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Curtis Granderson once again led the Yankees in home runs in 2012
The New York Yankees led all of baseball in home runs (245), and slugging percentage(.453) in 2012.
Will they do it again in 2013? Probably not.
Gone are Nick Swisher (24 HR, .473 slugging), Russell Martin (21/.403), and Raul Ibanez (19/.453). Alex Rodriguez (18/.430) will have yet another season where the majority of his time is spent recuperating from surgery.
The four of them are replaced in the lineup with Ichiro Suzuki (five HR in 67 games with the Yankees), Francisco Cervelli (five HR in 148 MLB games), Eduardo Nunez (seven HR in 180 MLB games) and Kevin Youkilis (he can at least match A-Rod's numbers, if not exceed them).
In spite of the drop-offs there still will be long-ball threats in the Yankees order.
First baseman Mark Teixeira, who had his first season since 2003 with less than 30 home runs should rebound for his usual 30 HR, 110 RBI output. Curtis Granderson has hit 84 HR over the past two seasons and there is no reason to believe that he won't hit at least 40 again this year. Finally, Robinson Cano will continue to be the heart of the Yankees offense and build upon his 33 HR, .550 slugging percentage performance of a year ago.
No, the team will not have the power it did in 2012, but it will still have power.
The rest of the division shapes up power-wise like this:
Jose Bautista missed 70 games in 2012, yet still hit 27 home runs. He is Toronto's most feared hitter with good reason. Since 2010, the Blue Jays' right fielder has amassed 124 HR and hit for a .584 slugging percentage.
In addition to Bautista, the Blue Jays' lineup features Edwin Encarnacion (42 HR in 2012) and Colby Rasmus (23 HR last season). Both are capable of clearing the bases on any given plate appearance.
The Orioles' batting order will have above-average power littered throughout. From catcher Matt Wieters (45 HR over past two seasons), first baseman Chris Davis (33 HR in 2012), shortstop JJ Hardy (22 HR last year), and rising star center fielder Adam Jones (32 HR and .505 slugging percentage in 2012) the team will have plenty of opportunities to make up deficits, or pull away from opponents quickly.
As with everyone else in this division, the Rays' lineup will have players with the ability to change a game with one swing. A healthy Evan Longoria (.516 career slugging percentage) will supply the biggest power threat and will be complimented by second baseman Ben Zobrist (20 HR each of the past two years) and right fielder Matt Joyce (17 "dingers" last year).
David Ortiz is the poster child for power in the Red Sox lineup. Since 2003, the quick swing of "Big Papi" has averaged 34 round-trippers and a .571 slugging percentage. Along with Ortiz, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (25 HR in 2012), first baseman Mike Napoli (54 HR over past two seasons), youngster Will Middlebrooks (15 HR in 75 games last year), center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (32 HR in 2011), as well as middle infielders Stephen Drew and Dustin Pedroia will provide consistent power threats throughout the year.
AL East Power Rankings
1. Baltimore - They were second to the Yankees in home runs in 2012. In 2013, they will move past them.
2. Boston - If Napoli's hip issue isn't a threat, his bat will be. The continued growth of Will Middlebrooks will boost the Red Sox power.
3. Yankees - They've lost some, but expect a bounce back from Teixeira and an improved average from Granderson in 2013.
4. Toronto - They were sixth overall in HR in 2012, and their new additions won't change that.
5. Tampa Bay - Their power will improve with a healthy Evan Longoria, but Manager Joe Maddon and their pitching staff is what will be the Rays' bread and butter.