Friday, January 6, 2017

AL East Preview

Whattup whattup whattup. As the start of spring training keeps inching closer (37 days at the time I'm writing this), and most of the big name free agents already signed I figured it would be a good time to start breaking down each division. I'm going to try and spread it out so that I don't overload you with too much at once. First I'm going to start with the AL East, and you can't stop me.

1. Boston Red Sox

What is there to say about the Red Sox. They’re the class of the AL East. They are projected to have one of the best young outfields in recent memory with Jackie Bradley Jr in CF Mookie Betts in RF and uber prospect Andrew Benintendi in LF. Add in the best Arubian SS in the game with Xander Bogaerts. Oh and how can we forget that rotation. Perennial Cy Young Candidates Chris Sale and David Price, reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, and 2016 All-Stars Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz. The AL East is the Sawx to lose.

2. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles just barely made the playoffs last year but lost to the Blue Jays in the Wild Card game. I have a soft spot for any team that loses in the Wild Card game because it’s kind of like being a homeless guy on Christmas Eve looking in the window of a happy family huddled around the open fire opening presents. So close yet so far.
The only significant moves the Orioles made this offseason was signing Welington Castillo instead of resigning Matt Wieters. Looking at their offensive and defensive stats they are almost identical. Wieters is a year older than Castillo. Wieters made almost $16m last year whereas Castillo is due to make $6m this year. So this is a savvy move by the Orioles. I don’t see the Orioles winning the division this year but I can see them fighting for one of the Wild Card spots again for sure.  

3. New York Yankees
The Yankees missed the Wild Card last year by 5 games, which is surprising considering the AARP squad they rolled out to start the year.
Yankees 2016 Starting Lineup
Due to a midseason youth infusion the Yanks came dangerously close to making a playoff push before they cooled off in the last couple of weeks of the season. El Gary Sanchez, Aaron the Judge Jury and Executioner, and Tyler Austin all helped set the tone for the next wave of Yanks prospects. Add in Greg Bird, who most people forget started his career off with a bang when he was called up two years ago before he got hurt in spring training last year, and the addition of the big red hope Clint Frazier
As a Yankee fan I cannot wait for this majestic beast to grace the the field for my team this year. Unfortunately, despite all of these prospects making an impact with the big league club, the Yanks are still 1 or 4 SP away from seriously contending in the AL Beast. However, I expect them to make more noise than most people expect by finishing third. Maybe I’m biased because I’m a Yankee fan. Maybe I’m not. Maybe fuck you this is my list I can put anybody wherever I want. I was already pretty close to putting the Red Sox in last because fuck them but I want to maintain my journalistic integrity.

4. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays made it all the way to the ALCS last year after knocking off the Orioles in the Wild Card game and beating the Rangers again in the ALDS. There was a lot of rumors surrounding Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista and whether the Jays were willing to shell out the cash to resign the aging superstars. We’ve already seen Encarnacion jump ship and hop on board with the team that beat the Jays in the ALCS, the Indians. And they don’t seem overly anxious to resign Bautista. Bautista has been garnering interest from clubs other than the Jays such as the Phillies and the Orioles and I’m sure there’s more. Assuming the Jays lose Bautista and Encarnacion, the heart of their lineup is basically completely gutted other than perennial MVP Candidate Josh Donaldson. Look for their rotation to come back down to earth after Sanchez and Happ both had career years going an absurd combined 35-6 with 3.09 ERA. I don’t see the Blue Jays making the playoffs this year after just barely making the wild card last year and seemingly not improving in the offseason.

5. Tampa Bay Rays
What is there to say about the Tampa Bay Rays? Not much really. Evan Longoria had one of his better years in quite some time last season. Kevin Kiermaier had the 27th best WAR in the majors last year, so that’s something. The Rays also signed Wilson Ramos who I am a huge fan of personally but he is expected to be out until at least May possibly June after receiving surgery on his right knee. Its not all bad for the Rays though who have a pretty good rotation with the likes of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and supposed stud prospect Blake Snell who looks like some kind of movie monster/animal that I can’t quite figure out at this point in time but i will revisit this.
Idk you be the judge.

Look for the Rays to really not do a whole lot this year, or don't, I dont really care.

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