Friday, March 28, 2014

Al East Preview


LAST YEARS PREVIEW:This year…it just won’t be enough for the O’s to overcome the rest of the AL and steal a playoff spot. BUT if Smoltz and Bando perform over their heads, and the pitching is better than expected…you never know. Prediction: 81-81
OUT: Karim Saenz, Julian Bennett, Dickie Wallace, Felix Turner, Brian Russell, Sam Long, Sven Hammonds, Daric Averill
IN:  Melvin Damon, Johnny McNamara, Burke Miller, Jeremi Johnstone (lost to dl for year), Trevor Tyner, Lonny Sierra, Ivan Gomez, Pablo Beltran, Mike Gordon (r), Louie Uribe (r)
Crabman’s team is rebuilding on the fly, and as a result there are quite a few new faces in Baltimore. Gone are starters Sam Long, and Sven Hammonds. One of the replacements, Jeremi Johnstone, was lost for the year which puts a damper on the Orioles season.
The offense took a hit with the loss of Karim Saenz. Saenz was one of the more productive members of the team last year. That leaves Terrence Smoltz to lead this team. Gomez was a great pick up, as was Damon (who basically came over for free, your welcome). Tyner might raise some eye brows if he can get on base ahead of the big bats. I really like Gordon and Uribe. They aren’t “super” prospects, but they will rake and might be worth 70-90 runs apiece. That will make a huge difference.
Overall, this team looks weaker than last year’s Orioles. You can expect them to score a little less, which puts them in the danger zone…anywhere from 760 to 790. The pitching should have been better, but the loss of Johnstone HURT. Expect them to jump up to the 780 to 760 range.
Crabman had tears in his eyes as he admitted that this was “officially ending a great era for Baltimore baseball. A bunch of veterans and fill-ins were acquired to keep the team competitive but this will probably be a down year in Charm City.” Sad days, indeed. But it could be much worse.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: he Yankees feel they can win 100 games and earn another division title. I would have to agree. This team is stacked and should push their way into the ALCS once again with the hope of a World Series title. PREDICTION: 101-61

OUT: Sean Pearson, Kid Peters, Miguel Sanchez, Arthur Loney, Donatello Bollea, Carson Graves, Denny Watson
IN: Humberto Sierra, Julian Bennett, Rico Alvarez, Pedro Santiago, Alex Cruz

I didn’t think it would be possible for overeasy to make this team even more dangerous. But the Yankees made some key acquisitions, and replaced non-performers with players that could take the Yankees back to the promised land after just missing out last season.
Julian Bennet, Rico Alvarez, and Pedro Santiago are all capable of providing 80 runs. Which will be key after losing Pearson, Peters and Sanchez.
Most importantly the pitching staff went from Porsche to Lamborghini with the addition of Alex Cruz. To go with Cruz stars Al Perez, and Javier Gonzalez should continue to produce. Ciraco and Redding anchor a decent but not overwhelming bullpen.
Overall, this team is a title contender. I picked them last year, and I might pick them again this year. Expect them to score 870 to 900 runs. They will allow 690 to 660.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The team is in a free fall with little to no hope of pulling the rip cord. This is basically the same team that jclark threw out last year. This team only scored 608 runs last year, while their pitching was actually the best in the AL East. Prediction: 68-94

OUT: Geraldo Hernandez, Charles Farrell, James Randall, Mendy Williams, Phillip Shouse, Frank Leach, Bryce Hafner, Sawyer Velarde
IN: PREVIEW: Bill Thompson, Joe Johnson, Ray Bell, Mike Bowker, Sammy Frey, Trace Epstein, Ted Lombard
Boston took a huge nosedive last year, finishing well below even what I predicted. While I had the offense pegged correctly, I did not forsee the pitching/defense to be taken to the woodshed. Giving up 866 runs after having the best pitching staff must have hurt. I know jclark has a lot of pride and seeing his team fall so far must be killing him.
Three of the starters that really sucked are now gone. Williams, Shouse, Leach, and Hafner. Ray Bell and Mike Bowker get their shots at the rotation. Bowker came on strong at the September call ups. The bullpen looks solid with Crawford, Sheridan, Peralta, and Dalesandro locking down from the 7th inning on.
The wildcard is Lombard. He is a good defensive player, but he’s been iffy with the bat. Still, he’s an improvement. Combined with Pedro Fuentes, Babe James, and Jerry Murray the offense looks much improved. Sammy Frey was an intrigueing pick up in Rule V and is very capable of contributing 80-100 runs.
Overall, jclark has done a great job bringing this team back to respectability. It rests on the shoulders of the new additions. The rookie pitchers, Frey, and Lombard will determine how far this team goes. Expect them to be MUCH better offensively scoring anywhere from 740 to 770 runs. The pitching is also better, and will come back down to 710 to 670 range. It looks like the Red Sox should have a winning season again and be the most improved in the league.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The big problem looking at this team was Javier Valdes who got very old in the off season and certainly will not contribute the 4.1 war that he put up last year.The pitching staff isn’t any better, and I’m afraid to say that the Indians are becoming a one hit wonder after their miraculous season. Prediction: 74-88

OUT: Luis Valdivia, Todd O’Sullivan, Brian Lee, Craig Frazier, Sammy Hamilton, Quinton Hobbes, Justin Lidge
IN: Jose Pizzaro, Rodrigo Salinas, Chad Richardson, David Castro, William Page
I’m starting to think Cleveland, and their owner drichter, just don’t like me very much. Another year with no preview or insight. And the fact that I picked them to only win 74 games.
Last year I predicted Javier Valdes would fall off, and I was correct. He went from 4.1 war down to 2.2. But he came to camp in better condition and should not drop off unless he gets injured. Which is a possibility at age 35. Young guys stepped up. Les Brown, and Tiny Sosa combined with veterans with just enough in the tank (Craig Frazier and Sammy Hampton) all contributed to lead the offense to 842 runs. Gordon had an off year but still contributed 89 runs.
Pizzaro, Richardson, and Castro should fill the roles vacated by Frazier and Hampton and keep the offense running on high octane.
The pitching staff was solid last year, and the dead weight was cut. Rodrigo Salinas gives the Indians a solid bullpen arm that can log 120 innings in relief. A big luxury. After going 23-27 in one run games, his addition will help immensely.
Expect the Indians to score between 810 and 840 runs, and give up 710-690 runs. Much improved.


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