Although the 2012 Baltimore Orioles surprised almost everyone (except for those diehard, live-and-breathe optimistic Birds’ fans) with their postseason run, the 2013 season will prove to be an even tougher challenge in the more competitive American League East.
As most are probably aware, the underachieving 2012 Toronto Blue Jays have revamped their starting rotation and added key members to both their lineup and bullpen over the last couple of months.
They will be a force to be reckoned with next year and could be the best team in the league.
Plus, you can never count out the New York Yankees; there’s no doubt they will be back with a vengeance after struggling mightily in the ALCS against the Tigers. They will find a way to improve regardless of losing Nick Swisher and postseason hero Raul Ibanez.
The Boston Red Sox suffered through one of their worst seasons in recent memory, but have been busy this offseason; with a new manager and personnel, they should rebound next year.
And you cannot forget about those pesky Tampa Bay Rays. Although they struggled throughout August and early September, they came on strong towards the end of the season and made the East a three-team race; they will be in the thick of things next year as well.
So, the East is shaping up to be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball next year. Usually, this division is right up there with the NL East and the AL West, but in 2013, this might prove to be the most competitive division baseball has seen in a long time.
All five teams have a great possibility of finishing over the .500 mark, and it should be an exciting season.
Here are five keys to the Orioles repeating their 2012 success in a far better AL East in 2013.