The 2012 MLB season is set to reach full swing tomorrow morning and as such, it's worth peviewing each of the divisions:
East – This one of the toughest divisions to predict as it has traditional rivals and super-powers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Throw in a hungry Tampa Bay Rays as well as an improving Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, it's tough to predict what the outcome will be. The Tampa Bay Rays are not to be underestimated and Joe Maddon is a canny manager who won the American League East Manager of the Year in 2011. However, the Sox have a point to prove after a terrible ending to last season and will be tough to beat.
Central – The Detroit Tigers are without a doubt the stand-out team and after adding free agent slugger Prince Fielder in the off-season, they have only become even stronger. Prince’s contract is worth a massive $214 million over nine years and is sure to deliver the goods. The Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals will have their work cut out for them keeping up with the Tigers.
West – The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels are the two heavyweights in here, however the Rangers are still slightly ahead. The Angels acquired CJ Wilson from the Rangers and then the Rangers countered by signing Yu Darvish from Japan. Darvish has never played in the MLB before so it was a gamble but the general consensus is that Darvish is going to be an elite pitcher. The Angels did not stop with the Wilson signing, as they also added Albert Pujols to their squad on a 10-year, $240 million contract, another contract with huge numbers but he is one of the outstanding players of his generation.
East – The Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Florida Marlins are not be underestimated in the East, however the Philadelphia Phillies should end up on top thanks to their excellent pitchers. In recent years, they have consistently made the playoffs and this year should be no different.
Central – Like the AL East, this is a difficult division to predict who is going to win. It has last year’s World Series winners in the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 23 of their last 31 games of the regular season last year, and it also has last year's divisional winners in the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals took it to the last day of the season, where they dramatically won the wild card in a tight race with the Atlanta Braves and will only be better for the high-pressure outings last season. The Brewers on the other hand have lost Prince Fielder which is a massive blow to their title hopes, however the Cardinals have also lose Albert Pujols. They are significant losses for both teams, which dent their chances of repeating last year’s success. Because of this, the dark horses here are the Cincinnati Reds who won the division in 2010 and seem to be quietly confident of topping the division at the end of this year.
West – Yet another difficult division to choose a winner from, where the Arizona Diamondbacks won it last year but it is no gimme that they will be able to do it again. It’s an open race and the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres will all fancy their chances of taking the division title away from the Diamondbacks.
– Pen & Paper Sports
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