This is basically a race between the Angeles and Mariners and will probably go down to the last week of the regular season. Also, you can never count out a team like Oakland. They always seem to get the most out of their players.
1. Los Angeles Angels
I have to go with the Angels because they won the Division last year and added Torii Hunter. Also, this a perfect Mike Sciosia team. You know, a scrappy small ball team with defense and some pop. The addition of John Garland will the help the rotation and looks like Kelvim Escobar could be out for quite some time. Their bullpen is solid with K-Rod closing games.
2. Seattle Mariners
When you have Ichiro Suzuki as your leadoff man, anything is possible. I just think guys like Raul Ibanez, Richie Sexson, Brad Wilkerson, and Adrian Beltre are too inconsistent. Yeah, they’ll all provide some power, but will either of them hit over .280? Obviously Erik Bedard was a huge acquisition. With Felix Hernandez behind Bedard, you’re looking at one of the best 1-2 starters in the league.
3. Oakland A’s
Just looking at this lineup makes you wonder how the A’s won’t finish in the cellar. Not one household name. But this is a team that will get players on base and win a lot of low scoring one run games. Why? How? Joe Blanton and Rich Harden lead a young and inexperienced starting rotation. But I think they’ll pitch well enough to keep them in games. Keith Foulke, Alan Embree and Huston Street comprise a very solid bullpen. Of course it’s another rebuilding year for Oakland (aren’t they all?), but Billy Beane’s teams always seem to compete.
4. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have a decent nucleus with Michael Young, Milton Bradley and Hank Blalock so they’ll score some runs. But the problem with Texas, like every other year, will again be their pitching. You can expect this team to be involved in a lot of 11-10 games.