Last week, I wrote an article entitled MLB Predictions: Boston’s Josh Beckett and 10 AL East Stars Who Will Rebound in 2011, predicting 10 star athletes from baseball’s AL East Division who will fare better in the year ahead than they did in the 2010 season.
I anticipate a return to form for stars like Derek Jeter of New York and Josh Beckett of Boston—elite players who offered uncharacteristically mediocre contributions last year.
This week, I’m following that theme, but with a bit of a twist. While the last article suggested which players would rebound, this article is going to focus on which players need to rebound for the sake of their teams' success in 2011.
Several of the names on this list can be found on the previous one. We are focusing on the stars of the league, after all. These are the players who make the biggest impact, and that is precisely why the fate of their respective teams rests greatly upon their shoulders.
Players will be listed in order, 10 through one, leading up to the player who most needs to succeed if his team is to do the same. But before we begin, I will explain the angle I took, so to speak, in determining these rankings. I put emphasis on the expectations of each team going into the season. I predict that the standings will look like this at the end of the season:
Now, Baltimore is not looking like much of a threat going into the season; if they could finish at .500, that would be a pretty impressive feat when compared with last season. With such low expectations, Baltimore doesn’t really need to have a star rebound, because I still couldn’t fathom them making the playoffs.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is still in the hunt for the wild card despite some significant offseason losses from the roster. More than anyone, they need people to step up, because they actually have a shot at the playoffs, even if I don’t expect them to make it if all players on all teams were to play to their potential. But of course, that won’t happen, so a star returning to form might be just enough for an underdog to make some noise and grab a playoff berth.
At any rate, without further ado, I give you 10 Struggling AL East Stars Who Most Need to Rebound, starting with No. 10...