Travis Reitsma

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Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays

2012 Record: 66-96, 5th AL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 68-94
Impact Player: C/1B Joe Mauer
Impact Pitcher: RHP Vance Worley
Top Prospect: 3B Miguel Sano

Significant Acquisitions: RHP Vance Worley, RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Kevin Correia

Significant Departures: CF Denard Span, OF Ben Revere, RHP Carl Pavano, 2B Alexi Casilla, RHP Jeff Gray

For the first time in 12 years, the Twins have weathered two consecutive 90-loss seasons. The previous time it happened in 1999 and 2000, the Twins had the lowest payroll in baseball—now they have a new stadium and the money that goes along with it. Poor management and development has landed them back in the basement of the American League.

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Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

2012 Record: 72-90, 3rd AL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 74-88
Impact Player: LF Alex Gordon
Impact Pitcher: RHP James Shields
Top Prospect: RHP Kyle Zimmer

Significant Acquisitions: RHP James Shields, RHP Ervin Santana, RHP Wade Davis, C George Kottaras, IF Elliot Johnson

Significant Departures: C Brayan Pena, IF Yuniesky Betancourt, C Humberto Quintero

Two years ago, the Kansas City Royals had the best farm system in baseball—some were even saying it was the best in the history of ever. However, as the Royals enter the 2013 season, the refrain is familiar. The team is coming off another unsuccessful season—their 18th losing record in the last 19 years—and now have the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball.

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Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game 5

2012 Record: 88-74, 1st AL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 87-75
Impact Player: 3B Miguel Cabrera
Impact Pitcher: RHP Justin Verlander
Top Prospect: 3B Nick Castellanos

Significant Acquisitions: RF Torii Hunter, C Brayan Pena

Significant Departures: DH Delmon Young, UT Ryan Raburn, C Gerald Laird, RHP Jose Valverde

The Tigers were one of the least active teams this winter, making only one significant acquisition in new rightfielder Torii Hunter. They re-signed Anibal Sanchez and cut some of the fat letting Delmon Young and Jose Valverde walk, but ostensibly, this is mostly the same team that won the American League pennant for the second time in seven years.

The Tigers struggled for much of the year in 2012. They were under .500 as late as July 5th and although they were much better in the second half, they still won only 88 games—the lowest of any division winner—and needed the White Sox to stumble in September to squeeze into the playoffs. The addition of Anibal Sanchez, the health of Doug Fister and a more consistent lineup led to a 47-32 record after July 5th and with addition of Hunter and an otherwise weak division, the Tigers are poised to win a lot of games in 2013.

Depth will again be a concern for Detroit. There’s little question that the Major League roster is loaded with talent, but should injuries strike, there’s not a lot of farm system depth to speak of and the bench doesn’t have much in the way of above-replacement-level players.

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Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Indians

2012 Record: 68-94, 4th AL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 64-98
Impact Player: C Carlos Santana
Impact Pitcher: RHP Justin Masterson
Top Prospect: SS Francisco Lindor 

Significant Acquisitions: 1B/RF Nick Swisher, CF Michael Bourn, RHP Brett Myers, RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, DH/1B Mark Reynolds, OF Drew Stubbs, RHP Matt Capps, RHP Bryan Shaw, RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Matt Albers, IF Mike Aviles

Significant Departures: RF Shin-Soo Choo, DH Travis Hafner, 1B Casey Kotchman, 3B/1B Jack Hannahan, OF/1B Shelley Duncan, OF Johnny Damon, RHP Derek Lowe, RHP Esmil Rogers

Cleveland had, by all accounts, an excellent 2012-13 offseason. They started it off by acquiring potential future ace Trevor Bauer in a three-team trade that saw the exodus of longtime rightfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Then, they swooped in and signed two of the best free agents on the market in Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn—both at deals which could be considered below market value.

They made incremental improvements to their team overall by acquiring Daisuke Matsuzaka and noted awful human Brett Myers to bolster their rotation while also adding some intriguing bullpen pieces in Bryan Shaw (also in the Bauer-Choo trade), Matt Albers and Matt Capps.

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Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

2012 Record: 85-77, 2nd AL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 88-74
Impact Player: 1B Paul Konerko
Impact Pitcher: LHP Chris Sale
Top Prospect: OF Courtney Hawkins

Significant Acquisitions: 3B Jeff Keppinger, RHP Matt Lindstrom, 1B/3B Conor Gillaspie, IF Angel Sanchez

Significant Departures: C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Kevin Youkilis, LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Philip Humber, RHP Brett Myers, IF Orlando Hudson

The White Sox are annually the most difficult team to accurately project. When the pundits and experts think they’ll be contenders, they fall flat on their face. When they think they’ll be terrible—like heading into last season—they end up contending. The South-Siders led the AL Central for four months in 2012 until an 11-17 September derailed their chances at a division title, which Detroit eventually won.

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Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2012 Record: 93-69, 2nd AL West
2012 Pythagorean Record: 91-71
Impact Player: 3B Adrian Beltre
Impact Pitcher: RHP Yu Darvish
Top Prospect: SS Jurickson Profar

Significant Acquisitions: DH/1B Lance Berkman, C A.J. Pierzynski, RHP Jason Frasor, RHP Josh Lindblom

Significant Departures: OF Josh Hamilton, C/1B Mike Napoli, RHP Ryan Dempster, RHP Scott Feldman, DH/IF Michael Young, RHP Mike Adams, RHP Koji Uehara, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Mark Lowe

It’s hard to argue that any team has experienced the success that the Texas Rangers have had over the last three seasons. Two consecutive American League championships heading into last year—including being one strike away from a World Series title…twice.

Then last season the Rangers led the AL West practically from wire-to-wire, taking over first place after their fourth game of the year and holding on to it until the very last day when the upstart A’s snatched the division title from their grasp. Finally, in the first ever AL wild card play-in game, the Rangers were knocked out by another annoying upstart team in the Orioles and what looked to be another great season evaporated in a matter of 72 hours.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners

2012 Record: 75-87, 4th AL West
2012 Pythagorean Record: 77-85
Impact Player: 3B Kyle Seager
Impact Pitcher: RHP Felix Hernandez
Top Prospect: C Mike Zunino

Significant Acquisitions: LF/1B Michael Morse, DH/1B Kendrys Morales, LHP Joe Saunders, DH/OF Raul Ibanez, DH/OF Jason Bay, C Ronny Paulino, IF Robert Andino

Significant Departures: LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Kevin Millwood, C John Jaso, C Miguel Olivo, UT Chone Figgins, RHP Shawn Kelley, OF Trayvon Robinson

Since General Manager Jack Zduriencik took the reins in October 2008, a certain philosophy has been dominant in Seattle. Big Jack Z has been focused on acquiring players with a defense-first skill-set along with high-ceiling pitchers. Any offensive contribution, it would seem, was a bonus in Zduriencik’s eyes. The philosophy has worked insofar as the Mariners are routinely among the best run prevention teams in the AL—the problem is, they can’t score runs.

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