I made my NL predictions on Tuesday so today will be my AL predictions. Just like Tuesday this will be who I think will win each division and some of my little notes on stuff. I’m going to start in the east and end in the west just like with the NL.
In the AL east there is really no question as to who I (and everybody else) pick to win the division. The Red Sox are probably an early World Series pick for most. With the addition of Chris Sale this offseason Boston went from a very good team to a possible World Series favorite. With David Price dealing with elbow problems (Tommy John isn’t necessary so good news) in spring training, probably going to miss most of April, adding Sale looks like it was much needed. With an outfield that already consists of Mookie Betts and JBJ it gets a full year of Andrew Benintendi in left field. Benintendi might not be the biggest guy in the world and might not hit 40 homers but he has a very quick and fluid swing, that will translate into a good batting average and some homers. As long as he doesn’t get injured he should easily win the AL ROY. Doesn’t look like they’ll miss David Ortiz too much.
Now onto the central. Again I think this pick is fairly obvious too, it’s the Cleveland Indians. Their rotation is just as good as last year but that’s not why I’m picking them, I’m picking them because even without Michael Brantley (MVP candidate and their 3 hole hitter) they made it all the way to the World Series eventually losing to the Cubs in extra innings of game 7. They might be a little cautious with Brantley but he’s been playing in spring training games for about a week now and so far looking fine, so with Brantley on the comeback road they still go out and sign the 1b/DH Edwin Encarnacion. Bringing the 35-40 homer power of EE makes this a very deep and fearful lineup.
Now the west is a little more interesting and not as clear cut as the other two. I like the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers, I think it’ll be a 3 team battle to win the division for sure. My favorite of the 3 is probably the Astros, they added three big bats this offseason in Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, and Brian McCann. With the addition of a good right fielder in Reddick they’re going to shift George Springer over to center and Beltran will slide into left field duties. And then McCann and Evan Gattis will both rotate between catcher and DH. With a full year of Alex Bergman at third, that’s a pretty deep and well rounded lineup if you ask me.
I honestly believe that there will be 3 playoff teams coming out of the west this year. I think the first wildcard team will be the Rangers. A full (and hopefully healthy) year of Yu Darvish to go along with Cole Hamels makes the Rangers rotation a force to be reckoned with. When the Rangers got ahold of Carlos Gomez something just seemed to click for him, he definitely looked like the Carlos Gomez that played for the Brewers. A full year of him should more than make up for the loss of Ian Desmond. The second wild card I think will go to Seattle. Adding Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura brings a much needed speed factor to this team. With a 3-4-5 of Cano-Cruz-Seager the Mariners are going to hit plenty of homers that’s a given. Bringing speed into the equation should make this offense a little more balanced and less all or nothing.