2013 Major League Baseball Preview – American League

If you missed out on the NL preview, make sure to check it out here. And for that matter if you missed out on my three part Hall of Fame rant this offseason you can find them at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.AL

And now it’s time for the Junior Circuit. After growing up in a National League city for the first couple of decades of my life, I’ve now been living in an American League city for the past 12 1/2 years. What does that mean? It means I can actually start to mildly embrace the merits of the Designated Hitter for one thing. It also means that I see these teams a bit more often and thus I’m sure I overvalue what I see in person skewing my predictions. That’s a ringing endorsement, right?! I’m kidding of course. It does mean that I see these teams a bit more than the National League, so hopefully it means that I can give an increased level of insight. Though with the amount of change with some of the key teams, that may not prove to be so helpful…but I digress.

Let’s get to the predictions…

American League East
  1. Tampa Bay Rays (92-70)
  2. Toronto Blue Jays (90-72)
  3. New York Yankees (83-79)
  4. Baltimore Orioles (79-83)
  5. Boston Red Sox (68-94)

If we go by the offseason alone then we would have to crown the Blue Jays as the champions as they had one of the most impressive offseasons in recent memory. It should be enough to vault them into the playoff picture for sure, but I just haven’t seen enough yet to give them the division. The Rays continually make the right moves and they have reloaded nicely once again. The Yankees are already struggling with injuries and age at this point in the season… I don’t see the escape plan working this time. The last ride of Mariano Rivera will end outside of the playoffs. As for last year’s surprise darling the Baltimore Orioles? History suggests that teams that overachieve one year are going to regress the next. And I just don’t know what to say about the Red Sox. rays

American League Central
  1. Detroit Tigers (87-75)
  2. Kansas City Royals (83-79)
  3. Cleveland Indians (82-80)
  4. Chicago White Sox (78-84)
  5. Minnesota Twins (68-94)

This division could be the most fun in all of baseball. The Tigers are the cream of the crop here and adding a healthy Victor Martinez will only help… though an improved division may deflate the Detroit win total. I’m pretty sure that I’m biased, but there are teams that end up being more than the sum of the parts and when youth, hope, talent and the right mix of veterans combine, it can be a beautiful thing. Yep, it’s the bias talking, but I’m buying this Royals team taking the leap to a winning season. Of course I also see the Indians making a leap as well and nipping at KC’s heels so this division could go down to the wire. Of course, if two teams are moving up then someone has to move down, and the chips fell to the White Sox. And then there’s the Twins… poor Twinkies. At least the Vikings got Jennings!Tigers

American League West
  1. Los Angeles Angels (93-69)
  2. Texas Rangers (91-71)
  3. Oakland A’s (82-80)
  4. Seattle Mariners (80-82)
  5. Houston Astros (58-104)

If at first you don’t succeed… pick the Angels again. Oh, and do yourself a favor, show up early to an Angels game. Watching Trout, Trumbo, Pujols, and Hamilton take BP will be worth the price of admission. The Rangers should be tough once again and will be there until the last week. The A’s were the other surprise story last year and I feel another regression. While the pitching should be there, some of the production was smoke and mirrors. They are still an above .500 team, but just barely. The Mariners will continue to improve from last year, which is bad news for the new whipping boys of the West, the Houston Astros. Welcome to the American League boys. At least you get to open the season on national TV with a .500 record!Angels

Commercial Break:

Seriously people, I have no inside information, but this is absolutely a must see film this spring. And if you happen to have a spare $1,000 you can go to the premier in Kansas City and participate in a Q&A session with some of the actors – Harrison Ford is reported to be coming – as well as Jackie’s son and sportswriter Joe Posnanski. (As for your next question, “Why Kansas City?”, it is both the home of the Negro Leagues as well as the first city that Jackie played in as a professional, when he spent one season with the Kansas City Monarchs). If you don’t have that much, you can still go see the film early and the price of admission includes a ticket to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. For more information, see  http://www.42kansascity.com/

AL Playoffs:
  • Wild Card: Blue Jays over Rangers
  • Division Round: Angels over Blue Jays; Rays over Tigers
  • Championship Series: Angels over Rays

And for your 2013 World Series Champion…Trophy

Nationals over Angels

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