Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 7/12/12

AL West: Even though the Rangers have a four game lead over Los Angeles, the Angels will take over fist place in the AL West as well as finish with the best record in baseball. Their hitting has finally come around, which is dangerous for opposing pitchers everywhere. The Angels have been virtually unstoppable since Mike Trout was called up. Look for them to ride the spark he provides at the top of the lineup all the way to the playoffs.

AL Central: Despite their slow start, look for the Tigers to end as the AL Central champs. Detroit is simply too talented to lose out to teams like the White Sox or Indians. Prince Fielder will have a strong second half after winning the home run derby and Miguel Cabrera will continue his high level of production. The only question mark is the pitching staff after Justin Verlander. If the 2 through 5 pitchers are decent, the Tigers will have no problem closing this division out.

AL East: This has been a bizarre year for the AL East, as the Orioles have spent the majority of the season in first place. However, the Yanks caught fire and now hold a seven game lead over the O’s, and that will be to steep for the young club from Baltimore to overcome. Tampa Bay could make a run, but with the way the Bronx Bombers have been well, bombing, it will be very hard for any team to keep pace with them.

Wildcard: The Texas Rangers will emerge as the wildcard winner and may very well have over 100 wins. The only reason I am predicting Texas to win the wildcard is because I see the Angels having the best record in baseball. The Rangers will be looking to make their third consecutive World Series, as they have represented the AL in the last two. Texas has one of the best lineups in baseball, but in order to win they will need star outfielder Josh Hamilton to stay healthy and young pitchers Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Yu Darvish to handle the pressures of a tight division race.

Wildcard #2: Although the Rays haven’t been playing particularly well, I see them sneaking into the playoffs at the last second. For some reason Joe Madden finds a way to make his group of underpaid young stars come together to make a strong push in the second half of the regular season. Getting Evan Longoria off the DL will help a ton also.

-Langer

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