Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Glimpse at the AL East Preview

With Baseball Season just 2 weeks away from starting, we'll be dedicating the next few posts here at the Bay Area Sports Journal to our 2011 MLB Previews. We'll start with the AL East and end in the NL West, much like we do over at our Giants Baseball Blog, just with a different twist, so here we go:

1st Place, Boston Red Sox


Key Players/Pitchers
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Carl Crawford
3B Kevin Youkilis
1B Adrian Gonzalez
DH David Ortiz
2B Dustin Pedroia
LHP Jon Lester
RHP Josh Beckett
RHP John Lackey
RHP Clay Bucholtz
CL: Jonathon Papelbon

It's going to be another neck and neck battle all year long between the Sox and the Yanks, but after the addition of Crawford and Gonzalez, the Red Sox really revamped their offense. All they need is health in their starting rotation (mainly Matsuzaka and Beckett), and they'll be a tough train to stop. Still sport one of the best closers in the game in Jon Papelbon.

2nd Place, New York Yankees - AL Wild Card winner

Key Players/Pitchers
SS Derek Jeter
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
C Russell Martin
LHP C.C. Sabathia
RHP A.J. Burnett
RHP Phil Hughes
CL: Mariano Rivera

The Yankees didn't add a whole lot to their squad that disappointed last year by losing to the Rangers in the ALCS. Still though, in any other division in this league, they're the clear favorites. Their core (Jeter, ARod, Mo and Posada) is getting a bit older though, and they need those young guys like Gardener, Granderson and Cano to really step it up. They also have some questions in their starting rotation, where they could really use Andy Pettite to pull a "Brett Favre" and return from retirement.

3rd Place, Tampa Bay Rays

Lineup:
LF Johnny Damon
CF B.J. Upton
3B Evan Longoria
DH Manny Ramirez
RF Ben Zobrist
LHP David Price
RHP James Shields
CL: Kyle Farnsworth

The Rays have lost a lot over the last 2 years and are now just a shadow of the that magical '08 squad. They still have Upton and Longoria, and have added a few productive vets in Ramirez and Damon, but their lineup after the first 5 is pretty abysmal. I think they're going to miss Carl Crawford and Jason Bartlett a lot more than they expected too. Especially Crawford, who was an iron man for that team.

4th Place, Baltimore Orioles

Key Players/Pitchers
2B Brian Roberts
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
1B Derek Lee
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
RHP Jeremy Guthrie
LHP Brian Matusz
RHP Jake Arrieta

The Orioles have a lineup that can compete with anybody in the AL. They have speed, power, youth, experience and everybody from 1-9 has power. They also are finally putting together a young pitching staff that could turn out to be a solid one. Matusz, Arrieta and Bergesen are all 26 years old or younger and they have some nice mentors in Guthrie and Duchsherer. If they keep developing and JD can give them 30 starts, they could be a .500 ballclub on the rise.

5th Place, Toronto Blue Jays

Key Players/Pitchers:

2B Aaron Hill
3B Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
LF Juan Rivera
RF Travis Snider
LHP Rickey Romero
RHP Brandon Morrow
LHP Brett Cecil
CL: Octavio Dotel

The Jays are putting together a nice young staff. All of their starters are under 28 years of age and all of them appear to have bright futures in this league. Their lineup, however, is a little thin, and doesn't match up with the rest in this division. I'm curious to see how Bautista does coming off his 50-home run year, cause I don't see that happening again. I do think Travis Snider breaks out this year and hits 25-30 homers, but that won't be enough to carry this team in a tough AL East.

BOLD represents team's most irreplaceable player.

2 comments:

curtis cleveland said...

Awe man, you got it backwards. The Jays will certainly finish higher than the Orioles. Bautista might not smack 54 bombs but the power will still be there this year and adding Davis gives them some serious speed on the paths.

Baltimore made a mistake signing some aging players and the strikeout machine Reynolds. The AL East pitching is just as strong as the NL west.

Anyway, I like the post and hope to read more of them. Check out a blog a write for in Canada if you have time - http://canadiancorn.blogspot.com/

thanks a bunch

Trevor Cole said...

They're pretty darn even, I'll tell ya that.

I'm taking Baltimore because of their young pitching potential, and I think their lineup is deeper than Toronto's.

That said, I really like Ricky Romero and I think Brandon Morrow will be a nice add to their rotation.

Travis Snider's a beast, he'll hit 30 bombs this year, and ends up an All-Star.