MLB

MLB Spring Training Preview: American League East


Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)

The most storied division in the American League is loaded again for 2017. The Red Sox look poised to make a title run even after losing their prized slugger, David Ortiz, to retirement. But, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles will look to slow them down.  Let’s take a good look at how each team will perform in 2017.

| Boston Red Sox

2016 Record: 93-69

2017 Projected: 95-67

The Boston Red Sox won the American League East in 2016, and they look primed for a repeat. They acquired Drew Pomeranz on the back end of 2016, and they also traded for Chris Sale to top off one of the best starting rotations in the league. The offense still has ample firepower without David Ortiz through Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr, and they should be a nightmare for pitchers on a nightly basis. October is an expectation for this team, and they will be on the hunt for another World Series title this year.

 

| Baltimore Orioles

2016 Record:  89-73

2017 Projected: 90-72

After exiting in the wild card round of the 2016 playoffs, the Baltimore Orioles have reloaded for the 2017 season. They lost Matt Wieters to the Washington Nationals, but they picked up lefty-masher Wellington Castillo from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they also acquired Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners in a trade for Yovani Gallardo. An elite offense, coupled with a middle-of-the-road pitching staff should put the Orioles in a prime position for a wild card spot, but they will look to make it farther than just the wild card this time around.

 

| Toronto Blue Jays

2016 Record: 89-73

2017 Projected: 86-76

Losing Edwin Encarnacion with no ample replacement is not the key to success, but the Blue Jays were able to resign Jose Bautista to dampen the damage. They also added Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, both of which have had tremendous success against left-handed pitching. They also have one of the most complete starting rotations in the American League, and pitching will be a strong point for the Jays heading into 2017.

| New York Yankees

2016 Record: 84-78

2017 Projected: 82-80

The New York Yankees added Matt Holiday in the offseason to differentiate a lefty-heavy lineup, but the starting pitching is a huge question mark. Masahiro Tanaka will continue to be the ace of the rotation, but there is not much else working for them. This team is absolutely capable of making a run at the wild card, but they can only go as far as their rotation takes them.

 

| Tampa Bay Rays

2016 Record: 68-94

2017 Projected: 65-97

In a loaded American League East, the Tampa Bay Rays are the little sibling that no one cares about. They are in rebuilding mode, and everyone knows it. They traded away their best contact hitter, Logan Forsythe, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jose De Leon, who will likely not even make it into the starting rotation to start the season. The Rays simply do not have the coaching staff or the players that it takes to have a serious shot at the playoffs this season.

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