Thomas Wayne’s Bold and Beer Battered 2011 Predictions – American League Edition
Howdy boys and girls (and for those of you not sure which one you are congratulations on being a Cubs fan) and welcome to the 2011 edition of my nearly flawless (and by nearly flawless I mean I have about a one in no-chance-in-hell shot of getting more than a third of these right) MLB AL Predictions. Without any more hullabaloo let us jump right in to the insanity…
American League East
- Boston Red Sox 98-64
- New York Yankees 98-64
- Tampa Bay Rays 86-76
- Toronto Blue Jays 79-83
- Baltimore Orioles 69-93
I am not as high on the rebuilt Red Sox as some, however, I am not completely blind. This is arguably the team to beat in the AL. But I never count out the Yankees. All it would take is some nifty dealing to acquire a Chris Carpenter (assuming the Cardinals stumble…which I sure as hell hope they don’t) or the like and the Yankees are right there. Look for Tampa to possibly play spoiler as Summer turns to Fall (Tampa plays Boston seven times in September). I like the Red Sox to win the division and the Yanks as the wild card.
American League Central
- Chicago White Sox 92-70
- Detroit Tigers 90-72
- Kansas City Royals 84-78
- Minnesota Twins 80-82
- Cleveland Indians 65-97
I like the White Sox from top to bottom. Great hitting lineup (especially when Gordon Beckham starts to rake like he should and stop playing like he’s Victoria Beckham…or David Beckham for that matter…he’s not quite the Alpha Female his wife is…but I digress) and more than enough pitching to make people stop and think. The Tigers will contend but come up short. Minnesota falls off the pace for the first time in years and I like the Royals to make a big leap from annual bottom feeders to a surprise-we-didn’t-see-them-coming-this-year-team.
American League West
- California via Anaheim take a turn in Los Angeles Angels 88-74
- Texas how the mighty will fall Rangers 80-82
- Oakland soon to be Santa Clara/San Jose A’s 75-87
- Seattle nothing clever to add here Mariners 64-98
What I like to call the most exciting boring division in baseball. I like the Angels to win but not quite by default. In the past the Angels were the clear team to beat. Than last year came and changed all that. This year they are a better hitting and pitching squad than last, but overall they wouldn’t be able to compete in any other division but the Weak Sisters of The West. The Rangers pitching will come back down to earth this year but they will still hit there way to a .500 record (give or take a win or five). Oakland has some great young arms, but I’ve seen better lineups with pick-pockets in them.
American League Playoffs
- Red Sox vs Angels
- White Sox vs Yankees
I like the Red Sox to dispatch the Angels and the White Sox to hold off the Bronx Bombers. But if the Yankees were to win it wouldn’t shock me.
- Red Sox vs White Sox
This should be a great ALCS….you got fiery managers on both sides, veteran arms and players who have been there before, and combined they have won three of the last seven World Series. Could go down as one of the best ALCS ever. I like the White Sox in the mild upset in seven games.
American League Rookie of the Year
- Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays
Hellickson is one sick throwing son-of-a-ray and he will fill in more than nicely for the recently departed and under achieving Matt Garza. It may take him a month or two to hit his stride but when he does the Rays will be a solid closer and a big bat away from contending again. I look for these numbers by years end: 185 IP, 17-7, 3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 170 K’s and a shiny new AL Jackie Robinson Award to sit on his shelf.
American League Manager of the Year
- Ned Yost – Kansas City Royals
If the Royals make the step I think they will it will be really hard not to acknowledge SkipperYost as top Manager in the Junior Circuit (at least for 2011). The Royals are loaded with up and comers who I believe will contribute this year (at least some of them). Yost will balance their youthful enthusiasm with been-there-done-that wisdom and help the Royals to an above .500 record for only the 4th time in the last twenty years making them the big surprise of the AL this year.
American League Cy Young Award
- Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
For the 26th year in a row I am picking Mr. Lester to win the AL Cy Young Award. This is the year that I thought would be last year. And last year will finally come true this year. Honestly, he has no excuses. It’s become the dominant stud we all know you are or just settle for being a really, really good pitcher who never takes it to that next level of exclusivity. Here is what I hope to see out of Lester this year: 220 IP, 22-5, 2.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 236 K’s.
American League MVP
- Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox
Let’s face it, Adrian Gonzalez is a total stud. He leaps over tall buildings in single bounds and can have your girlfriend on his arm with the wink of his eye. He does all this and still had time to rake like no body’s business for a San Diego club that had almost no one else around him to offer up any offensive help (at one time Toothless Arnie McLain, the 62 year old left field peanut vendor, was penciled in to protect Gonzalez in the Padre batting order. Just for your need to know, Arnie lost a hand and four toes off his left foot while serving his country during the Tet Offensive – he deserves your respect). Gonzalez will now take his already monstrous game to the next level in Boston. Here is what I believe we will see as 2011 unfolds: .301/.423/.533, 49 Doubles, 40 HR’s, 123 RBI, 105 Runs and an AL MVP.
Stay Tuned for My NL Predictions – Now with a Lemony Fresh Scent!!