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Twins Daily Staff Predictions: American League


Your favorite writers predict the fate of the American League in 2021.AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

 

Houston Astros - 11 (48%)

Oakland Athletics - 6 (26%)

Los Angeles Angels - 6 (26%)

 

Houston enters this year with the same talented core minus a few key parts. The infield is still as solid as any in the American League with Alex Bregman, José Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel. 2019 A.L. Rookie of the Year Yordan Álvarez is returning after double knee surgery and could provide another great left-handed bat with 2020-breakout Kyle Tucker. Jake Odorizzi, Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr. and José Urquidy make up a solidly above-average rotation.

 

The Athletics lost so many key pieces this offseason that it’s hard to see how they’d compete. That’s the magic of Billy Beane. The A’s still have an awesome corner infield duo in Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, and Ramon Laureano is underrated in centerfield. Jesús Luzardo is an electric young lefty and Chris Bassitt has a 3.35 ERA over his last 207 innings.

 

Six staffers seemingly drooled over the upside of the Angels, a team with two of the top four or five players in the league. Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon can’t pitch. There is one bopper on this team who can: Shohei Ohtani. The two-way phenom has a chance to bolster a (perhaps average?) rotation with Dylan Bundy.

 

Staffers overwhelmingly see the West as the largest toss-up in the AL.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

 

New York Yankees - 21 (91%)

Tampa Bay Rays - 2 (9%)

 

The Yankees got creative in making up for the losses of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. They added Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million deal and traded for Jameson Taillon. Neither has pitched more than an inning since 2019. Gerrit Cole hopes to be joined by Luis Severino soon, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. There is quite a bit of volatility in this rotation.

 

Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu make up the best right-handed quartet in baseball. A rebound from Gary Sánchez would make up for the inevitable IL stints for Stanton and/or Judge.

 

It’s not often the defending AL Champion is as disrespected as the Rays. Don’t blame the staffers, though. The Rays traded Blake Snell and lost Charlie Morton to free agency while adding very little to help the 2021 club. There's a method to the madness in Tampa. Don't sleep.

 

The Blue Jays failing to receive a single vote is interesting. George Springer and Marcus Semien are high-quality additions to a core with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. The staff is far too thin, though, with Hyun-Jin Ryu as the only projected starter to post an ERA under 4.00 in 2021, per ZiPS.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

 

Minnesota Twins - 21 (91%)

Chicago White Sox - 2 (9%)

 

The impact of losing Eloy Jiménez for 5-6 months (torn pectoral) is massive for the White Sox. The 24-year-old Silver Slugger winner was projected by ZiPS to lead the team in home runs (34) and OPS+ (132). That’s quite the blow for a team with more high-end talent than depth.

 

The Jiménez injury shouldn’t completely diminish Chicago’s hopes, however. Talent still oozes from this roster. Yoán Moncada struggled through COVID-related symptoms in the shortened season after a monstrous 2019. José Abreu was the 2020 A.L. MVP. Luis Robert finished second for A.L. Rookie of the Year. The top three in the rotation (Giolito, Keuchel, Lynn) is among the best in the league. All is not lost on the South Side.

 

Healthy seasons from Byron Buxton and Josh Donaldson with steps forward from José Berríos and Miguel Sanó would put the Twins in winning position. The Sox now have little margin for error or injuries. Twins Daily staffers predictably see the Twins as the team to beat.

 

THE WILD CARDS

 

White Sox (90%), Blue Jays (35%), Rays (35%), Astros (17%), Twins (9%), A’s (9%), Angels (4%), Mariners (4%), Yankees (4%)

 

Staffers see the A.L. Central as a case of the haves and the have nots. Despite offseason hype, not one chose the Royals as a playoff team. Most have both the Twins and White Sox in the playoffs, further showing how exciting this race should be. The Mariners have some fun young talent and one staffer thinks they’ll sneak into the postseason. All 23 staffers think the Twins will qualify for October.

 

THE A.L. CHAMPIONS

 

New York Yankees - 11 (48%)

Minnesota Twins - 6 (26%)

Chicago White Sox - 3 (13%)

Tampa Bay Rays - 2 (9%)

Los Angeles Angels - 1 (4%)

 

The Yankees haven’t hung the pennant since winning the World Series in 2009. That’s a long, long time for a fanbase that expects constant postseason success. The heat is on in 2021 after a game seven ALDS loss to the baby-payroll Rays in 2020.

 

The Twins haven’t won a playoff game since 2004 but hope springs eternal. Six staffers think they’ll win at least seven playoff games, advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1991.

 

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Obviously the Twins and Sox are close so if you are a Twins fan why wouldn't you pick them?

I don't think that is obvious. There have been many times where a team appears to be emerging and then doesn't. Two examples: The 2004 Royals and the 2016 Twins. I'm not saying that the Sox will lose over 100 games like those two teams but I think they are being overrated by just about everyone.

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I don't think that is obvious. There have been many times where a team appears to be emerging and then doesn't. Two examples: The 2004 Royals and the 2016 Twins. I'm not saying that the Sox will lose over 100 games like those two teams but I think they are being overrated by just about everyone.

Ok I'll go with that. When I saw your post I expected the opposite because I also think many are overrating the Sox. When you hear in sports that this team is playing well or this team isn't look at the schedule. Usually it has to do with the level of competition. The Dirty Sox absolutely feasted on the dregs on the central divisions. Did they choke at the end or was it the schedule?

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