[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It is the most wonderful time of year yet again as the sound of the crack of the bat combined with the popping of the gloves fills the air in baseball stadiums across America.
Last year saw the ultimate shocker when the Kansas City Royals came within one game of winning the World Series. What surprises will happen in the American League this year?
Let’s take a look with my official 2015 MLB American League Predictions!
Toronto will have their hands full with the resurgence of the Boston Red Sox, however with the likes of Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, and Russell Martin, their lineup is as potent as ever. Combine that with the experienced pitching of RA Dickey and Mark Buehrle, and this year’s Blue Jay team will be a serious contender.
The Red Sox have loaded up on talent once again with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to join David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli in the line up. The Red Sox ace is Clay Buchholz, but you cannot overlook the excellent addition of Rick Porcello who is coming off of several solid years in Detroit.
The Yankees have an aging lineup of stars consisting of Chase Headley, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, A-Rod, Carlos Beltran and even Jacoby Ellsbury has seen better days. With only two real pitching threats of CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, this may be a long injury-riddled year for the Yankees.
I cannot see Baltimore bouncing back from getting swept in last year’s ALCS, and I would look for them to underachieve.
Prediction – Toronto Blue Jays
It begins and ends with the Detroit Tigers bullpen–a group of names that have seen their better days come and pass 5 years ago. If they can somehow find a way to hold it together and Joakim Soria can take over the closers role from Nathan, there will be no way to stop this team.
There is almost no one to pitch around in this lineup, drawing comparisons to the 1927 Yankees with such sluggers as Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, JD Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and the blockbuster pickup of Yoenis Cespedes.
As for Cleveland, while others teams were adding players in the offseason, the Indians ownership team and front office focused their efforts on tricking fans into the ballpark. They placed focus on building a bar in the stadium, instead of spending funds on the bats they needed. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco should lead a solid pitching staff, but the lone offensive addition of Brandon Moss won’t be enough to overcome its deficiencies.
Terry Francona is a great manager but not a miracle worker. The Indians have the lowest payroll in the Central and when they finish in fourth place along with the lowest attendance in baseball, maybe they can sit back and have a drink at the bar while watching the Tigers contend for the World Series.
The Twins and White Sox also do not pose a threat, however look for the White Sox to finish ahead of the Tribe due to the star presence of Chris Sale and Jose Abreu. The Royals will be a tough out once again with Alex Gordon, Alex Rios and Lorenzo Cain providing one of the quickest outfields in baseball. The loss of James Shields at the top of the rotation will hurt them however.
Prediction – Detroit Tigers
The West will be wild again and with the Astros and Rangers entrenched in re-building mode, it will be a three-team race between the Mariners, Angels and Oakland.
The A’s mortgaged the future last year and it will cost them this year. They will compete for awhile but crumble late. Expect both Gray and Kazmir to have down years at the top of the rotation. With Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano leading the Mariner lineup, expect them to put up some runs in a hurry.
Felix Hernandez will make another serious run at the Cy Young award as well. In the end however, it will be the Angels and their high payroll once again winning the division. With talent such as Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Kole Calhoun in the batting order, they present the same problem to teams that the Tigers do. With Jared Weaver and and CJ Wilson at the top of the rotation, the Angels are a serious threat to win it all.
Prediction – LA Angels
AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals.
ALCS Prediction: Detroit Tigers over LA Angels
AL Champion: Detroit Tigers[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]