1. Cleveland Indians (Devo) – Kept most of the team intact with ace C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona behind him, plus it’s quite possible that Travis Hafner will rebound after a down season for him. Should be the favorite to win the division unless there is a complete breakdown and Joe Borowski somehow manages to have an even higher ERA as a closer.
2. Detroit Tigers (The Stooges) – Brutish, nasty, and efficient: that’s what the Tigers’ offense ought to be after adding Miguel Cabrera via trade and then signing him to beaucoup bucks — Cabrera, Ordonez, Sheffield, Guillen, and Pudge in the heart of the order. Ouch. Should be enough to get by until Curtis Granderson comes back. Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman will do well in the rotation — the question is whether Kenny Rogers can do it again, and how the middle relief will do without Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney to start. My wild card pick for the AL.
3. Minnesota Twins (The Replacements) – This team looks capable of great, even amazing stuff at the plate and in the field, but losing leaders like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter will have to have some effect. Delmon Young may be much better, freed from Tampa Bay, playing against the garbage bag in the Metrodome, and at least they’ve kept Joe Nathan. Better hope Liriano’s slider can work again.
4. Kansas City Royals (The Get Up Kids) – More youngsters mixed with some veterans who have been around the block, but they’re set to actually bust out of the cellar this year, I think.
5. Chicago White Sox (Smashing Pumpkins) – The current version of this team sometimes seems to be a shell of the one that won it all three years ago — the only upside is having a decent couple of starters in Mark Buerhle and Javier Vazquez to go with the hitting of Paul Konerko. Questions abound as to where Alexei Ramirez will play (looks like a centerfield platoon) and how the ball will get to Bobby Jenks.