Welcome back baseball season!
Here’s your quick breakdown of my projected standings for the 2010 American League
1. New York Yankees — 100 Wins
* 2. Boston Red Sox — 97 Wins
3. Tampa Rays — 92 Wins
4. Baltimore Orioles — 81 Wins
5. Toronto Blue Jays — 72 Wins
* = Wild Card
For the Yankees, losing Matsui and Damon for Granderson and Johnson by no means was an upgrade for the 2010 team. Matsui and Damon were huge cogs in the Yankees wheel last season and I’m not completely sold on Granderson being the player everyone claims he can be. I expect some nice boo’ing come mid May with his ability to swing and miss with two strikes in the count. With that being said the addition of Javy Vazquez was an upgrade and if he throws 180+-innings, should win 15 games, even if his ERA is up a run plus from last season. His propensity to get K’s will keep fly balls at the $1.6 Billion Dollar Palace out of the right field seats and give the Yankees more depth Starting Pitching wise. Still the Yankees should score runs at a rate similar to last season. With a full season of Tex-ARod in the middle of the lineup, an improving Robbie Cano, and some more pop out of CF with Granderson, scoring shouldn’t be an issue.
The Red Sox have become the best big market pitching and defense team- but in the end, the Red Sox still have not replaced the loss of Manny Ramirez two seasons ago. Jason Bay filled in nicely, but the fact the Red Sox replaced him with Mike Cameron and Jeremy Hermida, leaves an offense that even with Bay last season sputtered at times, in a very tough position. Sox fans are excited for a full season with Victor Martinez, but it’s surprising to me that they will attempt to make him an everyday Catcher- something that the Indians simply couldn’t deal with anymore because of his weak throwing arm. His back up is an aging Variteck. Though Lackey gives the Red Sox yet another power arm in their already great starting rotation, an increase in ERA should occur for Lackey going from the AL West to the AL East (bye-bye A’s and Marines 4 times a season, hello Yankees and Rays 4 times a season). Regardless, their starters 1-5 and a still notable lineup should bring them to the Wild Card, yet again.
The Rays continue to find stud prospects coming into ’10. I think they’re another year away from making a serious run in the toughest division in baseball (if this team were in any other division they’d be my favorites this season). But now the Rays have an onslaught of prospects who are finally breaking with the big club. Watch guys like Zoborist, Sean Rodriguez, Wade Davis, Matt Joyce, and David Price- continue to get better and gain the all important experience needed in the majors. If this team is dragging slightly over .500 by the deadline, look for them to shop Carl Crawford around in order continue to reload their minor league system and make some more rooms for some of their future stars. Despite certain players learning on the job, The Rays will make some noise in 2010, and have a very successful season by their standards.
The Orioles are improved and for what it’s worth top to bottom boast a very strong lineup. It will be their pitching that will keep them held up for the next couple seasons while many of their young arms learn to toe the rubber in the big leagues. As for the Jays, they’ve fully gone into firesale mode this off-season, so expect them to play out ’10 as one of the worst teams in baseball as their youth attempts to get their sea-legs.
1. Chicago White Sox — 94 Wins
2. Minnesota Twins — 91 Wins
3. Detroit Tigers — 86 Wins
4. Cleveland Indians — 82 Wins
5. Kansas City Royals — 81 Wins
Buehrle, Peavy, Danks and Floyd. That will be the first four pitchers that the White Sox will be throwing at you in 2010. In addition to that a lineup of all athletes makes them my favorites in the AL Central. While Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez might be question marks going into this season If one of these 3 guys can reach their upside, that will make the Sox slightly better than the rest of the division.
Maybe it’s me, but I’m never sold on Twins pitching (exception: when they had Johan). Though everyone loves Scott Baker, I think with the likes of Slowey, Blackburn, Pavano and Liriano behind him, it’s not enough. Bare in mind, this team had ZERO business being in the playoffs last season, but the Tigers had a date with destiny (destiny being a trans-gender, std infested type of collapse that had even Mets fans saying, “ouch”).
As for those Tigers, they always seem to be getting older-despite stabs at a youth movement this year. Prospects Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore will be seeing significant playing time, but surrounding them will be a handful of aging veterans who all seem to be on the back-end of their career. The Indians are in a weird place that sees them kicking tires on what players can stay healthy or not (ie: Haftner, Sizemore, Westbrook, Carmona) while also taking tabs on their younger players (LaPorta, Brantley, Carlos Santana). And the Royals are the Royals- simply not enough talent there. So many of the Royals top picks the last decade who were deemed “CAN’T MISS”, have been missing left and right thus far. The Alex Gordon-Luke Hoovechar’s of the world are now looking more likely to be busts than stars, and the team has never recovered from the “Mega-Deal” they made at the time they traded Carlos Beltran several seasons ago, as the major league talent they got back in the deal, never panned out. In ’10 there simply won’t be anywhere near enough Major League ready talent to change what is destine to be a long 2010 season for the fans at Kauffman Stadium.
1. Texas Rangers — 97 Wins
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — 93 Wins
3. Seattle Mariners — 90 Wins
4. Oakland Athletics — 85 Wins
Amazingly, looking back on the Rangers of 2009 it was the offense that was the problem Their simply were not scoring enough runs to support their overachieving young starting rotation last season. This year, I expect their offense to catch up with their young pitching. With the Angels losing key pieces of their puzzle this off-season, suddenly I see the Rangers as the cream of the crop in the West.
Although the Mariners have improved, their simply isn’t enough offense to go around there. And the A’s, who everyone seems to love every preseason, have an even more anemic offense then they did going into last season. Though the Rangers have a few question marks, it’s hard to argue with the talent top-to-bottom on this team. And perhaps their young pitching staff doesn’t have the quality yet- but they certainly have a quantity of electric arms to throw out there.
3 Guys Who Can Win The MVP:
– Kevin Youkils, Mark Teixiera, Josh Hamilton
Guys Who Are Pivotal To Teams Success
– Gordon Beckham – Chicago White Sox
– Delmon Young – Minnesota Twins
– Elvis Andrus/Chris Davis – Texas Rangers
– Erik Aybar/Brandon Wood – LA Angels of Anaheim
3 Cy Young Candidates:
– John Lester, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez