Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The AL break down

A week of baseball does not a season make. The up and downs of these first ten games may not be the way things end up over the course of the 162. Now, as a Jay’s fan, I hope things go just as they are. This week I will look to the AL and how it might wind up.

The AL West should finish up with Texas leading. The Rangers, the only real contender in the West, have added the veteran Adrian Beltre. This veteran had a career year in 2010. Mike Young moved from third to DH where it is hoped his production will continue. Look to the closer Neftali Feliz to have 40 plus saves last year. This year will be similar to last year, very strong.

The only surprise might be Athletics. They have slightly improved their rotation and mid-relief. The top three starters have a combined ERA of 4.82. The fourth starter, Alex Ogabdo, has shown great control which should help lower the ERA. They still do not have much in terms of offensive power this year. Offensive numbers overall will be down. The A’s are over rated, however, they are bit better than the rest.

Some pundits are talking Angels in the West. They picked up Vernon Wells but lost Juan Rivera. The trade was a wash, as they are very similar players. Pitching is unimproved and Fernando Rodney is far from the best closer. (You might remember him from the World Series Detroit against St Louis when Rodney threw what would be the winning run over the first baseman’s head.) I think LLAA is in trouble this year. The Mariners are still going nowhere. The Mariners don’t have much pop at the bat, except for Ichiro, who is the best hit man in the league. The West should wind up Rangers, Athletics, Angels and Mariners.

The Central should go to the White Sox. They have a very strong offensive team that will help their less than stellar pitching staff. Bad boy, Adam Dunn, will pound them out and Brent Morel is the new young addition at 3rd that brings some offense but has to watch his number of errors. Paul Konerko is back to his former self and has been very strong in all departments over the last two years. Even Alex Rios has lowered his strike out ratio. The pitching staff will rely upon the offense to return to postseason play. I see a very strong finish here.

The Twins lost a whole series to Detroit at the end of the last season when they were in contention. So far this year the same problems persist. Just too inconsistent to compete even with Joe Mauer as the lynch pin of the team. The Tigers have made little change. They did picked up Victor Martinez from the Red Soxs adding power to the DH. Brennan Boesch, a young lefty in his second year in the bigs may be the new power for the Tiger outfield if he can get some regular playing time in. The health of Ordonez and Carbrera will be central to their offense.With fewer injuries, the Tigers should be able to beat the Twins and take second in the Central. The Indians have weak rotation and little pop in the bat and are a shocker at his point being 8/2 on the season. This won't last. Shin-Soo Choo is their only pop with the bat and could hit 20 HR's again this year. The Royals are waiting for the farm to produce the next real talent. The order should be: White Sox, Tigers, Twins, Indians and still in the basement, the hapless Royals.

Tomorrow, the AL East.

John the Tomahawk

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