The Champ’s MLB Division Previews: AL East

Long before I was making Dorn and Bacon’s columns look like cave drawings, I was a pretty goddamn good baseball blogger… and I still am. In fact, the reason I was brought on board was to write sports columns. This is the first of six division previews from now until opening day to satiate your desire for the Great American Game. We’ll start with the American League (because it has the best name). Today, it’s the AL East.

Baltimore Orioles

 

The Orioles are on rough times… again. It seems as if their attempt at a rebuild has fallen flat on its face. But there’s still some pieces there that make you wonder. Brian Matusz was as big of a prospect as anyone in baseball until he got injured. There‘s some optimism surrounding the Orioles with catcher Matt Wieters and Matusz, but they play in the AL East. I can’t spend much more time on these guys. They’re one of the worst run organizations in baseball and it’s going to be another season in the basement for the O’s. Get your shit together, Baltimore.

65-97, 5th in the AL East

Boston Red Sox

 

Oh how the mighty have fallen… well not really. The Red Sox might find themselves in an odd situation this year. Yeah, I get the whole beer and chicken fiasco in September last year, but really? Fire Theo Epstein? The guy who won you two (TWO) World Serieseses? The Red Sox are a class org, and I understand there were probably other circumstances as to why they fired Theo and Terry Francona. Before you get all up in arms about Francona, realize this: Francona was one of the worst managers when it came to Pythagorean winning percentage in the last five years (Pythagorean winning percentage calculates how many games a team should win. Nerd stuff. Amazingly, Tito and the Sox should have won more games in the last five seasons, but didn’t. Too much beer and chicken, I suppose).

The Sox have an aging team with a pretty good rotation and one of the best lineups in the AL. The AL East is a juggernaut and the Sawx might find themselves falling from grace this season.

85-77, 4th in the AL East

New York Yankees

 

The Evil Empire was at it again this offseason… oh wait, no they weren’t. The Yankees absolutely were big winners this winter, trading uber-prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle for Michael Pineda, straying from their big spending ways and doing some old-fashioned wheeling and dealing. The Yanks unloaded some of A.J. Burnett’s awful contract to the Pirates, where he was immediately struck in the face by a fastball during a bunting drill (NLol). The Bronx Bombers return a ridiculously good rotation (with the addition of Pineda) and an aging, yet still stellar lineup. Not much else to say here. The Yanks will be the Yanks again.

95-67, 1st in AL East

Tampa Bay Rays

 

The Rays do it right. Homegrown players, great trades, lock up their own. They’re a model of how a “small-market/low budget” team should operate. Add young lefty Matt Moore to their rotation and you’ve got the recipe for an upset in the AL East. Joe Maddon may just be the coolest damn manager in the show, he’s pretty good at his job, too. Their rotation gives me the heeby jeebies. Chock full of young studs anchored by James Shields and followed by David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Moore and Wade Davis. Those guys might just be the best young rotation ever assembled. This is not hyperbole. Oh yeah, they still have Evan Longoria, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce in their lineup. Never sleep on Tampa.

93-69, 2nd in AL East, 1st in AL Wild Card

Toronto Blue Jays

 

Our neighbors to the north have been quietly building the best team no one seems to be talking about. Stacked lineup, solid rotation, good bullpen. It’s a team that can beat you on any given night. Only problem is, they play in the AL East. If they played in any other division (maybe with the exception of the AL West or NL East), they would be serious contenders. Jose Bautista should have been the AL MVP last year. Damnit, if they didn’t play in Canada they might be my favorite team outside of my hometown Royals (don’t laugh).

But alas, the Jays just don’t have the horses quite yet. They stack up with every other team in the league. Unfortunately, they play in the same division as the two other best teams in the AL. Sorry Canada, America is better than you once again, even Florida.

87-75, 3rd in AL East

  1. frat masterson

    arrieta has been pitching extremely well and could emerge as an ace… and maybe wei-yin chen will pan out. i’m going to learn from the past and not get too optimistic though

    12 years ago at 4:20 pm
  2. FratMaximusBrodius

    Why do people forget that before September, Boston had the best record in the ML for most of the season? They got injured, and shit fell apart, it happens. Expect Boston to play with something to prove. IF they stay healthy, they will win the AL Pennant.

    Cody Ross will be a difference maker, remember that.

    12 years ago at 4:23 pm
    1. Downwind

      ^This guy.

      Saying the Blue Jays have a solid rotation shows how little you know about baseball…I don’t trust anyone after Brandon Marrow.

      12 years ago at 4:34 pm
    2. carolinahaze

      Cody Ross was good for a third of a season (’07 Marlins) and two weeks (Giants playoff run in ’10). The rest of his career has been barely major league worthy. You are a poor, deluded soul if you seriously think he’s going to lead the Red Sox back to the Series.

      12 years ago at 4:43 pm
  3. Shooting Turkey

    Crawford, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Ortiz, Youkilis, and Martinez aren’t a lineup that only gets 4th in the division. Not to mention Beckett, Buccholz, Bard, and Lester. You obviously don’t watch enough of the al east to know how it works. Baltimore and Toronto always lock up fifth and fourth respectively.

    12 years ago at 4:39 pm
    1. Southern Improper

      Well, they just finished 3rd in the east, and I certainly don’t think they got any better, and lost a top 5 closer to free agency. The Jays, on the other hand, might have gotten better.

      12 years ago at 9:17 pm
    2. Frat_Canada

      Lost a top 5 closer?? He blew so many saves it’s ridiculous. They’re much better off with the likes of Santos and Cordero this year

      12 years ago at 9:24 pm
    3. Tits or GTFO

      Everyone above me has zero credibility considering not one of them noticed turkey shooter said Martinez is a good player on the Red Sox. He has been on the Tigers since 2011.

      12 years ago at 11:19 am
    4. Tits or GTFO

      And another thing Shooting Turkey, teams don’t finish in the same spots every year. You obviously don’t watch enough of the AL east to knows the Rays finished in last place for like eight consecutive years.

      12 years ago at 11:20 am
    5. Frat Cassell

      I assume by Martinez he meant Gonzalez. “That big spic” would have sufficed. They’re all the same.

      12 years ago at 12:39 am
    6. anon7472974648

      People are forgetting that Boston had the AL’s best record (83-52) going into September. There are a lot of injury concerns, especially with Youk, Bailey, and Lindsay Clubine’s husband, and Jacoby’s power will regress, but there is absolutely no reason why Vegas should be setting their win total at only 88.5, with 10/1 on WS. CC is bound to have a bounceback (right? guys?). Gonzo (who hit a humble .338 while hurt all last year, and is finally healthy) is my pick for AL MVP.

      I like Texas to win the Series, but betting the over on Boston’s wins is the easiest money to be made going into the season.

      12 years ago at 1:00 am
    1. FrattinLikeMyDaddy22

      sounds like obama watches more college basketball than actual running of the country.

      12 years ago at 6:51 pm
    1. tuffy11111

      Strasburg coming back will help Nats….also slight possibility of Bryce Harper debuting.

      12 years ago at 5:41 pm
    2. DavidAllanBro

      Bryce harper is the biggest fucking douchebag to ever play the game of baseball.

      12 years ago at 5:47 pm
    3. Shooting Turkey

      Nationals coaches said Bryce Harper would certainly not debut opening day, he’s definitely staying in the minors. Not sure if you meant debuting opening day or not.

      12 years ago at 5:47 pm
    4. More Frat Than You

      Bryce Harper just got demoted to Triple A the other day, so he’s not coming up to the majors anytime soon. Hell, I expect to see him only when the rosters expand to 40 players in September.

      12 years ago at 12:16 am
  4. btp14

    Toronto has one pitcher who had an ERA less than 3 last year. The offense is weak behind Bautista. Better than Baltimore but that’s about it.

    12 years ago at 5:27 pm
    1. Frat_Canada

      Lawrie and Escobar had great season, especially Lawrie as a rookie. Encarnacion also found his game in the second half of the season. Romero and Morrow are both solid pitchers, and it was always the bullpen that blew our leads last year, much better off with Santos and Cordero this year

      12 years ago at 9:32 pm
  5. tuffy11111

    Great, simple analysis. Pitching is ridiculously good (and cheap) in Tampa. It’s so good that Jeff Neimann will probably be dealt this season just so Tampa can call up Matt Moore (Who had 15K in his first start). 3rd time in 4 seasons that the Rays have had the top overal prospect in baseball (Longoria, Price, and Moore). If Hak-Ju Lee were 2 years older the Rays would have a complete team. Pena coming back to Tampa gives them the power, and good fielding at First. Just need Longo to not party too much after games and stay healthy and this should be a really good season for the Rays.

    12 years ago at 5:38 pm