MLB Previews: American League East

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MLB Previews: American League East
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

 

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

 

LINEUP

1. Marco Scutaro | SS | .267 | 7 HR | 60 RBI

2. Aaron Hill | 2B | .263 | 2 HR | 20 RBI

3. Alex Rios | RF | .291 | 15 HR | 79 RBI

4. Vernon Wells | CF | .300 | 20 HR | 78 RBI

5. Adam Lind | DH | .282 | 9 HR | 40 RBI

6. Lyle Overbay | 1B | .270 | 15 HR | 69 RBI

7. Scott Rolen | 3B | .262 | 11 HR | 50 RBI

8. Rod Barajas | C | .249 | 11 HR | 49 RBI

9. Travis Snider | LF | .301 | 2 HR | 13 RBI

 

PITCHING STAFF

1. Roy Halladay | 20-11 | 2.78 ERA | 206 K | 1.05 WHIP

2. Jesse Litsch | 13-9 | 3.58 ERA | 99 K | 1.23 WHIP

3. David Purcey | 3-6 | 5.54 ERA | 58 K | 1.48 WHIP

4. Ricky Romero |

5. Scott Richmond | 1-3 | 4.00 ERA | 20 K | 1.26 WHIP

CL B.J. Ryan | 32 SV | 2.95 ERA | 58 K | 1.28 WHIP

 

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Kevin Millar | .234 | 20 HR | 72 RBI

Jose Bautista | .238 | 15 HR | 54 RBI

 

The Blue Jays have been stuck in the AL East for far too long if you’re a Blue Jays fan. They have the hitting to compete with the rest of the division, but they don’t have the pitching. Outside of Halladay, it is Mediocre City in Toronto. Luckily, Jesse Litsch seems to be emerging and could possibly give the Blue Jays a boost in the pitching staff. However, the other three must have good years to pull off a “TB Rays.” The Blue Jays are still a team to watch out for, and if a couple teams don’t have the seasons they were expecting, they could slip up into a playoff contender.

 

OVERALL GRADE: B-

 

 

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

 

LINEUP

1. Brian Roberts | 2B | .296 | 9 HR | 57 RBI

2. Cesar Izturis | SS | .263 | 1 HR | 24 RBI

3. Nick Markakis | RF | .306 | 20 HR | 87 RBI

4. Aubrey Huff | 1B | .304 | 32 HR | 108 RBI

5. Melvin Mora | 3B | .285 | 23 HR | 104 RBI

6. Luke Scott | DH | .257 | 23 HR | 65 RBI

7. Gregg Zaun | C | .237 | 6 HR | 30 RBI

8. Adam Jones | CF | .270 | 9 HR | 57 RBI

9. Felix Pie | LF | .241 | 1 HR | 10 RBI

 

PITCHING STAFF

1. Jeremy Guthrie | 10-12 | 3.63 ERA | 120 K | 1.23 WHIP

2. Koji Uehara |

3. Mark Hendrickson | 7-8 | 5.45 ERA | 81 K | 1.47 WHIP

4. Alfredo Simon | 0-0 | 6.23 ERA | 8 K | 1.38 WHIP

5. Adam Eaton | 4-8 | 5.80 ERA | 57 K | 1.64 WHIP

CL George Sherrill | 31 SV | 4.73 ERA | 58 K | 1.50 WHIP

 

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Ty Wigginton | .285 | 23 HR | 58 RBI

Ryan Freel | .298 | 0 HR | 10 RBI

 

The Baltimore Orioles have the same problems that Toronto has, essentially. The only difference between the O’s and the Jays is the Jays have a guy named Roy Halladay. I like the O’s lineup and depth, but the fact that they’re in the AL East is the downer for this team. You can never count out a team like the Orioles considering what happened last year with the Rays, but nevertheless it looks like another long season for the O’s in the AL East.

 

OVERALL GRADE: C

 

 

TAMPA BAY RAYS

 

LINEUP

1. B.J. Upton | CF | .273 | 9 HR | 67 RBI

2. Carl Crawford | LF | .273 | 8 HR | 57 RBI

3. Evan Longoria | 3B | .272 | 27 HR | 85 RBI

4. Carlos Pena | 1B | .247 | 31 HR | 102 RBI

5. Pat Burrell | DH | .250 | 33 HR | 86 RBI

6. Dioner Navarro | C | .295 | 7 HR | 54 RBI

7. Gabe Gross | RF | .238 | 13 HR | 40 RBI

8. Akinori Iwamura | 2B | .274 | 6 HR | 48 RBI

9. Jason Bartlett | SS | .286 | 1 HR | 37 RBI

 

PITCHING STAFF

1. James Shields | 14-8 | 3.56 ERA | 160 K | 1.15 WHIP

2. Scott Kazmir | 12-8 | 3.49 ERA | 166 K | 1.27 WHIP

3. Matt Garza | 11-9 | 3.70 ERA | 128 K | 1.24 WHIP

4. Andy Sonnanstine | 13-9 | 4.38 ERA | 124 K | 1.29 WHIP

5. Jeff Niemann | 2-2 | 5.06 ERA | 14 K | 1.63 WHIP

CL Troy Percival | 28 SV | 4.53 ERA | 38 K | 1.23 WHIP

 

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Matt Joyce | .252 | 12 HR | 33 RBI

Willy Aybar | .253 | 10 HR | 33 RBI

 

The Tampa Bay Rays surprised the nation last season when they burst through the AL East and then went to the World Series. The question in 2009 is: will they repeat what they did last season? I think it is very possible for this team to repeat their 2008 performance. They have a lot of young talent mixed with veteran talent. David Price will probably make his way up from AAA before June, which will help the pitching staff. Also, I cannot see Percival being the closer for an entire season. Whether he gets hurt or not, I think Balfour or Wheeler will get that role by the end of the season.

 

OVERALL GRADE: B+

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX

 

LINEUP

1.  Jacoby Ellsbury | CF | .280 | 9 HR | 47 RBI

2. Dustin Pedroia | 2B | .326 | 17 HR | 83 RBI

3. David Ortiz | DH | .264 | 23 HR | 89 RBI

4. Kevin Youkilis | 1B | .312 | 29 HR | 115 RBI

5. Jason Bay | LF | .286 | 31 HR | 101 RBI

6. J.D. Drew | RF | .280 | 19 HR | 64 RBI

7. Mike Lowell | 3B | .274 | 17 HR | 73 RBI

8. Jason Varitek | C | .220 | 13 HR | 43 RBI

9. Jed Lowrie | SS | .258 | 2 HR | 46 RBI

 

 

PITCHING STAFF

1. Josh Beckett | 12-10 | 4.03 ERA | 172 K | 1.19 WHIP

2. Daisuke Matsuzaka | 18-3 | 2.90 ERA | 154 K | 1.32 WHIP

3. Jon Lester | 16-6 | 3.21 ERA | 152 K | 1.27 WHIP

4. Tim Wakefield | 10-11 | 4.13 ERA | 117 K | 1.18 WHIP

5. Brad Penny | 6-9 | 6.27 ERA | 51 K | 1.63 WHIP

CL Jonathan Papelbon | 41 SV | 2.34 ERA | 77 K | 0.95 WHIP

 

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Rocco Baldelli | .263 | 4 HR | 13 RBI

Brad Wilkerson | .220 | 4 HR | 28 RBI

 

The Boston Red Sox of 2009 look top-to-bottom like the best team in the majors to me. Their lineup has great balance and depth, their starting rotation is very good (with Clay Buchholz waiting in the wings in case Wakefield or Penny get injured), and their bullpen is one of the best in the league. It is scary to imagine Beckett back to his 2007 form because no one has a chance to beat this team if that is the case, at least not until the playoffs.

 

OVERALL GRADE: A-

 

 

NEW YORK YANKEES

 

LINEUP

1. Derek Jeter | SS | .300 | 11 HR | 69 RBI

2. Johnny Damon | LF | .303 | 17 HR | 71 RBI

3. Alex Rodriguez | 3B | .302 | 35 HR | 103 RBI

4. Mark Teixeira | 1B | .308 | 33 HR | 121 RBI

5. Xavier Nady | RF | .305 | 25 HR | 97 RBI

6. Hideki Matsui | DH | .294 | 9 HR | 45 RBI

7. Robinson Cano | 2B | .271 | 14 HR | 72 RBI

8. Jorge Posada | C | .268 | 3 HR | 22 RBI

9. Brett Gardner | CF | .228 | 0 HR | 16 RBI

 

PITCHING STAFF

1. CC Sabathia | 17-10 | 2.70 ERA | 251 K | 1.11 WHIP

2. A.J. Burnett | 18-10 | 4.07 ERA | 231 K | 1.34 WHIP

3. Chien-Ming Wang | 8-2 | 4.07 ERA | 54 K | 1.32 WHIP

4. Andy Pettitte | 14-14 | 4.54 ERA | 158 K | 1.41 WHIP

5. Joba Chamberlain | 4-3 | 2.60 ERA | 118 K | 1.26 WHIP

CL Mariano Rivera | 39 SV | 1.40 ERA | 77 K | .67 WHIP

 

KEY BENCH PLAYERS

Cody Ransom | .302 | 4 HR | 8 RBI

Nick Swisher | .219 | 24 HR | 69 RBI

Melky Cabrera | .249 | 8 HR | 37 RBI

 

The 2008 New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs. I guess that was what it took for Steinbrenner to go out and get some pitchers. With addition of Sabathia and Burnett, this Yankees squad is looking pretty good. It was a lock for the Yankees to make the playoffs after those acquisitions; however, Alex Rodriguez (the most LOVED Yankee) had some offseason troubles.

 

First, it was the steroids dilemma and then his injury that will most likely keep him out until June. Whether Yankee fans want to admit it or not, that really hurts the New York Yankees of ’09. If the Yanks struggle out the gate and get behind, it might be tough to climb their way back in the tough AL East.

 

OVERALL GRADE: B

 

 

This is by far the best division in the American League and it will prove it throughout the season. I think the BoSox are the best team in this division, and with the injury of A-Rod, they might have a comfortable lead that no one will be able to come back from. Either way, I think it will be an interesting year in the East and it should be quite a battle for the American League crown, which I think it will come down to two AL East opponents once again.

 

1. Boston Red Sox (98-64)

2. New York Yankees (90-72)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (90-72)

4. Toronto Blue Jays (83-79)

5. Baltimore Orioles (74-88)

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