If baseball’s opening day is just around the corner, it must be time for predictions. Here’s my two cents on the American League and my candidates for the MVP, Rookie-of-the-Year and Cy Young awards.
This is the first of a series of articles in which several writers on the site will chime in with their thoughts and prognostications for the upcoming season.
For more in-depth analysis on the AL East, check out the capsule previews on my web show, This Week In Red.
Tampa Bay 94-68- Excellent young rotation is again the difference. This time it’s Chris Archer that’s the newest find. But offense needs Wil Myers and Evan Longoria to be the second coming of the Bash Brothers.
Toronto 77-85- Made virtually no major moves in the off season. Dioner Navarro was their big signing? What is the plan here after last years disappointment?
CY YOUNG CANDIDATE: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
MVP CANDIDATE: Longoria, Rays
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE: Bogaerts, Red Sox
Detroit 92-70- Still the favorite in a mediocre division with Verlander/Scherzer 1-2 punch, Miguel Cabrera and now Joe Nathan to straighten out the bullpen. Left side of infield is a problem. Losing Iglesias to injury stings. Ian Kinsler will be good for them.
Kansas City 85-77- Exciting, young team that needs to get over the hump. They could surprise if Mike Moustakas, off a hot spring, finally develops. If Yordano Ventura and James Shields can give KC their own 1-2 rotation punch, watch out.
Chicago 79-83- Chris Sale is really good. If Jose Abreu is indeed the “Cuban Barry Bonds,” and acquisitions Matt Davidson and Adam Eaton are the real deal, their future just got a whole lot brighter. Look for former Tiger Avisail Garcia to blossom. Bullpen a potential disaster.
Minnesota 67-95- Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe and not much else spells trouble. Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes as rotation saviors? Count me out. Losing Miguel Sano really hurts. Byron Buxton, where art thou?
CY YOUNG CANDIDATE: Max Scherzer, Tigers
MVP CANDIDATE: Cabrera, Tigers
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE: Abreu, White Sox
LA Angels 91-71- Yes, I’m going back to the well here. Mike Trout is immense and Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton can’t be that bad again under new hitting coach Don Baylor‘s instruction, can they? Pujols will play with a chip on his shoulder so look for a bounce back.
Texas 88-74- Still like the Rangers after all these years. We get to see Jurickson Profar full time and I like the Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo additions. Yu Darvish leads a potentially interesting rotation group.
Oakland 86-76- Every year they overachieve and prove me wrong. But this year they’ll have to do it without Jarrod Parker and hope Scott Kazmir really did turn it back around for good last year in Cleveland. Still don’t know how that lineup does it.
Seattle 74-88- Potential disaster waiting to happen with Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker missing the start of the season. King Felix will want out in July after living with this group. A rude awakening for franchise star Robinson Cano. Only Astros keep them out of cellar.
Houston 64-98- Best I can say is that they won’t lose 100. Scott Feldman as the number one starter is not a recipe for success. But Matt Dominguez and Jose Altuve can play and the arrival of George Springer mid-season will be much heralded.
CY YOUNG CANDIDATE: Darvish, Rangers
MVP CANDIDATE: Trout, Angels
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE: Springer, Astros
* denotes Wild Card teams
WILD CARD PLAYOFF: BOS over NYY (hello 1978!)
ALDS: TB over BOS, DET over LAA
ALCS: TB over DET
BONUS NATIONAL LEAGUE PICKS:
Division Winners: Washington, Cincinnati, LA Dodgers
Wild Cards: San Francisco, Pittsburgh