Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols signals to teammates in the...

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols signals to teammates in the dugout as he warms up before a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale, Ariz. (March 27, 2012) Credit: AP

Sure, this is baseball, not boxing. Yet when you look at the American League and see the presence of the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers and Angels, is there a better word to describe this collection of behemoths than "heavyweights"?

If you were to rank all 30 teams, would you list these as your top six before including a National League club?

You might.

Maybe one of the other eight teams in the league will capture the pennant.

Perhaps good health for Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau will vault the Twins back into the conversation.

Maybe the Blue Jays will blossom earlier than most anticipate.

The notion of any team besides the Big Six going all the way, however, has to rank as a serious long shot.

The Yankees boast impressive depth in their starting rotation and bullpen to go with a productive offense. Tampa Bay still is the place to be for young talent and retreads on the rebound. Boston has Bobby Valentine, ready to lead the Sawx back into October.

Detroit brought aboard Prince Fielder to team with Miguel Cabrera, giving baseball its best heart of the order since David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez worked together in Boston.

Texas, the two-time defending league champion, thinks Yu Darvish will buck the trend of Japanese pitchers.

The Angels, apparently perturbed by the Rangers' recent success, signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in free agency.

There now are five playoff spots for the taking, thanks to the new collective-bargaining agreement, and that means at least one of this sextet will go home at the end of the regular season. That club could have a case to be one of history's best non-qualifying clubs.

And if that's the way it plays out, we'll have a race to remember, a competition replete with heavyweight bouts.

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