To every baseball fan’s delight, the first pitch of the season is scheduled for this Sunday in Houston, as the Rangers meet their new division rivals, the Astros. As a lifelong Astros fan, it pains me that one of the easiest predictions to make for the upcoming season is that the Astros will finish in last place in the AL West. Having already made my prediction for the 2013 NL Champion (Washington), it’s only fitting that this week I predict the 2013 AL Champion and each American League division winner.
I’ll start with trying to tackle what looks to be the toughest division to predict in 2013. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, I see Boston finishing last for the second consecutive year.
I believe that John Farrell was a solid choice to get the Red Sox back on track and they will finish much better than their 69-93 record in 2012, but I don’t see him making the club World Series relevant again within his first year. I believe in 2013, baseball fans will see an occurrence that hasn’t happened since 1993.
For the first time in 20 years, both the Yankees and the Red Sox will not make the playoffs. The Yankees are getting old and it shows. 32-year-old Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch during spring training and is out until at least May. 32-year-old Mark Teixeira hurt his wrist taking hacks off a tee and his return this season is questionable. 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez faces the same fate as Teixeira with his hip injury and 38-year-old Derek Jeter will miss opening day and more with his ankle injury. Heck, even Brian Cashman, the Yankee GM, broke his leg and dislocated his ankle after a skydiving stunt with the Army.
I believe that the Rays and Blue Jays will both make the playoffs, with the Rays winning the division. The Orioles had a nice run last season and were rewarded with a playoff berth, but their 2013 projected pitching rotation is an absolute mess.
Most know about the blockbuster deals the Blue Jays made this year, with the additions of Reyes, Melky, Dickey, Johnson and Buehrle. Meanwhile, the Rays made some quiet, yet effective, moves themselves with the additions of shortstop Yunel Escobar, first baseman James Loney, and perhaps the best prospect in the MLB, outfielder Wil Myers. It could take a few games for the Blue Jays to smooth things out and get in synch. I think the Rays and their great team chemistry will hit the ground running and never look back in 2013.