YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

AL baseball preview

A team by team glance, with predicted order of finish in each division:

March 26, 2011|By Bill Shaikin



2010: 89-73, third

Last year in playoffs: 2009

The Carl Crawford-Adrian Gonzalez duo should cost the Red Sox $300 million, a steep price for the keys to reviving what could be baseball's most dynamic lineup. The Red Sox stole 68 bases last year, when Jacoby Ellsbury was injured. But Ellsbury stole 70 by himself in 2009 and Crawford has stolen 50 five times. J.D. Drew, in his 14th and possibly last year, has yet to play a 150-game season.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

CF J. Ellsbury

2B D. Pedroia

LF C. Crawford

1B A. Gonzalez

3B K. Youkilis

DH D. Ortiz

RF J. Drew

C J. Saltalamacchia

SS M. Scutaro

Starting rotation

J. Lester (L)

J. Lackey (R)

C. Buchholz (R)

J. Beckett (R)

D. Matsuzaka (R)


J. Papelbon (R)


2010: 96-66, first

Last year in playoffs: 2010

The Rays won the AL East two of the past three years, but the bill comes due for a team that had to give away tickets to fill its domed stadium in the September stretch. The Rays lost Crawford, pretty much their entire bullpen and Carlos Pena, who hit 144 home runs from 2007 to 2010. They might have the best starters in the division, but Manny Ramirez might not have much bat speed left, assuming he cares.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

2B B. Zobrist

LF J. Damon

3B E. Longoria

DH M. Ramirez

RF M. Joyce

CF B. Upton

1B D. Johnson

SS R. Brignac

C J. Jaso

Starting rotation

D. Price (L)

J. Shields (R)

W. Davis (R)

J. Niemann (R)

J. Hellickson (R)


K. Farnsworth (R)


2010: 95-67, second

Last year in playoffs: 2010

The Yankees have a $200-million payroll, so who is Ivan Nova and why is he the No. 4 starter? He started his spring with a 1.29 earned-run average, including a six-inning, no-hit outing. Oh, and Cliff Lee spurned Yankees bucks. The Yankees led the majors in runs last year, with Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira all hitting at least 29 home runs.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

LF B. Gardner

SS D. Jeter

1B M. Teixeira

3B A. Rodriguez

2B R. Cano

DH J. Posada

RF N. Swisher

CF C. Granderson

C R. Martin

Starting rotation

CC Sabathia (L)

A. Burnett (R)

P. Hughes (R)

I. Nova (R)

F. Garcia (R)


M. Rivera (R)


2010: 66-96, fifth

Last year in playoffs: 1997

The Orioles haven't posted a winning record since 1997, but they finished last season by going 34-23 under new Manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles imported aging sluggers Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero to support their young pitchers and reduce the offensive burden on hyped youngster Matt Wieters. They also added Mark Reynolds, who has struck out 200 times three years running.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

2B B. Roberts

RF N. Markakis

1B D. Lee

DH V. Guerrero

LF L. Scott

CF A. Jones

3B M. Reynolds

C M. Wieters

SS J. Hardy

Starting rotation

J. Guthrie (R)

B. Matusz (L)

J. Arrieta (R)

B. Bergesen (R)

C. Tillman (R)


K. Gregg (R)


2010: 85-77, fourth

Last year in playoffs: 1993

Jose Bautista hit 59 home runs in four years, then led the major leagues with 54 last year, at age 29. Fluke? The Blue Jays bet $65 million that the answer is no. The Jays could apply the $70 million saved by trading Vernon Wells toward a youth movement already producing catcher J.P. Arencibia, the Pacific Coast League MVP, and pitcher Kyle Drabek, the prospect prize in the Roy Halladay trade.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

CF R. Davis

SS Y. Escobar

3B J. Bautista

1B A. Lind

2B A. Hill

DH E. Encarnacion

LF T. Snider

RF J. Rivera

C J. Arencibia

Starting rotation

R. Romero (L)

K. Drabek (R)

B. Cecil (R)

J. Reyes (L)

J. Litsch (R)


J. Rauch (R)



2010: 94-68, first

Last year in playoffs: 2010

Joe Mauer hit one home run in the first five weeks, Justin Morneau did not play after the All-Star break and Joe Nathan did not pitch last season. The Twins still won the AL Central, for the sixth time in nine years. The Twins are breaking in a middle infield duo of shortstop Alexi Casilla, at second base last year, and second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, in Japan last year.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

CF D. Span

2B T. Nishioka

C J. Mauer

1B J. Morneau

LF D. Young

DH J. Kubel

RF M. Cuddyer

3B D. Valencia

SS A. Casilla

Starting rotation

C. Pavano (R)

F. Liriano (L)

N. Blackburn (R)

B. Duensing (L)

S. Baker (R)


J. Nathan (R)


2010: 88-74, second

Last year in playoffs: 2008

The happy-go-lucky Adam Dunn has powered up in relative obscurity, averaging 40 homers over the past seven years, all but six weeks of that time spent with Cincinnati and Washington teams that never posted a winning record. The White Sox want to win, urgently. They'll start without Jake Peavy, expected to return to the disabled list after winning 10 games in his first 20 months in Chicago.

Starting lineup

(in projected batting order)

LF J. Pierre

2B G. Beckham

DH A. Dunn

1B P. Konerko

CF A. Rios

RF C. Quentin

Los Angeles Times Articles