BY ZAC CORDOVA AND JUSTIN MILLAR, Feedcrossing.com syndication
Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson looks as if he may have a career year this season. Photo by: Lauren / Flickr
• LA Dodgers: Pretender. Matt Kemp should change his nickname to “Mr. April” because he gets everyone thinking he is the best player in baseball the first month of every season. He is great no doubt, but has little help outside of Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier. AJ Ellis will cool off a bit, but they are too top heavy to be considered consistent enough to be a contender.
• NY Yankees
: Contender. Simply too much talent to continue playing this poorly. When you consider all the players they have hitting poorly or injured (Mark Teixeira
, Robinson Cano
, Alex Rodriguez
, Brett Gardner
) there has to be a bounce back. Paired with the inevitable trade deadline splash for a starter, the Yanks should be just fine.
• Detroit Tigers
: Pretender. They are almost the Dodgers of the AL, in that they have very little depth behind their sluggers. With their offensive stars hitting at of near their norms, and Prince Fielder
’s lack of power cancelled by overachieving starts by Austin Jackson
and Andy Dirks
, there really is not too much room for improvement. Rookie Drew Smyley
and Doug Fister
wont keep their sub 2.5 ERAs all year, and Dirks and Jackson are due to regress, the Tigers may be in serious trouble, with the only saving grace being their weak division.
• Baltimore Orioles
: Contender. The Orioles have quietly put together a tremendous pitching staff, anchored by 5 relievers posting sub 1.8 ERA’s (6 if you include Chris Davis). The potential regression of starters Wei-Yin Chen
and Jason Hammel
are greatly anchored because of how terrific their bullpen is. Outside of Adam Jones
, they do not have an offensive player who is greatly overachieving. If they can sustain the great bullpen work, and hitting, I can absolutely see the Orioles challenging for the division come September. (more…)