April (and some of March) in review…(AL)

The first month of the season has come to a close, so let’s hand out some hardware.

Note: These are for the baseball played since the first series in Japan in late March, through the end of April. Some of these acknowledgments will be completely irrelevant in May (if they are even relevant now)…

Best Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels are tied with Oakland for the best record in the AL. However, I give the edge to the Angels because the A’s will fizzle. LA just has more star power. Their pitching staff, led by Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, both have ERAs under 3 and Jered Weaver pitched like an ace the other day against the potent Detroit offense. Santana is stepping it up while Jon Garland is sucking and Kelvim Escobar’s career could be over. K-Rod is 11 for 12 in save opportunities.

The offense is really clicking this season for the Angels. They have scored 140 runs so far with their strong lineup. Casey Kotchman is off to a great start batting .344/.406/.594. Chone Figgins is having an all-star season so far batting .313 with 8 steals. Offseason acquistion Torii Hunter is fitting in very nicely with his new squad and Vladimir Guerrero is batting .271, which is good, but will most likely rise because he is very dangerous. SS Erick Aybar is a young guy to keep an eye on batting .318 so far. He also plays a good shortstop.

Los Angeles is doing just fine without stud pitchers John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. Though Escobar won’t be back, Lackey should be around soon, and he will only help the Angels pull ahead of Oakland for what looks to be another championship season.

Most Valuable Player: LF Carlos Quentin-Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are atop the AL Central and Carlos Quentin is having an excellent/breakthrough season. He was a second round pick of the Diamondbacks a few years back but was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery. Quentin came over from Arizona where he had little success. He is presently leading the league in OPS at 1.052. He has shown some power with 6 homers and has scored 21 runs. He does not bat high in the order, but he keeps things going from the lower spots in the lineup for the powerful Chicago offense. Carlos, you won’t win the AL MVP this season, but your gift certificate to Chili’s is in the mail!

Honorable Mention: OF Josh Hamilton TEX, OF Manny Ramirez BOS, 1B/3B Carlos Guillen DET, OF Nick Markakis BAL

AL Cy Young: LHP Cliff Lee-Cleveland Indians

Cliff Lee has come a long way since tipping his hat to a crowd of boo’s back at the Jake (or Prog?) last season. Lee has always been talented, but completely fell off last season. He seems to have rectified his problems this season, as he has been phenomenal so far. Lee is leading the AL, and MLB for that matter, with a microscopic 0.96 ERA. He is 5-0 and pitching like an ace. The Tribe might be disappointing people so far, but it won’t last long. C.C. Sabathia is back on track and Rafael Betancourt has filled in nicely at closer for the injured Joe Borowski. Lee will be essential to Cleveland climbing through the ranks of the AL Central. Resident homer Ben has some praise for Cliff Lee…

Honorable Mention: Zack Greinke KAN, Felix Hernandez SEA, Brian Bannister KAN, Chien-Ming Wang NYY

Biggest Disappointments-Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Carlos Pena, David Oritz

The AL Central was supposed to be a great division this year. So far, it isn’t pretty. Detroit and Cleveland are tied for last right now. While both are turning it around, they have allowed Chicago and Kansas City to get off to good starts this season. Cleveland has stacked the deck against their chances of defending their AL Central crown. For the sake of competitive baseball, both teams need to get their acts together. Detroit really needs to win because $138 million is a lot of money to field a loser.

Boston’s David Ortiz is off to one of the worst starts I have ever seen out of a franchise player. He is batting .184 and has an OBP of less than .300. His knee is obviously hampering his efforts at the plate. Luckily for the Red Sox, their lineup is stacked with guys like Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis and a rotation featuring Josh Beckett and Dice-K, so it may not be a huge issue for them. But obviously, Red Sox Nation would like Ortiz’s clutch bat back to its old form.

Carlos Pena of the Rays was the Comeback Player of the Year in 2007, but right now he is batting a measly .200. At least he finally got over the Mendoza Line. He is among the AL leaders with 6 homers and he gets walks. The walks put his OBP up to .327 which is respectable. However, he just signed a new contract with the Rays and should be putting up much better numbers. I think he’ll be fine though because he has shown throughout his career that he can be a great hitter. If Pena keeps improving, we could see the Rays remain above .500 this season.

Worthy of Recognition-Josh Hamilton, Kansas City’s Top Two

Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is listed earlier as an honorable mention for April MVP. Unfortunately, he plays for the Rangers and they are stuck at the bottom of the AL West. Hamilton is batting .336 and leads the American League with 28 RBI. He is 4th in OPS for the AL and is definitely on his way to his first all-star appearance. It’d be nice if we could take Hamilton, Michael Young, Hank Blalock, and Ian Kinsler, and put them onto contenders because they don’t get much play as members of the worst team in baseball. There have a lot of talent for a team who sucks.

Kansas City is actually decent right now. They may be a couple games below .500, but they have two excellent young guns in their rotation in Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister. Greinke has put it all together this year and among the AL leaders in ERA at 1.25 and is 3-0. Bannister is not far behind with a 2.48 ERA (now 4.04 but he was pitching well) and a 3-2 record.

Explore posts in the same categories: American League, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tampa Bay Rays

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One Comment on “April (and some of March) in review…(AL)”

  1. What is up with the Indians and Tigers? I mean, their batting has not heated up at all this year! It’s not a lack of talent. What is the missing element?

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