Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Next up is the famous AL East. The AL East is the home of the AL Champion Cleveland Indians!

Baltimore Orioles (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Baltimore now has a shot at their seventh consecutive divisional crown. The Orioles are running out the same team that won it all last year. A solid team looking to make another run.

OUT: OF- Vance Cora , SP- Ryuu Choi ,  Sp - Russ Byrne

IN: OF - Charles Bando, OF – Terrence Smoltz

PREVIEW: The Orioles came in with high hopes for building off their championship season. Things went horribly wrong and they clawed their way to a winning season but failed to win the division or make the playoffs. The biggest contributor of the downfall appears to be the amount of blown saves (16), and league average pitching (715 runs allowed). The O’s were still a top five fielding team and were top 10 in runs scored (786). 
The O’s got started revamping their team with a big trade sending superstar Vance Cora (.274/.346/.493, 103 runs created). In return they get outfield sluggers Charles Bando (.265/.309/.497: 88 RC), and Terrence Smoltz (.251/.317/.441: 43 RC). Another piece to the trade was future 2b Bobby Blair, who projects to be a very solid player. All told, the O’s won this trade, especially if Smoltz gets full playing time.
The pitching will be in disarray. At this point, there is no replacement for Choi (the ace of the staff) or Byrne (the #5, but ate innings).  Pablo Cruz was not an adequate signing, when they need bullpen help.

PREDICTION: 89-73, wildcard?

New York
New York Yankees (AL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Preview: OE finally pulled out of the tailspin and took the Yankees back to the playoffs via the wildcard. Expect a bigger year out of 23 year old Wade Dunn, Milt Howard, and Damaso Jacquez. Starting pitchers Perez, Graves, and Mullins leads a formidable three headed monster. The young guns didn’t progress as much as expected, but the Bronx Bombers are solid in every phase of the game.


OUT: Miguel Sanchez, Brant Clark

IN: Danny Waters, Kid Peters, Barry Kelly

PREVIEW: The prediction was quite a bit off. Wade Dunn and PT Fischbach were sent backing to Pittsburgh. Coincidentally Dunn did produce 56 runs after being traded (leading the team in that time and leading the Pirates to a World Series Championship. In return the Yankees received Sean Pearson (.244/.299/.462) and Felipe Moya (.258/.356/.488) which was much better than the contributions they were getting. Overall, both teams won. Jacquez continued to struggle but still produced a team high 94 runs.
Incoming outfielders, Danny Waters and Kid Peters, should produce nicely for the Yankees. One of the Rule V Barry Kelly is a defensive whiz kid and will definitely help.
The Yankees made some very solid moves. They improved their offense last year by trading non-producing players for those that produce. OE isn’t afraid to make a move. Expect more this year. The new free agents will provide pop. The Indians should be looking over their shoulders.

PREDICTION: 101-61, Division Champs

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Playing in the toughest division in baseball can be very frustrating and times, and when team outplays their runs/scored allowed like the Sox did you know they gave their all. The window is closing on the Red Sox and jclarkbaker. Last season they missed the playoffs after 82 wins, and it will be surprising to see them make that mark again this year.


OUT: Adrian Ramsay (104), Turner Wohlers (63), Leon Wilkerson (66), Chris Ludwick (69)

IN: John Pryce, Virgil Valdes, Francisco Sanchez

PREVIEW: I hate having to say, “I told you so” about a team. It was just obvious that the Red Sox were on the decline and that the window closed. Well, now boards have been put over the windows and nailed shut. It looks like the zombie apocalypse is coming and jclark is fortifying.
The Sox have lost a TON of offense. Mostly it was replacement or below replacement level players, Wilkerson at least provided 1.4 War. But what about Adrian Ramsay? Off to Pittsburgh and takes his .249/.333/.471…and that was a down year thanks to his .251 babip. Not everyday you lose a guy with 4.5 WAR.
In coming is pitching. It doesn’t seem like much, and they probably won’t save jclark from being eaten alive, but Pryce, Vales, and Sanchez are all solid pitchers. Throw in a couple good fielders and it’s obvious the Red Sox are going with pitching and defense until they can get some solid hitters again. They are down again this year, but hopefully not for too long.


Cleveland Indians (AL)
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LAST YEARS RECORD:85-57, Division Champs

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Drichter steadily improved and made a terrific move to capture the wildcard in the AL. The team posted the most wins in franchise history with 88. They pulled off a key trade with the Twins. Star slugger, Javier Valdes (.262/.345/.508, 5.5 war, 105 rc). His trade entirely alters the face of the AL East, and provides the Indians with a remarkable amount of offensive fire power. It’s unclear how much help free agent Eddie Douglas will provide for the Tribe. The Indians are gaining recognition as a possible World Series contender. I can’t argue with the talent on the team. Their pitching staff could be the best in the AL, and their offense actually got better. Everything hinges on how George performs, and if he can give them that 4th starter in the post-season.

PREDICTION: 97-65, division and AL Champs


IN: SP Brent Barker

PREVIEW: Age has finally caught up with Brace Watkins, Javier Valdes, Eddie Douglas, and Alex Suzuki. But stars like Darrell Franklin, and Less Brown appear to be ready to step up. It was a GREAT move to snag Javier Valdes last year but now he declined big time.
This year’s big move is pitcher Brent Barker. While he can’t single handedly turn back the hands of time, he can ease the transition a little. This time got old quick, and everyone should expect production drop off and it may be enough to lose the division.

PREDICTION: 87-75, no playoffs


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