2008 MLB Preview: American League X-Factors
I was thinking about players that will play a huge part of their teams' seasons. The so called "X-Factors". This became a an idea for an article. So here it goes.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver. The Angels are dealing with many pitching injuries. Weaver is key to the rotation that must be good for the Angeles to win the West.
Seattle Mariners: Erik Bedard. Bedard gives Seattle an excellent 1-2 punch in their rotation. If he and Felix Hernandez come through, Seattle can win the division. Bedard has a lot of talent, and if he delivers, Seattle has the talent to contend.
Oakland Athletics: Rich Harden. If Harden can stay healthy, which is a HUGE question, then the A's will have a decent rotation and a decent team. They could be a .500 team with a health Harden. Also, he could be used as trade bait at the deadline for more prospects for Billy Beane.
Texas Rangers: Kevin Milwood. Texas lacks good pitching, and they need Milwood to be solid to have any chance to be good. They need a #1 quality pitcher, and maybe, just maybe, Milwood can be that.
Detroit Tigers: Jeremy Bonderman. The Tigers have hitting, there is no doubt about that. Pitching is questionable behind Verlander. If Bonderman can be a quality #2 or 3 pitcher, Detroit will have the balance to win the division. If he struggles, Detroit probably won't have enough pitching to win the division.
Cleveland Indians: Fausto Carmona. If Carmona can be a good #2, the top of the rotation with Sabathia and Carmona will be arguably the best in the division. Cleveland has a great shot to win the division or even the World Series, and a lot depends on Carmona as a #2 pitcher.
Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano. I know he is starting the season in the minors, but he has all the talent in the world. He missed all of 2007, and is rusty. If he comes back and leads the rotation, Minnesota will have a above average rotation. They can atleast stay competitive in the division.
Chicago White Sox: Joe Crede. The White Sox have questions about their lineup, including about Crede. He has a lot of potiential, and has showed it in the past. Crede has been rumored to involved in trades. Crede could be a threat in a decent lineup, which would keep the White Sox out of the cellar of the major leagues.
Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon. This guy has had so much hype. The expectations are very high. Many expect him to be the next great Royal, and be the leader of the team for years to come. He has to show that ability to perform. If he does, Kansas City has a LITTLE bit of hope for years to come.
Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett. With Schilling out for the season, the rest of the rotation has a little more pressure. Beckett has been going through arm trouble, and if he is not healthy, Boston is in trouble. The young pitchers, including Buckholtz and Lester, are unproven. Beckett absolutely needs to be heathy and good in order for Boston to be a World Series contender.
New York Yankees: Phil Hughes. The Yankees also have pitching issues, with the Pettitte injury. Wong is solid, but behind him there are questions. If Phil Hughes can step up and fill a hole in the rotation, that will go a long way toward the Yankees winning the division.
Toronto Blue Jays: Alex Rios. The Blue Jays have an excellent rotation. They also have Vernon Wells and Rios in the lineup. To me, the rest of the lineup isn't great. The Blue Jays need Rios to be good, otherwise the lineup may not be that intimidating. Alex Rios has great potential, and if he is a big bat in the lineup, the Blue Jays could go places.
Tampa Bay Rays: B.J. Upton. The (no more Devil) Rays have a lot of young talent. Among the best of it is extremely talented B.J. Upton. He is among the best young prospects in all of the MLB.
Baltimore Orioles: Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera takes over at the top of the rotation with Bedard gone, and it will be seen how he does. If he can be a solid pitcher, Baltimore can avoid being one of the worst teams in the league. Expecting any more than that is expecting too much.
Thanks for reading.
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