The Dark Horse AL Team
It gets very interesting in the American League to a point if you in the Top 6 of teams. The reason being is just a few years ago we had two teams winning over 100 games in the same division. Meaning one of those teams had to be in the AL Wild Card game. That’s pretty nuts.
Standard predictions for 2021 are as followed
AL East – Yankees
AL Central – White Sox/Twins (One wins division, one goes to Wild Card game)
AL West – Astros
The one the most arguable is the Astros because of fans in the stands and the loss of players. But, the A’s lost many stars to free agency. The Rangers are rebuilding, the Mariners are in the middle of a rebuild but they are in a mess, and then the Angels just don’t have the farm and enough pieces to battle to have them win enough. Even with Mike Trout healthy. Trout is a legend, but even if he doesn’t have to take a month off in case of injury which still gives him MVP numbers, it is unlikely.
So let’s say this. If you are the following –
If you are any of these teams, there isn’t a great shot at winning a playoff spot. These teams are at least one or two away. Some more because of a rebuild phase.
Now if you are the –
The roster moves say that it is going to be a dogfight every single game to make it. Not ruling it out, but it seems unlikely.
But if you’ve noticed, there is one team I have not mentioned yet. The Dark Horse of the AL is the Toronto Blue Jays.
How and why?
The Blue Jays caught a good time to get things on track again. Just like 2016 where they tried to go all in. The team is constantly reminded that they have to beat the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays they are competitive in most years. Especially this century. But to sum it all up, they got so much going for them.
1 – Vlad Jr lost 42 pounds.
If you have heard me on my baseball podcast Calling Strikes as well as Sports Fluent with Anthony K (The media man and not the pitcher on this team. Haha.), I have mentioned that if Vlad lost about 20 pounds he could be an MVP. He is in tremendous shape. I think playing 3rd Base is a lost cause, but I have no doubt in my mind that he can hit. As long as his swing doesn’t develop into a Joey Gallo, Dan Uggla, and late Alphonso Soriano and Hanley Ramirez all or nothing style, he will be just fine.
2 – The prospects as a whole are young and have experience.
It is that time where the prospects aren’t on the farm system list anymore. They have experience and will learn as they go. Whether if they are second generation players or not. They look like they have fight in them. Bo, Cavan, and company are exciting to watch.
3 – The veterans.
With the offseason after the Covid year, many teams didn’t want to spend. They picked up good pieces.
Springer might not be in Center Field the whole contract, but right now he fights for the best at his position. The fielding is there and the bat is there. With power at that. Not common anymore. Usually the power guys get moved to Right Field to save the legs a little. But I don’t think they have to worry about that position change for another three years before it becomes a thought. Springer has been healthy so far in his career.
Semien brings depth to the infield and his numbers say that is a great addition to the lineup. He, Springer, and this core are capable of bringing in 5+ runs a night regardless of who is pitching. And with only a one year deal, he is going to play for the money this season.
Pitching. They brought many guys in with great value. Robbie Ray, Tyler Chatwood, Steven Matz, and Ross Stripling. There are also some that are bullpen pieces. Regardless of Kirby Yates needing Tommy John surgery, the depth is what many teams don’t have. This team is overlooked by a large margin.
All in all if things go the well, this should be a team winning I would say about 88 games. Now does 88 win a Wild Card spot? My only other thought would be Tampa, but losing Ace starting pitchers in the offseason really make me say no. Because who is replacing Snell and Morton? I digress…
Really at the end of the day this is going to be an exciting team to watch play and we will see what happens. The one weakness? The bullpen. But there are many teams that weakened there bullpen this year. Out of those teams the White Sox and Yankees are on that list. Which means it is a very good time to watch baseball in late innings. If the game is close and both starters are pulled, it is anyone’s game. And if you are watching that as a fan, you should be at the edge of your seat. You could giving a hooray or throwing your hat on the ground. That being said, For Canada! And for beating the Floridians, and New Englanders. I say that because Baltimore won’t have that shot for some time. Now only if they were able to play in Rogers Centre and have their radio broadcast back. Tal