Why is it that the NL Central has six teams while the AL West has only four? I don't expect an answer, just wanted to point out how ridiculous it is that all divisions are not the same. Anywho, the last prediction I want to make is in the small American League West. Honestly, though, these are all just guesses at this point, so who knows.
4. Seattle Mariners - A full, healthy year from Erik Bedard could make this team good, but there are too many holes for this team to seriously contend this season. Ichiro is still the best leadoff man in baseball, but he has a very weak supporting cast around him. Felix Hernandez is a solid rotation ace, but Carlos Silva is overrated and overpaid, and Brandon Morrow, who bounced around from the rotation to the bullpen, will get the call at closer. This is not a good formula to compete, even in the smallest division in baseball.
3. Texas Rangers - This team will hit, guaranteed. With Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and the highly touted Chris Davis, scoring runs will not be the problem. Three of the five guys in the projected rotation had ERA's of over 5.00 in 2008, and the Rangers' top two pitchers are Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla, who have really struggled. Frank Francisco, with five career saves to his name, is their closer, and while he has a high strikeout rate, he lacks much big game experience. Their offense, however, should keep them out of the division cellar.
2. Oakland A's - Here is one of the more improved teams in the American League. Trading for Matt Holliday and adding Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra will give the offense a huge boost. But, trading away Rich Harden and Joe Blanton midway through last season left some big holes in that rotation whish will have to be filled by a number of young, inexperienced guys. Joey Devine could thrive as the closer if he can continue what he started last season (49 Ks in 45.2 innings and a 0.59 ERA), but the key will be getting him the ball with the lead.
1. Los Angeles Angels - This team is not as deep and dangerous as 2008. This team will not win the division by 21 games in 2009. But that doesn't matter, because they will still win the division. The Angels, while losing their dominant closer Francisco Rodriguez to free agency, have added Brian Fuentes to finish games. Jon Garland is gone, but the pitching is still pretty deep, although ace John Lackey has been having some arm issues this spring. Bobby Abreu was added to the outfield, and the rest of the offense, while aging, is still solid enough to keep Oakland at bay.
Just my opinion.