The Marathon Begins
So much has happened this spring, it’s difficult to believe we’re now watching games that count. The injuries have piled up and I believe they’ll impact several pennant races. Injuries are part of the game-and the teams with enough depth to overcome adversity may well prevail.
Here are my American League predictions for the season (including an off the wall prediction in one of the divisions):
American League West-
Los Angeles Angels-too much firepower and an improved pitching staff make it very tough on teams that have been banged up. I think the trio of Trout, Pujols and Hamilton will play to expectations. Pitching is better. 90 wins.
Rangers-Loss of starting pitchers will be difficult to overcome. I do like the new offense with Fielder and Choo. They’ll have to score plenty of runs though.-89 wins
Athletics- They, too, have some pitching injuries and not as much firepower as the two other clubs. However, we’ve all said that before and we’ve seen what happened. 86 wins
Mariners-Better, but not there yet. Cano will help. But why pitch to him? They need another bat to push them further towards the top. I like their young players and see promise in them-79 wins
Astros- I’m not as convinced that they will turn things around even with Appel, Springer and Singleton. They get much better when Carlos Correa arrives. He’s the key for me. 62 wins
American League Central-
Detroit-In a nutshell, it’s the pitching, but Miggy will miss Prince. They’ll all miss Fister. Left side infield defense will be a major problem for their outstanding pitchers. Still the best though. The team to beat in the division-90 wins
Royals-The popular flavor of the month, I don’t think they have nearly enough pitching to keep up with or catch the Tigers. Offense is coming together. I really like Yordano Ventura and Sal Perez. Kyle Zimmer will help later in the season. 85 wins
Cleveland- No Ubaldo, no Kazmir and not as much good luck in close games. And can they beat up Chicago like last year? No. I see regression. I think Kipnis will have a huge year along with Kluber. Santana is no worse at 3B than Chisenhall. 82 wins
White Sox-People will buzz about how good Jose Abreu hits. But I still don’t think they’ve turned the corner—yet. I have just a bit of a concern about Avisail Garcia after watching him this spring. I hope I’m wrong. Holes at 3B, 2B, C. Pitching isn’t there. 70 wins.
Twins-I think they’ll be counting too much on Buxton and Sano (when he gets healthy) for their future. Too much pressure on them. Lack organizational depth in pitching and position players. Tough year. 67 wins
American League East-
Baltimore-I really like the offense and I think the pitching will surprise. They can flat out kill the ball, especially in that park. They’ll miss Machado. Need him quickly. 90 wins
Rays-I think they might be a tad overrated. I really like Cobb and Price but I wonder about the rest of the rotation. Very good pen. Need another bat IMO. 89 wins
Yankees- Too many infield holes to fill. 1B will be an issue if Tex can’t hit. Like the additions of Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann. Not enough though. Pitching solid. 84 wins (tie with Boston in wins)
Red Sox- I think they’ll miss Ellsbury and Drew. I liked Bogaerts at 3B with Drew at shortstop. Victorino being hurt to start the season is a bit of an issue.. Lots of offensive pressure on Ortiz. Pitching is stable and good.-84 wins (tie with New York in wins.)
Blue Jays- They never fixed their pitching. It’ll come back to haunt them in such a tough division. Big, booming bats in spots and pop guns in others. 73 wins.
AL Champs: Angels
Most Valuable Player- Mike Trout
Rookie Of The Year- Jose Abreu
Tomorrow: National League Predictions.
Thank you for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. You can listen to Short Hops podcast every Wednesday on iTunes.
That’s it. I’m done.