Friday, April 2, 2010

MLB Preview-AL East

This was the toughest division for me to get a grip on. You have the powerhouses in New York and Boston, but Tampa Bay has turned some heads this spring and I have thrown them in the division/wild card fold....

  1. Boston Red Sox: This team uppgraded themselves on the defensive side this winter by adding CF Mike Cameron and SS Marco Scutaro. Then they signed P John Lackey away from Anaheim to add some experience to their rotation. (Lackey has a 5.00+ ERA at Fenway but that doesn't worry me since he is part of the Sox now) The Red Sox have a solid lineup from 1-9 with every one of those players having all star potential this season. Their rotation and bullpen appears to be atop MLB as well with Lackey in the fold now as well. This might be the most dangerous Boston team in quite some time so I pick them to win this tight raced division.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays: This was a hard pick, but I love Tampa Bay to win the Wild Card. They have good young pitching (lead by James Shields) and they have a very good lineup(Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena bring the punch in this lineup). They still have their core players from their miracle run to the World Series in 2008 which gives them great experience. Players like OF B.J. Upton and P Matt Garza had down years in 2009 and I have a tough time seeing them not bouncing back in 2010. The Rays carried the best record in spring this year (I know these are just exhibition games), and 4 of the last 6 teams to have the best record in spring made the postseason the same year. A trend Tampa will continue.
  3. New York Yankees: New York took home the title in 2009. But I felt they downgraded their roster this offseason by adding OF Curtis Granderson and P Javier Vasquez. Both these players in my opinion are very overrated. Granderson had a sun .200 average against left handers last year and Vasquez had a good year in a weak division for Atlanta. Vasquez had a previous stint with New York going 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA. I feel he will post similar numbers in 2010. Their other outfielders Brett Gardiner and Nick Swisher do not produce good batting averages or good defense and that was a huge deciding factor while deciding between the Yanks and Rays. The Yanks get 90+ wins but fall short to Tampa.
  4. Baltimore Orioles: In two or three years, Baltimore will be a force to mess with in this division. But this year...not so much. They have a good young nucleus of hitters (lead by C Matt Wieters, OF Nick Markakis, and OF Adam Jones), which should build on another full year in the big leagues. They have some young gun pitchers in Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, and Chris Tillman which is why they brought in a veteran pitcher, Kevin Millwood, to lead their way. If they weren't in this division I probably would put them higher up, but they play in the same division as New York, Boston, and a resurgent Tampa Bay. And all I can give them is the four slot.
  5. Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto no longer has their best player in Roy Halladay. That title now falls on the underachieving Vernon Wells. Toronto has a young pitching staff that can make them a force in a couple of years, if they can reach their potential. They have some good hitters in Travis Snider, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind. But I dont think these guys can save the Blue Jays from the cellar in this division. They have some wild card players in their lineup and a young rotation with no veteran and all it gets them is the AL East Cellar.

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