MLB Preview: American League

MLB Preview: American League

Jarret Bailey, Sports Writer

With the first few series of the season completed and the NL previews over and done with, it’s time to cramp all the AL divisions in next.

We’ll start in the AL East, the most competitive division in baseball, in my opinion. The Orioles took the division last season, finishing with a 96-66 record. The Orioles have one of the most explosive third basemen in the MLB in Manny Machado. Now, Machado did miss about half of last season (playing just 82 games) due to an injury, but if health stays on his side, he is set to have an impressive year. Staying in the infield, Chris Davis at first base had 26 homers last season, but does have room for improvement. He finished 2014 with just a .196 batting average, a mark that will need to improve to take his game to the next level. Another big batter in the Orioles’ lineup is Adam Jones in centerfield, who finished with 29 home runs last season and batted .281. Baltimore also acquired Travis Snider from the Pirates to add some strength in left field. Pitching wise for the O’s, Chris Tillman leads the rotation and hopes that he can duplicate his 13-6 2014 season. Overall, the Orioles seem to be a solid team once again this season and have a great chance to repeat as division champs.

After first place, it’s a dog fight for second. That being said, I’m going with the Yankees. As usual, there is big news in the Bronx, as Alex Rodriguez returns to the team following his suspension after violating the MLB’s Performance Enhancing Drug policy. A-Rod delivered a gleam of hope as he hit his first home run in quite a while last night in the Yankees win. Looking elsewhere at their lineup, these Bronx Bombers still have a strong supporting staff. One of the biggest supporters, if not the biggest, is Mark Teixeira at First. “Tex” was a strong force for the Yankees, hitting 22 homers in 2014. One thing that I’m sure Teixeira would like to improve on is his batting average, after finishing 2014 batting just .216.

Looking at the pitching staff for the Yankees, one man who grabs your attention is CC Sabbathia. CC played in only 8 games last year (4-3) due to injury and had an ERA of 5.28 in those eight games. The Yankees are going to need some strong pitching from Sabathia, and he showed that in his season debut earlier this year. Masahiro Tanaka is the number one man in the Yankees rotation. With his 13-5 record and 2.77 ERA in 2014, who can argue with him? If this great pitching staff can keep good numbers throughout the season, and guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran can put up good numbers again this year, the Yankees will be a force to be reckon with. After that, I like the Red Sox in third followed by the Blue Jays and the Rays in last.

With the season in full swing, here’s my division standing predictions for the final two divisions:

AL Central:                                                   AL West:

1. Tigers                                                         1. Athletics

2. Royals                                                       2. Angels

3. White Sox                                                3. Mariners

4. Indians                                                     4. Rangers

5. Twins                                                        5. Astros




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