Siberian Baseball

Friday, March 30, 2007

American League Preview

The American League, which was the doormat of the National League when I was a kid - hell, even the Yankees were awful - has risen to dominate in pretty much every competition between the two.

All-Star Games, the past decade of World Series play, hot dog eating contests - you name it and the AL has become the prohibitive favorite. With a Cardinals win last October, the NL got some of its pride back and the AL contenders all seem to have fatal flaws, or at least large question marks that keep things interesting before the season kicks off tomorrow.

AL East

The Sexy Pick: Red Sox in a runaway. With big bats and JD Drew coming off a hot spring, the Red Sox seem primed to outslug any team, assuming their rotation doesn't shut you down out of the gate.

The Smart Money Pick: Yankees in a dogfight. The numbers to think about here? Nine straight AL East titles and five games swept at Fenway in the dog days of summer when it really mattered.

That's why they're the Yankees and everyone else hates the Yankees.

My Picks (with last year's final standing and record):

Boston Red Sox (3rd 86-76)
New York Yankees (1st 97-65)
Toronto Blue Jays (2nd 87-75)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (5th 61-101)
Baltimore Orioles (4th 70-92)

AL Central

The Sexy Pick: Cleveland. Budding players, emerging stars and a stunning lack of concern for the problems with their closer position.

The Smart Money Pick: Detroit Tigers. It's funny, for the amount of respect given the Yankees and Braves who just keep kept winning (sorry, Atlanta), there is no love for the Twins who have rounded up a trophy case full of AL Central titles. That said, the Tigers with the addition of Gary Sheffield, a little more time spent on pitchers fielding practice drills in Spring Training and a chip on their shoulder from being bounced from the World Series in short order and this becomes a dangerous team.

No, I don't care if Kenny Rogers is hurt. I'm sticking to my guns on this.

Bonus Coverage: This is a classic case where you chase your tail around and around. The Tigers aren't unbeatable but they look stronger than anyone else. The Indians are iffy, especially after last year, but have good, young players. The Twins have no pitching to speak of behind Johan Santana and the White Sox are subject to the whims of Ozzie.

You start to fill in down the line, then stop and think, "Well, the White Sox shouldn't finish fourth right?" But then you rework all of the picks and you say, "Now the Twins are fourth!" or "The Tigers can't drop that far, can they?"

Eventually you have to make the pick and stick with it. At least we can all agree the Royals will suck, right?

My Picks:

Detroit Tigers (2nd 95-67)
Chicago White Sox (3rd 90-72)
Minnesota Twins (1st 96-66)
Cleveland Indians (4th 78-84)
Kansas City Royals (5th 62-100)

AL West

The Sexy Pick: Hmm... Uh, well... Yeah, about that - can I just take a pass on this one and say Angels? Thanks.

The Smart Money Pick: Oakland always finds a way to get to the playoffs and that's all we're looking at here, right? Right.

My Picks:
Oakland A's (1st 93-69)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2nd 89-73)
Seattle Mariners (4th 78-84)
Texas Rangers (3rd 80-82)

The Round Up:

That leaves the Red Sox, Tigers, A's and I'll take the White Sox as my Wild Card team if someone were to hold me to these picks.

(Photo from:



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