2010 Divisional Previews & Predictions: AL East

Finally, the division that most of you have been waiting for. The AL East. It is the best division of baseball with arguably the three best teams in baseball in this one division. While the Jays are rebuilding and the Orioles have a lot of young talent and probably won’t be very competitive because of it, the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees are all looking for the division crown. So lets finish off the American League pre-season predictions in style by breaking down the AL East.

1. Boston Red Sox
Key Departures: Jason Bay, Justin Masterson, and Takashi Saito
Key Arrivals: Mike Cameron, Marco Scutaro, John Lackey, and Adrian Beltre

Defense, defense, defense. This is the main reason why I believe the Red Sox will win the AL East. It is basically what separates them from the Yankees. They added Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre who are two great defensive players who posted UZR’s of 10 and 14.3 respectively in 2009. They will play two very important defensive positions and this will allow Ellsbury to move over to LF to field shots off of the monster. From a team that had Jason Bay in LF and posted a team UZR of -16.3 a year ago, that number will surely improve this season and will help them in run prevention. They also countered nicely to the Yankees addition of Javier Vazquez. While I do think John Lackey is often overrated, his addition to the Red Sox gives them the better rotation. Daisuke will be relied on as a 4th starter and allowing Tim Wakefield of Buchholz to fight for the 5th starter spot. I believe that Clay Buchholz is ready to take over the 5th starter spot, which would force Wakefield into the pen which is already very strong. I also have confidence that Adrian Beltre will bounce back off a horrendous 2009 season at the dish. He now goes to a much friendlier environment of right handed hitters. The Yankees did have the most powerful offense in the league and they got 38.4 Wins Above Replacement and a wOBA .366 out of their hitters last year, but the Red Sox were not far behind. They had 27.7 Wins Above Replacement from their batters and a wOBA of .352, which is also very good.

2. New York Yankees
Key Departures: Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Melky Cabrera
Key Arrivals: Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, and Nick Johnson

I am sure that I will take a lot of heat for putting the Yankees in second. The Red Sox probably had a better off-season than the Yankees, but the Yankees had a great one as well. The Yankees reshaped their outfield by shipping Melky Cabrera to Atlanta and getting Curtis Granderson from the Tigers. I think losing Hideki Matsui and getting Nick Johnson could end up being a wash. I am really interested in seeing how Javier Vazquez does in his return to the American League. Many Yankees fans will probably disagree with me but I don’t think that he will have great success returning to a hitters park and facing American League competition. This is one of the reasons why I can’t seem to put the Yankees over the top. Regardless, he is still a very good pitcher and makes their rotation a lot better. I still like the Red Sox rotation more and both bullpens are really, really good. Now, I realize that the Yankees defense has gotten better as well with the addition of Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner will see playing time everyday with the loss of Damon and Cabrera. All in all, I think both of these teams will be separated by a handful of games. It could go either way and I am almost positive that I will get arguments on this.

3. Tampa Bay Rays
Key Departures: Akinori Iwamura
Key Arrivals: Rafael Soriano

Only in the AL East would you see the Tampa Bay Rays finishing third. If they were in any other division in the American League, I would probably have them winning it. How unlucky. The Rays might have the best young stud in this league in Evan Longoria. He is a great defender, as are the Rays. They posted a UZR of 69.5 last season which was good for second in the league. I really feel bad for the Rays because they are a team that is easily likable but they are stuck looking up at the Yankees and Red Sox. They have some promising young starters in David Price and Wade Davis. However, in what might end up being Carlos Pena’s and Carl Crawford’s final year in a Rays uniform, I don’t see them winning the wild card.

4. Baltimore Orioles
Key Departures: None
Key Arrivals: Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood, and Mike Gonzalez

The Orioles quietly had a nice off-season. Kevin Millwood will be a veteran pitcher that they can count on since they already have a very young rotation. I think that the Orioles are at least a couple of years from contending in this division. They have several young guys that will be really, really good like Brian Matusz and Matt Wieters. The bright side for Orioles fans will be watching how Wieters and Matusz progress. The Orioles could get more wins than expected if they can get more production than expected out of Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins. Look at the bright side, Orioles fans, at least I don’t have you all finishing last.

5. Toronto Blue Jays
Key Departures: Roy Halladay, Brandon League, Rod Barajas, Marco Scutaro
Key Arrivals: Kevin Gregg and Brandon Morrow

As you can clearly tell by looking at the Blue Jays off-season arrivals and departures, they are clearly in the rebuilding mode. Halladay was a big loss because he was worth about six or seven wins year in and year out. The Jays will struggle in this division because they don’t really have any starters that they know gives them the advantage in games. This does not combine well with a defense that had a UZR of -33.3 a year ago. If Aaron Hill and Adam Lind do end up being one year wonders, we could be looking at the leagues worst team because both of them provided some unexpected offensive value last season.

Owner’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

ES42’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Jays

Dougbies AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

Disco’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

JeffMac30’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

YC’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

KG3’s AL East Predictions:
1. Yankees
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays

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2 Comments on “2010 Divisional Previews & Predictions: AL East”

  1. Owner Says:

    Haha we’ve all got the exact same predictions.

  2. dougbies Says:

    Does it really surprise anyone that we all think alike here?


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