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My American League Preview

Das Texan

Loria can kiss my ass
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2003: The New Odyssey

This baseball season promises to bring great excitement, in both individual accomplishments and in the standings. So without further ado?here is how things will ultimately shake down this year.

Starting in the AL East

1) Boston Red Sox (They have made some nice acquisitions this offseason. Pedro will be big like always, the Sox will find a closer and Kevin Millar will enjoy pounding doubles off the Green Monster. Don?t ask me how, they beat the Yankees.

2) New York Yankees (The biggest payroll in baseball. So many starters, only five spots. Clemens will get 300. Weaver may surprise, but too many of their starters are on the wrong end of 30 and even Andy Pettitte has shown signs of falling apart recently. In the end, pitching, their supposed strength will come back to bite them in the end, especially with a questionable bullpen. Matusi will contend for the Rookie of the Year as well.)

3) Toronto Blue Jays (Make note. They are coming. They have a nice nucleus in place, give them a couple of years and they will be contending with the big boys in this division. Bring back the old logos though?you were winning with those. Roy Halladay will continue making a name for himself this year in the process.)

4) Baltimore Orioles (Now we get to the bottom dwellers of this division. The Orioles are bad. The addition of Jack Cust will help, but look for them to trade anybody with market value for young talent as the year wears on. There are far too many holes and too barren of a farm system to fill them all.)

5) Tampa Bay Devil Rays (If this team had any established Major League talent, they would be contending for third. Lou Pinella would ensure that. However the players they have are either marginal or too green. Look for a couple of kids to emerge as potential major league stars, one of their many young pitchers and a young outfielder. My money is on Carl Crawford being the top bet to succeed this year out of the young kids. This team might be good in a few years, but this year you can look forward to Sweet Lou being the most enjoyable experience when watching this team play.)

Next we move to the American League Central. This division is shaping up to be good at the top as well, and bad, very bad at the bottom.

1) Minnesota Twins. ( The Twins are coming off a magical season last year. All key members return and continue to mature at the big league level. If their pitching can stay relatively healthy this year, this team might really do some magical things. The signing of Kenny Rogers will prove to be crucial and once Milton returns, that staff will really be stacked. They will continue to improve and might just surprise in the playoffs this year. Get the Homer Hankies ready now.)

2) Chicago White Sox (The Sox are a team that many think can give the Twins a run for their money. The additions of Billy Koch and Bartolo Colon are the additions many think put them over the top, but there are still far too many holes, particularly the back end of the rotation. If Frank Thomas can discover how to hit again then they can be a major thorn in the side of the Twins, but I think he is done, and has been done for a good two years now. On the positive side, they have one of the most underrated rightfielders in baseball in Magglio Ordonez and Joe Crede will give Hideki Matsui a run for his money in ROY honors.)

3) Cleveland Indians (A very young team, losing Thome will hurt in the short term, but in the long run it will prove to be something needed. This year will be a rebuilding year if there ever has been one. Normally this team would be in last place, but in this division that simply will not happen. Brandon Phillips will prove to be a steal for the Indians in the first Colon trade. This team might be back on top by 2005.)

4) Kansas City Royals (You could argue that the Tigers can go here. Who cares though? Both of these teams will contend with the Devil Rays for the worst team in baseball. Seriously does this organization have a clue? Carlos Beltran will be traded by the all star break or soon thereafter, but since this is the Royals, you never know what will occur. Runlevys Hernandez could prove to be a decent major league starter someday on the positive side.)

5) Detroit Tigers (Where have you gone Sparky Anderson? Alan Trammell takes over in an attempt to re-discover some of that magic from the 80s. With this team that will not happen. This team has a barren farm system that is slowly being restored, but too many over priced veterans namely Damien Easley, remember him as an all star? And Bobby Higgienson. This team will not be able to improve until these albatrosses are gone from the roster.)

Rounding out the American League we look at the West. This division might be one of the most competitive in baseball.
1) Anaheim Angels ( They won the World Series, they return the same basic team, would you pick against them? John Lackey will prove to be an ace in this league before long. Frankie Rodriguez will prove to be their future closer. Remember Troy Glaus had a down year prior to the playoffs. This team will be good again this year.)

2) Oakland Athletics (I am tempted to put the Mariners up here, largely because the Athletics know that Tejada is gone after this year, but they knew the same would happen with Giambi two years ago and still won the division. Their strength is their pitching still and that will keep them in the race enough to make them the wild card winners this year.)

3) Seattle Mariners. (The Mariners have some talent definitely. They will be in contention for much of their year. Outside of Ichiro, the outfield is questionable. The infield also is questionable in terms of productivity. Their pitching might be their strength, but they simply cannot keep up with the horses in the AL West.)

4) Texas Rangers (Again we come to the pitching thin Rangers. They have veteran talent, but they have some nice young pieces. Mark Texieria will be a big talent, they have some decent young pitching, especially Colby Lewis. But this team still has far too many holes to fill and they have some work to do. While they are not nearly as bad as the other cellar dwellers, in this tough division they are far and away the worst team)

To continue with the National League a bit later on??

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