1) Detroit Tigers – This is probably the easiest division winner to project this season. The World Series runner ups have a dominating staff, stacked lineup, but questionable bullpen. If they can find a dominant closer outside Phil Coke, they will be in great shape. Coke is a dominant lefty and is best served to be a set up guy designed to take down a big lefty bat in a jam. Victor Martinez is healthy which just adds another bat to the mix.
2) Kansas City Royals – Last season I posted a 2013 World Series preview where I had the Royals losing to the Nationals. The Nats look like a team that can make a run to the Series, and while I won’t be truthfully predicting it, I would not at all be surprised to see the Royals get a Wild Card spot and who knows what can happen from there. I loved the Jamie Shields (yes, it will always be Jaime to me) trade. The Royals are really only deficient in proven arms, and he is certainly a proven one.
3) Cleveland Indians – With Terry Francona at manager, the trades for Stubbs and Bauer, the signings of Giambi, Swisher, and Born will make the team better. They have a good mix of young and experienced and solid leadership. I see them also battling for a Wild Card spot and only improving through the season and into next year.
4) Chicago White Sox – This is a team that is far from enjoyable to watch. They have some good young arms, but that is about it. Dunn is a liability with his average and Konerko is on his last leg. Viciedo is their upside position player, and there isn’t much there. They have a horrific farm system. Their biggest problem is they didn’t suck last season, which put some expectations on the team, rather than free them to deal what commodities they have for youth.
5) Minnesota Twins – They just may battle the Astros for first overall draft pick in the 2014 draft. The team is terrible. They dealt Span and Revere over the offseason and will be relying on young unproven guys like Mastroianni and Aaron Hicks. Plouffe will bat in the middle of the lineup, but he looks like a guy that closes his eyes when he swings, he either crushes the ball, or misses big. The positive thing for Twins fans is there are talented young guys both in their system and on their big league roster, so there is at least a little hope for the future in the Twin Cities.