Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Predicting the AL East

After some serious thought, I wanted to put up my projected order of finish for the AL east this year. A lot has happened to this division in the offseason, and each team seems to have a different complexion than last. So first, a quick alphabetical rundown of the changes:

Baltimore - With Sosa and Palmeiro gone, they look to be less exciting, and with Lee Mazzilli coming in to teach their pitchers, they could be nasty. Then again, they've lost a bunch of bats, and Tejada and Lopez could very well mail in the season (both asked to be traded this offseason). Personally, I will enjoy them crashing and burning.

Boston - New infield, CF, bullpen, and #2 pitcher. On paper, Boston looks to be the most stochastic team in the AL east, marred by dozens of question marks and upsides. However, I think they have enough fallback plans that they can at least make a very competitive run at the division. Again, the season will depend to varying degrees on Schilling, Foulke, Lowell, Loretta, and Nixon regaining some modicum of past performance at the plate, as well as seeing how the pitching shakes out (Beckett's health, Paplebon's development, the 3-5 starters, and the Bullpen's Riske, Seanez, Tavarez, Timlin, Delcarmen, Lester, Vermylea, Hansen, Arroyo, etc shaking out into a solid bullpen). A lot of ifs here, but also a lot of potential.

New York - They added Damon, another aging bat, to what looks like a monster lineup for 2002. Their pitching is anchored by two aging starters, both of whom have peripherals that have been trending down, and a closer that I only hope will start showing signs of his age and overuse. They tacked on a bunch of arms to the bullpen. Expect to see the Yankees have lots of runs, lots of runs given up, and lots of injuries. They are an old ballclub with a terrible defense, and an offense that is ugly to face if they all stay healthy.

Tampa Bay - This team will prefer the hitting half of the innings.

Toronto - I'm not sold on Burnett or that lefty from Baltimore, but they definitely improved the offense.

Boston- 94 wins - Foulke comes back, Schilling not so much
Toronto- 92 wins - a little luck, a lot of pop, and a healthy Halliday
Yanks- 85 wins - Unfortunately for them, their lineup gets ravaged by injuries and their pitching does not
Devil Rays- 82 wins - They get above .500 for the first time in their history, and would have won 100 games if you could play 5 outfielders at once
Orioles- 4 wins - I just hate baltimore


At 4:21 PM, February 15, 2006, Blogger Lindsey said...

so who has got the best defense, you can't just say it looks bad for everyone, someone has to win the division...

At 4:40 PM, February 15, 2006, Anonymous fletcher said...

The Sox definitely do, and I think that, with a little luck, they will win the division. Their defense (except at the corner outfield spots) is fantastic, they still have the best 3-4 Hitters in the game, about a dozen quality relievers to use (as the nature of bullpens pretty much demands the need for a bunch of backups), and 6 quality starting pitchers, plus 2 options in the minor leagues as a hedge against aging/injury. Their only question mark really is how their offense goes and whether or not they remain healthy. The offense could be stellar, or it could be Ortiz-Manny and nothing else. But I have faith.

At 10:01 PM, February 15, 2006, Blogger Lindsey said...

well if it will make you happy i hope the sox have a great season so long as they never beat my yankees

At 7:29 AM, February 24, 2006, Anonymous steady B said...

Why not give the Yankees 5 wins for the season and give the Redsox 160.....A bit ridiculous, but at least you are passionate. However your argument is more emotional than rational.


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