Predictions don't really mean anything. You really can't predict injuries, breakouts, breakdowns, etc., but I like making them anyway. It's a fun exercise. What do you think is going to happen? What actually happens? We always have excellent reasons for why we think something is going to happen, but we're usually dead wrong. This is just an exercise. Feel free to disagree with me, but please realize that you're just as likely to be wrong as I am.
New York Yankees --> It pains me to say this, but they are probably the best team in baseball. The offense is stellar, and why anyone would complain about Swisher (.357 career OBP) and Gardner (.346 OBP last season) hitting in the 8-9 slots is beyond me. The rotation has been a bit overrated (Sabathia is a stud, but the rest are better bets for ERAs around 4), but it's way more than enough to win for that offense. The bullpen should be fine unless Rivera decides he's 40, but I wouldn't expect that. Defensively, the outfield should be fairly close to amazing, but I wonder if the infield isn't due for a serious letdown. Regardless, this team will likely win 97 games. Final Prediction: Once the Yankees make the playoffs, debate will rage as to whether A-Rod can repeat last year's "clutchness".
Tampa Bay Rays (WC) --> They have the best defense in the East, and the offense may really break out if BJ Upton returns to form. Pitching-wise, there's plenty of depth and plenty of potential upside, but they've failed to realize that potential so far. Here's to Garza, Price, and Davis figuring things out. As for the bullpen, Soriano should be excellent, but the bullpen, including Soriano, has injury issues. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of depth to make up for whatever injuries they encounter. This team could be the major's most talented, but you can only dream on upside and youth so much. Final Prediction: Team chemistry is destroyed when the clubhouse splits on who has the most ridiculous chin hair, Garza or Soriano.
Boston Red Sox --> The defense will be excellent, and the offense will be better than most expect. But I think the Rays are better in those two aspects. Consistency and dependability in the rotation is where the Red Sox have an edge, but I have a feeling that Garza and Price are going to really grow and become monsters this season (I get to be subjective; these are my predictions). Otherwise, the Red Sox will win 91 and fall short of the playoffs by a few games. Life's just not fair. Final Prediction: Disregarding the fact that the team won 91 games and that Mike Cameron is still worth more, Red Sox writers will condemn Theo for not re-signing Bay when Bay's first season in New York goes extremely well.
Baltimore Orioles --> Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, and (of course) Matt Wieters step up to compensate for Markakis' inability to get close to his 2008 season. The rotation won't look pretty, but it's hard to be worse than they were last season. Brian Matusz becomes the best pitcher in the rotation by June, but it's more because Millwood and Guthrie are "innings eaters" and because Brad Bergesen just isn't that good. Final Prediction: The divisions re-align themselves in the middle of the season because Matt Wieters says so, but the Orioles still finish out of the money. Deities can only do so much.
Toronto Blue Jays --> The pitching will be pretty good, but I just don't see how good the defense and offense are going to be. The outfield will probably rank among the worst in the majors defensively, and the infield will hardly begin to make up for it. Offensively, Lind, Snider, and Hill do decent jobs, but there's just nothing else to get remotely excited about. But the pitching will be good. Final Prediction: Alex Anthopolous regrets signing so many scouts, not because they are useless, because he'd like an excuse to watch Kyle Drabek instead of the crap he'll throw out in Toronto.
Minnesota Twins --> You just don't bet against Gardenhire. The team should improve with the additions of Hudson, Hardy, and a better season from Liriano. Nathan's injury hurts, but even as good as he is (he's one of the few relievers that you pay actual money for), I don't think it will hurt as much as people think. The bullpen will pitch well enough, and the offense will be much better with a full season of Mauer and having Hudson and Hardy. Final Prediction: There's a snow-out in Baltimore, but people will still bitch about an open-air stadium in Minnesota, in which there are no weather problems in April.
Detroit Tigers --> The front of the rotation looks really good, and it's easy to get excited about their young arms. Offensively, they'll be decent enough, but Damon will be a massive disappointment while Magglio's increased production forces an interesting debate as to whether to give him the at-bats to vest that option. The bullpen makes for an interesting watch. Lots of them can throw ridiculously hard, but none are particularly adept at throwing pitches for strikes or for keeping their arms intact. Final Prediction: The Tigers give enough ABs to Ordonez for his massive option to vest. He'll hit enough to justify giving him so many ABs (though not $18 MM worth), but the Tigers will narrowly miss the playoffs again. Life just isn't fair.
Cleveland Indians --> The offense really comes alive, and it makes up (somewhat) for the lack of pitching depth. Sizemore, Choo, Cabrera, LaPorta, Branyan, and the June arrival of Carlos Santana bash enough for some people to reminisce about the mid to late 1990s Indian offenses. The defense, somewhat under the radar, increases their productivity. Unfortunately, Fausto Carmona, who bounces back, isn't enough to make up for the utter lack of decent options for the rest of the rotation. Final Prediction: Grady Sizemore wins Comeback Player of the Year and will get overlooked in the MVP race because his team won't win enough.
Chicago White Sox --> There's no disputing the rotation. It's the best in the division, and it will make an argument for best in the majors. Unfortunately, they pull a reverse-Cleveland and can't score nearly enough. Konerko declines, Rios continues to disappoint, and the Jones-Kotsay DH platoon works out predictably poorly. I love Ozzie Guillen, but just no. Final Prediction: Ozzie gets pissed enough about the lack of offense that he puts on a uniform to improve run production. Someone then points out that he was never very good even during his peak. That someone is then killed.
Kansas City Royals --> Zach Greinke does extremely well and will garner support for another Cy Young Award. Billy Butler hits a few more home runs but remains in relative obscurity. Joakim Soria wonders how his career would be different if he was a starter as he sits in the bullpen for weeks on end without being used. The rest of the team predictably sucks. Final Prediction: Dayton Moore finally loses his job as GM. Not because the team sucks but because he's arrested for giving the owner tainted water from one of the fountains in the outfield in Kauffman Stadium. Everything is finally explained and reason reigns again. Kansas City remains stuck with Yuniesky Betancourt. Life just isn't fair.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim --> For all the hoopla about the Mariners' offseason, the Angels remain the team to beat. The rotation will be one of the best in baseball as Santana and Kazmir rebound to be quite effective. Offensively, the team remains strong as Morales is for real, Kendrick finally stays healthy and productive, and Wood has a pretty good season in his first full season. In a weird turn of events, the bullpen goes back to being the major's most productive after a poor 2009. Final Prediction: Thousands of people get lost on the way to the All-Star Game when they are unsure if they should go to Los Angeles or Anaheim.
Texas Rangers --> The rotation does fairly well, but Harden is either ineffective, unhealthy, or both. Some of the prospects really step up to put together a run at the division until it falls a little short. The offense continues to hit, and Max Ramirez becomes the starting catcher by mid-season. The defense isn't too shabby, either. They become the only other AL West team over .500. Final Prediction: Jerry Jones buys the Rangers and builds a new stadium with the first scoreboard that overhangs the field. The scoreboard is also bigger than the field and with better definition.
Seattle Mariners --> The defense is certainly impressive, but I have to wrench my neck to find something else to be excited about. King Felix is certainly awesome and Cliff Lee should be fine once he gets back in late April, but the rest of the rotation is terrible. If David Aardsma realizes that he's a flame-thrower without any control, the bullpen isn't great. The offense gets on-base at an above-average clip to score a few more runs than predicted, but too many at-bats wasted on Griffey/Sweeney kill any actual productivity. They're a better team, but it won't come with better results. Final Prediction: The Mariners trade for Russell Branyan when they get tired of watching Kotchman slap the ball all over the infield.
Oakland Athletics --> Ben Sheets hasn't been consistently healthy since 2002-2004, and he won't be this season. The rest of the rotation is decent, but the only above-average starter is Brett Anderson. The offense remains putrid, but the defense is pretty solid. There are worse teams than Oakland, but I can't imagine that they win more than 75 games. Final Prediction: Kurt Suzuki is traded to the Boston Red Sox mid-season. Just sayin'.
MVP --> Evan Longoria leads the Rays into the postseason and finally becomes the star he should be.
Cy Young --> Josh Beckett says no to the Red Sox extension offer, has a monstrous season, and still ends up back in Boston next year.
Rookie of the Year --> Justin Smoak explodes when the Rangers finally realize that they're better off platooning Chris Davis and Vladimir Guerrero at DH with Smoak's glove and stick at first.