AL East Preview & Predictions

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Boston Red Sox: Projected Record 94-68

The AL East, after a few down years of no dominance, may be back to its old form as possibly the best division in all of baseball, and the team from this stacked division that I think is the most dangerous and has the best chance of winning it this year is the Boston Red Sox. With the acquisition of SP Chris Sale, last year’s AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello returning , and bounce back candidate David Price, this starting rotation should be one of the best in all of baseball this year, if all goes according to plan. This team scored the most runs in the MLB last year, but will go into this season without their future Hall Of Famer David Ortiz, but with Hanley Ramirez finding his stride in Boston, an emerging star who I believe was robbed of AL MVP last year in Mookie Betts, and the quickly progressing OF Andrew Benintendi, this lineup has a very good chance of leading the MLB in runs again in 2017. In what should be a very competitive division in 2017, this Red Sox team that was swept by the Cleveland Indians last year in the ALDS, should return in 2017 with a vengeance.

Projected Starting rotation:

  1. Rick Porcello
  2. David Price
  3. Chris Sale
  4. Drew Pomeranz
  5. Eduardo Rodriguez

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. 2B Dustin Pedroia
  2. SS Xander Bogaerts
  3. OF Mookie Betts
  4. DH Hanley Ramirez
  5. 1B Mitch Moreland
  6. OF Andrew Benintendi
  7. OF Jackie Bradley
  8. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  9. C Sandy Leon

OR

  1. 2B Dustin Pedroia
  2. OF Andrew Benintendi
  3. SS Xander Bogaerts
  4. OF Mookie Betts
  5. DH Hanley Ramirez
  6. 1B Mitch Moreland
  7. OF Jackie Bradley
  8. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  9. C Sandy Leon

Toronto Blue Jays:  Projected Record 88-74

After losing Edwin Encarnacion and his 3.7 WAR to the Cleveland Indians, this Blue Jays lineup took a big hit and was looking like it wasn’t going to be feared coming into 2017 like it was in 2016, but with the acquisition of Kendrys Morales, the resigning of Jose Bautista and still having other players in their lineup that can strike fear into opposing pitchers, this Blue Jays team is still set to compete in 2017. With one of the best rotations, top to bottom, in the majors, this team should still be able to hold teams to few runs and still score many runs even with the loss of slugger Edwin Encarnacion. The Blue Jays lead the AL in ERA last season and with Aaron Sanchez having a break out season, J.A Happ having an unexpected AL Cy Young worthy season, Marcus Stroman continuing to emerge as a budding ace and 2 more than 2serviceable 4 and 5 pitchers, this Blue Jays team should have no problem making it back to the postseason in 2017.

Projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Aaron Sanchez
  2. A Happ
  3. Marcus Stroman
  4. Marco Estrada
  5. Francisco Liriano

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. 2B Devon Travis
  2. SS Troy Tulowitzki
  3. 3B Josh Donaldson
  4. OF Jose Bautista
  5. DH Kendrys Morales
  6. C Russell Martin
  7. 1B Justin Smoak
  8. OF Kevin Pillar
  9. OF Ezequiel Carrera

New York Yankees: Projected Record 85-77

For the past few season since the Yankees last championship in 2009, this team has gone through a complete overhaul, what went from the Yankees paying big money to older players and being in a “win now” mode to what is now a Yankees team with one of the league’s best farm systems and a fanbase that has become more patient and optimistic for the future. Sure, not many of the Yankees top prospects are “homegrown”, meaning they were not drafted by the Yankees, but GM Brian Cashman decided it was time for this ball club to stop with the signing of old players in an attempt to build a longer lasting success with what Yankees fans are hoping can emerge into a dynasty for years to come. With this Yankees roster in the middle of being competitive and going through a developmental year, this team will have it growing pains, and with a rotation that cannot be completely relied on, these young bats are going to have to prove that they can develop on the go and can help this team win some ballgames. With the surprise power stroke from Gary Sanchez, the clubbing swing of Aaron Judge and the returning from injury Greg Bird, this team is not only young but it is very promising, with some veterans such as Jacoby Ellsbury, 2016 gold glove winner Brett Gardner and the still young but proven infield combination of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro sprinkled in, this team may not be a championship contender, but if all goes well, can definitely make a serious run at the playoffs.

Projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Masahiro Tanaka
  2. Michael Pineda
  3. CC Sabathia
  4. Luis Severino
  5. Luis Cessa

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. OF Brett Gardner
  2. OF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 1B Greg Bird
  8. OF Aaron Judge
  9. 3B Chase Headley

Baltimore Orioles: Projected Record 82-80

There is no doubt that Baltimore has one of the best and most powerful lineups in all of baseball, this lineup is a world series caliber lineup with plenty of power, a good amount of average, and still relatively young but why will they finish 4th in the division and lose 6 more games than they did in 2016? Pitching. The Orioles were able to resign Mark Trumbo this offseason, which I’m sure was a huge relief for Orioles fans, and they can once again trust this lineup to win them plenty of games but I don’t think it will be enough to get this team back into the postseason. The O’s have arguably the best closer in the MLB right now in Zach Britton, who was a Cy Young Candidate last season, but with one of the worst starting rotations in the MLB, its hard to imagine that Britton will be able to showcase his dominance as much as he did last year because this starting rotation may not give him an opportunity to pitch many nights due to the amount of runs I think they’ll be giving up. Unless this team trades/signs some reliable starting pitching, I can’t imagine this team getting back into the postseason in 2017.

Projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Wade Miley
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Dylan Bundy

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. OF Adam Jones
  2. 3B Manny Machado
  3. 1B Chris Davis
  4. DH Mark Trumbo
  5. 2B Jonathan Schoop
  6. C Wellington Castillo
  7. OF Seth Smith
  8. SS JJ Hardy
  9. OF Hyun Soo Kim

Tampa Bay Rays: Projected Record 73-89

The only team in this division that I believe has little to no chance in winning it is the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays actually had a very good offseason, they were able to pick up some young talent that may not be ready to compete in 2017, but may be able to down the line. The Rays have some veterans still on their roster such as stalwart Evan Longoria, arguably the best defensive player in the MLB Kevin Kiermaier and the power hitting Corey Dickerson, but with all of these decent players, the Rays don’t have star power that is needed to make the postseason, if some of the young players they have emerge, and they keep the solid lineup and rotation that they currently have, this Rays team could have a very bright future but I do not see much success for them this year or for a few years. This team will likely be towards the bottom in the MLB in record, but they are not a “bad team” and should at least be competitive in 2017, there is cause for optimism for the Rays, just not this upcoming season.

Projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Chris Archer
  2. Jake Odorizzi
  3. Alex Cobb
  4. Matt Andriese
  5. Blake Snell

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. 1B Nick Franklin
  2. OF Kevin Kiermaier
  3. 3B Evan Longoria
  4. 2B Brad Miller
  5. SS Matt Duffy
  6. DH Corey Dickerson
  7. OF Colby Rasmus
  8. OF Steven Souza
  9. C Curtis Casali

1 Comment

  1. Matthew J Miekoski

    March 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Wow very good insight, this was a very well written article. 10/10 would read again.

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