Thursday, February 03, 2005

The AL Breakdown

Some quick thoughts on why the ALCS will be the Sox and Yankees again.

The AL East
WS CHAMPS- Sox...They will vie for the East. They will at least get the Wild Card.
Orioles...Added Sosa and forgot, yet again, that a team needs pitching. Here's to Sidney Ponson...
Blue Jays...Lost Delgado...Halladay and Lilly aren't enough... reason needed...

AL Central
Twins...Should win the division again.
White Sox...Will make it interesting (as far as that division goes) but the Twins win 86 games and take the Central.
Indians...They'll be as good as they were last year.
Tigers. They'll keep improving, but I think they have a way to go.
Royals...See D-Rays...

AL West
Angels should win the division
A's gave up two of the big three and KEPT ZITO!
Rangers could finish in second
Seattle has a long way to go after last season (even with some offseason additions)

Anyway...that gives us the Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Angels...Then it goes to some pitching...Sox and Yankees there (although Twins could still be tough in a short series with Santana and Radke). Angels are still going with their rotation that didn't do the trick last year.

That leads us to the rubber match. Sox/Yankees. Schilling vs Johnson in a Game 7 showdown...Of course, that is if it goes 7...Sox will have the money and prospects to land a big starter at the deadline...

Anyone really see a dark horse team coming in here?


  1. I think it is pretty well assumed that it will be the Sox vs. Yanks in the ALCS again. Fox wants it. Which mean MLB wants it. Certainly we want it (unless the Yanks flop, big time). And talent (read - rosters and payrolls) should dictate that it happens again.

    I'm not sure if it was meant to be, but it looked like you have your predicted order of finish for each division as well.

    Putting aside Sox vs. Yanks 1 vs. 2. I think there are going to be some surprises this year. Unless I am reading this wrong and this was your analysis of teams based on where they finished last year (except you did have the BJs in 4th and TB in last.

    Okay, but back to the surprises. Or at least potential surprises.

    In the AL East.

    TB - I think they stay out of the cellar. They have some okay young pitchers (Brazelton, Hendrickson), one supposedly great one (Kazmir), a gamble that once worked for us (Nomo), a decent closer, plus they have picked up some players that can help - Roberto Alomar (who knows?), Danny Bautista, Chris Singleton. They could even finish in 3rd.

    Toronto - Last place again. Delgado is gone. They have no catcher. And they acquired Shea Hillenbrand. Whom they think will upgrade their offense. 'nuf said.

    Baltimore - yeah all hit, no pitch.

    So I say
    1. and2. Bos/NY
    3. TB
    4. Bal
    5. Tor

    The Central is where things are interesting.

    My pick - Cleveland. They already have Westbrook and Sabathia and some other young guys (Lee/Davis), they picked up Millwood. They have a better pen than they had last year - which killed them early and they took a reasonable chance on Juan Gone.

    Minnesota - yeah they are good, but it is a one horse team. Losing Koskie may be the straw that breaks their back.

    Chicago has taken some chances on dye, dookie and dustin. Frankly I don't see all that offsetting losing Ordonez (which they already sort of had) and Valentin.

    And yeah Detroit and KC are lost.



    How the west will be won. Tough question. I think the West is wide open.

    My first thought is Seattle will not finish in last place again. I mean they got Pokey Reese. The Sox did that last year and won the WS. But seriously, the got Betre, they got Sexson (who may disappoint) and they got Sele. Maybe Moyer is done, but they still have some decent arms - Piniero, Ryan Franklin, Gil Meche - and I'm not sure if that Soriano pitcher will be back from injury. Plus they have JJ Putz. Now can they win - not sure.

    Texas. They could finish second. Hell they could win, no wait. They need pitching. And really did not do much this winter. They may be headed back to last place.

    The A's - they are an enigma. They lost their best two pitchers. The traded the guy who was their opening day closer last year. And they have a rotation with one proven veteran (who to me is a question mark) and 4 other guys with less experience combined than Zito has. they are in big trouble. In fact, I'm signing them up for last place.

    So I have Texas in 3rd and Oakland in last and that leaves a battle between Seattle and The Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels of Southern California. I guess it is preposterous to think Seattle can make up 30 games and go from losing 100 games to winning the division. So I won't predict that.

    Al West

    Of course all bets are off if come July the young A's pitchers (Blanton, Harden, Haren) are pitching well enough to keep them near .500 and Bean goes out and gets Ben Sheets - pissing off the entire East Coast.

    And of course once the playoffs start, Sox Yanks would be on a collision course. Despite the general principle that anything can happen in a short series.

  2. Yeah, I basically agree with you guys. I think Cleveland's one of the more interesting teams. A concern is that they'll be neck-and-neck with the Twins near the trading deadline, and the GM will be pressured into making some stupid, shortsighted trades which helps them win the division but shortens their stay as a good team.

    The West -- anything goes. Angels look to win, but I wouldn't count out any of the other three. Seattle could be the surprise. The pitching sucks, but this could be one of those times when 3 guys have career years. And who knows about the A's.

  3. One more observation about the AL is that you could conceivabley take every team, with the possible exception of KC and come up with reasons why they could finish at or above .500.

    Obviously will not happen (unless some freakish thing happens in interleague play where the AL wins every game).

    But seriously:
    TB - needs 12 wins. With Kazmir and Nomo. And a lot of new OFs.
    Toronto - this couold be a stretch, but if Halladay stays healthy all year and Koskie hits.
    Baltimore - almost did it last year.

    Minn, CWS, Cleveland were all a game within it last year.
    Detroit - they could get Ordonez, he could be healthy. thier young pitchers couuld each win 2 more games and they have a good pen.
    KC is truly lost.

    And in west - except Seattle they were all over .500 and Seattle should be much improved.

    So as much as people say the mid/small markets can't compete - how many teams can you say really have NO chance at the playoff this year? BAL, TB, TOR, KC and DET. Almost 2/3 of teams have to be thinking there is a chance. And maybe DET and BAL are delusional enough to think they could.

  4. I have been meaning to do this for quite some time. Here are the rankings by division based on 2003 Marginal Wins. Not that this means anything, but it's just an interesting observation:

    Tampa $779K
    Toronto $1.1MM
    Boston $1.9MM
    Baltimore $2.7MM
    Yankees $2.9MM

    KC $933K
    Minn $1.1MM
    ChiSox $1.1MM
    Cleveland $2.1MM
    Detroit -$7.3MM

    Oakland $883k
    Seattle $1.8MM
    Anaheim $2.5MM
    Texas $4.2MM

    Remember these are 2003 numbers, so Texas sucks because they still a burdened by Arod. (One might say they have Arod up their butt.. ba dum da... I'll be here all week...I just flew in from Germany.... )

    Quickly looking at these numbers, Marginal wins has very little correllation to actual ranking. Tampa is a great example, as Baseball Prospectus points out of a team spending too little! That's right, not spening enough?! This again points to the difficult balancing act of getting wins and keeping payroll in check. All of this being said, here are my predictions based on the coffee grounds in my cup this morning...


    I just don't think that any one can realistically out last the Yankees in a regular season. They have too much talent which allows them to continue to win when one of their stars is struggling. Unlike the Sox who can go into team slumps. I give the edge to Baltimore because they have a new offense, plus the Ponson trade resigning from a year ago netted 4 above average pitchers. That being said, Tampa finally has a couple pitchers that look good, but if I'm not wrong a couple are prospects (so it could go badly). As for Toronto, the return of Shea to the AL East will be... uneventful.


    I agree with everyone. Cleveland is going to be be winner, especially with their young pitching staff and my man C.C. unloading on people. Minn will still give it a go and by that I mean 86 wins and revitalized Detroit will win a bunch of games even though their pitchers blow 4.5+ ER a game. ChiSox have too many missing pieces on offense although they still have a strong nucleus of pitchers and by that I mean Buehrle - I can't think of any others, but it sounded "s-m-r-t". As for KC, I bet Mike Sweeney is rethinking things now.


    The Los Angeles Anahiem Pasadena San Diego Santa Barbara Hemet California Angels will win out. Texas will at some point be in first but will fade like their starting pitchers do every time they get to 5 innings. Oaklad won't have the muscle to make it past second all season (except for maybe the first month when it doesn't really count), but Beane's competitiveness will keep them close. By this I mean he will make some killer trade to keep them close. Seattle retooled but missing arms will stay competitive within 5-8 games back but will be out by August.

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