Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The other day we looked at the National
League and came up with the Washington Nationals becoming the king.
Today, we shift to the American League and figure out who faces the Nats in the
So, let's go:
Like in the NL outlook, we'll start out West in what should be an interesting,
season-long race between three teams: the Texas Rangers, Oakland A's and the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Rangers will be the first to drop off, and out, of the race although phenom
Jurickson Profar will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, a bright spot in
what will still be a decent season.
That leaves the A's, last year's surprise West Division winner, and the Angels
left to tangle.
I believe the A's, with a good pitching staff, can win 90 games. That won't be
enough to get one of the two wild cards, but it'll be close.
The Angels, who already were fielding what looked like an all-star team, added
Josh Hamilton, and that's a really good thing.
Hamilton seemed to wear out his welcome in Texas, he was being booed by the end
of the season, but it says here he'll turn it around in the California sun.
Having Albert Pujols and Mike Trout with him will help the cause.
I give the Angels an even 100 wins, and no wild card comes out of the West.
But, in the end, a so-so pitching staff will keep the Angels from going all the
In the AL Central, boy, do I love the Tigers.
They lost Delmon Young to the Philadelphia Phillies, but replaced him with
Torii Hunter. I'd much rather have the veteran Hunter, so that's a plus.
And so is the return of Victor Martinez, who missed all of 2012 with an injury.
His bat back in the lineup makes the Tigers even better.
And having Justin Verlander anchoring the rotation, with his no-hitter stuff
just about every time out is a weapon you can't put a price on. The bullpen
isn't great, but it will be good enough.
This team can win over 100 games.
The Cleveland Indians will chase the Tigers all season, but won't catch them.
But, because they do enough of everything well enough, the Tribe will grab one
of the wild card slots available - a huge accomplishment for the Indians.
I just can't go with the team du jour, the Toronto Blue Jays, to win the East.
The Jays, to me, are a bit like the Indians. They do plenty of things well,
most of them they do better than Cleveland, and that's why Toronto will get the
first wild card in the AL.
But the East division winner? I'm accustomed to either filling in the New York
Yankees or Boston Red Sox in this spot, but not this year.
Give me the pitching staff of the Tampa Bay Rays - Cy Young winner David Price,
Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb and Jeff Niemann - and I can play with
anybody. And the Rays will hit enough to snare the division.
They win the East followed by the Blue Jays while the Yankees implode and the
Red Sox try to figure things out. It will be weird in this division.
In the end, where will the parade be held to honor the new World Series
The team inside the envelope is the Tigers, so Detroit - a city that could use
some good news - can celebrate.
It won't be easy because the Nats are really good and they are going to win the
whole thing soon, but not this year.
Detroit hasn't won the World Series since Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Jack
Morris and Lance Parrish were together in 1984. They lost to the St. Louis
Cardinals, in 2006, and a year ago, the San Francisco Giants swept them away in
Not this time. This time, Detroit can smile.
The Tigers, by the way, will do it in six games.
Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several Philadelphia-area
newspapers for over 25 years.
The Sports Network