or two, but also may disappear for stretches. Mike Trout looks like the real deal. For the sake of baseball, I hope he is. Pitching is my biggest concern here. Mike Scioscia is a good manager but can't seem to get back to the promised land.
3. Oakland A's (88-74)
The other feel good story from last year besides the Orioles. The A's are young and talented. Yoenis Cespedes is a future MVP in this league. They have young pitching and a great bullpen. Oakland will be really good, but the Angels will be a little better. This is the strongest division in the AL. It's just such a shame that they play in such a shithole.
4. Seattle Mariners (74-88)
Seattle is a non factor. King Felix is really the only reason to watch this team. I can't see where the runs will come from. The bullpen looks young but pretty decent. It won't matter if the starters stink. It's a shame that beautiful ballpark doesn't have a winning team. The best thing I can say about them is that they are not the Astros.
5. Houston Astros (58-104)
What is there to say about Houston? They suck. It's just a bunch of guys in uniforms. They are looking to the future, like down of the farm guys future. It will be a while before they are competitive again. Welcome to the American League, here's 100 losses.
WC: Rays over Angels
ALDS:Tigers over Jays, Rangers over Rays
ALCS:Rangers over Tigers
Click here for the NL and World Series.