Andy Capwell’s Baseball Predictions: AL East
Boston's season opener is just six days away at Yankee Stadium. New York won the AL East last year, Boston finished last with a 69-93 record. That was last year, how will this year go in the AL East? This division could be wide open, here's my take on it.
1. Toronto Blue Jays- The team saw the most action during the offseason with the additions of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A.Dickey. Add a core of solid players from last year, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Bradon Morrow. Lawrie starts the season on the DL and they have a new manager with John Gibbons. I'll say first place, but it could be as low as third or fourth.
2. Tampa Bay Rays - David Price leads a Tampa Bay pitching staff that seems to add strong rookies every season. The Rays always struggle to score runs. Evan Longoria looks to bounce back from nagging injuries and look for good play from Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist. Manager Joe Madden always seems to get the most of this team. They should be in the playoff hunt.
3. New York Yankees - This team is starting with a lot of injuries. The season will start with Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixera and Alex Rodriguez on the DL. That's a lot of offense. Old friend Kevin Youkilis joins the team and the Yankees still have some good bats with Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner. C.C. Sabathia is a proven No. 1 starter, but he's coming off an injury. The key to the starting pitching could be Michael Pineda, he was out of shape and on the DL last season, if he returns to form, he could easily win 15 games. Hiroki Kuroda is solid and Mariano Rivera returns for his final season. The Yankees have many question marks and are a team that is getting old. I'll say third, but they could finish lower.
4. Boston Red Sox - They can't be as bad as they were last year. The key is the starting pitching. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will have to bounce back to 2011 form. Ryan Dempster should be a solid No. 3 starter. Boston's bullpen could be the strongest part of the team. David Ortiz will start the season on the DL, and I don't think the team can count of him this year. Boston will be fine on offense, with Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli and the outfield has speed to burn with Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and exciting rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. I think if all goes right, Boston could finish second and contend for a wild card playoff birth.
5. Baltimore Orioles - This team was one of the surprises of 2012. Baltimore was 29-9 in one-run games in 2012. It will be tough to match that this year. The team has solid young starting pitching with Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Tillman, but they are young and it will be tough to repeat 2012's success. The offense has good bats with Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters. The AL East, in my opinion, is wide open. I'll say Baltimore finishes last, but I won't be surprised if they finish as high as second.
Finally Red Sox and Yankee fans. Take our poll and let us know which team will win more games this season! Play Ball!