4/3/18

AL East: Big Bats or Big Arms?


American League East 2018:
Sox versus the Socks




The swagger returns to the American League East. Judge and Stanton are the new Mantle and Maris—or at least that’s how most prognosticators see it. I am a Yankees fan, so I want them to be right, but as a baseball realist I always assume great pitching prevails over hitters who can sock the old horsehide from the Bronx to Westchester County. That’s why I see Boston winning the division.

Will Win: Boston Red Sox and not because they added J D Martinez. Sale, Price, Pomeranz, Porcello, and Rodriguez will shut down a lot of lineups, including that of the Yankees. Betts and Benitendi are fine players. It might be put up or ship out time for Bradley and Bogaerts, though. A healthy Pedroia would help, though it’s possible he’ll never again be what he was. They won't need to score a lot of runs.

Wild Card: That’s the route the New York Yankees will have to take. There are simply no holes in the lineup when you consider that Drury, who hit .267 last year, will likely bat ninth. All of the Judge/Stanton hype overlooks the fact that Gary S├ínchez is probably a better hitter than either of them. There’s also Gregorius, Gardner, Walker, and Hicks. Here’s where it gets tricky, though. The Yankees couldn’t unload dead wood Ellsbury so they couldn’t sign what they really needed: a topnotch pitcher. Severino might be an ace, but he’s young and also might take a step back. Tanaka and his fragile elbow make him Jeckyl and Hyde, Gray always seems to find a bat at the wrong time, and Sabathia is in the twilight of his career. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery wins more games than any of the aforementioned. It’s also unrealistic to imagine that Judge and Stanton can repeat their otherworldly 2017 performances.  

Dark Horse: The Toronto Blue Jays have a nice pitching staff, but they’ll need either the Yankees or Red Sox to tank to get into the postseason.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1. Boston Red Sox:  They will still lack bat power, but power arms will compensate.
2. New York Yankees: They will hit a ton, but pitching is a question mark.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: They will pitch well, but everything else is a question mark.
4. Baltimore Orioles: They are filled with question marks.
5. Tampa Rays: No question about it, the Rays will stink. It’s possible that between the Rays and the Marlins, Florida teams will lose 200 games.
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