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With the baseball season quickly approaching, below is a list of my 2006 American League predictions. While some familiar names, like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Oakland Athletics will likely remain on top. There will be some surprises. Notably, the Cleveland Indians should win the AL Central
- New York Yankees – Starting pitching is the big question for the Yankees. But even if their starters struggle, their devastating lineup will let them bash their way into first place, cleaning up on the sub .500 teams.
- Boston Red Sox – Will Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, and Keith Foulke stay healthy and pitch effectively? Do the Sox make the playoffs? I think the answer to both these questions is no. The Sox are still a 90-win team, but that won’t be enough in the wildcard race this year.
- Toronto Blue Jays – They did more to improve then any team in the division adding A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan, Troy Glaus, and Benjie Molina. Where does this leave them? Exactly where they finished last season, 3rd behind the Sox and Yankees.
- Tampa Bay Devil Rays - The Devil Rays have some nice young players on the right side of 30 (Jorge Cantu, Jonny Gomes, Aubrey Huff, Carl Crawford), and could flirt with .500 for a good portion of the year.
- Baltimore Orioles – Hard to imagine how anything could be worse than their collapse last year coupled with the Rafael Palmeiro scandal. Finishing behind the Devil Rays just might be.
- Cleveland Indians – This team was on fire the second half of last year. With a year more experience, a very strong under the radar starting staff and some scary young hitters, this will be a very good team.
- Chicago White Sox – The World Series Champs have a deep staff and will once again be there come playoff time. Look for them to win the wildcard.
- Minnesota Twins - Johan Santana will keep this team above .500 all by himself, but don’t get your playoff hopes too high Twins fans, to many good teams ahead of you.
- Detroit Tigers – They’re not a terrible team, but they're just not that good either.
- Kansas City Royals – Now this is a terrible team. Start sending your Mike Sweeney trade offers now.
- Oakland Athletics – With a year of experience under their belt Rich Harden and Danny Haren are now ready to fill the voids left by Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. Moneyball at its best. Add in an electric young closer in Huston Street and this team is built to win.
- Los Angeles Angels – Their off season was more about what didn’t happen (getting Manny Ramirez). Even so, the Angels are still a good team, and will likely contend for the division crown.
- Seattle Mariners – When Jamie Moyer is your #2 starter and your catcher doesn’t speak English, you may have some issues. Felix Hernandez is a phenom, and should be a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing team.
- Texas Rangers - They’ll score a lot of runs, but even with their revamped rotation of Kevin Millwood, Adam Eaton, and Vicente Padilla, they’ll give up even more.
( Denotes a Playoff Team)
Fri 2/24/2006 7:8 PM