To correspond with the kick-off of the regular season I have compiled my list of division winners and a look at the playoff picture in the American Leauge. The best part about this season is that every team has hope. Starting on Thursday the Yankees and the Royals have the same record. There are 162 games to separate the winners from the losers. The smell of baseball is in the air...
AL East: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox beefed up this winter and look like they are ready to charge through the East this season. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford make the Sox batting order look tough to beat. The Yankees starting rotation is a mess. The Rays have sold off many of their parts. The pitching of the Red Sox needs to stay healthy but they are definitely the team to beat.
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
A healthy Morneau and Mauer should solidify the middle of the Twins line-up as the team looks to three-peat as Central Division Champions. Nishioka's addition will add some speed to the top of the order. Plenty of starting pitching allows the Twins some flexibility in their rotation. The Tiger and White Sox will contend but the Twins will pull away.
AL West: Oakland A's
The young pitching of Oakland seems to be reminiscent of the "Moneyball" area in Oakland. They added players like Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, and Josh Willingham to help their chances of putting runs on the board. Strong pitching plus role players is the formula that worked for the Giants last season. The A's hope that same equation works in 2011.
AL Wild Card: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox had the opportunity to dismantle the core of their roster for the coming season. Instead the club decided to hold on to players like Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski. The addition of Adam Dunn will only solidify the White Sox line-up. The health of Jake Peavy could go a long way in helping this team to make the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Twins over A's
Red Sox over White Sox
Twins over Red Sox
(You Gotta Believe!)
Check back later as I reveal my division winners for the National League and my World Series prediction.