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MLB Season Preview: American League team guide

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers

"I really like their chances (Detroit Tigers) of winning the World Series, and are worth an investment at the odds on offer."

The 2013 Major League Baseball season gets underway this weekend. Nick Shiambouros previews each team in the American League and assesses their chances of winning the World Series...


Los Angeles Angels 9.89/1
The Angels missed the playoffs last year, and the pressure is mounting for this talented team to perform. With Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the lineup, there should be plenty of run production. Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson help make up a decent starting rotation for Los Angeles. Anything less than a post-season appearance would be disastrous for this team. They have the ability, but the price on offer is very thin.


Detroit Tigers 10.09/1
The Tigers were swept by the San Francisco Giants in last year's World Series. Detroit recently announced a five-year $140 million contract extension for pitcher Justin Verlander. This is a staggering amount for the 2011 AL Cy Young award winner, but he is one of the best in the game. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are two powerful hitters in a formidable lineup. I really like their chances of winning the World Series, and are worth an investment at the odds on offer.


Toronto Blue Jays 11.5n/a
The Blue Jays made some huge moves during the off-season and have ended up with a team that promises to do very well this season. Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and Mark Buehrle were signed from the Miami Marlins, along with Josh Johnson. Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and outfielder Melky Cabrera also joined this star-studded team. If this game were played on paper, Toronto would win the World Series. This is the best lineup in baseball, but these guys have to get it done on the field. Price is short, but ignore them at your peril.


Texas Rangers 19.018/1
The Rangers missed the playoffs last season and will not find life easy without scoring machines Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, who were traded during the off-season. In addition, I don't think they have enough depth in the pitching department. They will struggle.


Tampa Bay Rays 21.020/1
Manager Joe Maddon will have to pull another rabbit out of the hat if the Rays are to succeed this year. Tampa traded starting pitcher James Shields and center fielder B.J. Upton because of financial constraints. It is frustrating for the Tampa Bay faithful to see their best players traded annually by its money-conscious management. It is only a matter of time before this team capitulates. Not for me at any price.


New York Yankees 21.020/1
The aging Yankees return with few changes this year. Starting pitcher CC Sabathia should lead the way again this season, but he is not getting any younger. The Bronx Bombers are pretty banged up at the moment and will almost certainly struggle until Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson return from injury. I would not back them at double the odds on offer.


Boston Red Sox 36.035/1
The Sox had a shocking season last year, losing 93 games. Failure is not an option in this town, so the pressure will be on manager John Farrell to get his team to the playoffs. Boston has solid pitching, which should keep them in contention. Lefty Jon Lester had an excellent spring and will start against New York on Monday. Run production remains a concern, but they are capable of making the post-season.


Oakland Athletics 40.039/1
Oakland won the AL West last season with a record of 94-68. I am not convinced the young rotation can do it again. Pass.


Baltimore Orioles 46.045/1
The Orioles surprised everyone last season by making the playoffs. They won 93 games and launched an incredible 214 home runs. It is hard to see them repeating this feat in the super tough AL East.


Chicago White Sox 75.074/1
The White Sox fell apart towards the end of the regular season but still managed to win 85 games. Lefty Chris Sale won 17 games last year with an ERA of just 3.05. They have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs.


Kansas City Royals 70.069/1
The Royals signed James Shields from Tampa to bolster their rotation. They are strong in the pitching department and may surprise a few people.


Cleveland Indians 100.099/1
The Indians went 68-94 last year, and another disappointing season is in the cards. New manager Terry Francona is one of the best in the business, but he faces a stiff task with this group.


Seattle Mariners 150.0149/1
This team is in permanent rebuilding mode.


Minnesota Twins 300.0299/1
Hard to fancy at any price.


Houston Astros 490.0489/1
Zero chance.


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31 March 2013

MLB

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