The 2012 Major League Baseball team is upon us. Another year, another division crown for my Yankees (whoo-hoo!), though I didn’t exactly buy into them at the beginning of last season. At any rate, I will preview the American League today, followed by the National League tomorrow.
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays-*
- Boston Red Sox
- Baltimore Orioles
- Toronto Blue Jays
Analysis: I didn’t believe in my Yankees last season, but I have learned my lesson. CC Sabathia is still a pitching stud and the Yanks added depth to their pitching rotation and bullpen. One thing hasn’t changed from last year: they can still hit.
The Rays should be better and contend for their annual playoff spot. Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball and still has a good young core led by Evan Longoria and David Price. I just wish their fans would appreciate them as much as I do.
The Red Sox is a team in transition. The popular Terry Francona is out as manager, and in is firecracker Bobby Valentine. While I still think that he is a good hire for the Red Sox, Valentine is doing what he always do – stirring the pot. While the Sox will contend for a playoff spot – thanks to the extra playoff spot starting this season – but the Sox have a tough road ahead of them.
If the Orioles and Blue Jays were not in the AL East, they would contend for division titles – but alas, they are not. At least both teams play hard and do not stink. Maybe if there were NO DIVISIONS in the American and National Leagues…
- Detroit Tigers
- Minnesota Twins
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Kansas City Royals
Analysis: This is the Tigers’ division to lose. They have gotten immensely better on offense with the addition of Prince Fielder. Imagine that lineup with Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Jhonny Perlata – oy! And they still have at Justin Verlander fellow as their pitching ace. This may be the only team that will stand in my Yankees’ way come playoff time.
I think the Twins will bounce back this season. As long as Joe Mauer is healthier, the Twins will compete for a wildcard spot. I just think Ron Gardenhire is too damn good of a manager for this team not to do well. At least THEIR fans appreciate them (hear that Rays fans?).
The other three teams in the division will be playing for next year. The White Sox will rue the day they let former manager Ozzie Guillen walk to the Marlins. And why do the Indians and Royals – ESPECIALLY the Royals – bother to compete? Sucks being fans of both.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim below Long Beach
- Texas Rangers-*
- Oakland Athletics
- Seattle Mariners
Analysis: This division is basically a two-team race, though I think Texas is much weaker with the departure of former ace C.J. Wilson to the Angels. Texas still will be able to mash with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus.
Speaking of the Angels, they should pull away from Texas and win the division for the first time in a couple of seasons. The Angels landed the big fish in Albert Pujols to go with Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells in the batting lineup. Their starting pitching is much improved with the acquisition of Wilson to go with staff ace Jeff Weaver and Ervin Santana. Angels all the way baby!
And then there’s Oakland and Seattle, what’s the point? Both teams suck, and even though they are opening up the season in Japan, again I must ask ‘what’s the point?’ – as well as ‘who gives a f—?’
P.S. this division will be more weaker with the addition of the Houston Astros next season. Blech!!!
-*: denotes wildcard team.