Friday, April 1, 2011

2011 American League Predictions

With Opening Day officially upon us, there couldn't be a better day than today to give my predictions for the 2011 season. I will add W-L records on the teams, but I have not done the math to make sure they all check out.

So here they are...

American League Central

Chicago White Sox 91-71
Detroit Tigers - 84-78
Minnesota Twins 81-81
Cleveland Indians 74-88
Kansas City Royals 58-104

Hard to not be a homer here, but I really think the Sox have what it takes this year. The All-In strategy is a pressure-packed one, but also a very good one. The pitching staff is very good (and great with Peavy), the bullpen is solid, and the lineup should be able to put some runs on the board with consistency. 91 wins actually is a little lower than what I think this team is capable of, but with the way I see the season playing out, the Sox shouldn't need too many in late September, so the win total will not be where it could be.

I'm not a fan of the Twins this year. Yes they have a good lineup, but the pitching staff is not good. Liriano is always good, but hurt almost as often as Peavy. From there, Pavano is the next best. If Pavano was on the White Sox (with Peavy healthy), he's not in the starting rotation, and I'm not sure he's even on the Major League roster. The Tigers are good, but are not well-rounded enough to compete for 162. And the Royals are terrible.

American League West

Los Angeles Angels 93-69
Texas Rangers 88-74
Oakland A's 84-78
Seattle Mariners 70-92

I like the Angels a lot this season, but picking them to win is more based on the subtractions the Rangers have made. The two most valuable players on the Rangers last year were Vlad Guerrero and Cliff Lee. Lee is now in Philly and Vlad is in Baltimore. Quite frankly, the pitching is not good enough for Texas to hold off LA. Also, I love the Vernon Wells addition.

The A's are getting better. The Mariners are not.

American League East

Boston Red Sox 97-65
New York Yankees 97-65
Baltimore Orioles 84-78
Tampa Bay Rays 78-84
Toronto Blue Jays 64-98

Yeah, a tie. Is it a cop out? Maybe. But at least I put one team over the other. The Red Sox are better, but the Yankees are still really really good. Both teams are going to be incredibly tough to beat, but the Red Sox additions of Gonzalez and Crawford will make the difference.

AL Wild Card

Red Sox over White Sox
Yankees over Angels

AL Championship
Red Sox over Yankees

World Series
Red Sox over Phillies

Nothing too outrageous in the playoff predictions. There is a clear divide of good teams and bad teams in baseball this year. About 8 teams are good, and the rest are not. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are also in a class of their own above the teams I consider good.

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