The AL North is where I'll begin, last season all 4 teams finished with above 90 wins but only 3 of them made the playoffs. Seattle Pilots were good enough to squeak in with a wild card entry but they also managed to pull off the seemingly impossible AL Championship. They went down to Cleveland in the World Series however.. This off-season Seattle hasn't done much of anything but they didn't really need to anyway.. They are going to be a hard team to beat this season. Salt Lake City on the other hand signed former Montreal LF Mariano Manzanillo and Former Durham RF Damian Tamura off Free Agency this off-season. They lost SP Santayana and SP John Nakamura to Free Agency but replaced them with some younger guys out of their farm. Salt Lake City has always been a personal favorite of mine to win it all but this season I think they just might fall a bit short.
Montreal, the most active of the AL North teams.. Losing P's Becker, Reid and Espinoza to Free Agency, They went and traded RP Hayes along with DH Maurer, 3B Parent and RF Rodgers for a slew of Prospects. It appeared to be Fire Sale time in Montreal.. But low and behold the true strategy came out by Montreal trading most of the prospects they acquired for High end Starting pitching. They also managed to Sign former MVP CF O'Brien to a huge deal to bolster their already solid offense. Montreal will improve from last season greatly if the pitching they added really helps them out. Kansas City also didn't do much in the off-season in regards to Free Agent signing but they did promote young Pitcher Raul Calvo and Trey Krause to the ML team. Look for KC to have another great season led by some great young talent and last seasons Cy Young winner Eli Hernandez.
Kansas City: 98-64
Salt Lake City: 88-74
The AL EAST is up next, First team in the AL East I'd like to discuss is Norfolk.. They traded SP Robinson Dreifort and lost CF Albert O'Briend and C Taylor Person to Free Agency. They acquired 3B Alex Parent and C Rondell Wilson as for the only big names. They aren't really in trouble in that division but they are going to still have a fight against Baltimore.. Baltimore didn't do much this off-season but what they did was added depth to their pitching. Not an amazing rotation but they have a solid offense to take them to most likely a first place finish. Jacksonville lost several to Free Agency but managed to re-sign SP Odalis Vega, LF Otto Judd and SP Graham Langston. They have a pretty solid offense still led by Dan Hudler and Erv Hines two of the best hitters in the game. They could make a run at the division but I think they'll finish in 2nd. Last we have Philly...Philly has reduced their payroll and looks to be in rebuild mode. Philly ended last season with 60 wins giving them the 4th pick in this season's Amateur draft. This season will be no different for the Stars since they pretty much suck..
AL SOUTH: Let's start off with the former World Series Champs, Montgomery... Montgomery is still intact from last season only losing a couple relatively decent players to Free Agency. They are still the top dog in the South from what I can see loaded on the offense with Webb and Maxwell... The only team I see even competing with them is Memphis.. They added SP Jimmie Paul to the Rotation as well as continuing their youth movement. Is this the season we see Corino come up? If so that boosts Memphis to an actual playoff contender in my opinion. If they don't they'll be running with Huntington and Durham fighting for 2nd place. Huntington has been trying hard to rid themselves of big contracts and attempting to find a Starting Pitcher or 5 to make them a worthy contender this season... They did manage to capture SP Gary Mann and Promoted young SP Fred Cooke.. Some say he should have kept Cooke in the minors another season but this could be a good season for Cooke. Durham is under new ownership this season and they traded away Beltran to start things off.. I think they were smart ditching high payroll players and I feel they are going to be in rebuild mode for a few seasons...
That leaves us with the AL WEST! Salem is the first team I'd like to talk about.. They looked good last season and they managed to pick up a couple Free Agents.. nothing special.. But they did promote 2B Sherm Spence to the ML roster which will help a lot. Not sure wtf the owner is thinking but he released a few players and signed one back.. The attempt to build up the bullpen may have been the strategy.. I just hope it works out for him.... Colorado, The signing of SS Vic Tejada and RF Chris Marte could be a huge advancement in this teams performance. Also trading for DH P.T. Maurer brings more power to the lineup .. Colorado's pitching has improved with the return of SP Niko Barry! Next up! Las Vegas....you have to respect what Badoujack has done with this team.. He took over this team that had probably the worst group of players in season 5 to bring them to close to a winning record in just 3 seasons.. Not a tank job by any means.. He played who he could get and just tried to build up.. led this season by 3B Neifi Espinosa and newly acquired SP Bernie Alvarez. Las Vegas is going to attempt a jump in win pct. Last on our predictions and discussion is Helena! Key additions 1B Ray Rigby and LF Willie Guapo.. Helena is still a good team and will be competitive this season.. Look for Robinson to have another MVP type year.
Las Vegas: 70-92