Here are four suggested MLB picks pertaining to American League win totals. Be sure to read our predictions and analysis on the Red Sox, Royals, Rays, and A’s.
Best Bet: Kansas City Royals (Over 81.5)
Obviously the major sportsbooks believe that the Royals capturing the 2014 American League pennant was a fluke. I don’t share their school of thought in that regard. The Royals pitching staff collectively displayed during the 2014 MLB postseason that they were indeed a vastly underrated group. The pitching staff for the Royals has remained virtually intact from the one we saw a season ago, and I only see them being better in 2015.
The rest of the roster has seen very little turnover as well. You can’t teach speed, and the Royals possess plenty of that. Look for Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer to improve on their power numbers this season. I also love the addition of Juan Rios acquired from Texas in the offseason, and he will be able to provide some much needed power that the Royals sorely lacked a season ago.
Worth the Risks: Boston Red Sox (Over 86.5)
Think about this for a moment. The Red Sox went 90-72 in 2011, 69-93 in 2012, 97-65 in 2013, and 71-91 in 2014. Are you seeing a pattern here? Well it’s the odd year, and the Red Sox will be ready to roll. I already alluded to the fact in my American League Futures article, the Red Sox projected top six in the batting order will be a handful for opposition pitching staffs to face. I also like the back end of their bullpen, and the starting rotation has the potential to be very good, especially if Clay Buchholz returns to his 2013 form when he went 12-1 with a terrific 1.74 ERA.
Oakland A’s (Under 81.5)
General Manager Billy Beane and his money ball logic will certainly be put to a test in 2015. Their batting order isn’t going to strike fear into any opposing pitching staff, the starting pitching rotation is below average in my opinion, and their bullpen is mediocre at best.
Tampa Bay Rays (Under 78.5)
It will be very strange not see Joe Madden and his 1960’s coke bottle eye glasses not be in the Rays dugout this season. However, the Rays have more issues than just a managerial change. On a positive note, I do like their starting pitching rotation. The bad news is, I don’t care for anything else in regards to this club. All it will take is a bad first of the season, and this financially strapped organization will embark on a fire sale of their higher paid players. Keep that in mind when preparing your MLB picks.