Every year, we in the United Cardinal Bloggers decide to work up our magic balls and see how this season is going to pan out. Then we bury these things and agree never to speak of them again. I’m notably bad at these things–I think I’ve picked Boston last when they’ve been first and vice versa–so I wouldn’t be putting any credence into them. That said, I’m going to give it a go anyway. The American League goes today in one fell swoop, because any league that uses 10 players for their starters isn’t worthy of deep thought. We’ll do the NL divisions Tuesday-Thursday, then we’ll talk about the postseason and the awards on Friday.
American League East
This is a division that I really have no feel for at all. It seems like everyone could win it. I think the Yankees might get enough out of Alex Rodriguez to be in the mix, assuming their pitching holds up. I think losing Marcus Stroman could be the difference between Toronto winning the division and losing it completely, because I wouldn’t be surprised if all five teams don’t wind up with 10-12 games of each other. I’m going with Baltimore mainly because 1) they did it last year, 2) they didn’t modify the team a whole lot and 3) I think Buck Showalter‘s pretty darn good.
American League Central
I could easily see Detroit winning this division again, but they are getting older. We don’t know if Justin Verlander can return to a similar form to what we’ve seen in the past. Miguel Cabrera won’t hit forever, though he’ll still hit a lot this year. I like Cleveland to edge them out by a game or so. I expect Kansas City to revert to form a little bit this coming season, given who they lost, though again, all these teams save Minnesota should be neck-and-neck throughout the year.
American League West
Los Angeles Angels
Let’s shake things up a bit. Again, I’m still not feeling it but I think Seattle can ride Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker to the top of the division. The Angels may get a good season out of Albert Pujols, but that group is getting older and I’m not confident they can battle the injury bug successfully enough to wind up in first. Houston is going to keep improving and might even be on the fringes of the wild card race this year. Or perhaps I threw darts and this is how it worked out. (I probably should have done that, much better odds of being right.)
Tomorrow, the NL East!