I'm sure a lot of you are surprised at the high win totals for the Rays, Twins, Reds, and Padres, and the low totals for the Tigers and Angels. Here's a brief rundown on each:
Rays: Should get a huge boost from improved team defense this year, plus they have lots of good young players on the rise. They've also upgraded their pitching through several trades and the signing of Troy Percival.
Twins: Projection still includes Johan Santana and Joe Nathan. They still have a dominant pitching staff, and Mauer and Morneau give them some life on offense.
Reds: Loaded with young talent. Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, and Johnny Cueto are all top-shelf prospects who should make an impact in 2008.
Padres: Their hitters are better than you think--thanks, PETCO Park--and those pitchers are still devastating.
Tigers: I covered their 2008 prospects here. The trade with the Marlins doesn't help them as much as you may think, because Cabrera can't play defense and Willis is really no better than Miller going forward. I do think they'll win more than 83 games, but less than 90.
Angels: They only really have one solidly-above-average position player. Again, I think this number is a little low, but only by a couple of wins, not ten.
What's really impressive, at least to me, is that no team is projected to finish more than ten games away from .500. Of course, variance during the actual 2008 season will stretch these numbers out, so we'll probably see a team win or lose 100 games. Still, this is food for thought if you still believe baseball needs a salary cap to keep things competitive.