2010 AL West Predictions

Yesterday I looked at the AL East and posted my predictions in the division race.

Today I will do the same for what I believe will be the best race in baseball–the AL West.
First off, The Angels. I know that they lost key players in Chone Figgins, John Lackey, and Vlad Guerrero. However, Brandon Wood, Joel Pinero, and Hideki Matsui should do a nice job in their respective spots. Brandon Wood was the Angels’ former number one prospect and I hear his defense is expected to win him a few gold gloves in his career. Joel Pinero is by no stretch of the imagination an ace, but he was a key part to the St. Louis Cardinals 2009 NL Central championship. Plus when you have Pinero slated as your number five starter, you have a pretty good rotation. Matsui is coming off a post-season where he was named World Series MVP as a member of the Yankees. Until the Angels are dethroned, they will be the favorite in my eyes.
That being said, the Seattle Mariners might be the most improved team in baseball. Cliff Lee, Brandon League, Casey Kotchman, Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, Eric Byrnes all joined a Mariners team that was already kind of loaded. They resigned Jack Wilson and gave an extension to Franklin Rodriguez–both of whom might very well be the best defenders at their positions. The only question is with Erik Bedard hurt until possibly June, who will step up after the Felix Martinez-Cliff Lee punch. I look for Ryan Rowland-Smith to have a good season.
The Texas Rangers also improved a lot. Signing Rich Harden, Vladimir Guerrero, and Darren Oliver were all very nice moves. They did however, lose contributors in Marlon Byrd, Kevin Millwood, and “Hamerin'” Hank Blalock. Scott Feldman will solidy his name as the ace of the Rangers in my eyes. Plus the Power Rangers were already stacked with an offense that already consisted of Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josh Hamilton, plus the defence of 2009 rookie-phenom Elvis Andrus.
Last but not least–the Oakland Athletics. The A’s upgraded an already deep pitching staff with the addition of Ben Sheets. Also, two time All-Star Justin Duchscherer is coming back from injury. Although Coco Crisp will start the year in the DL because of a broken finger suffered the final weekend of Spring Training, he will be back and he will contribute. Jake Fox and Kevin Kouzmanoff will add a bit of offense to a team that was lacking some. I do not think the Athletics will be at the top in the end, but with good young pitchers like Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, and Gio Gonzalez- they A’s pitching will only get better in the future. To go along with solid starting pitching the A’s have one of the most under-rated bullpens in baseball. Not only do they have rookie of the year winning closer Andrew Bailey, but also Michael Wuertz (When he comes back from injury), and Brad Ziegler. I will just say that the A’s are my darkhorse to win the division.
Predictions:
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1. Mariners
2. Angels
3. Athletics
4. Rangers
*I have the Angles winning the AL Wild Card.

2010 AL East predictions

With baseball’s opening day just about 24 hours away, I decided to take it upon myself to make the most accurate decisions up to date.

Today, I will start of with talking about the “most popular” division in baseball: AL East.
Obviously with the Yankees coming off the 27th World Series win in their storied franchise, they remain the team to beat and they only got better. They re-acquired former farm hand Nick Johnson, as well as re-acquiring veteran right handed pitcher Javier Vazquez. They brought Randy Winn back to the AL East where he had some success in the early 2000s as a member of the Devil Rays. Probably the most impressive move was trading for Curtis Granderson, who will more than make up for the loss of Johnny Damon.
The Red Sox know this and thus went out and improved their starting pitching by adding former Angels’ ace, John Lackey. They also added veteran Outfielder Mike Cameron, who is joining his  seventh team in his 16th season of professional ball. Infielders Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro should also fill in nicely for Mike Lowell and Alex Gonzalez respectively. The loss of Jason Bay is key, as they will now need to replace his 119 runs batted in.
Next is the fun and lovable Tampa Bay Rays. They did not make any huge splashes in the offseason, but the core of that 2008 AL championship team is mostly still there with the exception of Scott Kazmir. I look for Carlos Pena to have a huge season, as it is his contract year. I think this is finally the year that B.J. Upton puts it all together after seeign his younger brother, Justin Upton, get that gigantic contract with Arizona. Matt Garza, James “Big Game” Shields, and David Price should make for a nice front-end of their rotation.
The Baltimore Orioles are probably the most improved team in the division. After aquring Kevin Millwood, the team now has a legit ace as Jeremy Guthrie has had re-occurring injury problems. Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins should do a nice job replacing Melvin Mora. Signing Mike Gonzalez was also impressive, as heis not only one of the funkiest relievers in the league, but he is also one of the best. Plus with young studs such as Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, the O’s should make a nice run in 2010.
Lastly, the Toronto Blue Jays. After trading away Doc Halladay, they Jays pretty much waved the white flag for the upcoming season. With notable losses such as Scutaro (Now in Boston), Rod Barajas, and Brandon League–it will be pretty hard for their replacements to make up for those losses. All hope is not lost as the Jays have potential superstars in Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, and the veteran Vernon Wells. 
Predictions:
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1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Orioles
4. Rays
5. Blue Jays
I wish i had a different top two with the O’s and Rays at the top, but the “Beasts of the East,” are just too strong.

Why not?

I decided to start a blog here because my
girlfriend encouraged to do so in order to be able to get my
thoughts out on baseball. I look to hopefully create an new
entry once month. I probably will not start “blogging” until
the season starts, or at least until the final roster cuts
are made.