It is time for baseball and to rank the top five teams in the American League the first week of the season. The AL went through some major changes. The Houston Astros moved there from the NL Central, Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers to join division rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Torii Hunter left the Angels to join AL rival Detroit Tigers.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Their starting lineup is fantastic. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo, and Erik Aybar will cause many problems for opposing pitchers. Trout and Aybar will easily get on base, giving Pujols and Hamilton ample opportunities to drive them home. Plus, with that backup, Trout can score more than 100 runs this season. Starting pitching is a sore spot since they lost Greinke, but if Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson stay healthy the bullpen can pick up if any of the starters have a bad game.
2. Detroit Tigers
They are not #1 because of their defense and speed. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are not great at manning the corners and they are not the most agile runners. But despite that the Tigers do have the best pitching in the league. Justin Verlander is the top guy and the men behind him can be number one pitchers on other clubs. They do not have a closer, but it is hard to imagine manager Jim Leyland not having a set closer before July. The lineup includes six players who could bat over .300. It will be a very close season between the Angels and Tigers.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
For the first time in many years it will not be the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox atop the AL East. They acquired Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle and Emilio Bonifacio. They did not stop there. They added Melky Cabrera and NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The bullpen is so loaded that if a starter gets injured or has a bad game manager John Gibbons has plenty of quality men to choose from. Reyes and Cabrera will get on base, which will allow Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarcion to drive them home. Be afraid of Toronto. They want to win.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are the only team in the AL East that can get in Toronto’s way of a division title. They lost James Shields, but still has a great rotation with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, and lefty Matt Moore. Their hitting was not well in 2012, but with Evan Longoria coming back healthy it should not be as big of a problem. Ben Zobrist should be a power hitter again and hopefully Yunel Escobar has a better 2013. With those three the Rays should dominate and be a thorn in Toronto’s side.
5. Oakland Athletics.
Let this sink in. A lot of their starters missed games because of injury and Bartolo Colon was suspended, but the A’s still had a great 2012 with their pitching. Just imagine their starting rotation completely healthy with the youth in the bullpen to back them up. The only problem is hitting, but they are taking steps to improve that by getting Jed Lowrie from the Astros. Do not take the A’s lightly.
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