Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 American League Preview

Another regular season is upon us and that means that it is prediction time for a lot of writers across the inter-web. There will be surprise teams, surprise players, and even some other surprises along the way. The unknown and unpredictability of baseball is one of the most enduring qualities of "America's Past-time."

Through out the coming week, I will be making my picks for the National League and the American League, taking a closer look at the AL Central, and selecting awards for the Twins. Here is a look at the weekly schedule so make sure to stop in all week to get yourself primed for the season to come.

2015 Preview Series
AL East Champions: Boston Red Sox
Boston made some big changes this off-season and this could see them jumping from worst to first in the AL East. The Red Sox have done this in the not so distant past as they went from the cellar in 2012 to World Series winners in 2013. Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez will help the offense while Wade Miley and Rick Porcello add to their rotation. Newly arrived Cuban player Rusney Castillo could be in the running for AL Rookie of the Year. The Yankees and Blue Jays will be in the running but Boston ends up on top. 

AL Central Champions: Cleveland Indians
The Indians are becoming a trendy pick especially in what could turn out to be the toughest division in baseball. Detroit, Chicago, and Kansas City all have a shot at winning the division. Michael Brantley is coming off a break-out season and he could be in the MVP discussion if this trend continues. Cy Young winner Corey Kluber might come back down to earth but there's enough other young parts in the rotation to intrigued by the possibility of multiple players having career years. This is the toughest division to pick but the Indians might be poised for a playoff run.  

AL West Champions: Seattle Mariners
The last time the Mariners made the playoffs it was 2001 but it could be time for things to change this year. Felix Hernandez just barely lost out on the Cy Young last year and this could add fuel to his fire. Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, and young Taijuan Walker combine to make one of the strongest rotations in the American League. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager will power the offense and the addition of Nelson Cruz should only help to improve their offensive output. The Angels won't go away quietly but the Mariners will be the ones celebrating at the end of the year.

Wild-Card Winners: Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers
An team with Mike Trout in their line-up on a daily basis seems like they should have a pretty good chance of making the playoffs. Albert Pujols showed he might not be as over the hill as was once thought. There are enough health concerns to keep the Angels from winning the division. Detroit could be fighting for the division title but will likely have to settle for a Wild-Card spot. David Price eases the pain of Max Scherzer leaving town and Yoenis Cespedes adds some pop to a line-up that already included Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

Wild-Card Game: Tigers over Angels
Divisional Series: Mariners over Tigers, Indians over Red Sox
Championship Series: Mariners over Indians
World Series: Nationals over Mariners

American League Award Picks (Sleeper Pick)
MVP: Mike Trout, OF, Angels (Michael Brantley, OF, Indians)
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners (Chris Sale, LHP, White Sox)
Rookie of the Year: Rusney Castillo, OF, Red Sox (Dalton Pompey, OF, Blue Jays)

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