Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Season Preview: AL East Predictions

The AL East is a division in transition with many stalwarts of the Old Guard fading from the scene, but being replaced by a lot of exciting new talent.  Here's how I see it stacking up:

1.  Baltimore Orioles- The O's lose Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis and replace them with Alejandro De Aza and Travis Snider.  That does not seem to bode so well.  The O's are hoping for healthy seasons from Manny Machado and Matt Wieters as well as a bounceback from Chris Davis.  The pitching is again shaky, but probably the best overall in the division.  Bucky will find a way to get them to win.

2.  Toronto Blue Jays- The Jays jumped at an opportunity to replace disappointing Brett Lawrie with Josh Donaldson.  They spent a lot of money on the belief that Russell Martin's wizardry behind the plate will make the pitching a lot better.  They have high hopes for youngsters Devon Travis at 2B and Dalton Pompey in CF.  All that may not be enough after losing SP Marcus Stroman for the season.  They need rookies Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez to step up big time and for Drew Hutchison to have his long-awaited breakout season.

3.  New York Yankees- The Yankees lose a lot of offense in the IF, but might make up for it with vastly improved defense with Chase Headley at 3B, Didi Gregorius at SS and Stephen Drew at 2B.  The pitching is the achilles heel with several arms seeming to hang by a thread, led by Masahiro Tanaka who starts the season with a partially torn UCL.  The bullpen loses David Robertson and gains Andrew Miller with Dellin Betances moving into the closer role.

4.  Boston Red Sox-  The BoSox have an incredible mix of talent, but the offseason acquisitions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez bring back memories of past mistakes with FA signings.  Boston's big problem is with the pitching.  When Clay Bucholz is your ace, you know you have problems!  They may win a lot of 12-8 games, but may lose more than they win.  I'm going against the grain here and picking them to finish 4'th.

5.  Tampa Bay Rays- The Rays made in interesting move to acquire everybody's favorite sleeper in Steven Souza.  That's about it, though.  Half the pitching staff is starting the season on the DL.  Andrew Friedman left the farm system barren.  I think it's going to be a tough season for the Rays with a lot of empty seats in their terrible stadium.  Look for relocation or even contraction talk to heat up by the end of the season.

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