1. Oakland Athletics: Considering the fact that they have one of the best staffs in the league without their no.1 pitcher is incredible… Yoenis Cespedes has big time power and speed. Through midseason he was struggling, but hitting coach Chili Davis fixed him up. He could bat .280 with 35 homers… I really like AJ Griffin. He doesn’t blow the ball past you with speed, but he has a looping curveball that moves from your head all the way to the ground… Tommy Milone has average stuff, but he really knows how to locate his fastball… Jim Johnson does not have the ideal stuff for a closer, but he gets the job done… Josh Donaldson is a complete player. He can repeat last season… I would have liked to see them try and get Joe Nathan or Steve Cishek. This team is ready for a big year.
2. Detroit Tigers: I wasn’t a giant fan of the Doug Fister trade, but they are excited to see what Drew Smyly can do in the rotation… Max Scherzer has some of the best stuff in the game. He tops out at 96 with his fastball, throws a good changeup, and has a phenomenal slider. He is a no.1 pitcher on most teams… The Prince Fielder trade was risky, but I think it will payoff. It looks like their going to move Miguel Cabrera back to first base, and have Nick Castenellos move back to third with Rajai Davis playing left… I think the addition of Davis is huge. He can steal 50 bases if he gets regular playing time… Justin Verlander is still fantastic. Just on his standards, last year was a terrible year. He still throws 99 with a power slider… Joe Nathan is a huge upgrade from Jose Valverde. Valverde could throw 94, but his location was mediocre. Nathan has better stuff and location. This team is ready to win a World Series.
3. Tampa Bay Rays: This is the best bullpen in baseball… Joel Peralta is a great setup man. He is one of the rare players that throw a splitter… The rotation is good, not great. David Price is a legit ace, and I’ll take Matt Moore and Alex Cobb at two and three any day. Chris Archer is good at the four spot, but I am not sure about Jeremy Hellickson… I really like Desmond Jennings. He helped himself by adding 15 pounds in the offseason. He could have 20 homers with 40 steals… Evan Longoria is not the same hitter he once was. He has transitioned from a contact hitter to a power hitter. Now he will hit .270 with 35 homers instead of .305 with 25 homers… Outfielder Wil Myers is ready for a big season… Now that James Shields has been traded, Ben Zobrist needs to be the Rays leader. If Hellickson comes through, this team will have a huge year.
4. Texas Rangers: I thought the Prince Fielder trade was a great trade. They needed to move Jurickson Profar to second, and they needed a reliable first baseman… Prince Fielder is going to have a big year. We consider last year a down year (25 homers, .279, 105 RBI’s) when most people call that a breakout year for someone else. With him and Adrian Beltre batting 3 and 4, there could be 80 home runs between them… Yu Darvish is a great pitcher. He throws so many different pitches, and has the best slider in the game. The only thing that I worry about him is his health… I am a little dissapointed that Jurickson Profar is out for the next 2-3 months. I thought that he could have a big year… The rotation is a big question mark. With Darvish at no.1, they don’t really have anyone else. With Derek Holland hurt, they don’t have a reliable five. Alexi Ogando pitched well last year until he got hurt. Pitching is all about control… Martin Perez is going to be a great pitcher some day. He throws two different kinds of fastball’s. One of them is a four seam fastball that tops out at 93. The other is a two seam fastball that moves all over the place… I am happy Joakim Soria one the closer job. He deosn’t have better stuff than Neftali Feliz, but he is more experienced… This is a very talented outfield. With Leonys Martin, Shin Soo Choo, and Alex Rios, there are 90 stolen bases there… They are even better than last year. They could win 95 games.
5. Kansas City Royals: The Royals may not have one guy that hits more than 25 home runs, but they have about five guys that could hit over .300. Salvador Perez is going to be Yadier Molina… James Shields is a true ace. He doesn’t overwhelm you with his stuff, but he battles and he is a classic innings eater… Eric Hosmer is a great hitter. He is an old fashion pull-hitter with good power… I am happy that Alex Gordon is not leading off anymore. How could you have a guy batting only .260 with 150 strikeouts leading off… Norichika Aoki is a great leadoff hitter. He will bat .280 with 25 steals. He has made a great transition to the US… Yordano Ventura is my dark horse for rookie of the year. If he doesn’t end up starting or closing then I would like to see him be traded so he can close. He is like Neftali Feliz… Greg Holland is a great closer. He throws in the high 90’s with a breaking ball. That is perfect closer stuff. This team is ready to get back in the playoffs, and I think they will.
6. Boston Red Sox: Do I think they will be able to repeat their World Series? No. This is a very good bullpen. Koji Uehara throws splitter after splitter, and then he pops in a fastball when your least expecting it. Edward Mujica is a solid ground ball pitcher he would do a great job filling in if Uehara were to go down… Comeback kid Grady Sizemore has finally beaten Jackie Bradley Jr for the centerfield spot… David Ortiz will continue to be himself, crushing the ball out of the ball park. I would like to see him in a home run derby… How can you write a scouting report and not mention Dustin Pedroia. He is the leader of this team… I like Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts. Middlebrooks has the power, and Bogaerts is a great contact hitter. I think he will win the AL rookie of the year… The rotation is good. Jon Lester is a solid no.2, but the Sox have him at no.1 of the rotation. I think Felix Doubront could have a big year. He has good command of his fastball, and he started to develop his curve last year… Wait till Middlebrooks and Bogaerts hit the peak of their career, this team will be a World Series team again.
7. New York Yankees: They made some critical additions, but they still aren’t great yet… Masahiro Tanaka is a special pitcher. He doesn’t have a great fastball, but he has a splitter that is as good as Koji Uehara’s. Still he has pitched a ton of innings in Japan, and he’s only 25… I am not in love with the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury. To commit to somebody for seven years, that’s a lot for me… The Yankees made one critical move, and that was moving Alfonso Soriano to DH. Soriano can still hit 30 home runs… CC Sabathia is a warrior. His fastball is at 89-91, but he still has a good slider. If he could get his fastball back to 93-95, then he would be a solid no.1… I am not sure about first baseman Mark Texeira. He isn’t what he once was, and even when he was healthy he was only batting .250 with 30 home runs… I really like the addition of Brian McCann. He is a very good offensive catcher, and if Texeira is hurt, they could move him to first… Derek Jeter will be all out physically this year. He is ready to end out his career… This is a special rotation. When you have Hiroki Kuroda at no.3 and Ivan Nova at four, that’s when you can make a run at a World Series.
8. Baltimore Orioles: The addition of Nelson Cruz is huge. To have him, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis in the same lineup is insane… Chris Davis is a special player. When pitchers realized they couldn’t pitch to him high and outside, they started to pitch on the inside. Now he has adjusted to inside pitches… JJ Hardy is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league… Pitching prospect Kevin Gausman is going to be an ace one day. He has a fastball at 98, a slider, and a changeup. He could be in the rotation by late April… Nick Markakis isn’t an ideal leadoff hitter, but he is so patient… Tommy Hunter has good stuff for a closer, but his location is spotty… Chris Tillman is really coming into his own. He has worked hard to form a pretty good curveball and he has an above average fastball… Brian Matusz is such a critical reliever. I like if he is the 7th inning guy… Wei-Yin-Chen is okay at no.3 in the rotation. He stuggles against lefties sometimes.
9. Cleveland Indians: Second Baseman Jason Kipnis really reminds me of a younger Dustin Pedroia… I would like if the Indians moved Carlos Santana to either DH, 1B, or 3B. Catcher is such a wear and tear position. Plus youngster Yan Gomes has tremendous upside at catcher… I am not in love with Michael Bourn. He is 31-years-old, and his steals have declined each of the past three years. If he doesn’t have the speed, then what is he?… The trade for David Murphy could really pay off. Eventhough he is on the down slope of his career, he is still a quality left-handed hitter… The staff is mediocre. Justin Masterson is very inconsistent. With him at no.1, Zach Mcallister, Corey Kluber, and Danny Salazar at two, three, and four who is the fifth guy in the rotation? Salazar is going to have a big time year on the mound. He could move up to no.1 midseason. I am calling 200 or more strikeouts for this kid.
10. Seattle Mariners: The addition of second baseman Robinson Cano is risky. They spent 240 million on a 31-year-old. Still this team finally get what they need, a quality hitter… I am excited to see what this team can do this year. Shortstop Brad Miller had a really good rookie year. I think he can continue the momentum, and have a very good year. I think he can be a consistent 20 homers 20 steals guy some day… Outfielder Corey Hart gives Seattle some veteran leadership. It will be interesting to see what Hart will be able to do after knee surgery that wiped out all of last year… Kyle Seager is a very good third baseman. Offensively he could produce 25 homers, and definsevely he is a great fielder… This staff could have a huge year. King Felix Hernandez will do what he does best. Paint the bottom of the zone with 95 mile-per-hour (mph) fastball’s… Hisashi Iwakuma is a great no.2 pitcher in the rotation. He throw his sinker and splitter time and time again. He really challenges the hitter… Closer Fernando Rodney was medicre last year. He is 35-years-old, and he still has a 99 mph fastball… Rookie Taijuan Walker is very talented. He has taken time to develop, and now he is ready.
11. Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols is ready to bounce back. I like how he took the time to let his injury heal, and now he is back to 100%…I am not sure about Josh Hamilton. He came into camp with a calf injury… Howie Kendrick is one of the most underappreciated players in baseball. Consistently evey year he bats .290, hits 15 home runs, and bats in 60-70 runs… Mike Trout is going to be one of the greatest players of all time. Every year he puts up huge numbers, and he is getting smarter and smarter every year. I won’t be surprised if he bats .340… The addition of Raul Ibanez was smart. He will be their DH, and he still has some left in the tank… I really like Tyler Skaggs. He is still a prospect, but he has great potential. His breaking ball is one of the best I have seen… Jered Weaver is still an ace, eventhough his fastball has declined.
12. Chicago White Sox: If they had a mediocre offense, then the White Sox would be the worst team in the league… Adam Dunn can still hit 40 home runs. I like that he is going to play designated hitter… Jose Abreu put up video game numbers when he was in Cuba. I don’t see him producing those numbers in America… Alexei Ramirez is a good all around shortstop year in, year out… You would think Avisail Garcia would be a slugger, but he is an average hitter… Dayan Viceido is a true slugger. If he gets regular playing time he could bat .260 with 30 homers… Paul Konerko should retire. He is worn out, and he isn’t going to start… Chris Sale is a top 5 pitcher. Eventhough he has a funky delievery, he is great against righties and lefties. His slider moves so much. If he were on a different team, and in a ball park that did not allow as many home runs as US Cellular Park does, Sale would be a sure fire Cy Young winner every year. After Sale, the White Sox has serious pitching problems… Pitcher Jose Quintana is more of a fourth starter than a two… The closer job is up for grabs. After trading away young closer Addison Reed, it is up to Nate Jones or Daniel Webb to take over. Its not like the White Sox have a lot of save oppurtunities anyway.
13. Toronto Blue Jays: They have an extraordinary talented offense, but a terrible pitching staff… Jose Bautista is a great hitter. Injuries have diminished his bating average, but he really know’s the strike zone… Jose Reyes ended the year well last season. I think that is a strong sign for this year… Melky Cabrera is a question mark. We don’t know how much the PED’s helped him, but he is not the same player as he once was… After wrist surgery Edwin Encarnacion is at 100%, he could get back to 2012 levels. He is a really confident hitter… RA Dickey is going to bounce back. He had back problems throughout the whole season, and now he is healthy. I love how he uses his knuckleball and fastball. If he can locate he could have 20 wins… Brett Cecil is such a crucial reliever. He can absolutely dominate lefties with his curveball.
14. Minnesota Twins: They aren’t going to compete in many games, but they are on the right track. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham could be used as trade bait the whole season… Jason Kubel had a bad season last year, but that was in part because of the injuries. If he stay’s healthy he could launch 25… I really like Brian Dozier. He is a small guy with some pretty good power. I would like to see him bat second this year… The loss of Miguel Sano is huge. If Trevor Plouffe wasn’t playing well, the Twins would call up Sano… The rotation will be a diasaster. The addition of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes will help, but they still aren’t solid starters… Byron Buxton could be called up as early as late May. He isn’t ready yet, but he is very talented. Their farm system is pretty good, the Twins will be a contender in two years to three years.
15. Houston Astros: They only added Dexter Fowler and Scott Feldman for veteran talent. Otherwise they are just “other major leagers”… Chris Carter is a terrible hitter. He doesn’t swing with confidence, and he swings for the fences every at bat… Jose Altuve is a quality Major Leager. He plays with a ton of energy, and he is only 24… I am a big fan of George Springer. He is ready, but he first needs to develop an idea of the strike zone. He could hit 40 home runs one day… Shortstop Jonathan Villar is a good young speedster that could steal 60 if he knew how to draw a walk. His hitting skills still need to develop… Jarred Cosart must make Bo Porter want to leave the Astros. It must be so frustrating to see your pitchers walk every five batters… Mark Appel is an exciting young prospect. He throws 95 and he has plenty of experience. Get ready fans, the next generation of good players are coming. And the players are on the Astros.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera: What else is there to say about this guy. He is the best hitter around. He was hurt the final month of the season last year, and he still put up ridiculous numbers. Imagine what he can do when he is 100% healthy.
AL Darkhorse MVP: Jason Kipnis: A small, energized second baseman is the second coming of Dustin Pedroia. He has good speed and power, and he has exceled on defense considering he was a centerfielder four years ago. He could possibly bat .310 with 20 homers and 30 steals.
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale: Despite being on a mediocre team, Sale puts up fantastic numbers. With Yu Darvish on and off the DL, there may not be a better pitcher in the AL than Sale. If the White Sox offense is more consistent, he could have 15-20 wins.
AL Darkhorse Cy Young: James Shields: He is a great pitcher. The Royals offense is steadily improving meaning that the wins for Shields will likely go up. He consistently puts up quality starts, and he lead the AL in innings pitched last season.
AL Rookie of the Year: Xander Bogaerts: A smooth swinger with a quick bat, Bogaerts is ready for a big season. He looked like a veteran in the postseason, and will play his natural position, shortstop. He is a superstar in the making.
AL Darkhorse Rookie of the Year: Yordano Ventura: He throws 100 mph with a power slider, and people call him “baby Pedro” referring to the great pitcher Pedro Martinez. He may not be in the rotation by opening day, but if the Royals don’t have Ventura in the rotation then they could be deciding whether they want to go to the playoffs or not.
AL East Winner: Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central Winner: Detroit Tigers
AL West Winner: Oakland Athletics
Wildcard: Texas Rangers
Wildcard: Kansas City Royals
AL Champion: Oakland Athletics