Central- Detroit Tigers
The American League East is completely up for grabs in the 2009 season and no team can be ruled out. The most improved team due to off-season acquisitions is the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have improved their starting rotation, defense, and bullpen. Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and new closer Brandon Lyon will bring stability to the pitching staff. The Tigers have one of the best lineups in all of baseball with Granderson, Polanco, Cabrera, Ordonez, and Guillen. The Detroit Tigers will control the AL Central in 2009.
West- Los Angeles Angels
The American League West is a lock for the Los Angeles Angels. The Texas Rangers seem to not care about pitching, and they will be hurt once again in 2009. With a healthy Vladimir Guerrero and new addition Bobby Abreu, the Angels may be able to out hit the Rangers, even though they won't need to with the strength of their pitching staff. Even with the loss of Francisco Rodriguez, the Angels arguably have the best pitching staff in the AL West.
Wildcard- Boston Red Sox
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will have a classic battle for the Wild Card this season. Unfortunately the Yankees are bound to have an inconsistent season with A-rod out an indefinite amount of games. The Red Sox are getting back Mike Lowell who is finally recovering from injury, and have added veteran pitcher Brad Penny who will solid up the starting rotation. Boston can dominate games with pitching and hitting, and should contend with Tampa Bay the entire season for the top spot in the AL East. The Red Sox will fall behind the Rays but will beat out the Yankees for the 2009 AL Wild Card.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox- Red Sox will once again win this match-up, too much pitching and experience, Boston moves on. 3-1 Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers- Although this series might not bring in the ratings, it would be a great watch. The Tampa Bay pitching staff and young talent would prevail against the Tigers powerful lineup. 3-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Although the Tampa Bay Rays have improved, I wouldn't count on them to beat the Red Sox in the ALCS two years in a row. The Red Sox are battle tested and as long as they are at full strength, should be able to beat the Rays in a 7 game series. 4-3 Red Sox, Papelbon ALCS MVP