February 9, 2011

AL East Division Preview

Baltimore Orioles
Depth Chart/Lineup

1. Brian Roberts (2B)
2. Nick Markakis (RF)
3. Adam Jones (CF)
4. Vladimir Guerrero (DH)
5. Derek Lee (1B)
6. Matt Wieters (C)
7. Mark Reynolds (3B)
8. Luke Scott (LF)
9. JJ Hardy (SS)

1. Brian Matusz
2. Jeremy Guthrie
3. Brad Bergesen
4. Chris Tillman
5. Jake Arrieta
CL. Kevin Gregg
Setup. Mike Gonzalez

Top Prospects
1. Manny Machado (SS), ETA-2013
2. Zach Britton (P), ETA-2012
3. Dan Klein (P), ETA-2012
4. Xavier Avery (OF), ETA 2013
5. Matt Hobgood (P), ETA 2014

My Take- In any other division, their offseason would make them a contender. In the AL East it might get them out of the division cellar. I believe their lineup can match up with anybody’s and with their additions I even like their bench depth. However; their rotation, although developing, won’t be able to keep up with the offense. Their farm system as a whole is weaker than most, but that’s because most have been promoted recently. Machado and Britton are potential impact players. If they can keep developing their young players I could see them making a move in the near future, but 2011 might be a year too early.

Boston Red Sox

Depth Chart/Lineup
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
3. Carl Crawford (LF)
4. Adrian Gonzalez (1B)
5. Kevin Youklis (3B)
6. David Ortiz (DH)
7. JD Drew (RF)
8. Marco Scutaro (SS)
9. Jarrod Saltalamaccia (C)

1. Jon Lester
2. Clay Buccholz
3. John Lackey
4. Josh Beckett
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka
CL. Jonathan Papelbon
Setup. Josh Bard

Top Prospects
1. Jose Iglesias (SS), ETA 2012
2. Anthony Ranaudo (P), ETA 2013
3. Drake Britton (P), ETA 2014
4. Josh Reddick (OF), ETA 2011
5. Brandon Workman (P), ETA 2013

My Take – The Red Sox went from being a big disappointment in 2010 to everyone’s 2011 American League favorite because of their aggressive and successful offseason. They added two of the top players in the game in Crawford and Gonzalez, who should both be fixtures in the lineup for years to come. They are still getting old quickly in a couple areas, and after the trade they don’t have a ton of help coming anytime soon from the farm. Lester and Buchholz pitched very well in 2010 and will look to build on that success. The rest of the rotation is filled with question marks and injury concerns. That said, the Red Sox won’t hesitate to add at the trade deadline if necessary, as they are clearly in win now mode (when aren’t the Red Sox and Yankees in win now mode right...)

New York Yankees

Depth Chart/Lineup
1. Derek Jeter (SS)
2. Jorge Posada (C)
3. Robinson Cano (2B)
4. Mark Teixeira (1B)
5. Alex Rodriguez (3B)
6. Nick Swisher (RF)
7. Curtis Granderson (CF)
8. Russell Martin (C)
9. Brett Gardner (LF)

1. CC Sabathia
2. Phil Hughes
3. AJ Burnett
4. Ivan Nova
5. Sergio Mitre
CL. Mariano Rivera
Setup. Rafael Soriano

Top Prospects
1. Jesus Montero (C), ETA 2011
2. Dellin Betances (P), ETA 2012
3. Manny Banuelos (P), ETA 2013
4. Gary Sanchez (C), ETA 2014
5. Graham Stoneburner (P), ETA 2013

My Take – Though age is finally catching up to A Rod and Jeter, they are still very productive players and are surrounded by a solid lineup. They should be fine on offense and have Montero waiting in the wings should they need a boost (or if Martin struggles coming back from injury). I think he’ll produce from the get go. Their rotation on the other hand could be an issue. They missed out on their number one target Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte retired. I do think some people are over-reacting though. They have an ace (Sabathia), a future ace (Hughes) and a farm system full of high-quality catchers and pitchers who could (I think it’s only a matter of time) bring back another top starter. I also think they have enough quality arms in the pen to ensure their starters don’t have to be stellar day in and day out. A step back to be sure, but not time to panic (yet!).

Tampa Bay Rays

Depth Chart/Lineup
1. Johnny Damon (LF)
2. BJ Upton (CF)
3. Evan Longoria (3B)
4. Manny Ramirez (DH)
5. Dan Johnson (1B)
6. Ben Zobrist (RF)
7. Sean Rodriguez (2B)
8. John Jaso (C)
9. Reid Brignac (SS)

1. David Price
2. James Shields
3. Wade Davis
4. Jeremy Hellickson
5. Jeff Niemann
CL. Kyle Farnsworth (huh?)
Setup. Jake McGee

Top Prospects
1. Desmond Jennings (OF), ETA 2011
2. Jeremy Hellickson (P), ETA 2011
3. Matt Moore (P), ETA 2012
4. Jake McGee (P), ETA 2011
5. Chris Archer (P), ETA 2012

My Take- I’m glad we waited to do the AL East breakdown as the Rays have made some late moves in the offseason that will affect their plans. As a Desmond Jennings fan (and fantasy owner) I was disappointed to see them bring in both Manny Ramirez AND Johnny Damon. The moves block both Jennings and Matt Joyce who many thought were potential breakout candidates. They lost a lot in the offseason (Crawford, Pena, Garza, Benoit, etc.) and even though they always have young talent on the brink, it will be tough to replace them all. The lineup is filled with guys at the end of their careers and guys without much experience. From top to bottom it is respectable but not spectacular. Even after losing Garza their rotation should be solid. Sure they are young, but they have great stuff and were brought along the right way in the organization. Even though they keep bringing guys up, their farm system seems like its always stocked with great young talent and this year is no different. If pitching wins championships, the Rays should be right in the mix again. However; I personally don’t believe their offense will be strong enough.

Toronto Blue Jays

Depth Chart/Lineup
1. Rajai Davis (CF)
2. Yunel Escobar (SS)
3. Aaron Hill (2B)
4. Jose Bautista (3B)
5. Adam Lind (1B)
6. Travis Snider (RF)
7. Juan Rivera (LF)
8. Edwin Encarnacion (DH)
9. JP Arencibia (C)

1. Ricky Romero
2. Brett Cecil
3. Brandon Morrow
4. Marc Rzepczynski
5. Kyle Drabek
Cl. Octavio Dotel
Setup. Frank Francisco

Top Prospects
1. Brett Lawrie (2B/OF), ETA 2011
2. Kyle Drabek (P), ETA 2011
3. Deck McGuire (P), ETA 2012
4. Zach Stewart (P), ETA 2013
5. Aaron Sanchez (P), ETA 2014

My Take – In my head all offseason I thought the Blue Jays could be a surprise team in 2011, but after doing the review I don’t think they are ready to take on the big boys of the division yet. I think the word for this team is Potential. They have a lot of it, but have yet to put it all together. Lind and Snider could form a formidable heart of the lineup, or they could continue to regress. Lawrie should be up sometime in 2011 and will add another bat with some pop. Their rotation is young and improving, with even more help on the way. Well find out a lot about this team in 2011, but whatever happens they’ve at least added a ton of flexibility by getting rid of the terrible Vernon Wells contract. They could still surprise some folks, but I won’t be picking them ahead of the Red Sox or Yankees.

Predicted Final Standings

1. Boston Red Sox, 90-72
2. New York Yankees, 88-76
3. Baltimore Orioles, 82-80
4. Tampa Bay Rays, 79-83
5. Toronto Blue Jays, 77-85

I think this division will be a tight battle all year. I feel sorry for fans of the Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays. In any other division these teams would be perennial contenders, they just can’t spend what the Yanks and Sox do...


  1. Jeff, seriously, 90-72 for the Red Sox? I'll bet you a lunch they are closer to 100 wins than they are to 90 wins when the regular season is over...

  2. You might be right, but I think they'll play a lot of tough games in their division and although I don't think it will be a major issue, the back end of their rotation could have some hiccups with injuries or ineffectivness. But, I'm a bettin' man so your on! haha