Continuing team previews, we will be looking at the American League and how the teams stack up in their respective divisions. Overall, the American League takes a bit of a back seat to the National League in regards to the quantity of teams that have a chance to be dominating teams and can be pointed out as teams that can clearly make a run a the title. Overlook some of these teams at your own risk, though.
Boston Red Sox –
The Red Sox are a team out for revenge after getting overrun in the championship game in 2014 by a score of 437 to 317. Really, how could they compete with Chris Davis serving a PED suspension and Patrick Corbin on the DL. Chris Davis left a bad taste in Boston’s mouth and he was promptly shipped out this year for Joey Votto. This is a team that should be able to make another solid run with a good mix of veterans and young upside players as there are very few question marks on this team.
Tampa Bay Rays –
The new owner of the Tampa Bay franchise has quickly turned this team into a contender. Flags fly forever….not with this new ownership. Out goes the young up and comers and in comes the veterans. A slurry of moves this offseason has their fan base reeling as they rush to the stores to buy new jersey’s for the new members of the organization and season ticket sales have skyrocketed. Look for this team to make some noise in this division this year.
Toronto Blue Jays –
A franchise who has suffered under perennial underachievers has fired their hitting coach this year and look to get better production from their offense. Will the move pan out or will they be sitting home looking to next year? The rotation and bullpen are about as solid as it gets with a mix of youth and veterans and hope to keep games close while their bats come around. The quality bats in their farm can’t get here soon enough for the Toronto ownership, but will look forward to the day when they can ship out underachiever Jennings and supplant him with #1 prospect Byron Buxton. A team on the rise, but will it be enough?
Baltimore Orioles –
Home of this baseball fans favorite ballpark, Camden Yards. This owner has assembled a team of veteran bats and a youth movement on the mound. Most of their production came from those bats last year though and ownership is hoping that their pitching takes the expected next step. If the pitching staff doesn’t take this team to a new level this year it may be a long year and ownership may need to look to infusing their offense with some younger players. Baltimore believes in their organizational approach and looks to strongly compete in a division that can be had with some timely wins.
New York Yankees –
The Yankees are hoping to pull out a Houston Astros type rebuild, and may need several years for this storied franchise to get back on track. Unfortunately, the loss of one of their potential building blocks, Oscar Taveres has set this team back even further. Undeterred, this franchise quietly has made several off season moves to acquire some quality prospects and young players to aid in their effort. A bottom 5 finish for this team is in store during a rebuild, but the Yankees ownership will continue to quietly plug away and will get this team on track in order to win back their fanbase.
Minnesota Twins –
The Twins went through some rough patches with ownership this offseason, but the no nonsense, no beer in the clubhouse new ownership looks to take a playoff team from 2014 to the promised land this year. Countless moves in the offseason have shipped out their future on the farm and traded them in for productive arms and bats. Built for the NOW this team is up against the cap and sits on four 1st round draft picks and will look to finesse this team into the playoffs with an eye to the prize.
Detroit Tigers –
A year after narrowly missing the championship game the Detroit Tigers have kept their team mainly intact and look for another run at a championship. A well run Real Deal organization over the years this team gets no favors from the their MLB team with their drafting and lackluster farm system. Built to win now on veteran leadership this is a team that will quickly need to look to infusing some youth into their lineup to maintain their winning ways. With a mark on their back from the teams below them in the division this is still the team to beat in the AL Central.
Kansas City Royals –
Another new member to the Real Deal family who looks to turn around the fortunes of a poorly run franchise who finished with a disappointing 6-14 record in 2014. There were more holes on this team than a golf course and ownership quickly made moves to get on par with the division. Sacrificing young talent who would take years to reach the majors this club went out and bought some producers to start to get them headed towards the playoffs. A lot of breaks will need to go in their favor to reach the playoffs, but they now have a direction and a strategy that will help them build and grow.
Chicago White Sox –
A team that headed into the 2014 season with a terrible ball club after several owners in the inaugural season had their hands in on destroying their value and nobody wanted this team. With no farm and no future in sight ownership has quietly made their moves and will ride the bat of one Jose Abreu back into fantasy relevancy. Adding a few productive bats and arms over the offseason to surround Abreu, this is a sleeper team in this division after finishing 7-13 in 2014. A team to watch in 2015 as they are definitely a team on the rise.
Cleveland Indians –
The odds of winning the Powerball are more favorable than this teams odds of a playoff push. Going into the 3rd year of a rebuild this is another bottom 5 team for this season. Gone is old ownership that started the project and new ownership decided that the team needed to be blown up even more with a slurry of late winter meetings trades. This team has some nice building blocks on the 25 man roster, but boasts ONE of the best and deepest farms in the league. Don’t look for this team to fully arrive until 2017, but when it does there may be a changing of the guards in the division.
Houston Astros –
A very well balanced and exciting team headed into the 2015 season. The Astros have narrowly missed winning the division two years in a row and they look to correct that this year. The offseason saw the Astros go after a few productive arms, but are desperately searching for one more cost controlled impact bat. Will Castro bounce back this year or will the organization start to give more opportunity to Stassi? If Stassi does not make an impact the Astros will need to go outside of the organization for their bat to be be viewed as the clearest frontrunner in this challenging division.
Seattle Mariners –
I don’t need no stinking top 3 draft picks…I need production. A fully dismantled and repackaged team for the 2015 season. Players on this team were constantly looking over their shoulders and waiting for a call from their agent to notify them that they had been traded. Quite the team that will be showing up at the spring training facility for the Mariners though and one that is gunning for the top teams from 2014. Nothing is being handed to this team in their 2015 playoff push…they are going to have to take it.
Los Angeles Angels –
A poorly run team in the early parts of the 2014 season saw an ownership change late in the season and new ownership set to the task of getting this team back on track. With one of the worst farms in the league the Angels started correcting that and made most of their moves last year to set up this team for the 2015 season. Top to bottom this is an improved team from a year ago’s 5-15 finish team and look to compete with a potential playoff team in 2015 and have some high quality reinforcements on the way from the farm if they fall short.
Texas Rangers –
The reigning AL West division champion took over this playoff contender prior to the 2014. It appeared to be a team that was set and as long as the new ownership didn’t break anything they would be headed to the playoffs again. This proved, however, to be one of the hardest teams to manage in 2014 though as player after player after player headed to the DL and management was constantly having to adjust and make moves just to stay afloat. You can still hear the old battle cry ….SOLARTE….when you think about this 2014 team. A playoff push is again on the horizon for this team, and with improved health this may turn out to be the team to beat again in this division.
13….13 current and future 1st round draft picks. That is how many picks this team has. Not to mention all of the 2nd round picks it owns. Everyone knows the direction this team is headed for the 2015 season…straight to the bottom and staring at the 1st overall pick in 2016. While it is not a preferred direction at least this team now HAS a direction. This ownership doesn’t have problem with making the tough decisions and making moves to execute their strategy after inheriting one of the worst organizations in the league this offseason. Look for this team to take a couple of years to fully get on track, but they will arrive before you know it.