American League East: The Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles will fight it out for the lead and second place. The New York Yankees, even with the offseason moves, are a year older and minus their top slugger, who serves a season-long suspension. The 2013 Champion Boston Red Sox will have problems of their own.
American League Central: I look for the Detroit Tigers; with the young, fast, and scientific Kansas City Royals in the mix. I’m afraid, even in this time of year, as hope springs eternal, the Cleveland Indians will take a step backward.
American League West: The Oakland Athletics still represent a breath of fresh air, and the Texas Rangers have a lot of talent in reserve. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (I understand the “of Anaheim” is being dropped in yet another franchise-name change, even as hitting coach Don Baylor injured himself during the ceremonial first pitch of the season) still need to get it together.
National League East: The Washington Nationals ought to accomplish in 2014 what they did not in 2013. The Atlanta Braves are always tough in the regular season. The New York Mets are in a quasi-rebuilding mode, their best pitcher on the shelf (though possibly returning late in the season), and the Philadelphia Phillies are “a veteran bunch,” which means too old.
National League Central: The St. Louis Cardinals are possibly the strongest team of all on paper. The Pittsburgh Pirates can build on last season, and the Cincinnati Reds should continue making plenty of noise.
National League West: From here, the Los Angeles Dodgers stand out from the rest of the pack. The San Francisco Giants have great even-number seasons, so they ought to be watched. The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the race for sure, even as of this writing they are prematurely in last place (as the Dodgers reside in first).
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