Well folks it's almost time for opening day again. It's also time to break down what our teams did to help or hurt them selves in the off-season. Today I'll be breaking down the A.L. EAST from worst to first on how they'll finish in the division.
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays- Well they don't have much to go on and their biggest was Lou Pinella. He'll help develop the young players and provide stability in the clubhouse that's it. He'll be hard pressed to improve on the 55 wins too much with weak talent all over the roster.
Pitching- There is no ace of this staff. Joe Kennedy gets the nod by being the guy with the most potential. He was 8-11 but showed promise at the end of the season. Nick Beirbrodt has had potential since his D-Back day's, yet has never shown it. Look for a bunch of guys you don't know, not getting the job done. The bullpen is not much better. The guy with the most saves has 8 and He(Phelps) did it in AAA last year. That pen really does'nt scare me or even make me blink. Look for rookie Seth McClung to crack the rotation in May if he doesn't make camp this spring.
Line-up- The D-Ray's do have some vetran help in Ben Grieve and Greg Vaugh. It's to bad that neither one has ever reached their potential and both are on the downslide. Rey Ordonez sures up the question at SS(defensively) but is a light hitter at best. Aubrey Huff is the only ray of hope with his .313-23-59 season. He would have had more RBI's if any of those stiffs had got on base. Rocco Baldelli was BASEBALL AMERICA's player of the year in 2002. Let's hope he can produce the and help the hapless D-Ray's.
4. Baltimore Orioles- The Orioles have had a lot of talent and have even been close a couple of years. This is not one of those years in any way shape or form. They have unproven talent and aging vetrans who don't produce. This leaves them with no guns to compete with the dogs of the A.L EAST.
Pitchers- Rodrigo Lopez was a stud going 15-9. He will be the staff ace this year with Scott Erickson going down for the year with injuries. Omar Daal and Pat Hentgan had so much promise but both have been injury prone and never reached their potential. Expect the same this year from those two stiffs. Jorge Julio had 25 saves as a rookie will anchor the bullpen. The rest of the pen is young or unstable or both. We'll see the All-Star game in Baltimore before a game that matters(not that the all-star game does).
3. Toronto Blue Jays- These guys were so good for a few years and are building themselves back to that point with good young talent. They could be a contending team if they keep the talent and keep building.
Pitching- Roy Holladay was a stud lasy year going 19-7. This with a team that didn't help him that much. He could be considered an ace on some other clubs (though unproven). The rest of the staff is weak espically Tanyon Sturtze's 4-18 5.18. NOW that's a solid 3 starter. The bullpen showed some promise late last year, let's see how they do over a full season. Only time will tell how bad they can be.
Line-up- Here is where they do show some promise. Eric Hinske is a stud at 3rd. base. He was an All-Star and will be again. Shannon Stewart and Vernon Wells are fast as heck and will wreck havoc on the paths and at the plate. They will only continue to improve. Carlos Delgado is a 2nd. tier SUPER-STAR. He'll anchor the line-up and provide a lot of punch. Let's see if Josh Phelps can continue to protect him. This team has potential but not enough proven talent to win.
2. Boston Red Sox's- The love of my life. The cause of all my pain. They once again have enough to win yet not enough to beat the Yankee's. Same old story in Beantown.
Pitching- They have Pedro the best in the game.....when he is healthy. That is alway's the question in Boston. Look for a 19-4 2.38 but only 170 innings pitched. Derek Lowe has to come back huge. He'll only come back human. He'll go 15-8 3.13, but eat up 200+ innings. The rest is shakey. Will Wakefield be man or mouse? Is Casey Fossum a legit starter? Will Burkett return to Atalanta form? The bullpen by commitee work? Look for Embree or Timlim to emerge as the closer. I do like the steal of Ramiro Mendoza from the Yank's. Is it the edge they need? I doubt it.
Line-up- This is a strong point to some degree. Johnny Damon a good lead-off. Todd Walker a solid spray hitter hitting second. Nomar hitting third. Manny Ramirez bats fourth....nuf said. Then it falls apart. Shea hillenbrand may not start. Trot Nixon(my boy) is sreaky and injury prone. Jason Varitek is solid but a defensive first catcher. , to That all plays on Damon walking more, Todd Walker fitting in? Nomar healthy? Manny....well he's always just Manny! Only time will tell till I start crying this year. Bet's on Aug. 27. Any takers?
1. New York Yankee's- What can you say about the greatest team in the history of the game? They are a little off and David Well's book hasn't helped morale, but they will be in the hunt yet again.
Pitching- The team with Petitte( one of the most consistent pitchers of today) Clemens( one of the best ever) Mussina( a work horse stud) and David Wells,(a clutch performer) you have the best staff in baseball. Oh yeah don't forget the Cuban defectee Jose Contreras who may be yet another stud of youngster Jeff Weaver. Yes their bullpen is weakened with the losses of Mike Stanton and Ramerio Mendoza, they still have Mariano Rivera. The most dominant closer in the history of the game. Karsey will help out with a set-up role. The pen will do what it has to do,to get the job done. The Yankee way as it has been the last few years.
Line-up- Where to start? Alfonso Soriano is a star. It's only how high it will go. He is the real deal. Then Jeter's next. What can I say? One of the best four shortstops in the game today. Jason Giambi who's that? Oh yeah he's a stud too. He'll go .315-40-125 again this year. Poor Yankee's. Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada are solid and clutch performers as well. Robin Ventura needs to repeat his great season and help the club(and his own cause). Hideki Matsui is the only unknown entering his rookie season fresh out of Japan( .this year .315-30-100 I predict). Learn them, know them, love them, you'll see them in Sept. yet again.
Those are how they break down in the A.L. EAST withholding any late roster moves or injuries. I know we all hate the Yankees but they'll win the east again and go far in the play-offs.