MLB Thoughts Thus Far: AL

By: Scott Ostrowsky

AL East: The New York Yankees and the Rays sitting at the bottom of the division is not that surprising to me thus far considering the massive rebuilding the Rays are doing, not a lot of veterans that have made a huge name for themselves on the roster but trying to build a team around SP Chris Archer in the future will be an interesting sight to watch in the next 5 years. The Yankees are in a similar situation, except the Yankees have veterans worth looking up to (Rodriguez, Beltran, Sabathia, Teixeira, McCann, Ellsbury) but have also had their share of injuries, thus, shining the spotlight on some younger guys to step up. Unfortunately, all ages throughout that organization are injury prone so development of young guys has the possibility of being delayed. The Orioles have been due to lead this division for a while now…So have the Red Sox. Both teams boast a great mixture of veterans of wide capabilities and young guys who can bring health and security to their lineups day in and day out. I think that the Red Sox will eventually secure a division championship this year but Baltimore is still a viable option. Not a lot to say about the Blue Jays. In a word, their season has been miserable. That’s using the term lightly. Big names are not producing the “big” numbers at the plate that are needed to carry their mixture of inconsistency on the mound.

AL Central: The White Sox are quickly falling in the lead in the Central division, and slowly losing the respect they gained around the league early. The combination of Sale and Jose Quintana at the top of the rotation was deadly enough to keep their fair hitting lineup running like a well oiled machine. It was speculated before the season that they would be a dark horse. They were for a time, but now? It’s quite shocking. The Cleveland Indians have always been a favorite of mine mostly because Corey Kluber and his Cy Young arsenal of pitches are a huge part of that organization. He may have won a Cy Young Award but I still feel like he goes unnoticed, and that simply isn’t fair to him or his team. Of course it takes a team to be where they’re at right now but having a stud on the mound like that every five days to start a winning streak or end a losing streak is always good. Kansas City has “royally” disappointed me this season. Boasting back to back AL Titles and a World Series win last year should mean they should still run away with the division. Not so fast. Losing Johnny Cueto in the off-season and Mike Moustakas at 3rd for the year with an injury has clearly affected their lineup. We’ve all seen how they can quickly flip a switch with their game play so I’m not worried about their season. They are a Wild Card bid at worst. Take a deep breath KC. The Tigers may very well be a late dark horse if everything goes their way but it’s likely, that won’t be the case. They are within reach of the division right now but I don’t think they are consistent enough right now to really contend. Not the same thing for the Twins. Weak and spotty hitting and pitching won’t be enough to sustain this feeble baseball team in this cutthroat of a division. It’s not put lightly, but how can it be?

AL West: Well, I didn’t predict the winner of the division to be the Rangers, but, I did predict them to eventually win the World Series this year, so them being in first doesn’t make my pre-season prediction look that bad. What does make it bad is the fact that I picked the ever so vulnerable Astros to win it and they are absolutely killing me. Streaky hitting won’t cut it for them this year. It’s disappointing because that young lineup that made the surge to the postseason last year was “rebuilding”, making this year the year they would break out, so expectations were through the roof. My thoughts are that the high expectations got to the minds of the young team and they are choking. A .500 record isn’t too bad this early but Dallas Keuchel starting every five days isn’t enough for this team to go to the postseason in 2016. The Mariners were a surprise to start the year, much like the White Sox, they have fallen off lately, but don’t be fooled! King Felix finally has a team he can rely on to score some runs and back him up in those one run games that he has lost countless amounts of times in his career. If they make the postseason this year, division title in hand or not, Seattle is my dark horse. The A’s and Angels are still viable candidates but if they haven’t shown signs of life thus far, it may start to be the beginning of the end for these California teams. Unless a second half surge of life brings them to life again, much like their division foes, the Rangers, did last year.

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