AL East Preview
A new baseball season is upon us and one of the most intriguing divisions to watch this season will be the American League East. This division includes the defending World Series Champions, another team that won 100 games last season and that many analysts say got better, and many other storylines. Here is how the AL East standings will look at the end of the season.
1.) New York Yankees
It’s hard for a team that won 100 games last year to get better, but the Yankees did just that. They added Adam Ottavino to a bullpen that already contains Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton and Chad Green. Their lineup might be the best in baseball with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way. The starting rotation is a little bit of a concern with Luis Severino starting the season on the injured list, but the addition of James Paxton along with Masahiro Tanaka and J.A Happ should be a solid rotation. If they can avoid the injury bug, the Yankees will win this division and will be World Series favorites heading into October.
2.) Boston Red Sox
Coming off a 108 win, World Series winning season, expectations are as high as ever in Boston and they should be. The lineup is potent with 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, J.D Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi. The starting rotation is still loaded with Chris Sale and David Price at the top. However in today’s baseball, you need a loaded bullpen and that’s wear the Red Sox could run into some problems. They chose not to resign Craig Kimbrel leaving Matt Barnes ad Ryan Brasier as the lead candidates to replace Kimbrel. If this team can get the bullpen figured out, they could repeat as division champs, either way this team will be in the playoffs as a wild card and strong World Series contender.
3.) Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays quietly won 90 games last season and could be this season’s dark horse contender. The starting rotation is solid with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, and free agent signing Charlie Morton who is coming off a career year at the top. Expect to also see a lot of the “opener” something Tampa Bay had some success with last season. The lineup doesn’t have the names of the Yankees and Red Sox, but does have some solid players in Willy Adames, Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows. They don’t have the firepower to hang around with the Yankees or Red Sox, but if the pitching lives up to expectations, the Rays could be a wild card team.
4.) Toronto Blue Jays
The biggest storyline in Toronto this season will be when will we see star prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. get the call to the major leagues. Blue Jays fans have been waiting for his debut for a couple years, and this might be the year we see him in the majors. Another storyline in Toronto will be if Marcus Stroman can get back to being the pitcher that Blue Jays fans think he could be after a couple injury plagued seasons. Toronto will be under the guidance of first year manager Charlie Montoyo, and he will be taking over a little bit of a rebuilding operation after a little bit of success this decade that saw some postseason action in Toronto. This might not be the greatest year, but the future is bright with a good farm system led by Vlad Jr.
5.) Baltimore Orioles
This is a rebuild that might take multiple years. The Orioles lost 115 games last year and are completely starting over in every facet of the organization. Baltimore has a new general manager, Mike Elias and a new manager Brandon Hyde. The former faces of the organization, Manny Machado and Adam Jones, are no longer there. One of the main goals of Baltimore’s season will be gathering as many prospects as possible to build for the future and trying to find some way to unload Chris Davis’s contract. Alex Cobb, who has had some success in the past, will be there number one starter and could be a valuable trade piece as well. It’s not going to be pretty this season in Baltimore, but the Orioles are looking more towards the future.
Kevin McConlogue is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him, email email@example.com.