MLB: A Look Ahead To The 2008 Season and The American League
It's that time of the year again: Baseball season is upon us. But before you make your wagers on what teams will be successful this season, I offer you these predictions division by division throughout Major League Baseball.
Division Champs - New York Yankees
The Yankees, coming off another season which ended in a ALDS exit, come back with few changes. However, now that everybody in the clubhouse knows A-Rod is there for the long run, I believe they will be able to claim the division title once again after finishing 2nd in 2007.
I feel the decision to keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen helps this Yankees team since their bullpen is perhaps the weakest part of this team.
I believe the Yankees will send The Old Yankee Stadium out on a high note by having one of a great season. I predict 95 wins for this team this season.
2. Boston Red Sox
The Reigning World Champs. This team is stilll extremely good but I think the Yankees can hold them off for the division. With every major star back and an improved Matsuzaka, I see Boston getting the wild card from the American League. Curt Schilling will be gone for about 6 months but I believe Boston will defintely be able to continue their strong play without him because their rotation and bullpen have unparalleled depth.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Will this young team finally hit their stride and not be cellar dwellers anymore? I believe so. They have a great young team and a solid ace in Scott Kazmir, and I see them fairing pretty decently this season.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
Even with the addition of Scott Rolen I don't think this team did enough to win a lot of ball games this season. Halladay is a stud but after that I don't see much else there in the starting rotation.
5. Baltimore Orioles
The rebuilding has begun for this team. I don't see them winning more than 65 games this season, and Orioles fans are in for a rough one this season.
Division Champs - Detroit Tigers
In what many have as their World Series pick for this season, Detroit has set themselves up to have a monster season.
With the off-season additions of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera and literally bringing back every major star from last years team, I think Motown will be buzzing this season with the Tigers as serious World Series candidates once again.
I don't think they will run away with this division, however, because of how good Cleveland is, but in the end they will come away with the division and even have a top 3 MVP candidate in Miguel Cabrera. I believe this team will get 100 wins this season.
2. Cleveland Indians
Last years great ride, which included a ALDS win over the Yankees, most likely won't happen this year because I feel the wild card will come out of the AL East but this team is still very good. Sabathia anchors a very capable rotation and if Borowski can lower his era and still maintain 40+ saves, I feel this team could give Detroit a run for their money.
3. Chicago White Sox
I don't think this team is that great but since the bottom two teams in this division won't be good, Chicago gets third in this division by default. There are some great players there but I don't see this team being able to matchup with Cleveland or Detroit.
4. Kansas City Royals
Yes, you read right. The Royals will not finish last in this division this season. They may not have a huge payroll or any big stars but this team will slowly become more competitive. I predict less then 90 losses for the Royals this season.
5. Minnesota Twins
Losing their top 2 players this off season in Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, this team is in store for a long season. The bright spot comes in Francisco Lirano returning to the rotation after missing all of the 2007 season. Joe Mauer is another stud on this Twins team but I don't see them pushing for a playoff spot like they have in recent seasons.
Division Winner - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
You know this team is stacked when you have 4 solid outfielders and don't know which will be every day starters in the outfield. Anderson and Vlad are getting older but Vlad is still a menace in the field and definitely at the plate.
The addition of Torii Hunter automatically makes them possible World Series favorites along with Detroit. Just imagine having an outfield consisting of Mathews Jr, Hunter, Vlad and Anderson.
That's what Anaheim has and not to mention their very talented rotation and solid bullpen.
This team is scary good and should run away with the West I believe. I predict 98 wins for this team this season.
2. Seattle Mariners
A team looking to build after last years pretty successful season with Ichiro, Putz and Felix Hernandez. This team will be very competitive this season, but I believe though this team will go as Richie Sexson does. Sexson can't bat .205 like he did last season if Seattle wants any chance of beating Anaheim for the division, Richie is going to have to bring that power back that we are all accustomed to seeing.
3. Texas Rangers
I really like the players on this team like Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Ian Kinsler. This team has great offensive power but not much going for it in the rotation, which will keep them back from competing for the division this season. I don't see them finishing last in the West this year, however, because of what they have on offense in those young quality players.
4. Oakland Athletics
After losing one of their star pitchers in Dan Haren this past off season, I still see some hope in this team because of a group of players that enjoy playing the game. Eric Chavez looks to continue being a solid defensive player at 3rd base for the A's this season. Other then that I don't believe Oakland has the firepower to compete for a division title this season.
World Series Prediction:
New York Yankees
I see the Yankees representing the AL in the World Series this year after defeating Detroit in the ALCS. I see the Yankees sending off the House That Ruth Built with an appearance in the World Series and even possibly winning the World Series. I will have that prediction available after I examine the NL in the upcoming days.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
I see Cabrera finally getting the ultimate respect he deserves, his consisten MVP type numbers will finally be seen this year because he will be on a quality team in Detroit. Cabrera wins the MVP with Jeter the runner up and Torii Hunter 3rd.
AL Cy Young:
Andy Pettite, New York Yankees
My upset pick here is Andy Pettite from the New York Yankees, I believe he will quiet the steroid talks down with an outstanding season with 20 wins and guiding the Yankees into the World Series. Pettite is a long shot but he is my upset pick here.
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