Last week, I made some surprising predictions when I said that the Tampa Bay Rays would win the World Series. And you know what? Most of my friends thought I was nuts. So I’m here to go a bit deeper into each division and the awards that I think will be given out this year. We’ll start with the AL East.
2013 Major League Baseball Predictions
1)Tampa Bay-Tampa Bay has a lot going for them this year. Yes. I’m serious. They have reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. Price went and is one of the most consistent pitchers in the AL East. Price isn’t an one man show though. The Rays’ rotation has Jeremy Hellickson, the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Hellickson went 10-11 last season but had a very respectable E.R.A. of 3.10. I expect Hellickson to have a great year and make his first All-Star appearance. The Rays also have Matt Moore, who has shown signs of brilliance. Moore went 11-11 last season and I expect him to be a very strong 3rd starter. Alex Cobb and Jeff Niemann will make up one of the best 4 and 5 combos in all of baseball. The Rays’ starting pitching is jacked. The Rays also have an excellent bullpen, with Francisco Rodney coming off one of the best seasons for a reliever ever. Jake McGee had a 1.95 ERA in 55 innings and makes an excellent set up man. The Rays also have a pretty good lineup. By trading James Shields for Wil Myers, the Rays have the best young hitting prospect likely to emerge this season. I personally think Myers will be on the Rays 25-man roster by May at the latest. Myers hit 37 home runs in between Double and Triple A last year. He will make contributions in the majors. I guarantee it. Evan Longroia is quite simply the best third baseman in the game. He will anchor the lineup. This lineup also has Ben Zorbist, a very undervalued player who can play almost any position. Matt Joyce will contribute greatly as a fourth outfielder. This lineup is not the best one in the AL East. But it’s going to be better than a lot of people give it credit for. I stand by what I predicted. The Rays are going to be 2013 World Series Champs.
2) Toronto Blue Jays-The Jays are a very good team on paper. And I expect them to be a very good team. But I do have a few questions. The Blue Jays shocked everybody by trading a bunch of spare parts for Mark Beurhle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes from the Miami Marlins and also snagged R.A. Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, from the New York Mets. The Blue Jays also have Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. They are stacked with their lineup and their pitching staff. On paper. However, a lot can go wrong. Is Encarnacino able to hit 40 home runs again? Can Buehrle, Johnson, and Dickey pitch in the AL East? Johnson’s been injured for a while and wasn’t that great last year. If he can turn it around, then the Jays will be doing a lot better. Buehrle is 34 and is one of the most consistent players in the game. But he’s consistently decent, not great. So the Jays have a lot of potential, but plenty can go wrong. The bullpen is full of holes. I expect Toronto to be good but I am not willing to guarantee they’ll do well.
3) New York Yankees: Personally, I think the Yankees are not a bad team. They have some decent players. They have C.C. Sabathia. They have Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and Curtis Granderson. However, the Yankees also have several underperforming stars. I do not think Kevin Youkilis will do much for the Bombers as their everyday third baseman. I think Ichiro Suzuki will be an average right fielder. The reign is over. Mark Teixeira admitted himself that he was overpaid. The Yankees will be getting Mariano Rivera back and that will help the bullpen now that Rafael Soriano has left the team. The Yanks are getting old. They will compete but I do not believe that they have enough left in the tank to make a playoff run.
4) Baltimore: I can see Baltimore going up to number 3 in the division. But it’s a bit of a stretch. I want the Orioles to do well. I like that the teams that were bad to okay for years have done well recently-i.e. the Jays, the Rays, the Nationals. But the Orioles were a very lucky team to do so well. The secret? The best bullpen in the major leagues. It’s amazing that a bullpen that doesn’t really have any superstars can be the secret to a team’s success. Jim Johnson did nothing for years and last year saved 51 games. I love it. The Orioles won an impressive 93 games last season. They won 29 of them by one run. I’m sorry, but let’s be honest. There’s no way that they can pull it off again. The Orioles will be in the mix, but are a few players away from being legitimate contenders. Their lineup has some young talent like Matt Wieters and Manny Machado. They have Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. But I don’t think it will be enough.
5) Boston Red Sox: It pains me to put Boston here. It really does. But the facts are the facts. Boston cannot simply compete in this division. They have plenty of talent and I think John Farrell is going to be a savior for this organization. They still have Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. Mike Napoli will be a welcome addition to the line-up. There’s also a great bullpen with Koji Uehara and Joel Hanrahan joining the staff that had Andrew Bailey and Alfredo Aceves, who will thankfully go back to the long reliever role after completing blowing up the closer job. But are the Red Sox better than the Jays? Better than the Rays? Or the Yankees or Orioles? The answer is no. They certainly won’t be as bad as last season. I see the Sox finishing somewhere around 78-84, a bad season, but not too bad considering the tightness of the division race this year. The Red Sox will serve a role similar to last season’s. They will help determine the playoff race because I find it very likely that the other teams in this division will need to beat the Red Sox to help guarantee a playoff position.
That’s it for the A.L. East. Next up A.L. Central.