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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

MLB: American League Preview

Predictions

STANDINGS
AL East

1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Toronto Blue Jays
*Having to play the Yanks and Sox a combined 38 times is bad news for everyone else in the East. New York added Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano to their staff to make them the favorites. They still sport the best lineup 1-9, and with the continued emergence of Hideki Matsui, these Bombers may be more deadly than ever. The Sox took a few chances on players like Matt Clement and Wade Miller, players with better upside than actual performance in their careers, and proven veterans like Matt Mantei, David Wells and Edgar Renteria. Should the moves pay off for the Sox, it could be another long year for Yankee fans. Either way it should be a battle through the summer for the divison, but the Yankees just have better pitching, making them the favorites. Again, as for the rest of the division, nobody cares, just look for Baltimore to snag a few more wins than usual. Sammy Sosa?

AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Detroit Tigers
5. Kansas City Royals
* Please don't believe the hype that is surround the Cleveland Indians these days. Last time I checked, they have the division's 3rd best rotation, and while they have young talent, its just talent until they prove they can win. Probably another year or two away from any real success. The Twins are the team to beat, returning Cy Young winner Johan Santana and Brad Radke to solidify their starting rotation. Also look for Joe Mauer to stay healthy and rise to elite catcher status before the year is through. Tigers and Royals are still garbage, but theres not much that can be done about that. Chicago is an interesting team to watch. They have the pitching with Freddy Garcia and underated ace Mark Buerhle, and have a speedy lineup now, giving Manager Ozzie Guillen plenty of opportunity to take chances and create runs. They still probably don't have the bullpen to make it to the playoffs, but look for them to make a vast improvement from last season.

AL West
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2. Texas Rangers of Arlington
3. Oakland A's of Network Associates Collesium
4. Seattle Mariners of the Great Northwest
*The West went through a lot of changes in the offseason, with division staples Hudson, Mulder, Eckstein and Edgar leaving, and Beltre, Sexson and Cabrera coming in. Despite their hideous name change, look for Anaheim to remain atop this tightly contested division. Seatlle still doesn't have enough pitching, and pretty much the same can be said for Texas and Oakland as well. Texas probably has the best offense of the bunch, bringing back their power hitting infield of Texeira, Soriano, Young and Blalock. Oakland remains a mystery, as Billy Beane is going to have to weave some more magic to keep this team in any sort of contention after dealing away 2/3 of the Big 3 in the offseason. Long story short, there are good offenses in this division, but only the Angels have the pitching to last the whole year and take the crown.

AL Wild Card
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Texas Rangers
3. Chicago White Sox
* Sox and Yanks remain class of the American League so you can pencil Boston into the Wild Card slot.

Playoffs
Yankees over Twins in 6
Angels over Red Sox in 6

Yankees over Angels in 6

2005 AL Champions: New York Yankees

AWARDS
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
AL Rookie of the Year: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
AL Newcomer: Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox
Most Improved Team: Chicago White Sox

LEAGUE LEADERS
Wins: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
Saves: Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
K's: Rich Harden, Oakland A's
Batting Average: Ichiro, Seattle Mariners
HR: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
RBI: Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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