If you are to venture into the mystery world that is preseason MLB action beginning Friday, maybe stick to these clubs, who have shown a bit more fight during their tune-up schedule the past few seasons:
Toronto Blue Jays (24-7 in 2012)
The Blue Jays loaded up with veterans in the offseason and snagged a new manager in the process. Toronto looks like a serious contender on paper, but it’s John Gibbons’ job to make sure this team develops chemistry and is ready to blast out of the gates on Opening Day. This is the manager’s second stint with the club and the pressure is on for results. Gibbons has had a tendency in the past to lean hard on his veteran players throughout the spring.
Detroit Tigers (20-8 in 2012)
Tigers’ hitters have feasted on young pitchers during the warm up for the past few seasons. Detroit drove in a Grapefruit League-best 195 runs in 2012 and boasts a very impressive 58-34 record over the past three spring campaigns. The Tigers will welcome another big bat back to their lineup Friday. Veteran catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez (knee) will take his first swings in a game since the 2011 playoffs and should get plenty of at-bats to shake the rust off.
Los Angeles Angels (19-12 in 2012)
Expectations are higher than ever for the Angels after signing Josh Hamilton, so expect them to get right down to business this spring. Manager Mike Scioscia takes Spring Training seriously, posting a 76-48 record over the past four sessions.
San Francisco Giants (18-15 in 2012)
The defending World Series champions have been a great spring bet over the last four years. The Giants posted a mediocre 18-15 record last spring but had previously put together an impressive 67-43 run from 2009-2011. Pitching is the backbone of this squad and they will have a chance to win every game this spring because of their depth.