- New York Yankees – fact is media loves to hate the Bombers, but they seem to forget the fact that they beat the Rays two weeks ago. Sabathia almost had a no hitter at the Trop. Fact is Yankees are the reigning champs for a reason, and let me tell you this team is not going to let this title leave very easily. The two best hitters are still cold, but when Tex and Arod get hot…full steam head.
- Tampa Bay Rays – media favorite Rays are talented and young no doubt, but you need to beat the champs to be #1 on this list. The media darlings must not let all the talk go to their heads. The press is riding them like Seabiscut right now, but remember Yankee haters (ESPN) will hang on anything ahead of the Yankees. It’s just a fact. Rays look good, but don’t have the history of success to back it up this early start.
- Minnesota Twins – easier division than Yanks and Rays, that Twins should be killing it according to the experts. Coming to the Bronx in May will be their chance to cement themselves. Closer Joe Nathan being out for the season hasn’t devastated Twins, thanks to set-up man Matt Guerrier. Also, looks as if SP Francisco Liriano resurrection is for real….yikes for batters. M & M boys need to both be healthy, Morneau sat out this week and has bad back. Rest him now.
- Los Angeles Angels – look back to the usual base running machine team. Expect Angels to only get better and pass the Oakland A’s in wins within a month, or else I take back the above. My opinion is never, ever think the Angels are done because usually this team is not.
- Oakland Athletics – struggling lately but it’s an organization with a ton of history and experience to learn from. This team has solid pitching, competitive line-up and are leading the Central, barely. The Angels are right on their tails, so could decline easily. Early May schedule includes both Rays and Angels and taking those series is crucial for the team’s campaign. Have to start winning on the road.
- Boston Red Sox - lucky for Boston AL rankings were done second or else would be lower on list. Team has won three in a row, as pitching looks good. Big Pappi looks done, but that was coming. Injuries are rampant, Cameron and Ellsbury on that list, not good but repalcement Darnell McDonald has a hot bat which is making the hit not so hard. Don’t forget, these are the Red Sox and no doubt will keep themselves close enough to the Yanks and Rays. Not going to let Tampa sweep them again, that I can promise.
- Detroit Tigers - Tigers started series with Twins and took first game. When have the Tigers not been a pain in the ass in the AL? This club always rebounds somehow and earns the wins when needed. Pitching is improving and always have tough bats in Detroit.
- Toronto Blue Jays – let one of baseball’s best pitchers walk, at least Halladay is not the best anymore (Tim Lincecom). Still, Blue Jays said to be rebuilding but look darn good for a mending team. Aaron Hill is off DL and rookie pitching has been outstanding. Had third place for a few days, until the Red Sox swept them and pushed them down to fourth in the AL East. Most likely a permanent rank, purely because Toronto plays in the toughest division in MLB.
- Texas Rangers – were hot, got swept by Yanks and struggling to find their legs. Have won two in a row against White Sox, which seems to be a trend in Texas. Beat-up subpar teams, but can’t hang with the big boys, aka. Red Sox, Yanks. Middle-team that plays the part.
- Seattle Mariners – the busiest team in the off-season seems not to have had a plan. Playing .500 baseball, but should be much better. Ace Cliff Lee has had injury and attitude problems since he arrived which might translate when he gets off the DL. Clearly Lee isn’t happy, but if he wants CC-money he better be as lethal as he can be.
- Chicago White Sox – love Ozzi, but doesn’t matter unless the bats keep improving. This line-up has tons of power with Konerko, Quentin, Rios and Kotsay. Jake Peavy needs to figure himself out soon so the team can be at their best, which they are defiantly NOT displaying right now.
- Cleveland Indians – struggling all around, but mainly if batters don’t improve Royals will pass them. Rank by WSJ as the most hated team in baseball, maybe that will give them some motivation after the shock wears off.
- Kansas City Royals – other than their next series in Tampa, the Royals May schedule is not terrible and definitely their chance to turn it on. Hitting is not bad at all. Guillen has seven homers and 18 RBIs, add that with Butler’s hot bat makes it odd that Greinke’s dominate pitching doesn’t have one win yet. Nothing working together, once again.
- Baltimore Orioles – only four wins but beat the Rays, Red Sox, A’s and Yankees each, which is starting to look like that only happened cause the other teams were tired. What needs to happen? The complete opposite of everything there currently doing.
- It’s Never Too Early For Baseball (pinkbananaworld.com)
- This Week in Yankees History (1/2-1/8) (slidingintohome.blogspot.com)
- MLB Trade Rumors: 15 Players Who Could Be Traded Before Spring Training (bleacherreport.com)