Sunday, April 1, 2012

We'll get back on track with our baseball previews today, as we took a brief break for the Brandon Jacobs signing, but barring another big move like that, it'll be all baseball here at the BASJ between now and Opening Day. So come here for all things baseball, all week!


1st Place, New York Yankees

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Mark Teixeira
RF Nick Swisher
C Russell Martin
DH Andruw Jones
LF Brett Gardner

LHP C.C. Sabathia
RHP Michael Pineda*
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
RHP Phil Hughes
LHP Ivan Nova**
CL: Mariano Rivera

*Starting year on DL, RH Freddy Garcia starts his place;**Either Nova or Hughes will be replaced when Petite is ready by mid-May.

The Yankees again sport one of the premiere offenses in baseball, and should be even better this year with a healthy and motivated ARod. They also deepened their bench by adding Raul Ibanez. However, the biggest move for the Yanks this offseason, their stealing of Michael Pineda from Seattle, should be the one that gets them over the hump and wins them this division! However, Pineda arrived at camp a bit out of shape, and although early numbers yielded success, he struggled lately, then went on the DL with an arm problem and he may be out a while. It's not like it matters though, the Yankees prepared themselves for that as they're neck deep with starting pitching candidates. Also, I don't expect Mark Tiexiera to hit .248 again, and this offense improves if everyone just has career average seasons.

2nd Place, Boston Red Sox (Wild Card 2)

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Alex Gonzalez
3B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
LF Carl Crawford*
RF Cody Ross
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Mike Aviles

LHP Jon Lester
RHP Josh Beckett
RHP Clay Buchholtz
RHP Danial Bard
RHP Vincente Padilla
CL: Andrew Bailey

The Red Sox got weaker, in my opinion, this winter after their big offseason last year. Carl Crawford had surgery on his wrist in January and will likely be out till late-April. They also lost star closer Jonathan Papelbon, although they did get a decent replacement in Bailey. Still, their lineup isn't up to New York's standard, and their rotation isn't as strong either. They'll still should be right their battling for one of the 2 wild card spots though!

3rd Place, Tampa Bay Rays

LF Desmond Jennings
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
1B Carlos Pena
CF B.J. Upton
RF Matt Joyce
DH Luke Scott
SS Sean Rodriguez
C Jose Molina

RHP James Shields
LHP David Price
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
RHP Wade Davis
LHP Matt Moore
CL: Kyle Farnsworth

The Rays are another team, much like Boston, that didn't help themselves out a whole lot this winter. They did add Carlos Pena, and they have a surprisingly strong young rotation that's adding bright youngster Matt Moore to the mix full-time, but they failed to grab a true closer in a market overly stocked with them, so they must have some confidence in Farnsworth and their other late relievers, but that could be an issue for them. That, coupled with their horrid bottom third of the lineup has them looking up at Boston and New York. However, they have young players who could help push them, like Jennings did in '11. If Upton decides to turn it on in his walk year (a la Carl Crawford), they get 25 jacks out of Scott at DH and Joyce builds on 2011, then this team will be in the hunt.

4th Place, Toronto Blue Jays

SS Yunel Escobar
LF Eric Thames
RF Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
3B Brett Lawrie
DH Edward Encarnacion
CF Colby Rasmus
C J.P Aaroncibia
2B Kelly Johnson

LHP Rickey Romero
RHP Brandon Morrow
LHP Brett Cecil
RHP Henderson Alvarez
RHP Dustin McGowan
CL: Sergio Santos

In any other division in baseball, besides maybe the NL East and AL West, the Blue Jays are legit players, if not favorites to win the division. They have a strong young nucleus with terrific young hitters from Brett Lawrie to Colby Rasmus and even HR monster Jose Bautista is still in his prime. Add that with the good young arms, and Toronto is certainly on the right path. They have depth in the bullpen and rotation as well as good young positional players on the rise. Look for them to keep getting better and possibly contenders by the 2013 season! Eventually, the Yankees will get too old, and the Red Sox will be old too, and both will have money tied into aging players. That's when the Rays and Blue Jays get to make their takeover, but it's still a few years away. But that's what this team and orgaization is built for. They're all 20-something, and have a stocked system.

5th Place, Baltimore Orioles

SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
3B Mark Reynolds
C Matt Wieters
LF Nolan Reimold
DH Wilson Betimit
1B Chris Davis
2B Robert Andino

RHP Tommy Hunter
RHP Jason Hammel
RHP Jake Arrieta
LHP Brian Matusz
RHP Chris Tillman
CL: Matt Lindstrom

The Orioles are the same old Orioles, and haven't seemed to figure out how to put together a team since the turn of the decade 12 years back as they've been one of the worst teams of the 2000's. They look like they have a bright future in their rotation with three star prospects, but those guys have been hyped for a few years now and haven't yet broken through, so who knows? All I know, is they're the black sheep of this division and will be lucky to win 70 games.

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