The top and the bottom of the powerhouse division can build from within, leaving the AL East's middle class in an precarious spot.
This is the fifth of six-part preview of the impending off-season. I had been holding off on the two divisions involving World Series combatants until the games had concluded, but with the Series' hasty conclusion on Sunday--and Scott Boras' equally quick declaration that it's A-Rod Huntin' Season--now is the time to cover the AL East, where all five teams will have some very interesting decisions to make.
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Keeping his head above water, Kevin responds to some readers' questions about his most recent articles.
The last two weeks have been pretty busy over here at KG central, with lots of external distractions, and my county being declared a
disaster area. Because of this, I'm fallen behind on my mail, so let's do some catch-up and share with the class along the way.
The AL West is a far cry from where it was a few months ago. The Rangers take on the Athletics in your Game of the Week.
The A's and the Rangers have spent the last month going in different directions in the standings. On July 22nd, the Rangers trailed the A's by a mere half-game in the AL West, with the Angels only two games behind the leader, and the Mariners five back in last place. On that date, the Rangers had better than even odds of making the postseason, 53.4%, according to the Playoff Odds Report. By the time they acquired left fielder Carlos Lee from the Brewers a week later, the Rangers were a game under .500, two and a half behind the A's in second place, and their chances had fallen to 29.9%. Coming into Saturday's matchup, the Rangers are in third place, and their playoff chances have dropped to negligible--right around 5%. Since a picture's worth a thousand words, here's how it all broke down:
After no pitchers were picked in the top five of this year's draft, hurlers could return with a vengeance in '06. Here's a look at the cream of the upcoming college class.
"Each draft is so unique that I would have expected there to have been a year somewhere along the line where the overwhelming strength was position players," Toronto Blue Jay scouting director Jon Lalonde recently told Rich Lederer. Simply put, every year is a crapshoot, and every year we see something different.
Next year is likely to be much different. Rumors are that the 2006 draft class might include the best five collegiate pitchers of all-time. The draft class offers no clear-cut top position player, opening the door to five college pitchers going in the first seven or eight picks. While this is all purely speculative--there's lots of baseball between now and next June, starting with summer circuits like the Cape Cod League and Team USA tryouts--an introductory course on the group couldn't hurt.