1st Place: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers were already one of the best teams in baseball in 2011, with a sparkling 95-67 season. They had the 4th best offense in baseball, and that was before they signed Prince Fielder (right)(.299/38/120) to a huge contract this offseason. Their pitching was middle-of-the-pack in 2011, at 18th in the league with a 4.04 ERA. However, this offseason, they upgraded their bullpen with the acquisitions of Collin Balester (1-4/4.54/34) and Octavio Dotel (5-4/3.50/62). Expect the Tigers to be among the best teams in the league and to make a serious run at the World Series.
2nd Place: Cleveland Indians- For the early portion of 2011, the Indians were a surprise and one of the best teams in baseball. However, due to a lack of pitching, they fell off as the Tigers took control of the division. The Indians didn't do a whole lot this offseason, either. However, they made a few acquisitions that could help their pitching staff such as Derek Lowe (left)(9-17/5.05/137) and Kevin Slowey (13-6/4.45/116 in 2010) who could do with a change of scenery after rough 2011 seasons. Their offense is middle-of-the-road, their only real acquisition there being Casey Kotchman (.306/10/48). Expect the Indians to be 2nd place at around .500 in this very weak division.
3rd Place: Kansas City Royals- As bad as the Royals have been the past few years, they are a team on the rise and there is reason to hope. In this weak division, they could even move to 3rd place in 2012. They had some of the worst pitching in the league last year, but that should be helped by the addition of Jonathan Sanchez (right)(4-7/4.26/102) to the rotation. Also, Jose Mijares (0-2/4.59/30) should be a nice addition to their bullpen. The Royals were actually one of the best hitting teams in the league last year, and the addition of Yuniesky Betancourt (.252/13/68) should help in case their infield isn't performing. This is not the Royals' year, but they are a team on the rise, and it will be soon.
4th Place: Minnesota Twins- Pretty much everything that could go wrong for the Twins last year, went wrong as injuries and ineffectiveness destroyed this team that looked like a contender early. Their pitching fell apart last year, but that should be helped along by the addition of Jason Marquis (8-6/4.43/76) to the rotation. Their bullpen should also look better with the acquisition of Esmerling Vasquez (1-1/4.15/20). Their hitting was below average too in 2011, but that should be helped by outfielder Josh Willingham (left)(.246/29/98), infielder Jamey Carroll (.290/0/17), and catcher Ryan Doumit (.303/8/30). If the Twins can stay healthy, they will go from a 63-win team to a mid-70's winning team-- but still not good enough to contend.
5th Place: Chicago White Sox- While the Royals are a team on the rise, the White Sox are a team free-falling from their glory days. Everything that could go wrong went wrong this offseason, with longtime ace Mark Buehrle going to the sunny skies of Miami and losing pieces of their bullpen in Jason Frasor and Sergio Santos. The moves they did make will not really help them, with outfielder Kosuke Fukudome (right)(.262/8/35) not likely to make an impact. Expect the White Sox to be bad this year, and even worse in the near future.