Congratulations to our 2007 World Series Champion, Atlanta. Atlanta bested Boston, who had quite an impressive turnaround from 76 to 97 wins, in a 4 game sweep. Atlanta has had a pretty darn good team during both seasons of BMO and looks to keep in rolling in 2008. They should be challenged in the NL East by New York. Florida probably has the pitching but they will need everything to fall into place on offense to hang with those two. Philly and Washington are still probably a few players away from competing.
Pittsburgh took the Central title and should be strong again in 2008. Milwaukee probably has the most complete team on paper behind Pitt and could contend, which would be a big turnaround from their last place finish in 2007. A resurgent Frank Thomas is looking to propel them as well as fix his career batting average. His average fell below .300 last year but with a new offseason training regimen he seems to looking and feeling younger. I don't think 1994 is in trouble but 1997 is possible. I don't think the other teams in the NL Central have what it takes at this time. They all have solid pitching but are lacking on offense.
In the NL West Los Angeles was the class of the division but Arizona and San Diego seem to have loaded up for a run at the crown. San Francisco lost a lot of offense and Colorado just looks mediocre across the board. On paper Arizona takes this down.
In the AL East Boston ran away and hid, while everyone else took steps in the right direction either by continuing to shed big contracts or waiting on prospects to develop. It should be a closer race this year but Boston still has a very strong team. Baltimore and Tampa look like they may have the best chance of catching Boston, don't sleep on Toronto though. I think New York is one more year away from potentially contending, which is really impressive considering the makeup of that team in 2006.
In the AL Central Minnesota took the crown. Detroit was right there most of the way though and looks to be a strong competitor this year as well. I think Cleveland catches both of them and makes a run at the World Series. Chicago and Kansas City are a few steps back and I haven't paid enough attention to know if they are heading in the right direction or not.
Oakland has had a really strong team winning the World Series in 2006 and making the playoffs in 2007. I expect that to continue in 2008. Seattle has the pitching to keep up but they need some developmental jumps on offense if they expect to catch Oakland this year. Los Angeles has a more balanced team than Seattle and could make a run if things break correctly. Texas seems to need a few more moves... just kidding, Texas makes plenty of moves. Texas needs it's offseason moves to payoff.
All eyes will be on Toronto, the sleeper in the East, as a challenge/demand was issued by the Commish. The Gentleman Masher is required to get a ring before he retires. A significant reward seems to be in play for anyone who can accomplish this task. Will Toronto be able to pull it off? If they fall out of contention will they trade the beloved slugger to a contender with a condition that they receive some of the reward? Stay tuned to find out.
We still have plenty of National League teams available. Let us know in the comments if you are interested and we will set you up with the available team you would like.