One Man's Predictions for This Baseball Season
Believe it or not, it's time, yet again, for the Major League Baseball season to get underway. That's good news for those of us who enjoy watching the best players in baseball play the best sport ever created. That's bad news, however, for us Astros fans because, well, the Astros suck. But at least the Astros still have Carlos Lee holding down left field.
As I do every year, I thought I would like to throw out my MLB predictions for the year. And you might want to pay attention because I predicted six of the eight playoff teams last season, and I got one of the two teams to make the World Series. Yes, I missed on the Rangers and Reds, but seriously, how many of the so-called experts had the Giants making the World Series like I did, huh?
So, let's get to it.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
1. Boston Red Sox The BoSox added speed and power in Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to an already potent offense. And the pitching should be just good enough to get them into the playoffs.
2. Tampa Bay Rays The Rays lost Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena to free agency during the off-season. But they've still got Evan Longoria, who is one of the best players in baseball. And while their offense is depleted, they've still got that one ingredient that every team kills for, and that's outstanding starting pitching.
3. New York Yankees No player in the history of this franchise has ever got 3,000 hits. Not Babe Ruth. Not Lou Gehrig. Not Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio. This season, Derek Jeter will get his 3,000th hit. And despite what the talking heads on ESPN will be saying throughout the year, Jeter is not, and never will be, the greatest Yankee ever. Hell, he's never even been the best player on his own team, and he's still only the second-best shortstop currently on that roster.
4. Baltimore Orioles The American League version of the Astros rode a legend as far as they could, invested big money in free agents in attempts to keep the dreams alive and have since wallowed in mediocrity for years. But unlike the Astros, the Orioles seem to have tired of mediocrity and instead of hiring the likes of Ed Wade, they've put guys with the reputation of building winning teams, Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter, in charge.
5. Toronto Blue Jays Hey, Toronto is a nice city.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
1. Minnesota Twins The Twins have the best catcher in baseball, Joe Mauer. Their starting rotation doesn't attract the attention of the Phillies', but it's an underrated staff that gets the job done. Joe Nathan returns to close this year. Then there are guys like Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer. The Twins just find a way to win. Except for when they play the Yankees in the playoffs.
The class of the American League
2. Chicago White Sox A good friend of mine is devoted to the White Sox, and she always gets angry at me for not picking them to finish first. I like the addition of Adam Dunn. And the team has talent. But sometime this year manager Ozzie Guillen will get into an argument with GM Kenny Williams and the team will fall apart. Like always.
3. Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander heading the rotation and Jimmy Leyland as manager means this team is always a danger to win. Of course, they've got to keep some of their players out of jail and away from the bars.
4. Cleveland Indians They play in a nice stadium. And they have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
5. Kansas City Royals There's no truth to the rumor that they've petitioned to play a minor league schedule.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
1. Oakland A's The team doesn't generate much offense, and nobody shows up to watch in that awful relic of a park. But GM Billy Beane has quietly assembled a young, superb starting rotation, and that could be just the ticket for the A's this season.
2. Texas Rangers This team still has a lot of talented hitters. But it took the midseason acquisition of Cliff Lee to put the Rangers over the top and send them on the way to the World Series. Cliff Lee's gone, so let's see what kind of magic Nolan Ryan can work up this season.
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim The Angels had the run of this division for several seasons. That run is over.
4. Seattle Mariners Seattle's a really nice city. And it's a nice ballpark. But the team, not even so-so.