Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 American League East Preview

***The Division Preview that follows is not betting advice in any way shape or form.  Please do not bet any money based in any part on these predictions.***

Don't forget to check out the National League EastNational League Central and National League West previews and check back next week for the American League Central.

Toronto Blue Jays

Who's New?: 
Russell Martin, C (free agent from Pirates)
Justin Smoak, 1B (Waiver claim from Mariners)
Chris Colabello, 1B (Waiver Claim from Twins)
Daric Barton, 1B (Free Agent from Athletics)
Josh Donaldson, 3B (Trade from Athletics)
Ramon Santiago, IF (Free Agent from Reds)
Andy Dirks, OF (Free agent from Tigers)
Ezequiel Carrera, OF (Free Agent from Tigers)
Ryan Kalish, OF (Free Agent from Cubs)
Caleb Gindl, OF (Free Agent from Brewers)
Michael Saunders, OF (Trade from Mariners)
Chris Dickerson, OF (Free Agent from Indians).
Dayan Viciedo, OF (Free Agent from White Sox)
Marco Estradada, SP (Trade from Brewers)
Jeff Francis, SP (Free agent from Yankees)
Liam Hendricks, SP (Trade from Royals)
Johan Santana, SP (Free Agent from Blue Jays)
Wilton Lopez, RP (Free Agent from Rockies)
Preston Guilmet, RP (Waiver Claim from Pirates)
Scott Barnes, RP (From Rangers
Luis Perez, RP (Free Agent from Braves)
Matt West, RP (Waiver Claim from Rangers)
Greg Burke, RP (Free Agent from Rockies)
Who Left: 
Juan Francisco, 3B (Free Agent to Red Sox)
Adam Lind, 1B (Trade to Brewers)
Nessy Santiago, C (Trade to Royals)
Brett Lawrie, 3B (Trade to Athletics)
Dan Johnson, 1B (Free Agent to Astros)
George Kottaras, C (Free Agent to White Sox)
Brett Wallace, IF (Free Agent to Padres)
Andy LaRoche, IF (Free Agent to White Sox)
George Kottaras, C (Free Agent to White Sox)
Anthony Gose, OF (Trade to Tiger)
Cole Gilespie, OF (Free Agent to Marlins)
Dustin Mastroiani, OF (Free agent to Phillies)
Melky Cabrera, OF (Free Agent to White Sox)
John Mayberry, Jr, OF (Free Agent to Mets)
Colby Rasmus, OF (Free Agent to Astros)
Adron Chambers, OF (Free Agent to Cubs)
Brad Mills, SP (Free agent to A's)
Kendall Graveman, SP (Trade to Athletics)
Brandon Morrow, SP (Free Agent to Padres)
Sean Nolin, SP (Trade to Athletics)
J.A. Happ, SP (Trade to Mariners)
Radhames Liz, SP (Free Agent to Pirates)
Cassey Jansen, RP (Free Agent to Nationals)
Dustin McGowan, RP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Sergio Santos, RP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Raul Valdes, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
What to Expect?:
I feel as though I have been saying this for the last four years but the Jays could be on the verge of something special.  In 2013 they looked like they were going all in when they picked up R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.  It didn't work out because it may have been to much change at once.  To their credit they stuck with it and started to see results last year. A sustained winning streak had them in the playoff race late into the season.  They have added Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders to the talent pool and this could be the tipping point. The lineup has a nice combination of speed (Izturis, Reyes and rookie Dalton Pompey) and power (Bautista, Encarnacion, Martin and Donaldson).
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
Toronto has been putting everything they can into rebuilding this team.  They have shown that they are dedicated to this process and it would be nice to see them get the results they had been working towards
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Blue Jays Fans Want?:
For the same reason that it didn't work out the last two years.  Buehrle, Bautista and Reyes are injury prone and Justin Smoak is a big question mark.  Smoak could benefit from a change of scenery and reduced expectations or he could prove that his time in Seattle was the real Justin Smoak.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
R.A. Dickey had a Cy Young season with the Mets in 2012 but his two seasons in Toronto have been less than spectacular.  Expect him to eat innings, 200+, and to win about 15 but don't expect another Cy Young.
Expect Great Things From:
Russell Martin was the Dodgers' Catcher of the future until a serious hip injury led them to take a chance with A.J. Ellis as their new Catcher of the future.  Since then (with the exception of a few off years here and there with the Yankees) Martin has proven that he is a great Catcher.  Expect him to give the pitching staff the attitude it needs to win.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Justin Smoak was sent from the Rangers to the Mariners as part of the Cliff Lee deal  in 2010 and was immediately pointed to as the future of the franchise.  He failed to live up to those expectations.  A change of scenery and a reduced sense of expectations may be exactly what Smoak needs to succeed.
Prediction: 1st Place

Boston Red Sox
Who's New:  
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (Free Agent from Giants)
Hanley Ramirez, SS (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Juan Francisco, 3B (Waiver Claim from Blue Jays)
Ryan Hannigan, C (Trade from Padres)
Luke Montz, UT (Free Agent from Athletics)
Jeff Bianchi, IF (Free Agent From Brewers)
Humberto Quintero, C (Free Agent from Mariners)
Bryan LaHair, 1B (Free Agent from Indians)
Quintin Berry, OF (Free Agent from Orioles)
Justin Masterson (SP, Free Agent from Cardinals),
Rick Porcello, SP (Trade from Tigers)
Wade Miley, SP (Trade from Diamondbacks)
Casey Crosby, SP (Free Agent from Tigers)
Dana Eveland, SP (Free Agent from Mets)
Felipe Paulino, SP (Free Agent from White Sox)
Robbie Ross, JR (Trade from Rangers)
Anthony Varvaro, RP (Trade from Braves)
Zeke Spurill, RP (Trade from Padres)
Mitchell Boggs, RP (Free Agent from Giants)
Craig Breslow, RP (Free Agent from Mets)
Alexi Ogundo, RP (Free Agent frm Rangers)
Jess Todd, RP (Free Agent from Diamondbacks)
Who Left:  
Ryan Roberts, 3B (free agent to Royals)
Carlos Rivera, IF (Free agent to Mariners)
Ivan DeJesus, IF (Free Agent to Reds)
Ryan Lavarnway, C (Waiver Claim by  Dodgers)
Johnathan Herrera, IF (Free Agent to Cubs)
David Ross, C (Free Agent to CUbs)
Wil Middlebrooks, 3B (Trade to Padres)
Juan Francisco, IF (Free Agent to Rays)
Dan Butler, C (Trade to Nationals)
Corey Brown, OF (Free Agent to Rays)
Yoenis Cespedes, OF (Trade to Tigers)
Allen Webster, SP (Traded to Diamondbacks)
Anthony Ranaudo, SP (Trade to Rangers)
Ryan Verdugo, RP (Free Agent to A's)
John Ely, RP (Free Agent to Brewers)
Alex Wilson, RP (Trade to Tigers)
Ruby De La Rosa, RP (Trade to Diamondbacks)
Brayan Villareal, RP (Free agent to Twins)
Burke Badenhop, RP (Free Agent to Reds)
Winter Headlines:
Sox make big moves to get back on top of weakening AL East.
What to Expect?:
This division is suddenly very weak.  What was once the terror of the Major Leagues is now full of average or below average teams.  With that in mind, the Red Sox have improved themselves  greatly and will likely be most experts picks to win the division.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Red Sox Fans Want?:
Although the team has done quite a bit to improve themselves there are still quite a few questions. Age is starting to catch up with Victorino and Ortiz.  Rusney Castillo is a big question mark in center field and having Hanley Ramirez play the Green Monster in Left Field could be an adventure.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Rich Porcello had a great rookie season in 2009. Since then he seems to have alternating spectacular and poor or average seasons. The Tigers relied on Porcello quite a bit last season but he is really more of a fourth or fifth starter.  The Sox depth chart currently show Porcello projected as the second starter behind Bucholtz.  Don't expect Porcello to replace John Lester's numbers.
Expect Great Things From:
Dustin Pedroia had a slow year in 2014 but is coming back healthy for 2015.  Although David Ortiz is generally considered the leader of the team, it is Pedroia who truly get them moving.
Is This His Last Chance?:
David Ortiz will turn 40 about a month after the 2015 season ends.  With a highly paid Hanley Ramirez playing out of position in Right Field and a highly paid but less than Gold Glove fielding Pablo Sandoval playing third, the team may be forced to move Sandoval to DH, limiting Big Papi's At Bats.
Prediction: 2nd place. Wild Card

Baltimore Orioles
Who's New:
Paul Janish, IF (Free Agent from Royals)
J.P. Arincibia, C (Free Agent from Rangers)
Everth Cabrera, SS (Free Agent from Padres)
Matt Tuiasasopo, IF/OF (Free Agent from White Sox)
Chris Parmalee, OF (Free Agent from Twins)
Nolan Reimold, OF (Free Agent rom Diamondbacks)
Jayson Nix, OF (Free Agent from Royals)
Pat McCoy, RP (Waiver Claim from Tigers)
Scott Barnes, RP (Trade from Indians)
Pat McCoy, RP (Waiver claim from Tigers)
Wesley Wright, RP (Free Agent from Cubs)
Chaz Roe, RP (Free Agent from Pirates)
Dane De La Rosa, RP (Free Agent from Angels)
Cesar Cabral, RP (Free Agent from Yankees)
Pedro Beato, RP (Free Agent from Braves)
Who Left: 
Cord Phelps, IF (Free Agent to Phillies)
Numan Romero, IF (Free Agent to Athletics)
Nick Hundley, C (Free Agent to Rockies)
Kelly Johnson, IF (Free Agent to Braves)
David Adams, IF (Free Agent to Marlins)
Niuman Romero, IF (Free Agent to Athletics)
Alexi Casillia, SS (Free Agent to Rays)
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B (Trade to Pirates)
Nick Markakis, OF (Free Agent to Braves)
Nelson Cruz, OF (Free Agent to Mariners)
Quintin Berry, OF (Free Agent to Red Sox)
Johan Santana, SP (Free Agent to Bue Jays
Joe Saunders, SP (Free Agent to Mariners)
Anthony Vasquez, SP (Free Agent to Phillies)
Josh Stinson, RP (Free Agent to Pirates)
Andrew Miller, RP (Free Agent to Yankees)
Julio DePaula, RP (Free Agent to Diamondbacks)
Robert Coello, RP (Free Agent to Giants)
Evan Meek, RP (Free Agent to Nationals)
Ramon Ramirez, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Winter Headlines:  
Machado, Wieters and Davis want to make up for missing the ALCS.
What to Expect?: 
The Orioles nearly reached the World Series last season with no real ace and without their starting First Baseman, Third Baseman and Catcher.  With a weak division the Orioles are looking to continue their success under Buck Showalter.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
Baltimore is a great baseball city and the fans there have been starved for success for decades.  It  would be great for the loyal O's fans to get enjoy what has not been seen in Baltimore in over 30 years.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Orioles Fans Want?:
Pitching.  Plain and simple. Showalter is somehow able to get the most out of his players but there is not a true ace on this staff.  There are a few arms, including Dylan Bundy, in the minors that the team could need if they are going to improve on last year.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Matt Wieters is a tremendously talented Catcher and Buck Showalter trusts him implicitly behind the plate.  What he cold have done to help this team last post season is something we can never know.  Expect Wieters to contribute to any success thisteam has but give him time to regain his form.
Expect Great Things From:
The Orioles hit close to rock bottom in 2007.  The one bright spot of the year was Erik Bedard. At   13-5 he was the future of the O's franchise.  When Bedard was shipped to Seattle in the offseason Orioles fans shook their head in confusion.  What they got in return were George Sherill (an Orioles All Star Representative), Chris Tillman (their current "ace") and Adam Jones.  Jones is now the leader and future of this franchise.  Some day he may be enshrined with the likes of Palmer, Murray, Ripken and the Robinsons.
Is This His Last Chance?:
Ubaldo Jimenez was a big 2014 free agent signing for the O's but the results were less than impressive.  After a very near Cy Young year with the Rockies in 2010, Jimenez's performance has steadily declined.  If he fails to perform again this year he could be out of chances.
Prediction: 3rd Place.  Wild Card

New York Yankees
Who's New: 
Didi Gregorious, SS (Trade from Diamondbacks)
Garrett Jones, 1B (Trade from Marlins)
Cole Figueroa, 2B (Free Agent from Rays)
Nick Noonan, IF (Free Agent from Giants)
Chris Young, OF (Free Agent from Mets)
Nathan Eovaldi, SP (Trade from Marlins)
Scott Baker, SP (Free Agent from Rangers)
Kyle Davies, SP (Free Agent from Indians)
Justin Wilson, RP (Trade from Pirates)
Andrew Miller, RP (Free Agent from Orioles)
David Carpenter, RP (Trade from Braves)
Johnny Barbato, RP (Trade from Padres)
Chasen Shreve, RP (Trade from Braves)
Jared Burton, RP (Free Agent from Twins)
Chris Martin, RP (Trade from Rockies)
Who Left:
Francisco Cervelli, C. (Trade to Pirates)
Derek Jeter, SS (Retired)
Brian Roberts, 2B (Retired)
Martin Prado, 3B (Trade to Marlins)
Zelous Wheeler, 3B (Unsigned Free Agent)
Zolio Almonte, OF (Free agent to Braves)
Alfonso Soriano, OF (retired)
Antoan Richardson, OF (Free Agent to Rangers)
Scott Sizemore, OF(Free Agent to Marlins)
Ichiro Suzuki, OF (Free Agent to Marlins)
Eury Perez, OF (Waiver Claim by Braves)
Shane Green, SP (Trade to Tigers)
David Phelps, SP (Trade to Marlins)
Brandon McCarthy, SP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
David Huff, SP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP (Unsigned Free Agent)
,Jeff Francis, RP (Free Agent to Blue Jays)
David Robertson, RP (Free Agent to White Sox)
Shawn Kelly, RP (Traded to Padres)
Josh Outman, RP (Free Agent to Braves)
Cesar Cabral, RP (Free Agent to Orioles)
David Robertson, RP (Free Agent to White Sox)
Chris LeRoux, RP (Free Agent to Brewers)
David Herndon, RP (Free Agent to Brewers)
Rich Hill, RP (Free Agent to Nationals)
Alfredo Aceves, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Matt Daley, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Jim Miller, RP (Unsigned Free Agent)
Heath Bell, RP (Free Agent to Natonals)
Preston Claiborne, RP (Waiver Claim by Marlins)
Winter Headlines:  
Jeter is gone, A-Rod is back.
Yankees to retire three more numbers of Pettite, Williams and Posada.  At what point will they go to triple digits?
What to Expect?:
This is not a very strong division which will play to the Yankees' advantage.  They do have some talent but they also have no proven leader and a lot of aging, injury prone players struggling to stay on the field.  This season could be the tipping point between another playoff run or the start of a 1980s era drought.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?: 
There are several players on this team that have played for years and, although coming close,  have never won a World Series.  For players like Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Garret Jones and  Chris Capuano it would be a nice touch to already successful careers.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Yankees Fans Want?:
In the Yankees' universe the only successful season is a World Series.  This team, with age, injuries, and lack of leadership will fall far short of that goal.  They could surprise some and win a Wild Card spot but it would take a lot of things falling their way to advance in the playoffs.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Alex Rodriguez has been away from the game for more than a year and was very concerned with a degenerative hip issue in his last season.  Alex is chasing 700 Home Runs for his career but would likely need at least three more years to do so.
Is this his last chance?:
Mark Teixiera is signed through the end of 2016 but his production numbers have been on  a consistent decline over the last few years.  With his career winding down Tex may not have mayny more opportunities to win it all.
Prediction: 4th Place

Tampa Bay Rays
Who's New: 
Bobby Wilson, C (Free Agent from Diamondbacks)
Renee Rivera, C (Trade from Padres)
Eugenio Velez, UT (Free Agent from Brewers)
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS (Free Agent from Nationals)
Alexi Casillia, SS (Free Agent from Orioles)
Juan Francisco, IF (Free Agent from Red Sox)
Jake Elmore, IF (Free Agent from Reds)
John Jaso, C (Trade from Athletics)
Corey Brown, OF (Free Agent from Red Sox)
Steven Souza, OF (Trade from Nationals)
Michael Kohn, RP (free agent from Angels)
Ernesto Frieri, RP (Free agent from Pirates)
Kevin Jepsen, RP (Trade from Angels)
Jose Dominguez, RP (Trade from Dodgers)
Jhan Marinez, RP (Free Agent from Dodgers)
Ronald Bellisario, RP (Free Agent from White Sox)
Who Left:
Cole Figueroa, 2B (Free Agent to Yankees)
Jerry Sands, IF/DH (Free Agent to Indians)
Ali Solis, C (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Jose Molina, C (Unsigned Free Agent)
Ben Zobrist, IF (Trade to Athletics)
Yunel Escobar, Ss (Trade to Athletics)
Wil Myers, OF (Trade to Padres)
Matt Joyce, OF (Trade to Angels)
Jeremy Hellickson, SP (Trade to Diamondbacks)
Erik Bedard, SP (Free Agent to Dodgers)
Cesar Ramos, RP (Trade to Angels)
Joel Peralta, RP (Trade to Dodgers)
Michael Kohn, RP (Free Agent to Braves)
Josh Lueke, RP (Unsigned Free Agents)
Juan Carlos Oviedo, RP (Free Agent to Rangers)
Winter Headlines:  
Loss of Maddon could be biggest loss in Rays short history.
What to Expect?:
Rays fans should expect a return to the pre-2008 days.  With the exception of Longoria and Desmond Jennings, the Rays have little proven talent on the team.  They are in a clear rebuilding mode and may have a long climb back to the top.  Working to their benefit is the mediocrity of the other teams in this division.
Why Should You Root for These Guys?:
With a small budget and heading into a rebuild the Rays are clear Cinderella Story material.
Why Might This Season Not Turn Out the Way Rays Fans Want?:
This team is heading into a rebuilding.  It is likely that the Rays will be on the down trend for the next few years.
Don't Expect Too Much From Him:
Drew Smyly was the big piece in the David Price deal and the Tigers thought very highly of him.  He will be a very good starter but the lack of support behind him will likely limit his success.
Expect Great Things From:
Evan Longoria is a special player.  Regardless of the won-loss record expect Longoria to represent the team with class and probably in the All Star Game as well.
Is This His Last Chance?:
James Loney came up to the Dodgers with high expectations but his lack of power production led to an exit from Los Angeles.  He has had a few moderately successful  seasons in Tampa Bay but with the Rays in rebuilding mode Loney may not have many opportunities to prove he is part of their future.
Prediction: 5th Place

*-Please be aware that these predictions are based on the rosters as set in the beginning of March.  There are still several key free agents unsigned which could alter these previews.  Also, injuries during spring training could alter my outlook.  Check back next week for the AL Central Preview and continue following to see my final predictions at the start of the season.

The Orioles won the AL East in 2014 for the first time since 1997.  Including these two division titles, dating back to the start of division play in 1969, how many times has Baltimore won the East?

Answer to Last Week's Question:
The National League Central has had a player lead the league in RBI 7 times:
Jeff Bagwell (1994)
Sammy Sosa (1998)
Mark McGwire (1999)
Sammy Sosa (2001)
Lance Berkman (2002)
Prince Fielder (2009)
Albert Pujols (2010)

1 comment:

  1. You are so right about the direction of this division. For many years this was the best division in baseball. Now it is the worst division in the AL. In a few weeks I will make my 2015 predictions. I have an idea of what they will be in most divisions. I really have to look at this division really close.
    Interesting that you state that this division is weak yet both of your wild cards are from this division. And what on earth are the Rays doing in trading Zobrist. IMO the most underrated player in baseball.
    Porcello and Smyly will be better than you think. Not on the level as Kershaw, Cueto or Price but very good pitchers.

    Here is my prediction on the trivia. My prediction 10. 1969.70,71,73,79,83,94,96.97 and 14.



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