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2015 American League Predictions

March 31, 2015

American League

 

AL East

Baltimore – The Orioles finished 2014 in first place with 96 wins, 12 games ahead of the Yankees. They had a great season last year and there is not much reason that they will not have another one. C Matt Weiters and 3B Manny Machado are coming back from injury, and that should make up for losing DH Nelson Cruz. 1B Chris Davis has 1 game left on his suspension and he should be producing as well. Their rotation returns intact and P Zach Britton returns after a 37 save season. They may not win 96 this year, but they won’t need to in order to win the AL East. Prediction: 1st place

Toronto – The Blue Jays finished 2014 in 3rd place with 83 wins, 13 games behind the Orioles. They added C Russell Martin and 3B Josh Donaldson to an already potent lineup. Martin will be able to handle their staff and add some offense. Their biggest problem right now is that they do not have a proven closer. The rotation looks solid. They will be better this season. Prediction: 2nd place

Boston – The Red Sox finished 2014 in last place with 71 wins, 25 games behind the Orioles. They are looking to bounce back from a horrible 2014 season. Their leaders are getting older, as DH David Ortiz is 39 and 2B Dustin Pedroia, C Mike Napoli, and OF Shane Victorino are all in their 30s. They lack a solid number 1 or 2 pitcher in their rotation. They added OF Hanley Ramirez and 3B Pablo Sandoval. The Sox have enough faith in SS Xander Bogaerts to move Ramirez to left field. The additions of Ramirez and Sandoval could make up for their pitching. Their off season moves have made them better than last year. Prediction: 3rd place

New York – The Yankees finished 2014 in 2nd place with 84 wins, 12 behind the Orioles. They stayed in the race until the last month, but will be without SS Derek Jeter in their Opening Day lineup for the first time since 1995. He leaves a big hole at shortstop and in the leadership role. Only one pitcher in their rotation (Nathan Eovaldi) started more than 20 games last season. 3B/DH Alex Rodriguez has not played in almost 2 full seasons. Closer Dellin Betances is the bright spot in the bullpen. The loss of Jeter keeps them from getting them to .500 this season. Prediction: 4th place

Tampa Bay – The Rays finished 2014 in 4th place with 77 wins, 19 games behind the Orioles. The Rays lost SP David Price and SP Matt Moore is out until late June or early July. They desperately need 3B Evan Longoria and closer Grant Balfour to have bounce back seasons. Losing manager Joe Madden hurts the team. Prediction: 5th place

AL Central

Detroit – The Tigers finished 2014 in first place with 90 wins, 1 game ahead of the Royals. They are looking for their fifth straight Central title. They lost P Max Scherzer, but gained P David Price. The pitching staff still has P Justin Verlander and P Anibal Sanchez. 1B Miguel Cabrera and DH Victor Martinez can still hit, and OF Yoenis Cespedes has been added to outfield. Prediction: 1st place

Chicago – The White Sox finished 2014 in 4th place with 73 wins, 17 games behind the Tigers. They improved their pitching by acquiring starter  Jeff Samardzija, closer David Robertson, and relievers Zach Duke and Dan Jennings. On offense, they added OF Melky Cabrera and DH/first baseman Adam LaRoche. Starter Chris Sale is out for Opening Day, but should be back soon after. They should improve this year. Prediction: 2nd place

Kansas City – The Royals finished 2014 in second place with 89 wins, 1 game behind the Tigers. They secured the first Wild Card spot and went to the World Series, losing to the Giants in 7 games. The American League Champion Royals are looking to prove that 2014 was not a fluke. It is going to be tough with the losses of P James Shields, RF Nori Aoki, and DH Billy Butler. Their defense could carry them again, but without Shields, it will be hard for them to repeat. Prediction: 3rd place

Cleveland – The Indians finished 2014 in third place with 85 wins, 5 games behind the Tigers. They have 18 game winner Corey Kluber as their ace. DH Nick Swisher is coming back from double knee surgery in August and will probably not be ready by opening day. They need him to get back to 20 home runs in order to get back in to the race. Prediction: 4th place

Minnesota – The Twins finished 2014 in last place with 70 wins, 20 games behind the Tigers. They are looking to stop a string of 4 straight 90-loss seasons. They are a young team, with just OF Torii Hunter (turns 40 this season) over the age of 32. P Phil Hughes leads a rotation that, while not great, looks good. They may improve, but not much. Prediction: 5th place

AL West

Los Angeles – The Angels finished 2014 in first place with an MLB best 98 wins, 10 games ahead of the A’s. They lost 2B Howie Kendrick, but they gained P Garrett Richards and Closer Huston Street. Add them to P Jered Weaver, OF Mike Trout, 1B Albert Pujols, SS Erick Aybar, and 3B David Freese and you have a team that will be hard to beat. Prediction: 1st place

Seattle – The Mariners finished 2014 in third place with 87 wins, 12 games behind the Angels. They have a good rotation led by their ace P Felix Hernandez, especially with the addition of lefty P J.A. Happ. The addition of DH Nelson Cruz adds to an already potent offense that includes 1B Logan Morrison and 2B Robinson Cano. 2B/OF Rickie Weeks should provide quality backup and can fill in if anything happens to Cano. This team is better than they were last year. Prediction: 2nd place

Oakland – The A’s finished 2014 in second place with 88 wins, 10 games behind the Angels. They have had one of the biggest personnel turnovers in baseball. They gained 2B Ben Zobrist, DH Billy Butler, 1B Ike Davis, 3B Brett Lawrie, SS Marcus Semien, RHP Jesse Hahn, RHP Tyler Clippard and lost LHP Jon Lester, RHP Jeff Samardzija, 1B Brandon Moss, 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Jed Lowrie, INF Alberto Callaspo, OF Jonny Gomes, RHP Jason Hammel, DH Adam Dunn, LHP Luke Gregerson, C John Jaso, C Derek Norris. Closer Sean Doolittle is not likely to be ready for Opening Day. Tyler Clippard has some experience as a closer (saved 32 games in 2012 for the Nationals), and he may fill the void. Overall, their losses are more than their gains. Prediction: 3rd place

Houston – The Astros finished 2014 in fourth place with 70 wins, 28 games behind the Angels They got to 70 wins, which is a huge improvement for them. They have some power and the addition C/OF Evan Gattis and OF Colby Rasmus gives them some more. SS Jed Lowrie is an improvement for the Astros, and if C Jason Castro bounces back, they can get Gattis in left field. It is possible to get to .500 this season. Prediction: 4th place

Texas – The Rangers finished 2014 in last place with 67 wins, 31 games behind the Angels. They were hurt by injuries last season, and they are getting hit already this year, with P Yu Darvish going down for the season with Tommy John surgery and P Derek Holland having shoulder issues. P Yovani Gallardo and P Ross Detwiler were supposed to be added to Darvish and Holland, but now the Rangers need them to fill in for the injured pitchers. If the position players can stay away from injuries, they should be able to put up some runs. 1B Prince Fielder should bounce back to his 30 home run, 100 RBI norms. Prediction: 5th place

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From → Baseball, MLB

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