Monday, July 11, 2011

AL East Preview - Mid Summer Classic Update


*Predictions are from Opening Day

2010WL2011 Predictions WL
x-Tampa Bay9666x-Boston9765
y-New York9567y-New York9171
Boston8973Tampa Bay8577
Toronto8577Toronto7884
Baltimore6696Baltimore6993


Opening Day Questions
Can the Red Sox win 100 games?
  • All Star Break - Absolutely
Can the Yankees back end of the rotation keep up with the Red Sox?
  • All Star Break - They have done their job so far; Yankees sit just 1 game back of the Red Sox
How much will Tampa Bay miss Crawford/Pena/Garza?
  • All Star Break - The Rays are 8 games over .500, all 3 players are having a bad year, so NO.
Was Jose Bautista for real last year?
  • All Star Break - Apparently yes, first player with 30 HRs before All Star Break since ARod in 2007.  I am still confused by this massive turnaround.
Are the Orioles going to prove they are ready to compete?
  • All Star Break - 18 games out of first and 16 games under .500, no where near ready to compete.
Second Half Questions
Will the Red Sox starters all be healthy at the same time?
When does ARod return?
Can the Rays offense step up and take the Wild Card?
How many home runs does Jose Bautista finish with?
Who is available in Baltimore?

Boston Red Sox
Over the Monster
Key Additions: Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

Key Losses: Adrian Beltre, Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Victor Martinez

Outlook - The Sox failed to make the playoffs last year, but I believe they are the clear favorite to win it all in 2011.  With the addition of Crawford and Gonzalez to go along with Youkilis, Pedroia, Ortiz, Ellsbury and company they might have one of the best lineups put together in the history of the game.  The rotation is also a strong point for the Red Sox if Beckett and Lackey can bounce back healthy from an off year, because Lester and Buchholz are the young studs in the rotation.  Anything less than 93 wins will be a disappointment.

New York Yankees
Pinstripe Alley

Key Additions: Pedro Feliciano, Andruw Jones, Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano

Key Losses: Lance Berkman, Andy Pettitte, Marcus Thames, Javier Vasquez, Kerry Wood

Outlook - As always the Yankees offense will be there, but this year with Pettitte retiring their starting pitching is in serious question.  They have CC at the top with Hughes right behind him but after that it gets very interesting.  AJ Burnett will be the #3 but he's either unhittable?? or gets lit up and is extremely wild.  After him they have Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Sergio Mitre fighting out for the final two spots.  Playing in a powerful offensive AL East this could be a huge problem.  However they are the Yankees and don't allow losing, so expect them to pull a trade off or something to fix this problem before it becomes a real issue.  I expect them to grab the wild card this year with 88-93 wins.

Tampa Bay Rays
DRaysBay

Key Additions: Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Kyle Farnsworth

Key Losses: Joaquin Benoit, Jason Bartlett, Grant Balfour, Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Carlos Pena, Rafael Soriano, Dan Wheeler

Outlook - Losing Crawford and Pena will hurt this Rays team, and losing the majority of the bullpen and a key starter in Garza doesn't help either.  By adding Damon, and Manny they only get older, not better.  To compete with the Yanks and Sox the Rays had to add onto their 2010 team which starts with keeping guys like Crawford.  However being a small market team they didn't have a choice but to let him walk.  I expect the Rays to take a step back this year and miss the playoffs but they will still be competitive winning around 85 games.

Toronto Blue Jays
Bluebird Banter

Key Additions: Rajai Davis, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Carlos Villanueva

Key Losses: John Buck, Scott Downs, Fred Lewis, Kevin Gregg, Lyle Overbay, Shaun Marcum, Vernon Wells

Outlook - The Jays lost arguably their best offensive player and best pitcher this off-season and failed to bring in a player to replace them.  They won 85 games last year but they also got ridiculous seasons out of Jose Bautista and John Buck (signed with Marlins) and it'll be hard to expect the same offense in 2011.  I think a .500 might be a stretch for the Jays, 75-80 wins is more realistic.

Baltimore Orioles
Camden Chat

Key Additions: Justin Duchsherer, Kevin Gregg, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J Hardy, Derek Lee, Mark Reynolds

Key Losses: David Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton

Outlook - The Orioles have been so bad for so long now and really haven't been a challenge to anybody around the league.  However they have added Vlad Guerrero, Derek Lee and Mark Reynolds to go along with Markakis, Jones, Scott, Wieters and Brian Roberts to form a very very good lineup.  Unfortunately they forget to address their pitching problem this off-season so the only way they're going to win some games this year is if they out slug their opponent 10-8.  Expect the Orioles to lose around 90 games this year.

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