Here is how I predict things will shape up in the American League in 2010.
East Champion – New York Yankees: The reigning champs return as the favorites in the AL East after a solid offseason. The Yanks spent like crazy two offseasons ago, but were more fiscally responsible in 2010, landing players via trade and smaller free agent signings. Curtis Granderson was a nice addition to the lineup and outfield, while Javier Vasquez could end up being the best third starter in the majors this season. Andy Pettitte will give the rotation some stability and the Yanks have major upside in Phil Hughes. With a stacked lineup, a top-tier starting rotation and a good bullpen, there’s no reason to think they won’t win the division. <a href=”http://www.stubhub.com/mlb-tickets/”>MLB tickets tickets</a> to see the Bronx Bombers should be as popular as ever in 2010.
Central Champion – Minnesota Twins: I don’t think the Twins will need a one-game playoff to win the division this season. They locked up franchise player Joe Mauer to a big contract this offseason, which brings stability and focus to the organization as a whole. This Minnesota lineup is vastly underrated, as guys like Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel never get talked about. The pitching staff could be their downfall, but it should be pretty solid all the way through, which is something that not many teams can say. The loss of Joe Nathan definitely hurts, but someone capable of closing should emerge amidst the closer-by-committee experiment.
West Champion – Seattle Mariners: Cliff Lee’s stint in Seattle doesn’t seem to be getting off to the best start, but he and Felix Hernandez should make up one of the best one-two pitching punches in the major leagues once he’s right. The acquisition of Chone Figgins was a nice one this offseason, but they’re definitely lacking in the power department. I would not be surprised to see them chase a big bat at the trade deadline, perhaps Adrian Gonzalez or even Hanley Ramirez. A big bat would make them the overwhelming favorite in the West. For now I’ve got them slightly ahead of the Angels. 90 wins could be all it takes in this division.
Wild Card – Boston Red Sox: I am very tempted to put the Rays here, but I think Boston’s pitching is just too good. Jon Lester is a legitimate ace now and Josh Becket would be the best pitcher on a lot of teams around the league. John Lackey should be solid as long as he can get over his Fenway Park woes, and I am expecting a big season out of Clay Buchholz, while Time Wakefield can be a placeholder at the back of the rotation until Dice-K is back. Even if they don’t acquire a big bat at the deadline, I think they’re good for the Wild Card.
American League Champion – New York Yankees: They’re just too strong all-around not to pick. They’re going to be very tough to beat in a playoff series and I think the Yanks are clearly better than any team in baseball not named the Phillies.
Most Valuable Player – Evan Longoria, Third Base, Tampa Bay Rays: I think A-Rod will have a huge, bounce-back year and Mauer could definitely win it again, but I’m going for a less trendy pick. I think Longoria is poised for a huge year; something to the tune of .310, 40 and 130 would not surprise me.
Cy Young – Felix Hernandez, Starting Pitcher, Seattle Mariners: He would have won it last year if not for the incredible season of Zack Greinke. He’s dominant and may have the best stuff in the majors. The lineup should give him a bit more run support this season, so I wouldn’t rule out 20 wins.
Rookie of the Year – Scott Sizemore, Second Base, Detroit Tigers: Sizemore seems ready for big league pitching and should bring a solid all-around offensive game. I see something in the range of .280 for batting average with 15 or more home runs, as well as double-digit stolen bases. That should get the job done.
Manager of the Year – Rod Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins: He’s deserved it several times in the past, so even if the Twins don’t improve mightily, this would be a well-deserved make-up call.
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Madden 2010, Still cant get player interaction down like APF. 4 Examples.