Around The Horn: American League
When you look at the American league this year, it's hard to predict which team will claim any of the divisions. All of these teams have amazing talent on them, which is good.
American League East
I cannot wait to see this battle get underway. This was Yankees' and Red Sox' stomping ground for the past few years, until the worm turned for the Rays.
Each team has a solid rotation, dangerous lineups, and good bullpens.
Everyone is picking the Yankees to take the title, but I am apprehensive to say as much. They have great pitchers in Joba Chamberlain and C.C. Sabathia, but A.J. Burnett gets hurt a lot.
And who is in their bullpen, besides Mariano Rivera?
Even with the great starters, there is very little depth on this team. If someone goes down, who is there to step up?
They have already lost Alex Rodriguez for a few weeks, and there is a good possibility that when he comes back, the Yanks could be down five or six games.
Any team would kill to have Boston's problemstoo many young, talented pitchers.
Clay Bucholz has bounced back, and Micheal Bowden and Daniel Bard are on the verge of being impact players. Looking at the rotation, the only problem is Brad Penny's health.
He has traditionally been a power pitcher and the surgery he had really may have taken that away. The bullpen, however, is water tight.
Boston will not score as many runs without Manny Ramirez, but they should win a lot of games. They have sped at the top with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and good power guys with David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis.
J.D. Drew, Jason Bay, and Mike Lowell will be good run-producers as long as they can stay healthy. Jed Lowrie should be a decent bat, but we will have to wait and see how he handles a full season. Jason Varitek looks like he'll improve on last year's numbers.
Boston will be a team that relies on pitching and defense.
They have some incredible pitching, just like their newest rival, Tampa Bay. Even though David Price was sent down to Triple-A, Rays fans should not worry.
From Scott Kazmir to the back end of the bullpen, this is a team with tremendous arms. Andy Sonnanstine may be be worst in the rotation, and he had double-digit wins last year, thanks to the offense.
This is a lineup that can smash the ball and manufacture runs. They have great speed and decent power with B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford, and run-producers in Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.
The addition of Pat Burrell gives them some more thump, which I like.
As far as the Blue Jays and Orioles, these teams need a bit more time. Both have pitching woes, but I think the Jays' problems may be more serious.
All Baltimore needs is time to get the young guys to develop. The Blue Jays may see their bullpen get raided to fill out a rotation
American League Central
The Central is hard to predict but Minnesota should win it with a healthy Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Mauer.
The White Sox took a gamble signing Bartolo Colon and refusing to offer Ken Griffey Jr. a contract, but they are slowly starting to get more youth on the team.
Alexi Casilla should have a monster year, and the bullpen is looking good.
I honestly have no idea where to put the Detroit Tigers. Gary Sheffield was toxic and had to be dumped. I want to say they'll win the division, but after last year I can't.
They should win with their rotation and guys like Miguel Cabrera and Maglio Ordonez in the lineup. This is a wait-and-see team.
Same with the Indians.
There is a ton of talent on this team, but after last year I have trouble putting faith in them. It all hinges on Travis Hafner.
Injuries killed Hafner last year, and his numbers have been slowly declining. If he gets going again, especially with good speed at the top, they can absolutely challenge.
And do not forget about the Kansas City Royals.
They have rotation questions after Gil Meche and Zack Greinke, and the bullpen doesn't calm you either. But they have promise and they have a very good lineup, after getting the one thing they needed.
They were toward the top of the league in batting average, but at the bottom in runs scored. After trading for Coco Crisp, this team is going to make Detroit and Cleavland sweat.
American League West
The West belongs to the Angels. They have great pitching and a great lineup.
The Rangers were second, but by 21 games. I find it weird that this is the one team that can't put together a solid rotation.
This is a team that will score in droves, but with no decent pitching to back it, they are going to have problems.
The Mariners are heading in a decent direction.
I really do not know why they signed Griffey, probably only to get more people in the stadium. With all due respect to Griffey, the Mariners have a lot more work to do than just adding an old-timer.
Actually, now that I look at that sentence, he does add something: leadership. This clubhouse was toxic last year, so hopefully he can shape things up.
I could have sworn Oakland was in rebuilding mode.
Then they trade for Matt Holliday.
I didn't understand it at first, but then I saw why. If Oakland is not in the mix by the time the end of July comes around, the Athletics can get a ton for him.
Almost all of these divisions will be very, very competitive. It should make for a great season. With the quality of pitching and offense, it's anyone's guess who makes the playoffs.
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