Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Breakdown Of The American League 2008 Baseball Season

What I plan to do here, so long as my power doesn't blow out which has been happening a lot in this area lately, is to go through each team in order of how I think they'll finish in their division and highlight some of their key players. Starting with the American League.......

AL East

1. Boston Red Sox - I just don't see the Yankees overtaking them again this year. Boston's pitching is consistently amazing (Beckett, Schilling, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Lester), their bullpen is untouchable (Papelbon, Okajima), and their hitting is to be feared (Pedroia, Youkilis, Ramirez, Ortiz).

2. New York Yankees - Maybe back in the late 90s early 2000 I would have bowed down to this team, but all these players are getting old and their lineup isn't as scary as it once was. Still, I put them in second because they are the Yankees. Pettitte, Wang, and Chamberlain can match up against Boston's pitching, but Mussina is unpredictable and I'm not sold on Hughes. Their bullpen isn't as good as Boston's, but Hawkins and Rivera are usually reliable. Just don't being in Farnsworth! He's terrible. As for their hitting, well, again its the same cast of familiar faces just getting another year older.

3. Tampa Bay Rays - That's right, I put the Rays in 3rd. This will be a surprise team. They are extremly young, and therefore, unpredictable. Kazmir, Shields, and Garza were being compared to the Braves 95 pitching staff of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz before they became famous. They acquired my favorite closer in baseball, Troy Percival, to nail down wins, and their lineup is full of quick, pesky guys such as Crawford, Baldelli, Pena, and Gomes who always seem to annoy teams like the Red Sox and Yankees.

4. Toronto Blue Jays - The only highlights for pitching on this team are Halladay and Burnett. Their bullpen is poor, but what saves this team is the big bats of Overbay, Thomas, Rolen, and Wells. Eckstein is also a nice acquisition as the leadoff hitter.

5. Baltimore Orioles - With the departure of their best pitcher (Bedard) and their best hitter (Tejada) this team has nothing left. None of their starters or relievers are worth mentioning as highlights and their only decent hitters are Mora, Scott, Roberts, and Huff, who are all average.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers - Wow. I mean, wow. Here's your World Series winner right here. Their entire pitching lineup is capable of winning, their bullpen is crazy, and their starting lineup is something that I would draft in a video game. Willis only did bad in the N.L because he had no run support. This is a fresh start for him with a team that should give him plenty of run support in the big bats of newly acquired Cabrera, Sheffield, Granderson, Ordonez, etc. However, this is another team thats aging. If they can stay healthy, I can see them dominating. If they can't stay healthy, well then the Red Sox are always an option as a World Series winner.

2. Cleveland Indians - I like the Indians a lot, but not enough anymore to pick them to win their division. However their pitching (Sabathia, Carmona, Westbrook, Byrd) is still dominant, their relievers are above average (Betancourt), and their hitting is very good (Hafner, Peralta, Sizemore, Martinez).

3. Chicago White Sox - I don't know what happened to this team. They used to be incredible. Now their only good batters are Dye, Konerko, and Thome. Everyone else is mediocre or below average. Their bullpen is still great (Jenks, Dotel) and their starters are pretty good (Vazquez, Buehrle, Contreras).

4. Minnesota Twins - Instead of two amazing pitchers, the Twins only have Liriano and even he is unpredictable since he hasn't pitched in awhile. Their bullpen is mediocre and other than Morneau, the rest of their bats is just as average as their pitching.

5. Kansas City Royals - Until this team ever gives anyone a reason to believe in them, I will always list this team as last. Meche, Bannister, and Greinke are consistently bad pitchers, I haven't got a clue who anyone is in their bullpen, and their batters just make you say ew.

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels - Lackey, Garland, Weaver, and Santana can compete with other rotations and Rodriguez is just as good a closer as anyone. Combine that with the bats of Figgins, Anderson, Hunter, Matthews, and Guerrero and they have no reason why they shouldn't win their division.

2. Seattle Mariners - Bedrard, Washburn, and Silva give the Mariners a chance at matching up to other rotations, though their bullpen needs some work. Their hitting (Sexson, Johjima, Betancourt, Beltre, and Suzuki) is superb and may give the Angels a run for their money.

3. Texas Rangers - Millwood, Padilla, and Jennings are decent starters, but like the Mariners, they could spruce up their bullpen. However, unlike the Mariners, their hitting needs work, with only Young and Bradley as highlights.

4. Oakland Athletics - Street is a great closer and Blanton and Harden are OK pitchers, but that's really it for this team. I can't even write about this team's hitting because I don't know any batters except for Chavez and Crosby.

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