2010 FINAL STANDINGS
W L Pct. GB
Tampa Bay 96 66 .593 –
New York 95 67 .586 1
Boston 89 73 .549 7
Toronto 85 77 .525 11
Baltimore 66 96 .407 30
Tampa Bay Rays
Joe Maddon, sixth year.
UPS: Much has been made of the Rays signing two veterans, DH Manny Ramirez and LF Johnny Damon. But keep an eye on 3B Evan Longoria and P David Price, the two young stars. Ramirez hit .311 at camp, and Longoria had 10 RBIs. Price went 2-0 with 20 strikeouts this spring.
DOWNS: The Rays reworked their roster so much that it may take time for Ramirez and Damon to get adjusted. And even when they do, some are asking if they are too old to help anyway. The bullpen also has a lot of new faces.
EXPECTATION: Even with a new team, the Rays could make it back to the playoffs.
New York Yankees
MANAGER: Joe Girardi, fourth year.
UPS: 3B Alex Rodriguez, SS Derek Jeter, C Jorge Posada, 1B Mark Teixeira, and closer Mariano Rivera remain capable of carrying the team for long stretches. Teixeira had nine doubles and hit .294 at camp, and Rodriguez hit six homers and .388.
DOWNS: P Andy Pettitte retired, and the rest of the rotation has problems behind ace CC Sabathia. Rivera and newcomer Rafael Soriano anchor the bullpen. EXPECTATION: The Yanks will be in the race down to the wire.
Boston Red Sox
MANAGER: Terry Francona, eighth year.
UPS: The addition of LF Carl Crawford, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, P Dan Wheeler, and P Bobby Jenks made this good team even better. Gonzalez hit .308 with two homers in limited action at camp. 2B Dustin Pedroia had six doubles and hit .321, and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit .364.
DOWNS: There are questions as to whether Jonathan Papelbon can remain a top closer. He blew nine saves last year and had a 10.50 ERA in six innings at camp. Crawford hit just .208 at spring training.
EXPECTATION: It's a three-way race again, and the Red Sox will be one of the three.
Toronto Blue Jays
MANAGER: John Farrell, first year.
UPS: RF Jose Bautista, who played 45 games at 3B last year, will seek to come close to the 54 homers he slammed last year. He hit .379 with three homers this spring. Edwin Encarnacion will start at 3B. SS Yunel Escobar led the team with 25 hits and hit .391 at camp, and LF Travis Snider hit .346.
DOWNS: The pitching staff lacks depth. Brandon Morrow was 2-0 with an 0.75 ERA this spring, but Ricky Romero was 1-2 with a 7.91 ERA.
EXPECTATION: If the pitching staff can compete, the Blue Jays are likely to have the offense to challenge the Big Three.
MANAGER: Buck Showalter, second year.
UPS: Showalter helped the pitching staff improve greatly last season, and the addition of 1B Derrek Lee, DH Vladimir Guerrero, and 3B Mark Reynolds should add some zip to the offense. Guerrero hit .364 with five homers at camp, and backup C Jake Fox hit 10 homers and seven doubles.
DOWNS: Although the pitching staff did better once Showalter arrived, it needs to continue that improvement. The pressure will be on Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen. Tillman was 2-0 this spring, but Bergesen had a 5.82 ERA.
EXPECTATION: The Orioles will be better than they've been in years. Can't ask for more than that.
2010 FINAL STANDINGS
W L Pct. GB
Minnesota 94 68 .580 –
Chicago 88 74 .543 6
Detroit 81 81 .500 13
Cleveland 69 93 .426 25
Kansas City 67 95 .414 27
MANAGER: Ron Gardenhire, 10th year.
UPS: The Twins are finally getting healthy. 1B Justin Morneau is back after missing the end of last season with a concussion. Closer Joe Nathan has recovered from Tommy John surgery, and C Joe Mauer is back after knee surgery. CF Denard Span hit .339 this spring and stole six bases, and 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka hit .345.
DOWNS: How well Morneau, Nathan, and Mauer will play after needing time off because of injuries will be a big factor. Nathan had a 9.72 ERA at camp.
EXPECTATION: Too much is wrapped up in the health of too many players to expect the Twins to repeat as division champs.
Chicago White Sox
MANAGER: Ozzie Guillen, eighth year.
UPS: Adding 1B-DH Adam Dunn to the offense should go far in complementing a fine pitching staff of Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd. RF Carlos Quentin hit five homers and .328 this spring.
DOWNS: P Jake Peavy is out until May because of shoulder surgery, and Dunn got off a slow start at camp, hitting just .224. Can P Matt Thornton, an all-star setup man, replace Bobby Jenks as the closer?
EXPECTATION: This could be the year that the White Sox play the Red Sox in the ALCS.
MANAGER: Jim Leyland, sixth year.
UPS: 1B Miguel Cabrera, P Justin Verlander, and DH Victor Martinez are the keys to this team, and all three had great springs. Verlander went 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA, and Cabrera hit four homers and .311.
DOWNS: Cabrera made news for a DUI in February, and he has trouble staying out of trouble. Pitching could be a problem if Verlander falters.
EXPECTATION: The Tigers could make some noise if the pitching holds together. The offense should be no problem.
MANAGER: Manny Acta, second year.
UPS: 2B Orlando Cabrera hit .364 at camp, and P Fausto Carmona was 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA. C Carlos Santana, back after knee surgery, had two homers and five doubles.
DOWNS: CF Grady Sizemore is not ready to play yet after having microfracture knee surgery.
EXPECTATION: This team is likely too young and not deep enough to make a run at the title.
Kansas City Royals
MANAGER: Ned Yost, second year.
UPS: OF Alex Gordon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft, hit .343 with six homers this spring, and P Kyle Davies had 21 strikeouts in 20 innings.
DOWNS: P Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, had a 5.68 ERA and seven strikeouts in 122/3 innings at camp. EXPECTATION: Like the Indians, the Royals are too young to do much damage in this division. On the bright side, they have prospects in the minors.
2010 FINAL STANDINGS
W L Pct. GB
Texas 90 72 .556 –
Oakland 81 81 .500 9
Los Angeles 80 82 .494 10
Seattle 61 101 .377 29
MANAGER: Ron Washington, fifth year.
UPS: Even a disgruntled Michael Young will be a solid DH. He hit .380 and worked 10 walks this spring. All-star closer Neftali Feliz had a 2.12 ERA and 12 strikeouts, and 2B Ian Kinsler had five homers.
DOWNS: It could be hard to fill the voids left by P Cliff Lee and DH Vladimir Guerrero, and Young's spats with GM Jon Daniels may yet become a distraction to his teammates.
EXPECTATION: There is no reason the Rangers cannot get back to the World Series if their pitchers can keep up with their hitters.
MANAGER: Bob Geren, fifth year.
UPS: The pitching staff of Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden should be one of the best in baseball again this season. 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff hit .417 this spring.
DOWNS: P Andrew Bailey, one of the league's top closers, is out with a forearm strain, and Braden had a 7.02 ERA at camp.
EXPECTATION: If the A's can score some runs, their pitches can carry them back to the top.
Los Angeles Angels
MANAGER: Mike Scioscia, 12th year.
UPS: 2B Howie Kendrick hit .364 and stole six bases at camp, and 1B Mark Trumbo hit six homers and batted .297. P Hisanori Takahashi notched 11 strikeouts and had a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings.
DOWNS: A broken left leg is still bothering 1B Kendry Morales, P Scott Downs is out with a broken toe, and P Joel Pineiro has shoulder problems.
EXPECTATION: With the injuries to their pitchers, the Angels had better score lots of runs or they could be out of contention early.
MANAGER: Eric Wedge, first year.
UPS: Superstar OF Ichiro Suzuki had a decent spring and should be ready to go. 3B Chone Figgins hit .396, and 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez had 15 strikeouts in 112/3 innings. Erik Bedard went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 14 strikeouts.
DOWNS: There are not many offensive stars on this team. No one hit more than four homers this spring, and only three players had more than 10 RBIs.
EXPECTATION: It won't be as bad as last year, but it won't be a whole lot better.