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Allen's Predictions for 2008.

We'll make this simple. I'm going to pick the division order, provide some limited rationale, then you come in with your own picks-slash-criticism of my picks. Should be fun, right?

AL East



1. Boston Red Sox

2. New York Yankees

3. Toronto Blue Jays

4. Tampa Bay Satanic Rays

5. Baltimore Orioles

Well. Who else was I going to pick for the top spot? Don't worry, trolls/lurkers, the Yankees scare the piss out of me. I think Pettitte slows a bit (more), but Wang will be himself, and count me among those who think Phil Hughes is going to have a good season. The offense, clearly, will be good. I'd pick the Jays to be involved in the race, if you could safely assume that Halladay and Burnett can combine for 60 starts. You can't assume that at all, and thus their good pitching staff won't overcome their lack of thump in the order. The Rays make their move this season, with a chance they even pass the Jays for 3rd. The O's are finally (somewhat) committed to rebuilding, and will enjoy all the benefits that has to offer them in 2008.

AL Central



1. Cleveland Clevelands

2. Detroit Tigers

3. Chicago White Sox

4. Minnesota Twins

5. Kansas City Royals

Pitching wins Central Divisions. But seriously. The Clevelands have the pitching, both in the rotation and the pen, and the Tigers are relying on some serious question marks in that department. One of two things will happen, the Tigers will miss the playoffs or be bounced quickly, or their last remaining blue-chip prospect will be trading uniforms with Huston Street. Their offense is going to be great, but factoring in some regression for Magglio Ordonez leaves me with the conclusion that it will not be enough to counter a weak bullpen and a starting rotation that has only two pitchers who aren't huge question marks (Verlander and Robertson). I say the Royals finish last, and I flipped a coin on Twins vs. White Sox for third.

AL West



1. Seattle Mariners

2. Anaheim Angels

3. Oakland A's

4. Texas Rangers

Well. Umm. Hmm. This was made significantly more difficult to pick with the injuries to Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey. It makes the M's, at least, an easier pick for those of us constantly annoyed by the Angels. Oh? Logic? Well. M's have a great 1-2 with solid and reliable 3-5, to go with a pretty good pen. Have to think at some point the M's will go with Balentien over Wilkerson which should help the offense. Even with the injuries, it's going to be a dogfight. The Angels are still good, with a great pen and a pretty good lineup. I have a feeling Casey Kotchman is going to grow as a hitter this year, and he was already very good last season. A's have better pitching than the Rangers, though many of their pitchers may be sent off at the deadline (Harden, Street, Blanton, Embree, Foulke).

...Wild Card? F. Didn't even think about that. Tigers. or Yankees. or Angels. or copping-out.