Which team is set to overtake the Tigers in the AL Central

Over the past four seasons, the Tigers have dominated the AL Central. However, they have gradually grown older and it may be time for the White Sox, Royals, or Indians to overtake them and win the division.

1. Detroit Tigers

Record: 90-72

The Tigers have won 4 straight division crowns, but have lost starting pitchers Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister over the past few seasons. Detroit hopes that Verlander can return to relevance and the rest of the starting staff, Anibal Sanchez, Shane Greene, and Alfredo Simon, can exceed expectations. The offense should remain one of the best in the league, 2nd last season, because they still have Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Ian Kinsler and newcomer Yoenis Cespedes.

2. Cleveland Indians

Record: 88-74

Since Terry Francona became the manager of the Indians, they have averaged nearly 89 wins per season. The Indians are led by one of the most underrated player in the league, Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, Yan Gomes, Brandon Moss, and Jason Kipnis. The Indians should hit a lot of home runs as well as playing solid defense and limiting their mental mistakes due to Francona’s guidance. The pitching staff is extremely underrated with Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Danny Salazar.

3. Kansas City Royals

Record: 87-75

The Royals are the defending AL Champions and were one game away from winning the World Series for the first time since 1985. However, this season, they suffered losses to their rotation, James Shields, outfield, Nori Aoki, and lineup, Billy Butler. The Royals should continue playing great defense and the offense will continue producing runs with their speed and athleticism. The bullpen put forth one of the best performances of all time and they will return all of the important members this season.

4. Chicago White Sox

Record: 85-77

The Sox have been in a rebuilding phase for the past few season, but made significant moves this offseason. The additions of Jeff Samardizja via trade and David Robertson and Zach Duke via free agency have given the Sox one of the best 1-2 punches in the league and a solid end of the bullpen. The Sox will be led by MVP candidate Jose Abreu and young studs Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton.

5. Minnesota Twins

Record: 68-94

The Twins have remained in the AL Central cellar for the past few seasons, but have accumulated one of the best farm systems in the league with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. The Twins have very little star power because Joe Mauer is declining at a fast rate, Torii Hunter is over the hill, Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks are still young, and they do not have a number 1 or 2 starting pitcher in their rotation. During the deadline, the Twins will likely trade off veterans Phil Hughes, Glen Perkins, and possibly Joe Mauer in order to give opportunities for their young, talented players.

 

 

 

Who is winning the AL East

Since 1990, the AL East has been the most dominant division in the sport. Over the past 22 World Series, an AL East constituent has competed in 13 of the Fall Classics. However, this season the AL East is incredibly weak because the Rays are rebuilding, Yankees and Red Sox have many of question marks, Blue Jays have not achieved success in years, and the Orioles lost key contributors in free agency.

1. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 89-73

Even before the addition of Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, the Jays ranked 5th in MLB in runs scored. This year, they should contend for first, if they can remain healthy throughout the season. However, the biggest question is their starting pitching. If their impressive young arms, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchinson, and Dan Norris, can acclimate to the AL East quickly, the Jays should be ready to contend for the AL East crown

2. Boston Red Sox

Record: 88-74

Over the past two seasons, the Red Sox have been a team that goes from worst to first and back to worst. However, this offseason, they made numerous moves, acquiring Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rusney Castillo, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson. Although the pitching and defense will be suspect at times, they should possess one of the best offenses in baseball.

3. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 86-76

Like the Jays and Sox, the O’s have a formidable offense, but lack a true ace or a deep rotation. Although the O’s won 96 games last season, they lost their best hitter, Nelson Cruz, to the Mariners and Nick Markakis was signed by the Braves. They must hope that Manny Machado and Matt Wieters will be able to return from injuries without missing a beat. In addition, they will be without the services of Andrew Miller, who was one of the five best relievers last season.

4. New York Yankees

Record: 84-78

The Yankees may possess the best bullpen in the entire Major Leagues with Betances and Miller, but it is unknown if they will handing the game to these stoppers with many leads. With the injury concerns that surround the starting rotation, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Ivan Nova, it is likely that each of these starters will spend time on the DL. In addition, the lineup is littered with players on the wrong side of 30 and dissipating skills, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. If every thing goes right for the Yankees, they likely will reach the playoffs and win the division, but right now those odds seem to be stacked against them.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 75-87

This past year marked the end of the Rays’ greatest era in their short history as an organization. Joe Madden left for Chicago, Andrew Friedman joined the Dodgers, and David Price, Ben Zobrist Jeremy Hellickson, and Wil Myers were traded. However, the Rays should contend to remain competitive in the AL East as they boast the best rotation, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, and Chris Archer. In addition, they still have Evan Longoria, James Loney, Desmond Jennings, and prospect Steven Souza in the lineup.

 

 

Was your team one of the three that won the NBA Trade Deadline

In the most active trade deadline in the past 25 years, 11 trades occurred, 37 players are switching addresses, and more than 12 draft picks will exchange hands.

Winners:

Boston Celtics

Acquired: Isaiah Thomas, Luigi Datoma, Jonas Jerebko

Traded: Marcus Thornton, Tayshaun Prince, 2016 first round pick via Cleveland

The Celtics may have more assets and picks than any other team in the league. After two years of accumulating, they finally acquired a solid player that could be the future point guard. In addition, they only gave a first round pick that will fall in the mid to late 20s as long as James is on the team.

Philadelphia 76ers

Acquired: First round pick via Lakers (top 3 predicted), first round pick via Oklahoma City Thunder, three second round picks, Javale McGee, Isaiah Cannon

Traded: Michael Carter Williams, KJ McDaniels

Although MCW won the rookie of the year award last season, the 76ers have put him on the trading block and now possibly have netted a top 5 selection in next year’s draft. The 76ers need a lot of top flight talent in order to complete the rebuild and win.

Milwaukee Bucks

Acquired: Michael Carter Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee

Traded: Brandon Knight

The Bucks may have dealt their best current player on their team, but they acquired a versatile point guard, a talented point guard, and a rotational big man. Jason Kidd was able to work wonders with Shaun Livingston, a similar player to MCW, and the Bucks are putting together one of the most versatile and athletic lineups in the league with Parker, MCW, and Greek Freak .

Losers

Brooklyn Nets

Acquired: Thad Young

Traded: Kevin Garnett

On paper, the Nets were able to improve. However, Garnett brought a presence in the locker room that very few can replace, especially Young. In addition, the Nets were not able to deal Lopez, even though it is likely that he will opt out and become a free agent at the end of the year. Even worse, they could not rid themselves of Joe Johnson’s and Deron Williams’ contracts.

Miami Heat

Acquired: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic

Traded: Two first round picks, Justin Hamilton, Shawne Williams, Norris Cole, Danny Granger

Goran Dragic will drastically improve the Heat’s point guard situation, but he may not be enough to push the Heat into the playoffs without Chris Bosh. Also, this deal forces the Heat to sign Dragic to a long term deal, possibly the max 5 years $100 million, even though he is not worth the financial commitment.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Acquired: Enes Kanter, DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, Steve Novak

Traded: Reggie Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, first round pick

The OKC Thunder were in conversation to obtain Brook Lopez for multiple weeks, but never finished the deal. Although Kanter has potential, he is not the same player as Lopez at this point in his career and it is unlikely that he will re-sign this offseason. Lopez would have added an inside scorer and some one who could protect the rim.