Here are my predictions for the AL East for the upcoming season and my reasoning behind each one.
5. Yankees 79-83
Old, unhealthy, and a lackluster staff full of questions. Will Beltran and Ellsbury hold up an entire season? Not likely. How about Tanaka’s elbow? Huge question mark. Sabathia is a shell of his former self. McCann was about as useful as a burnt match last season and isn’t getting any younger. Oh, and they have a 40 year old, cheating, humiliating 3rd baseman/DH in A-Rod.
4. Rays 82-80
No more Joe Maddon, no more Wil Myers experiment, no more David Price. Longoria is still a question mark for me. Their offense should be quite anemic and I don’t think they have the pitching to get it done. Cobb isn’t too bad, and Archer still has potential. I don’t see the Rays being much of a threat this season.
3. Orioles 85-77
They didn’t do much this offseason. They lost Markakis, Cruz, and Andrew Miller. Their rotation is average. Machado, Wieters, and Davis will need to be healthy and need to have big years for the O’s to be back in the playoffs.
2. Blue Jays 86-76
They had a pretty solid offseason in terms of adding firepower. Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson should give them a nice boost. Throw in Bautista and Encarnacion and they should have a fun lineup to watch. Pitching will again be their biggest weakness. Dickey hasn’t regained his Cy Young form and I don’t see much potential for their rotation.
1. Red Sox 92-70
Most analysts don’t have the Red Sox reaching 90 wins. That’s fine. Most analysts didn’t pick the Red Sox to even make the playoffs in 2013 and we all know what happened. With the additions of Sandoval and Ramirez (as long as they stay healthy), a certain bouncback from Pedroia and Napoli, younger guys with tons of potential in Betts, Bogaerts, and Castillo, and one of the strongest benches in the league, the Red Sox will have a dynamic offense that will light up Fenway more times than not. The bullpen hasn’t gotten enough credit for how it’s been revamped, and I think it will be a very strong one. My biggest concern is still the rotation. Our guys are good, but they aren’t great. Throw in a Cole Hamels in the next few weeks and the Red Sox will look much more like the favorite. If they decide to pass on Hamels now, the trade deadline should still offer plenty to choose from. In the end, the Red Sox will have a strong second half and will win the AL East.