A Guide to the 1988 Baseball Season

A Harvard Crimson Sports Cube Special Edition

The American League

Baltimore (67-95, AL East sixth): Hello, Papa Ripken, where's your pitching? The Birds had the worst ERA (5.01) in Oriole history. Last year, no O won more than 12 games. Mike Morgan won 12, but lost 17. Ripken's two sons, Cal (27 HR, 98 RBI) and Billy (.308), will bolster the Baltimore offense. And when will Eddie Murray (30 HR, 91 RBI) stop being so consistent? Best player: Larry Sheets (.316, 31 HR, 94 RBI in just 135 games).

Boston (78-54, AL East, fifth): Lee Smith (36 saves) could be the savior of the once non-existent Boston bullpen. The Sox have strong starters in Roger Clemens, Oil Can Boyd and Bruce Hurst. Also, new faces such as Mike Greenwell (.328, 19 HR, 89 RBI), Ellis Burks (20 HR) and Sam Horn (14 HR in 46 games) can turn Fenway into a funhouse this summer. Best player: Wade Boggs (.363, 24 HR, 89 RBI).

California (75-87, AL West, tied for sixth): Johnny Ray is an Angel, so is Chili Davis (.250, 24 HR, 76 RBI) and Dan Petry (9-7). Mike Witt leads the Angel staff, but will reliever DeWayne Bulce hold the Cal pen? The Angels will need good years from Brian Downing (29 HR, 77 RBI) and Wally Joyner. Best player: Joyner (.285, 34 HR, 117 RBI).

Chicago (77-85, AL West, fifth): Rick Horton (8-3) is Chicago's ace of the staff. Right. Hal Baines (.293, 20 HR, 93 RBI) and Ivan Calderon can't do everything. Best player: Calderon (.293, 28 HR, 83 RBI).


Cleveland (61-101, AL East, seventh): Bill Caudill, Greg Harris and Bill Laskey--what a pitching trio. Joe Carter and Brook Jacoby (.300, 32 HR, 69 RBI) can both hit 70 homers and the Tribe would still drown in Lake Erie. Best player: Carter (.264, 32 HR, 106 RBI).

Detroit (98-64, AL East, first): The Tigers might have some pitching. But where's the offense? Kirk Gibson is a big loss, and if Sparky Anderson thinks Gary Pettis (.208, 17 RBI) or Ray Knight (.256, 14 HR, 65 RBI) can alleviate the loss of Big Kirk, then it will be a long summer in Motown. Best player: Alan Trammell (.343, 28 Hr, 105 RBI).

Kansas City (83-79, AL West, second): The Royals have some youth in Kevin Seitzer (.322, 15 HR, 83 RBI) and Danny Tartabull. George Brett (.290, 22 HR) still has some pop in his bat. But Dan Quisemberry is not the ace reliever he once was. And the loss of Danny Jackson to the Reds hurt KC's starting staff. Best player: Tartabull (.309, 34 HR, 101 RBI).

Milwaukee (91-71, AL East, third): The Brew Crew was brewing towards the end of the season, but without a healthy Paul Molitor (.353), Milwaukee will fizz. Lefthander Teddy Higuera (18-10) is a quality starter, but will reliever Dan Plesac falter like he did last year? Rob Deer, who hit 28 homers last year, struck out 186 times to set a league record. Best player: Robin Yount (.303, 21 HR, 103 RBI).

Minnesota (85-77, AL West, first): The Miracle Twins will find it hard to repeat. They made no major off-season moves. The offense is solid, but if Minnesota thinks Joe Niekro (4-9, 6.26 ERA) and Steve Carlton (1-5, 6.70 ERA) still have arms, then the Twins will trip over their championship laurels. Best player: Kent Hrbek (.285, 34 HR, 90 RBI).

New York (89-73, AL East, fourth): This is the best offense in the division. And if Jack Clark's legs can hold up, the boys from the Bronx will be making some noise this summer. But can Rich Dotson and John Candelaria really help a questionable pitching staff? If so, the Bombers can win the pennant. If not, then the Yanks should be winning a lot of 10-9 games this year. Best player: Don Mattingly (.327, 30 HR, 115 RBI).

Oakland (81-81, AL West, third): This is a scary team for a Western club. Dave Parker (26 HR, 97 RBI), Bob Welch (15-9) and Matt Young (5-8) just may be what the A's need to capture the title. Don't forget about Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco (31 HR) and Terry Steinbach (16 HR). Dave Stewart won 20 games last year. Best player: McGwire (.280, 49 HR, 118 RBI).

Seattle (78-84, AL West, fourth): A lot of young players (Alvin Davis, Hal Reynolds) and some consistent pitching (Mark Langston) have turned the Mariners into a contender. The deal for the Phillies' Glenn Wilson (.264, 14 HR, 54 RBI) and Baltimore's Ken Dixon (7-10) might help Dick Williams' club. Best player: Davis (.295, 29 HR, 100 RBI).

Texas (75-87, AL West, tied for sixth): Bobby Valentine has the young talent. Now he just has to corral it. Youngsters Jose Guzman (14-14) and Ed Correa (3-5) have the arms. Pete Incaviglia (27 HR, 80 RBI) has the power. Vets Larry Parrish (32 HR, 100 RBI) and Charlie Hough (18-13) still have some magic left in them. Best player: Ruben Sierra (.263, 30 HR, 109 RBI).

Toronto (96-66, AL East, second): How often can the Jays choke? Here's a team with a solid bullpen (Tom Henke, Mark Eichorn and Harvard's own Jeff Musselman) but with some inconsistent starting pitching (Mike Flanagan?). Can MVP George Bell adjust to the DH slot? Can an infield that can't produce any offense, except for SS Tony Fernandez (.322), finally wake up? Best player: Bell (.308, 47 HR, 134 RBI).