MLB Preview: American League

The move from Baltimore to Seattle for Nelson Cruz may push him to World Series again from his days with Rangers.

The move from Baltimore to Seattle for Nelson Cruz may push him to World Series again from his days with Rangers.

Chris Moore| BKD TV Insiders

With the baseball season on the horizon, we brought to you the preview for the National League and now today comes our American League preview.

AL East

  1. Orioles: 88-74
  2. Yankees: 85-77
  3. Blue Jays: 82-80
  4. Red Sox: 82-80
  5. Rays: 75-87

The AL East is probably the weakest it has been in a long time. All of the teams in the top four have upside that could win them 90 games but also have question marks that could drop them below a .500 record. However, with the Orioles being the defending champion and winning 96 games last year, they have earned the respect to be the preseason pick. The Yankees will be interesting as always, if healthy, they can be contenders in the AL. The Red Sox could get a major boost at the deadline if they are willing to part ways with prospects to get Cole Hamels who the Phillies will be actively shopping. The winner of the trade deadline in this division could ultimately decide who wins the four horse race in the AL East.

AL Central

  1. Royals: 89-73
  2. Tigers: 85-77
  3. Indians: 84-78
  4. White Sox: 81-81
  5. Twins: 70-92

The defending American League champion Royals still have their great bullpen intact and return most of the young core that brought them to last year’s World Series. The Tigers gained Yoenis Cespedes but gave up Rick Porcello, arguably their number two pitcher last year, to do so. They also Max Scherzer to free agency and with the injury to Justin Verlander, there are major questions for the Detroit Tigers pitching staff as a whole following last year’s bullpen struggles. With another big year from Michael Brantley the Indians will be very competitive along with the much improved Chicago White Sox.

AL West

  1. Mariners: 95-67
  2. Angels: 90-72
  3. Athletics: 82-80
  4. Astros: 77-85
  5. Rangers: 67-95

The addition of Nelson Cruz will pay big dividends in more than one way in Seattle. They bring in big time, right-handed protection for Robinson Cano. Along with Austin Jackson and Kyle Seager, the top of the Mariners lineup will be dangerous along with the great pitching staff lead by “The King.” The Angels still have questions in the starting rotation to with Garret Richards’ not returning yet from last year’s knee injury. The Athletics made an overhaul to the roster this offseason but acquired a lot of depth which will keep them in the race. The Astros will be much improved as their young talent begins to rise and the Rangers look again to next year with Yu Darvish falling victim Tommy John Surgery.

ALCS: Mariners over Orioles

The Seattle Mariners finished one game from catching the sliding A’s last year. They went out and added a 40 homerun bat in Nelson Cruz which could multiply the offensive output exponentially. They have a deadly starting rotation and a solid bullpen. They have put together arguably the most complete team in the American League. The Orioles on the other hand have the best manager in baseball and one of the best lineups. They are loaded top to bottom and will certainly be back to the ALCS if Chris Davis returns to the Crush Davis of 2013. Despite losing Andrew Miller they still have one of baseball’s best bullpens and will ride that. However, I do not believe it will bring past Seattle in a 7 game series.

World Series: Cardinals over Mariners

The year of the small market comes to fruition in the World Series. The Cardinals are the brand name that is arguably the best run organization in baseball. The Mariners are the new kids on the block looking to win the first title for the organization ever. The Cardinals depth and experience will be the difference and push over the hump to win the World Series for the first since 2011.

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