One month into the season and we have some surprises (as always). Here, I will present my thoughts on the most impressive team in each division, the most disappointing team in each division, and my prediction on who will be the division/world series winners. It is still early and anything can happen.
Most Impressive Team: Texas Rangers
So far, the most impressive team for me has been the Texas Rangers. Bringing in AJ Perzienski and Lance Berkman, in my opinion, cancels out the loss of Hamilton. Rangers have also been getting some fantastic pitching from Yu Darvish. Yu mad AL West?
Most Disappointing Team: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are once again proving that All Star teams just simply can’t work in baseball. I mean, didn’t they learn a year ago that signing players to triple digit million dollar contracts will just come back to bite them? Okay, so Pujols and Wilson weren’t THAT bad a year ago, but Hamilton? I’m going to guess and say the Angels would love to take back all that cash.
Predicted Winner: Los Angeles Angels
Okay now don’t get me wrong, with the way the Angels have started, I don’t even know why I still have them winning the division. Something about having Trout, Pujols, Trumbo and yes, even Hamilton in the same line up scares me. Hamilton is a streaky hitter. The only quick start of his career was last year. I think the Angels go, as he goes. The pitching will be fine once Weaver comes back. Hang in there Angels fans, you guys will be okay.
Most Impressive Team: Kansas City Royals
The Royals are by far the most impressive team in this division. The off-season moves made by GM Dayton Moore have absolutely paid off. James Shields and Ervin Santana have carried this team so far. The Royals currently sit atop their division at 15-10, but the Tigers are starting to heat up. Can Shields and Santana continue their success? They are going to have to if they want to be the Orioles of this season
Most Disappointing Team: Cleveland Indians
The Indians made some impressive moves this off-season by bringing in guys like Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne, and Mark Reynolds. But all they can show for it is a lousy 12-13 record. The Indians batting stats are ranked in the top 5 of baseball and actually leading in slugging percentage (.465). Their pitching has been beating them up so far, as they are almost ranked last in MLB. If this team wants to win, they are going to have to fix the pitching staff. For one, they need to end the Ubaldo Jimenez project. I was never a fan of his, even if he did have an almost Cy Young year in 2009.
Predicted Winner: Detroit Tigers
Let’s be honest, the Tigers team that made it to the World Series a year ago was a very good team, but would they have made the World Series if not for Miguel Cabrera getting a triple crown? This year’s team is a way deeper. Thanks to the additions of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez coming off the DL, the offense is almost un-pitchable. The Tigers should, and will, clinch their respected division first.
Most Impressive Team: Boston Red Sox
Who gave the Red Sox a chance? After trading away their whole team and going 69-93 last year and coming in last place, they filled some holes with some middle of the line names. Such as: Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Dempster. The MVP so far of the team in hitting is Mike Napoli (.287/6/31) (Not David Ortiz because he hasn’t played a full month yet) and pitching, Clay Buchholtz (6-0; 1.01 ERA). Now with the addition of David Ortiz, these Red Sox sure are looking very, very scary to play
Most Disappointing Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Where is the explosive offense that they are supposed to have? Where is the dominant pitching staff they are supposed to have. Is R.A Dickey overrated? Are the Blue Jays overrated? The problem with the Blue Jays, is they just can’t seem to stay healthy. First it was Lawrie, then it was Bautista, now it’s Reyes. It always one thing or another with these guys. Let’s hope they can turn it around and be the team we know they can be.
Predicted Winner: Toronto Blue Jays
So far I’m 2 for 3 on controversial division picks. However, once this team is fully healthy and R.A. Dickey finds his form along with Josh Johnson, I think this team will be just fine.
Most Impressive Team: Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are stacked. I’m just going to come right out and say it. Dexter Fowler is turning into one of the premier outfielders in the game and Wilin Rosario will be the best hitting catcher in the league in 2014. No one expected this team to be where they are at with such a poor starting rotation. But the hitting looks like it can carry them as far as possible.
Most Disappointing Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are the Red Sox of a year ago, literally, with the blockbuster trade that brought over Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett. Also bringing over Hanley Ramirez a year ago and signing Greinke (60-day DL) always helps. Now that Hanley is back, look for this team to make a move to the front of the division because their 1-9 of the order is absolutely stacked.
Predicted Winner: LA Dodgers
This makes 3 out of 4 controversies. The Dodgers are looking better now that Hanley is back in the loop. Once Greinke comes back in mid-June, this team will be a lock for the playoffs.
Most Impressive Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Okay, so the Cardinals really haven’t had a very impressive start. This division was a tough one because it’s going exactly as I thought it would (besides the Reds being a game above .500). If I had to choose a team it is the Cardinals because they are in first. Carlos Beltran is carrying the team and Adam Wainwright is back to his old self. The Cardinals made a big move by bringing in Edward Mujica as the closer role.
Most Disappointing Team: Cincinnati Reds
How can the Reds be under performing? Having a number 2 batter hitting under .250 never helps either in Zack Cozart but with the addition of Shin-Soo Choo these guys easily looked like the favorites. The pitching staff has been stellar having 4 of the 5 main categories included in the top 5 and leading in Quality starts (20) and WHIP (1.15). I think this team is missing one player: Ryan Ludwick.
Predicted Winner: Cincinnati Reds
I think once Ludwick comes back off the DL, they will be just fine. Inserting him behind Joey Votto and Jay Bruce will just add another bat to the line-up. Cincinnati will be the second team to clinch.
Most Impressive Team: Atlanta Braves
This might be a bit of a shock by me saying, but the Braves have been mostly impressive. I didn’t think they had the pitching staff they needed to win a division, but I thought they could still have a shot at the wild card. Well, I still don’t think they have the pitching and once Justin Upton cools off (which he has been), so will the Braves (which they are).
Most Disappointing Team: Washington Nationals
The Nationals were one of the best teams last year. This year the only thing they did was get better by adding Denard Span from Minnesota and Dan Haren from the Angels. One thing I wasn’t expecting was the lack of run support this offense would be giving. Strasburg is a career worst 1-4, but has a 3.13 ERA. Now that Bryce Harper just got hurt today that leaves a huge gap in the offense. Can this team score runs without Harper and Zimmerman in the line-up? We will have to see.
Predicted Winner: Washington Nationals
This team just has way too much talent to not win the division. They will find a way to do it somehow even if it means winning it on the last day of the season. This is my predicted World Series Champs and I still have 100% faith in them.
World Series Winner: Washington Nationals
I still have 100% faith in this team. I feel like this team just has way too much talent in the Rotation with Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, J Zimmerman, Dan Haren and Detwiler and on offense with Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Jason Werth. I predicted in the beginning of the year that this team would win the World Series, and its still early, but I’m sticking with this: The Washington Nationals will be the 2013 World Series Champions.