Hey Rev, Happy Baseball Season. C ya at the yard! What have the statistical models been smokin?......
#12: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (83-79, 741 RS, 726 RA). Like the Twins, the Angels have so many injuries that it's hard to know where to slot them. As their defense and baserunning has declined—get past the reputation and look at what an aging, slow team this has become—so has their competition, leaving them able to dominate a weak division. That's changing now, just as their pitching staff, the other constant, gets hit by a truck. John Lackey and Ervin Santana have to be back soon and make every start the rest of the way, or 83-79 will be a pipe dream by August.
#6: Oakland Athletics (88-74, 746 RS, 695 RA)
Not a typo, though I keep thinking it is. The A's additions of Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera were such massive upgrades on both sides of the ball over what played left field and shortstop last year that they'll have a huge effect. It's not just a statistical thing; the A's, who collectively take good at-bats and draw walks, needed guys to bat .290 with a bunch of doubles, because few teams squandered more good counts and more good situations last year. Holliday and Cabrera fit perfectly in this lineup, making it a good offense. The rotation is shaky—Dallas Braden, Opening Day starter?—but there's so much pitching in the upper levels that it could be a lot better in August than in April. The bullpen is fantastic, five deep when Joey Devine returns.
A's 88 74 .543 --
Angels 83 79 .512 5
Rangers 78 84 .481 10
Mariners 77 85 .475 11