2011 American League Regular Season Preview

With the Celtics and Bruins playoffs still about 3 weeks away, the NCAA tournament winding down, and the weather warming up, it is fair to say that most people are craving Opening Day.  Opening Day is a symbolic of the first day of spring.  With baseball starting up everyone knows cookouts, days at the beach, and beautiful weather is upon us.  For me, baseball is my favorite sport, and with the moves the Red Sox have made in the off-season, you can only imagine what my level of excitement and anticipation is at.

I very much want to blog regularly this season.  I am in a competitive fantasy baseball league for the first time since high school and I feel I will be paying very close attention to the diamond this year.  However, I will make no promises about posting with any consistency because it seems every time I make a promise on here, I break it.  On the bright side I do have time to give you a layout of the 2011 MLB Season.  I will give you my predictions on how the divisions will play out, in parenthesis will be where I rank the team overall in the MLB. I will also predict the major awards.  I will do the National League Preview tomorrow.

AL East

Boston Red Sox (1)

New York Yankees (2)

Toronto Blue Jays (4)

Tampa Bay Rays (10)

Baltimore Orioles (12)

The Red Sox have the most complete roster on paper.  If they are able to avoid the injury bug they should be able to put up over 100 wins.  The Yankees still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball but did not do anything to address their need for starting pitching in the offseason.  Yanks have to hope for CC and Hughes and 3 days of rain. The Blue Jays have the foundation in place to make some noise in the AL East this year.  They have a solid young rotation and a lineup that will put up plenty of runs.  Tampa Bay is in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season.  Joe Maddon will keep the Rays competitive but they don’t have the horses to compete in the AL East.  The Orioles have a manager that will keep his squad motivated but when your pitching is dependent upon Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz, you are in trouble.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins (3)

Chicago White Sox (6)

Detroit Tigers (9)

Kansas City Royals (11)

Cleveland Indians (14)

I have learned over the past 5-6 years to never count out the Minnesota Twins.  They were able to make the playoffs without Justin Morneau last year and that convinced me that Ron Gardenhire knows how to keep his team competitive.  The White Sox added some pop to one of the best 1-9 lineups in the league when they signed Adam Dunn this offseason.  But their pitching is suspect at best. Detroit has a nice 1-2 to head their rotation with Verlander and Scherzer but they will have trouble putting runs on the board with only Miggy and VMart putting any fear into opposing pitchers. Kansas City has some of the best prospects in baseball and have drafted rather well the past 3 seasons.  Maybe this time around the prospects will pan out and do some damage in coming seasons, just not this year.  Watch Major League and stop watching before the team learns that Rachel Phelps assembled the team just so they could move to Miami.  That is how bad the Indians will be this year.

AL West

Oakland Athletics (5)

Los Angeles Angels (7)

Texas Rangers (8)

Seattle Mariners (13)

The Oakland A’s have a solid rotation and an even better bullpen this year that will help them leap-frog the Texas Rangers for division winners. The offense may not put up a ton of runs but the pitching will be good enough to get them to the playoffs. The Angels benefit from having the best manager in baseball in Mike Scioscia. They have a good enough rotation and an ok lineup to make a run at the wild card.  They will falter because their bullpen is terrible. Texas will be hurt by the loss of Cliff Lee as their rotation is now led by CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis.  Adrian Beltre will bolster the lineup but don’t expect him to put up the same numbers he did with the Red Sox a season ago.  The only reasons to talk about the Mariners are Felix Hernandez and Ichiro.  Hernandez won the Cy Young award last season in spite of being on the Mariners.  That is a telling statement about the franchise.

Wild Card: New York Yankees

Red Sox over Athletics in 4

Yankees over Twins in 5

Red Sox over Yankees in ALCS in 6

American League MVP: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

Cy Young: Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox

Manager of the Year: Bob Geren, Oakland Athletics

Rookie of the Year: Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

Love it? Hate it? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Coming tomorrow: My National League Regular Season Preview

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