AL East Predictions

March 11, 2008 at 8:58 am 16 comments

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The Division that we all have been waiting for. The reigning World Series champion Red Sox, the loved and hated Yankees, the sleeper Blue Jays, the up and coming Rays, and, well, the Orioles. This is one of those divisions that could really go any way from 1-4, the O’s have the 5th spot claimed. The 2-4 race will be a great one to watch. Here goes the AL East predicitions.

[TABLE=78]

Strengths
1) All around team – This team can do it all. Every position, every roster spot for that matter is legit. They have depth, they have great management, they have a good minor league system, and they have plenty of money. They are as close to complete as any team in the game.

Weaknesses:
1) Power of the Bench – I thought this one out for a long time and I really couldn’t come up with a true weakness for this team except for the power bat of the bench. I think they will find it easy to acquire a power bat for the bench in June or July and make this team complete.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Jon Lester has had a great spring so far and his velocity is back where it was before chemotherapy. He has the tools to breakout this year but my guess is that his breakout will be next year or in the first half of this year with a fatigue problem in the second half.

[TABLE=79]

Strengths
1) Offense – This team can flat out hit from 1-9. Led by the best player in the game in A-Rod this team can hurt you from any spot. The only thing is that they need to stay healthy for this to happen.

Weaknesses:
1) Pitching Depth – Here is where the problem lies. The rotation is thin with old guys and unproven youngsters. The bullpen is pretty weak and lacks real depth as well.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Phil Hughes has almost all his stuff back that made him one of the best, if not the best, pitching prospect in the game.

[TABLE=80]

Strengths
1) Rotation – This rotation will keep the Jays in the playoff race. They have a good rotation from 1-5 that can compete with just about every other rotation in the league.

Weaknesses:
1) Division – The AL East is what is holding them back. If they were in the NL or possibly any other division they could win the division or the Wild Card.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Dustin McGowan is for real. Believe this kid. He has true #1 starter stuff and last year is the year he started to put it all together. He should be even better this year with a full season under his belt.

[TABLE=81]

Strengths
1) Youth Movement – Is there any other team out there that can compete with the amount of high potential young players this team has? I say no. From Crawford to Kazmir, Upton to Longoria, all the way through the minors this team is stacked and ready to show the world they can play some ball.

Weaknesses:
1) Bullpen – When have they had a good bullpen? They added Percival and retained Reyes and Wheeler but the pen is weak behind them and thin.

Breakout Candidate:
1) It can be argued that B.J. Upton broke out last year but I think we will see his power and his speed come full force this year. A 30-30 season is very likely.

[TABLE=82]

Strengths
1) Future – They know they aren’t going anywhere with the 4 teams in front of them so they are building for the future. With Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Nolan Reimold, they have a legit OF to start with.

Weaknesses:
1) 2008 – This season is going to be painful for Orioles fans to watch. They O’s, in my opinion, will have the worst record in the game even though they may not be the worst team. They play in a division that could ahve 4 teams at or above .500 that will be feasting on the O’s.

Breakout Candidate:
1) Nick Markakis has a sweet swing, a great year under his belt, and the fire to be great. He also wants to be “the man” on the Orioles and is ready to get paid. He doesn’t have a ton of protection in the lineup but that won’t matter with his great plate discipline. He is primed for a big year.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aaron Boynton  |  March 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Good column. On the Red Sox, Varitek will hit 7th, Ellsbury 8th, and Lugo 9th. The top 6 is right on, though.

    If Colon can stay healthy, he’s going to be a huge asset in the bullpen.

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 11, 2008 at 10:05 am

    You’re probably right on the batting order but I am just trying to get an idea of where hitters will hit. Lineups on Opening Day rarely, if ever, stay that way. I agree about Colon though, as long as his arm is ok he will be a great asset in Schilling’s absence and out of the pen when Schilling returns.

    Reply
  • 3. Aaron Boynton  |  March 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

    He’ll be out of the pen all year unless one of the kids gets hurt. Even with schilling out, the sox will have Lester and Buchholtz in the rotation. Colon will be more of a Julian Tavarez this season: majority relief and an occasional spot start. But hopefully not as sucky.

    Reply
  • 4. John Cloutman  |  March 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    First off, I feel that the Blue Jays will win the Wild Card.

    Second Colon will start at least games this year, because Buchholz will have a Pitch Cap, and Schilling is done!!!

    Reply
  • 5. Aaron Boynton  |  March 11, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I think the Blue Jays could win the Wild Card but it will be a tough race between them, the Yanks, the Mariners, and the Tigers/Indians

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I think the Jays are a good bat away from passing the Yanks. The need an upgrade at catcher and they need to let Adam Lind play. I see Colon as a better version of Tavarez as well but like John said he will get his starts due to inning caps on the young guys and the few missed starts Beckett will have.

    Reply
  • 7. Aaron Boynton  |  March 11, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    The Blue Jays will regret not having John McDonald as the everyday SS. He is a far superior defensive player than Eckstein. Yes, Eckstein is a good hitter but he’s not as good for the Jays as McDonald is.

    Reply
  • 8. Erik  |  March 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Good Predictions Jonathan.

    I think of course the two top teams are the defending Red Sox and the team I hate most the Yankees. (Maybe Billy Crystal will be signed to pitch if Mussina has another year like the one he did previously).
    I think what will determine the yankees success depends on Girardi and the way he handles a veteran team.. Stop being a baby Girardi it is Major League Baseball.
    Now my bold prediction is I think the Rays could actually finish third granted in my pipe dream it has the Blue Jays ptching staff being hurt the majority of the season but I honestly think the Rays can finish Third. Here is why, They upgraded their pitching with Garza and Percival, have a decent SS upgrade now in Bartlett, And have a lot of depth with the additions of Cliff Floyd, Willie Aybar. What needs to happen is the pitching has to be there. They have a tremendous farm system.
    Orioles have no hope for this year. They have a potential ace though in Daniel Cabrera if he ever learns to find a strike zone, got a great OF prospect in Adam Jones in the Bedard deal but they have alot of horrible contracts that they are still under. They did manage to unload Tejeda for Scott who showed glimpses. This oriole team is far from the teams that had Earl Weaver at the helm. It is a job no one wants that team is such a mess.

    Oops seems I missed talking about the Blue Jays… They got better defensively in Rolen and they have some nice players on their team. I see them as Sellers rather than buyers during the trading deadline namely Burnett comes to mind.

    Reply
  • 9. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I agree with you there Aaron. I think Eck should be a utility guy that will still get 400+ plate appearances but McDonald should get the majority of time at SS.

    Erik – I agree with you that the Rays have a shot at 3rd. I honestly think if everything clicks they could be this year’s version of the Rox and surprise some teams. I’m not calling them pennant winners but I think they can come out of nowhere at the end and upset some teams.

    Also, the Jays just lost Cassey Jansen for the season.

    Reply
  • 10. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I didn’t say Pennant winners but if the Rockies showed anything last year it is that Baseball can be a funny game and if you play right then anyone can win.

    Reply
  • 11. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I know, I was saying that I personally think they can be like the Rox but maybe not the pennant part. I didn’t mean to make it sound like you said that.

    Reply
  • 12. Erik  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    This Erik fantasy moment is brought to you by…America’s best dance crew… Yankees finish below the Rays… I’m sorry I am really not used to calling them Rays to me they will always be the Devil Rays… But then again I still tend to call the Nationals the Expos…

    Reply
  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I would love to see that! I think the Yanks have too many holes and too many aging guys but still a solid team.

    Reply
  • 14. Brandon Cooke  |  March 17, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I highly doubt (unless it was a mistake) that JD Drew is going to steal 88 bases. No way

    Reply
  • 15. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 17, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Haha! My mistake. It should be 8. Thanks for pointing it out and for giving us a visit Brandon!

    Reply
  • 16. Marjorydm  |  March 24, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    thank you, man

    Reply

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