Here are my forecasts for the division standings for the American League for Season 7. I've added additional info for strengths or weaknesses if the team is in top or bottom 25% of the league for one of my three evaluation categories: Offense, Starting Pitching, and Relief Pitching.
Despite some major movement in the preseason, I foresee an identical playoff line-up as last season. (Playoff Seed in parenthesis)
1. Detroit Tigers (4) - Strength: RP
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Chicago White Sox - Weakness: Off, SP, RP
This division should be closer this season as the Jays and Twins are very close in talent with the Tigers. Meanwhile, the White Sox remain a championship caliber AAA ball club.
1. New York Yankees (1) - Strength: Off, SP, RP
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Baltimore Orioles - Weakness: Off, SP, RP
The Yankees will once again dominate this division. The Indians have the talent to be in the wild card hunt late in the season, while the Red Sox hopes will likely have faded by the All-Star break. The Orioles only competition this season will be for a top draft pick.
1. Texas Rangers (2) - Strength: Off, SP, RP
2. Charlotte Knights (5) - Strength: RP
3. Kansas City Royals - Weakness: Off, SP
4. Tampa Bay Rays - Weakness: Off, SP, RP
The Rangers are once again the class of the division with great talent in all areas. The steady Knights are close behind also with a very well-rounded team. The Royals and Rays are still in major rebuilding mode with no hope for this season.
1. Oakland Athletics (3) - Strength: Off, SP, RP
2. Anaheim Angels (6) - Strength: SP
3. Portland Beavers - Strength: Off; Weakness: RP
4. Seattle Mariners
The deepest AL division is led by the young and talented A's who excel at all facets of the game. The defending world champ Angels will get carried into the playoffs by their good starters and no real weaknesses. The Beavers offense looks spectacular but unfortunately they seem to once again be the near miss team thanks to their pitching issues, especially in the bullpen. The Mariners have some talented players but lack the depth to contend.
AL Wildcard Standings
1. Charlotte Knights (5)
2. Anaheim Angels (6)
3. Portland Beavers
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Toronto Blue Jays
6. Minnesota Twins