2017 American League Preview

Discussion in 'The Dugout - OOTP Online League' started by PAgamer07, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. PAgamer07

    PAgamer07 We're the ship without a storm

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    As Spring Training begins, there is a lot of optimism in the air for all 30 of our ballclubs. Last year showed that anything was possible as the Seattle Mariners pulled off the improbable by winning their first ever World Series. Will we see another unlikely champion this year? Or will perennial powers resurface and continue their dominance?

    It's time to take a look at the American League Divisions, Teams and some players to keep an eye on this year.

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    American League East

    One of the most competitive divisions in baseball off the field, this division has 3 of the most confident GMs in the league with none of them winning a championship. Last year saw 3 teams from the division make the playoffs but surprisingly the worst of them during the season made it all the way to the ALCS.

    The Blue Jays had a solid season, knocking off Tampa in a one game playoff and then following that up with the amazing defeat of the heavily favored Detroit Tigers in the divisional round. Detroit had won the World Series the year before, and everyone thought they would repeat. Toronto proved them wrong. Unfortunately the Jays met the much more balanced Seattle Mariners who would knock them off in a thrilling 7 game series.

    This year is anyone's guess as to which team will win the AL East. Tampa and Baltimore are both respectable squads, but the offseason aquisitions of SP Chris Sale and DH Dayan Viciedo in Toronto opened some eyes. But the Orioles matched them, by adding SP Clay Bucholz and RF Jose Bautista. It would be ironic if the Bautista addition, ended up giving the Orioles the division.

    I do not expect Tampa or New York or Boston to make the postseason this year. Tampa added a couple of mediocre arms, and do not look anywhere near as talented as the teams ahead of them. And New York and Boston haven't been relevant in 5 seasons.

    American League Central

    I wish this division was exciting as the AL East or some of the other divisions in baseball. But it won't be. Last year the Detroit Tigers won the division by 12.5 games. Minnesota continues to play strong but they have nowhere near the talent of the Tigers and I really don't expect them to be able to compete for the division this year.

    The busiest team in the offseason was surprisingly the Chicago White Sox. They added some solid pieces via trade, and have completely reshaped their roster. I honestly don't even know who is on their roster this year and I am sure their GM feels the same.

    As I said... Detroit is the talent here in this division. Barring massive injuries, there is no way they do not win this division again. Unfortunately, the Indians and Royals are both in rebuild mode and pretty inactive during the offseason, so I do not expect much out of either club.

    American League West

    We should rename this division the Vaughn division, because the Vaughn brothers are expected to own this thing for a long, long time. Last season saw the Mariners sweep the over-hyped Orioles and then beat both Detroit and Miami in 7 games.

    Somehow the Mariners did what no-one expected from them and surprised the entire league. They were near the bottom in runs scored, but near the top in runs allowed. They ended the season with a minor run differential of +46 runs and yet beat what on paper were much superior teams in the playoffs. They had one of the quietest offseasons you will ever see from a World Champion and we have to wonder if they have the drive to try to win this thing again?

    The Houston Astros ended the season only 3 games back, and some would argue that this is the much better team in this division. Offensively, they are the best in the division and last year saw 11 different players end the season in double digits in HR. Although their offseason was relatively quiet as well, they made a move that although under the radar was a big one. One of the best Free Agent SP available, and a lefty at that, Derreck Holland was signed to a 1 year deal and immediately bolsters this rotation and adds a valuable piece to the rotation.

    Although these two teams are the favorites, it is difficult to not wonder if this is the year the Oakland A's break through? Mismanaged for years, we can only hope that their new GM and managers do a better job than previous ownership. This team has a lot of talent, but they have been underperforming.

    Another team to watch will be the Angels. They have always had a good offense, but the offseason saw two of the quietest moves nobody even knew occured. They immediately legitimized their chances with the trades for SP Ubaldo Jiminez and SP Zack Grienke. It's not often the previous year's Cy Young award winner falls into your lap, but it did for LA. Although older and expensive, these two additions make the Angels rotation one of the best in baseball.

    This race will be a 4 team race all season long. The battle between the Vaughn brothers combined with the upstart Angels and Athletics make this division fascinating. If only there was as much talk off the field as there is in the AL East.




    American League Players to watch:


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    SP Justin Verlander (Detroit)- After winning 3 straight Cy Young awards, the 34 year old had an off year. Are we now watching the demise of a certain Hall of Fame pitcher?

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    CF Antonio Pajarillo (Houston)- The former #1 overall pick has certainly had his challenges during his years in the minor leagues. Injury troubles, slowed development and poor performance had to make his GM wonder if he would ever be the star who they thought he was as the #1 pick. Last year was a breakthrough year for the kid, and I am sure a sense of relief for Astros fans.

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    LF Justin Lumstd (New York Yankees)- The much maligned 21st overall pick has proven his doubters wrong. At the time of his being drafted, GM Brian Evans was roasted as many people thought there were better players available. Here were the quotes from one scout after this pick "Lumsd needs to not only buy a vowel, but spend less time reading and more time focusing on baseball. He has a lot of good qualities and should be a pretty good player in RF, if he develops. Thats a big if. He's already 21 years old and has a lot of growing to do before he can make the roster with the New York Yankees. Of all the picks Ive looked at to this point, he is my least favorite. Even if he develops fully, I don't think he will do a whole lot during his career." Now 25 years old, Lumstd just led the AL in OPS.
     
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  2. ty5oke

    ty5oke Walk On

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    Great stuff PA. I'm hoping Holland can be one of the best #5 starters in the league when he comes back (too bad he cost me my 1st rounder). Pretty excited about my OF for the next year, that along with my SP rotation should keep me as a contender.

    Texas signed Hamilton,Kimbrel,Blanks and traded for Alex White so they improved. I also think the Greinke addition to LA will make them an instant contender. Tough AL west this year.
     
  3. Sharkman37

    Sharkman37 Walk On

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    well done Jesse
     
  4. ryalaman

    ryalaman Walk On

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    [​IMG]
     
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  5. JFace907

    JFace907 Ron F'n Swanson

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    The strength of this team needs to start playing like the strength. I feel i have a upper-echelon lineup on paper. They just didn't execute last year. Watch for Markus Mason. Kid ripped it in spring training. If Blackmon stumbles out of the gate, Markus is getting the call.
     
  6. Timpegoose

    Timpegoose Walk On

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    Now one of you AL guys needs to do an NL preview :)
     
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  7. NeuroticTruth

    NeuroticTruth dont know , dont care

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    Great stuff PA.
     
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  8. Ken Welsch

    Ken Welsch BTFD!

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    Your assessment of the AL Central ticks me off. But it's also probably spot on.

    Friggin Tigers.
     

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