September 4, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) runs after hitting a double in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Fearless 2014 American League Predictions


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.


AL EAST

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.

*Boston 92-70-  Things won’t go as perfectly as last season.  Jacoby Ellsbury will be missed in some capacity but watching Xander Bogaerts develop should be fun.

Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts hits a RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 8th inning during game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

*New York 89-73- The Masahiro Tanaka-Michael Pineda tandem is the key to success or failure.  Can Ellsbury, Derek Jeter and Carlos Beltran stay healthy for them?

Baltimore 84-78- Unbelievably talented lineup core of Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Chris Davis likely to be wasted because their pitching leaves a lot to be desired.  Tommy Hunter as a closer?  Yikes!

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


AL CENTRAL

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.

Cleveland 86-76-  Losing Ubaldo Jimenez will weaken their rotation but the lineup basically returns intact and they have Terry Francona to lead them.  That gives them a slight edge for second place.

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.

Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) drives in a run with a double in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago 79-83Chris 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 67-95Joe 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 CANDIDATEMax Scherzer, Tigers

MVP CANDIDATE:  Cabrera, Tigers

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE:   Abreu, White Sox


AL WEST

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

Next Red Sox Game View full schedule »

Tags: AL Predictions American League Boston Red Sox