MLB – American League – Projections of 2008 Season Final Team Standings

MLB Stats · A.L. East · A.L. West · A.L. Central · National League

2007: 2007 Final Standings and 2007 AL Projections
2006: 2006 Final Standings and 2006 AL Projections
2005: 2005 Final Standings and 2005 AL Projections

2008 American League Overview

Teams with upside include: Kansas City, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Texas, and Chicago. Detroit looks like a lock for the AL Central. Seattle and the Angels should duke it out in the West. And while the Yankees dynasty seems to be on the verge of falling apart, they could go out with a bang in Yankee Stadium’s final year.
Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi (NYY)
AL MVP: Bobby Abreau (NYY)
AL Cy Young: Erik Bedard (SEA)
AL Rookie of the Year: Clay Buchholz (BOS)
Playoffs: Seattle beats Boston; Yankees beat Tigers; AL Championship: Yankees beat Seattle (A.L. Champs: Lindy’s and SI pick Detroit, ESPN picks Indians, and the Sporting News picks the Red Sox).

Original posting: January 2, 2008. Last update: March 30, 2008.

American League East

1. New York Yankees Joe Girardi
2008 Picks: 95 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=1 (94); ESPN=1 ; TSN=2]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 3-1 Win W.S.: 5.5-1
2007 Record: 94-68
2006 Record: 97-65
2005 Record: 95-67
2004 Record: 101-61
2003 Record: 101-61
Key Players: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada.
What needs to go right: Pitching is, once again, a big question mark. How much longer will Mariano Riveria be able to dominate the 9th inning? And same issues for Mussina (career)?
Recap: As much as some might want to be the one predicting that the Yankees 15-year era of dominance is going to come to an end, it’s just impossible to ignore this offence. Every bat in the line-up is a legitimate 20-homer player. They do lack speed.. and maybe defence. Plus the pitching is shaky again. On the other hand, what if the Yankees get out of April and May with a half-way decent record? That’s been the thing holding back the Yankees the last couple years.

2. Boston Red Sox Terry Francona
2008 Picks: 92 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=2 (92); ESPN=2 ; TSN=1]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 2.5-1 Win W.S.: 4.5-1
2007 Record: 96-66
2006 Record: 86-76
2005 Record: 95-67
2004 Record: 98-64
2003 Record: 95-67
Key Players: Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, Jon Pabelbon.
What needs to go right: The Red Sox can’t afford a slump by Kevin Youkilis or Dustin Pedroia– since David Ortiz’ run production depends on it.
Recap: The risk for Boston is that all of a sudden, the offence might not look as intimidating. Manny is slipping. Mike Lowell (career) probably had his best year ever. On the other hand, players like Julio Lugo, Jason Varitek, and J.D. Drew, have some room to bounce back. Taken together, the Red Sox have deep starting pitching (Beckett, Schilling, Dice-K, Wakefield, Buchholz, and Lester), and a capable enough offence. And they should be expected to compete for the title yet again in the East.

3. Toronto Blue Jays John Gibbons
2008 Picks: 84 wins [Lindy=3 ; SI=3 (87); ESPN=3 ; TSN=3]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 12-1 Win W.S.: 25-1
2007 Record: 83-79
2006 Record: 87-75
2005 Record: 80-82
2004 Record: 67-94
2003 Record: 86-76
Key Players: Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Alex Rios.
What needs to go right: First, a Vernon Wells (career) revival is needed. Lyle Overbay must become more consistent. And, in-coming 3B Scott Rolen will be counted on to be both healthy and more productive then he has been in 2 of the last 3 seasons (career). Then, a healthy BJ Ryan would help in the bullpen.
Recap: It’s almost not fair having to compete in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox every year. Blue Jays fans have paid the price. Great teams, capable of winning over 80 games just about every year, but no division title to show for it since 1993. Well, the pieces are here. In the N.L. they would be competitive. Toronto has top-flight pitchers in Halladay and Burnett. And they have SP Dustin McGowan and SP Shaun Marcum who are both capable of delivering reliable innings. They have a veteran bat, Frank Thomas, anchoring the line-up and dynamic bats like Wells, Rios, and Hill. Maybe the addition of SS David Eckstein (career) can be the difference.

4. Tampa Bay Rays Joe Maddon
2008 Picks: 74 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=4 (80); ESPN=4 ; TSN=4]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 150-1
2007 Record: 66-96
2006 Record: 61-101
2005 Record: 67-95
2004 Record: 70-91
2003 Record: 63-99
Key Players: Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Scott Kazmir.
What needs to go right: The goal is pretty simple: just win more than 70 games. It’s not asking much, but it would be the best in Tampa Bay’s 11-year history.
Recap: After 10 full seasons of losing, Tampa Bay has decided to shed the ‘Devil’ from their nickname. The new positive, shorter ‘Rays’ may actually have a subliminal uplifting impact. But, more than that, the Rays went after pitching (Troy Percival and Matt Garza) in the offseason. And that is a truer sign of a team thinking about competing.

5. Baltimore Orioles Dave Trembley
2008 Picks: 66 wins [Lindy=5 ; SI=5 (64); ESPN=5 ; TSN=5]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 100-1 Win W.S.: 200-1
2007 Record: 69-93
2006 Record: 70-92
2005 Record: 74-88
2004 Record: 78-84
2003 Record: 71-91
Key Players: Nick Markakis.
What needs to go right: The Orioles are in full rebuilding mode after giving up Erik Bedard for prospects.
Recap: This is a franchise in nearly hopeless shape. Why did they ever try to buy into competing in the AL East in 2004? That’s where today’s problems started. They paid for Tejada and have yet to really focus (until now) on the inevitable rebuilding process. That process has now begun in full tilt after giving away Tejada and, now SP phenom Erik Bedard. Bottom line: It’s difficult to find any reason for optimism this year. The line-up is devoid of power and both the starting rotation and the bullpen is in desperate search of some direction.

American League West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Mike Scioscia
2008 Picks: 90 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=1 (87); ESPN=2 ; TSN=1]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 4-1 Win W.S.: 9-1
2007 Record: 94-68
2006 Record: 89-73
2005 Record: 95-67
2004 Record: 92-70
2003 Record: 77-85
Key Players: Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Chone Figgins, John Lackey, Jon Garland, Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields.
What needs to go right: SP Kelvin Escobar needs to come back healthy (expected in May, track). Can Chone Figgins repeat his great season? And how good will 2B Howie Kendrick be in a full season?
Recap: The Angels are entering their 6th season since winning the World Series in 2002. They made some strategic acquisitions in the offseason in hopes of getting back there. Backing up their ace SP John Lackey, is former White Sox SP Jon Garland. And the Angels added CF super star (offence and defence) Torii Hunter. If Vladimir Guerrero can deliver about 110+ RBI’s.. again (career) then all things considered, the A’s should grab the AL West title and roll the dice in the playoffs.

2. Seattle Mariners John McLaren
2008 Picks: 90 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=2 (82); ESPN=1 ; TSN=2]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 15-1 Win W.S.: 30-1
2007 Record: 88-74
2006 Record: 78-84
2005 Record: 69-93
2004 Record: 63-99
2003 Record: 93-69
Key Players: Erik Bedard, Felix Hernandez, JJ Putz, Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre.
What needs to go right: The Mariners are improved (brining in SP Erik Bedard and SP Carlos Silva, but there are still questions about the rotation, and the line-up desperately needs more power and consistency– starting with Richie Sexson (career).
Recap: The fall of the A’s gives the Mariners an opening. They have won 69, 78, and 88 games in the last 3 seasons (heading in the right direction) after losing 99 games in 2004. The pieces are here, but everything needs to click for the Mariners to win the AL West– they need that feel-good buzz, and sparks in the offence.

3. Texas Rangers Ron Washington
2008 Picks: 73 wins [Lindy=3 ; SI=4 (72); ESPN=4 ; TSN=3]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 50-1 Win W.S.: 100-1
2007 Record: 75-87
2006 Record: 80-82
2005 Record: 79-83
2004 Record: 89-73
2003 Record: 71-91
Key Players: Michael Young, Hank Blalock.
What needs to go right: SP Brandon McCarthy has always been considered to have major league skills– time to prove it. Then, Vincente Padilla (career) needs to revert to 2006 form. And, finally, Kevin Millwood needs to go out and earn his contract (though, the truth is he shouldn’t have got that big a contract in the first place).
Recap: The issue here is that ownership seems to have cashed in its chips (1B Mark Teixeira and closer Eric Gagne) in exchange for future talent. Therefore, expectations from the top down are not very high. Maybe a full season from Hank Blalock and Marlon Byrd can help anchor this capable offence (2B Kinsler, SSYoung, and RF Milton Bradley). Bottom Line: The Rangers are confusing this season– kind of like the last name of their Catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (hope that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a long season).

4. Oakland Athletics Bob Geren
2008 Picks: 67 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=3 (75); ESPN=3 ; TSN=4]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 125-1
2007 Record: 76-86
2006 Record: 93-69
2005 Record: 88-74
2004 Record: 91-71
2003 Record: 96-66
Key Players: Rick Harden, Eric Chavez.
What needs to go right: Goodbye SP Dan Haren. Hope the A’s have another up-and-coming SP to fill the void. Doesn’t look like it this year, but as one thing to hope for– finding some new arms for the future is one small goal A’s fans can focus on.
Recap: Anyway you slice it, this season’s going to be rough for the Oakland A’s. But, who cares? Oakland had a great first 7 seasons this decade winning 5 division titles: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006, and 1 World Series (2001). An off year was just a matter of time.

American League Central

1. Detroit Tigers Jim Leyland
2008 Picks: 95 wins [Lindy=1 ; SI=1 (90); ESPN=2 ; TSN=1]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 3.5-1 Win W.S.: 7-1
2007 Record: 88-74
2006 Record: 95-67
2005 Record: 71-91
2004 Record: 72-90
2003 Record: 43-114
Key Players: C Ivan Rodriguez, 3B Miguel Cabrera, OF Curtis Granderson, OF Magglio Ordonez, 2B Placido Polanco, SS Edgar Renteria, SP Justin Verlander.
What needs to go right: A laundry list of new players has arrived to fill the few weak spots that existed last year: SP Dontrelle Willis, 3B Miguel Cabrera, SS Edgar Renteria, and OF Jacque Jones headline the arrivals. But, to improve the wins from last season at least 1 of their SP’s besides Justin Verlander will need to bring their ERA below the league average (Bonderman, Willis, or Robertson).
Recap: 88 games just wasn’t good enough. And ownership took several steps to ensure that doesn’t happen again. The bar has been set– this team should win 100 games. The offence isn’t perfect, and the pitching isn’t perfect, but overall, the team has enough parts that even if some of them aren’t working, enough will be.

2. Cleveland Indians Eric Wedge
2008 Picks: 89 wins [Lindy=2 ; SI=2 (89); ESPN=1 ; TSN=2]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 4.5-1 Win W.S.: 10-1
2007 Record: 96-66
2006 Record: 78-84
2005 Record: 93-69
2004 Record: 80-82
2003 Record: 68-94
Key Players: CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez.
What needs to go right: One (or 2) of 3 pitchers needs to step up this season in the event SP Fausto Carmona or SP CC Sabathia fall back a little this year. This seems to be a reasonable expectation too considering Westbrook’s overall track record (and how he recovered from a 1-6 start last year, game log) and Cliff Lee (career) just needs to return to form he has already proven he can do (like the 2005 season).
Recap: The Indians tread a fine line on the verge of a great team. But the dangerous reality is Cleveland could be a bit of smoke and mirrors. Last year, it was the emergence of Fausto Carmona that saved the season. This year, what will keep them in the hunt?

3. Chicago White Sox Ozzie Guillen
2008 Picks: 84 wins [Lindy=3 ; SI=3 (77); ESPN=3 ; TSN=3]

Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 28-1 Win W.S.: 55-1
2007 Record: 72-90
2006 Record: 90-72
2005 Record: 99-63
2004 Record: 83-79
2003 Record: 86-76
Key Players: Orlando Cabrera, Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez.
What needs to go right: The writing is supposedly already written on the wall in dark, un-erasable letters: the Royals will pass the White Sox who are now a last place team.
Recap: What went so badly? The White Sox won the World Series just 3 seasons ago (October 2005). Are they really a first-to-worst in 3 seasons team? The offence has actually been given a significant offseason makeover. With the addition of OF Nick Swisher and SS Orlando Cabrera it seems the White Sox have a bit of upside– especially given that guys like 1B Paul Konerko, DH Jim Thome, C AJ Pierzynski, OF Jermaine Dye, and 3B (for now) Joe Crede, all had bad years last season. The White Sox could bounce.

4. Minnesota Twins Ron Gardenhire
2008 Picks: 74 wins [Lindy=4 ; SI=5 (72); ESPN=5 ; TSN=5]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 30-1 Win W.S.: 60-1
2007 Record: 79-83
2006 Record: 96-66
2005 Record: 83-79
2004 Record: 92-70
2003 Record: 90-72
Key Players: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano.
What needs to go right: SP Boof Bonser (game log) and SP Scott Baker (game log), both right-handers, have the potential to anchor a solid-enough starting rotation. They will be counted on to throw a lot of innings.
Recap: Life after SP Johan Santana begins (in a town that also just gave up Kevin Garnett). The future begins with SP Francisco Liriano (the Twins version of the T-Wolves Garnett replacement Al Jefferson). Liriano says he’s ready to go here. But, unfortunately for the Twins, Santana isn’t the only big name needing to be replaced. Torii Hunter is gone– very big shoes to fill. But the good news is that Minnesota has plenty of talent in reserves– this is no team in rebuilding. C Joe Mauer and 1B Justin Morneau anchor the line-up and RP Joe Nathan is still around to close the games they do end up leading.

5. Kansas City Royals Trey Hillman
2008 Picks: 69 wins [Lindy=5 ; SI=4 (73); ESPN=4 ; TSN=4]
Vegas Odds to: Win A.L.: 75-1 Win W.S.: 150-1
2007 Record: 69-93
2006 Record: 62-100
2005 Record: 56-106
2004 Record: 58-104
2003 Record: 83-79
Key Players: RP Joakim Soria, OF Jose Guillen.
What needs to go right: New OF Jose Guillen needs to be the big bat in the middle of the order that takes the pressure off the young guys (Buck, Gordon, Butler, and Teahen) so they can start delivering on the hype.
Recap: For the first time in 2 decades (1985 World Series is the last time KC was in a playoff game), there is a path ahead. There is young talent throughout the roster (from C John Buck, 3B Alex Gordon, OF Mark Teahen and DH Billy Butler– to- converted SP Zack Greinke, RP closer Joakim Soria, and SP Brian Bannister (12-6 from June on for a last place team). Can these guys pull it all together to actually bring the Royals out of last place. The team does not appear good enough, yet, to warrant any higher goal.

2008 Picks Sports projected 2008 wins are in bold
Lindy = Lindy’s Magazine
SI = Sports Illustrated Magazine (includes predicted win total in parenthesis)
ESPN = ESPN Magazine
TSN = The Sporting News Baseball Preview Magazine
Vegas Odds = according to on 3/30/08.

Key Players are the best players on the team.

Thank you for visiting. Enjoy the season.


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