Twisted Fans MLB Primer:
AL Preview



Currently on TwistedFans.com

Issue #43


EAST:  Contraction gold for the Devil Rays

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Projected finish: #1
Their Story: Executives have told me that the D-Rays game plan is to play .400 baseball until the All Star break, when these dead possums will suddenly come to life and surprise everyone. In an effort to redirect the waft of any contraction stench coming their way, Tampa management expects to trade their average players plus cash and some French-English dictionaries for Montreal Expos stars Julian Vasquez, Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro. Also in the works are deals for Twins Brad Radke, Joe Mays and Rick Reed. Expect them to win in the vicinity of 92 games before folding in the playoffs.

New York Yankees
Projected finish: #2 (Wild Card Winner)
Their Story: After suffering the retirement of water cooler-throwing outfielder Paul O'Neill, the Yankees will lack some leadership. Bernie Williams is a soft spoken and just plain soft player, so Jeter will be the key to their locker room. In addition, there is no telling how closer Mariano Rivera's World Series defeat will affect him. If anything happens to Mo, physically or mentally, the Yanks are toast. As far as starting pitching goes, they are counting on an old Clemens to keep returning in Cy Young form each year. It's gotta end soon, maybe this year. Also, David Wells, Orlando Hernandez, Sterling Hitchcock and outfielder Rondell White will have to show that they can play a whole season without being hurt. In the event White is out for a prolonged period, the Yanks have a premier outfielder in the wings. With all of this in mind, you can still expect the Yanks to battle hard and reach the playoffs as the wild card.

Toronto Blue Jays
Projected finish: #3
Their Story: The Jays are still a year or two away as far as molding their pitching staff into that of a serious contender. Raul Mondesi and Carlos Delgado, two guys with power numbers but lots of strikeouts, are an example of how big contracts for hitters won't guarantee you a competitive team. Young position players Vernon Wells, Eric Hinske and Felipe Lopez all look to have promise. A team to watch in 2003 or 2004.

Boston Red Sox
Projected finish: #4
Their Story: Guess what everybody: The fact Pedro has a golden arm attached to a tiny body is finally catching up to him. He lost a lot of time last season and has had decreased velocity during spring training. ‘Dro lacks the Big Unit's durability, and without him Boston is nothing. Their pitching staff is not as good this year, and the impact of fired manager Jimy Williams was greatly underestimated last season. He won wherever he went.
(related article: Curse of Ruth to be dredged up by Maniacal Red Sox Fans)

Baltimore Orioles
Projected finish: #5
Their Story: Mike Bordick is a million years old, Jeff Conine, their best position player, is 35, and only Ponson and Johnson are worth sending to the hill. Like in food, in Baltimore if it's no-Cal it totally sucks.

CENTRAL:  The mighty Indians are back with a new team name and an eye on the playoffs!!

Cleveland Indians
Projected finish: #1
Their Story: Cleveland players will be invigorated by the fact that they will be on the first pro-sports team to become politically correct and change its culturally demeaning name. That's right, owner Larry Dolan has made plans to announce that the team will now be known as the Cleveland Gooks. What, if any, turmoil this may cause between Dolan and new gal pal Jane Fonda is still uncertain – but at least Native Americans everywhere can release a sigh of relief. Expect the pitching staff, which has a mix of veterans and youngsters, to carry the load for the nights when the now diminished offense can't muster enough runs. Chuck Finley knows how to win, Bartolo Colon can be downright dominant, and CC Sabathia is a monster who will only get better. On offense, they've got Thome, Burks and a ton of seasoned players. Our guess is that they will have a year like the 2000 Mets had, where everything will click at just the right time for at least 7 of the 9 hitters in their lineup. The Central is a weak division, and will get weaker if Minnesota begins selling off its players.  

Minnesota Twins
Projected finish: #2
Their Story: This will probably be the Twins' last year in the League, so the players have a lot of pride to play for. As you might have read above, most of the pitchers will be traded off to Tampa and other contenders by mid season. However, with an awesome infield of Koskie, Guzman, Rivas and Mientkiewicz, they'll still be better than Detroit and Chicago.

Detroit Tigers
Projected finish: #3
Their Story: They have only one good pitcher (Dennis Weaver) despite playing in what is easily the most pitcher-friendly park in the majors. Dean Palmer is their only consistent power threat. Closer Matt Anderson throws hard but had an insane 5.00 ERA last season. The team needs to get more players like intense Dmitri Young. They did absolutely nothing this year to make up for the loss of Juan Gonzalez despite the fact that their payroll is very moderate. Their last Championship in 1984 seems like it was a million years ago.  

Chicago Whites Sox
Projected finish: #4
Their Story: Great offense with Ordonez, Thomas, Durham and Konerko, but the Sox have never reached the playoffs without decent pitching. This year, they'll be hoping for youngster Mark Buerhle to bail them out again. They just don't have the pitching necessary to get the ball to closer Keith Foulke. Without quality starters, they're just like any of the Rangers teams of the 90's.

Kansas City Royals
Projected finish: #5
Their Story: Star first baseman Mike Sweeney signed a contract that lets him become a free agent if the team doesn't play .500 baseball in any of the next two years. We're wondering who he plans on signing with in 2004 ...

WEST:  Don't mess with Texas!

Texas Rangers
Projected finish: #1
Their Story: The Texas Rangers front office is no band of fools. They knew that Kenny Rogers and Rick Helling were not going to take them to the next level. That's why they're turning back the clock and bringing back none other than Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. "My commercial deal with Advil ran out, so I've got to make money somewhere," explains the Ryan Express. Joining him will be the teammates who helped him win his only World Series ring: starters Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and closer Tug McGraw of the 1969 Mets. "Alex wanted to be a New York Met so badly that Scott (Boras) convinced me to sign the boys of that magical season," explains owner Tom Hicks. "It's great," notes the once distraught A-Rod, and "after warm up tosses, they let me apply their Bengay." When asked what order he will pitch the veteran starters in, manager Jerry Narron seemed bewildered. "They're all older than me, I guess I'll just let them decide for themselves."

Oakland Athletics
Projected finish: #2
Their Story: No MVP means no playoffs. The starters are insanely good, but they're not trained to pitch complete games. They'll suffer a lot of late inning losses at the hands of closer Billy Koch, who throws hard but straight. The offense isn't good enough to win, and it's doubtful that Hudson, Mulder or Zito could outpitch Texas' HOF tandem of Seaver and Ryan.

California Angels
Projected finish: #3
Their Story: They've got 5 decent starters who could be 3rd or 4th starters on good teams, and a super-closer in Troy Percival. However, no matter how much they celebrate the departure of Mo Vaugh, the fact is that they don't have a potent offense. Unless Erstad and Salmon rebound with big years, it'll be another long season in Disneyland.

Seattle Mariners
Projected finish: #4
Their Story: Last year's overachievers are primed for a first to worst transition. Ichiro will get his singles, but Olerud is getting old and Baldwin and Moyer are not top notch starters. Joel Pineiro needs to prove himself over a full season, and there's a reason no one bothered to chase after Bret Boone: he isn't going to repeat last season. Freddie Garcia gets the job done, but he's not an ace. The M's have never shown that they know what to do in the post season, and ancient left fielder Ruben Sierra isn't going to show them.

Check out Butch Rogaine's NL Preview.

Email this story to a friend

Subscribe to our Newsletter
    Twisted Fans MLB Primer: Texas To Win It All!
* NL Preview

Kill Your Cablevision

D-Backs' Brenly Won't Let Team Get Complacent, Institutes "Child's Play" Training Regimen

Baseball Scandal: Ump Accused of Making Sexual Advances On Helpless Major League Players


Visit our Archive

TwistedFans.com can now be found on search engines such as Google, Altavista, HotBot, Netscape, Lycos, Yahoo! and by typing keyword TwistedFans on your MS Internet Explorer address bar.

Home | Feedback  | Free Stuff | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2001 TwistedFans, LLC, ARRAWR.