The season technically began a week ago in Japan. MLB dumb-assess apparently couldn’t schedule the Oakland A’s vs. Seattle Mariners this week when every other baseball team started playing? Regardless, this is the time of year when every fan has a legit chance to brag about their team’s chances. Even Met fans can dream big. Hope is the operative word because every team starts with a clean slate. Last year was just that… last year. The defending champion St. Louis Cardinals won last night. Who knows what their future holds though without slugger Albert Pujols. Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers. The addition of Jose Reyes and others have helped infuse a new culture in Miami. The Red Sox brought in controversial manager Bobby Valentine to stop Jon Lester and the rest of the team from getting drunk and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse. All of these acquisitions and more should make this season highly entertaining. Here’s my take on the winners from each division and the 2 wildcards from both leagues.
AL East- New York Yankees
The only thing that can stop the Yankees are injuries. An amazing batting lineup plus an extremely formidable pitching staff. Poor Orioles, if they played in any other division they would have at least a glimmer of hope.
AL West- Los Angeles Angels
The Angels starting rotation is deep just like the owner’s pockets. They bought the division when they signed Albert Pujols and World Series Game 1 Starter C.J. Wilson.
AL Central- Detroit Tigers
They were already good with reigning CY Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander. Bringing in Prince Fielder makes them World Series contenders and great.
AL Wildcard 1- Texas Rangers
They are starting to become the Buffalo Bills of the 90’s. (Make it all the way to the finals only to lose in crushing defeat.) Either way they are rock solid and about half of their games are against the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners.
AL Wildcard 2- Boston Red Sox
While omitting the Tampa Bay Rays from the playoffs is tough, it took a miracolus Evan Longoria walk off just to make it there last season. Picking the Red Sox to miss the post season two years in a row doesn’t seem to make much sense.
NL East- Atlanta Braves
Last’s year collapse like the Red Sox, will motivate the club to play complete baseball for an entire season. They have the talent, the question remains do they have the mindset to overcome last season’s adversity. I believe this is the year they get it done and win the highly competitive NL East.
NL West- Arizona Diamondbacks
Justin Upton is only 24 years old and improving. Upton’s my early frontrunner to win NL MVP and look for him to prove last season’s team record wasn’t a fluke.
NL Central- St. Louis Cardinals
Despite the loss of the machine Albert Pujols, the Cardinals are still a strong ball club. Experience of winning it all, along with the additions of Carlos Beltran plus Adam Wainwright back from injury, should guide St. Louis into the post season.
NL Wildcard 1- Philadelphia Phillies
Yes they have three legit aces in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. However some sort of drop off in production should be expected without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the lineup for the beginning of the season.
NL Wildcard 2- San Francisco Giants
Other than Philadelphia, the best pitching staff in the National League.