Now for the American League predictions. First up the AL East. New York Yankees won the division last season, Tampa Bay Rays won the 2nd place posistion and wild card spot after a debacle breakdown in August/Septmber by Boston. What will see this season?
2011 AL East Final Standings:
- NY Yankees (97-65)
- Tampa Bay Rays (91-71)
- Boston Red Sox (90-72)
- Toronto Blue Jays (81-81)
- Baltimore Orioles (69-93)
2012 ALE Predictions:
- Yankees (98-64)
- Tampa Bay (93-69)
- Red Soxs (91-71)
- Toronto Jays (82-80)
- Baltimore Orioles (68-94)
Yankees Analyst: Big offseason trade between the Yanks and Mariners when the Yankees traded away one of their top prospects Jesus Montero to the M’s for Michael Pineda, who is likely to be the Bronx Bombers 2nd starter behind the big horse CC Sabathia. Also just lat week they re-signed long time former Yankee Andy Pettitte to a 1 year deal coming out of a short retirement- shooting for a May return. Yankees pitching staff- 7 potential starting pitchers of Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Hughes, Kuroda, Garcia, and Andy Pettitte. Bullpen may be a strong moot point for the Yankees- Soriano, David Robertson and the great closer of Mariano Rivera still pitching lights out at 42 years old. He indciates 2012 may be his final season. Yankees offense looks strong as always. Russel Martin better defensive catcher with decent occasional power, Mark Teixeria BA struggling to get real high, but still hits 25+ homers, Robinson Cano still likely to win a batting title in my book, Alex Rodriguez had a good 2011 season (despite injury), Curtis Granderson (over 40 homers in 2011) Nick Swisher also can knock 20-25 homers out of the ballpark as well. Not to mention Derek Jeter still going strong who had incredible 2nd half of the season after he picked up hit #3000 in early July. Im picking the Yankees to win the division again.
Rays Analyst: The rays took advantage of the Red Sox historic collapse by having a great September. Led by their solidly good pitching rotation of David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson (entering his 2nd full season), Matt Moore and Wade Davis. Pitching is what gives the Rays the boost over Boston in my opinion. Their line-up is not full of superstars- Evan Longoria the most productive hitter in the starting 9- BJ Upton will play a huge role- he needs to have a breakout season for the Rays. They re-acquired Carlos Pena from the Cubs, he still can put up 25 homers or more, so the Rays have some pop but probably not as much as the Yankees and Sox do. Tampa Bay Rays always appear to get really hot in the last two months and find a miracle to always reach the postseason. They should get in here in one of the wildcard spots.
Boston Analyst: Boston Redsox’s look to rebound from their debacle meltdown to miss the postseason to win the AL East here in 2012. They got rid of Terry Francona and brought in Bobby Valentine which means new manager and probably a new attitude to Boston. Boston still possess of a very good offense- Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and of course “big papi” David Ortiz is still in Boston. Carl Crawford will be a big part of Boston’s fate- he will need to be way better than what he produced in 2011 his first year in Boston he only hit BA of .255- 11 homers- 56 RBI’s. I have a feeling those numbers will improve this season. The Sawx pitching staff is decent but not as good as Tampa’s and even the Yanks. They do have Jon Lester, Josh Beckett who had good first halves of the season- but went downhill big time like the rest of the team. Clay Bucholtz, Alfredo Aceves, and Daniel Bard will likely move from Setup spot to the starting rotation in 2012. Don’t forget some of the pitching staff was under fire from the beer drinking during games incident. Jonathan Papelbon has moved to the Phillies, replacing him as the closer is Andrew Bailey- while he is decent, he is not Jonathan Papelbon. I think Boston just misses the playoffs yet again by a hair.
Blue Jays Analyst: Jays put up a .500 final win-lost record in 2011. All of course a powerful lineup- 6 of the 9 20+ potential home run hitters. Jose Bautista one of the best players in the last two years. After being traded for the Pirates to the Blue Jays his home runs has increased dramatically. He went from hitting average of 13-16 home runs a year to hitting 54 and 43 in the last two seasons. If all goes right I expect the Jays to be up to the top 3 teams of total home runs. Bautista, Adam Lind, Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion all have the power to hit 20 or more bombs. Not much to say about their pitching. Ricky Romero their ace is slightly above average, Brandon Morrow is a flame-thrower, Brett Cecil average southpaw, Dustin McGowan and Henderson Alvarez. Gotta watch out for the Jays, sleeper team. I don’t think this year but over the next couple of years watch them make it back to postseason contention.
Orioles Analyst: Another frustrating season in 2011 for the O’s. Make it 14 seasons without a winning record in the charm city. I think its pretty bold to mark it up as another lousy season for the birds in 2012. Don’t get me wrong they have good ball players like Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold but they also got Mark Reynolds (hits 25+ homers but strikes out way too much, BA always an issue) Brian Roberts (good player but injuries have caught up to him), JJ Hardy (Had very good 2011 season, don’t think he’ll repeat that). Sloppy pitching rotation for the birds- Jake Arrietta, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and two other unnamed starters at this time.
In review I got: Yankees (1st) Rays (2nd) Sox (3rd) Jays in 4th and O’s in last.