2011 American League East Preview

MLB Divisional Previews – 2011 AL East

It’s not every year that a division showcases four teams with more than 85 wins, but that’s how the American League East Division went down last year.  The Red Sox and the Blue Jays got the short end of the stick as they both missed the playoffs.  The division should be just as competitive this year, with just about everyone making bold moves to upgrade – even the Baltimore Orioles. Before we get into our 2011 AL East Preview, let’s see how everything ended up last year.

2010 AL East Final Standings
Team Win Loss
Rays 96 66
Yankees 95 67
Red Sox 89 73
Blue Jays 85 77
Orioles 66 96


2011 Tampa Bay Rays Preview

2011 TB Rays Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 D. Price
SP2 J. Shields
SP3 J. Niemann
SP4 W. Davis
SP5 J. Hellickson
Catcher J. Jaso
First Base D. Johnson
Second Base S. Rodriguez
Third Base E. Longoria
Shortstop R. Brignac
Left Field J. Damon
Center Field B. Upton
Right Field B. Zobrist
Designated Hitter M. Ramirez

The Rays won the AL East last year, but saw some pretty big names leave their roster this year.  Both Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena left for greener pastures, but the Crawford move has the biggest potential to bite this Tampa Team.  Crawford’s move to division rival Red Sox will have big repercussions.  Still, they bring back Evan Longoria who is on our list of best young third basemen, and BJ Upton in the outfield.  David Price and James Shields lead the Rays starting rotation.  These top two starters combined for 32 wins last year and will need to be just as good in 2011 if the Rays want a chance at repeating as AL East champs.  The Rays tried to shore up their lineup with Damon and Ramirez, but it is unclear just how much of a positive impact these two players will have for the Rays.  It was nice to see someone else win the American League East for a change, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen again without some luck.  You can help cheer the Rays on to victory at Tropicana Field – reserve your tickets today.

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2011 New York Yankees Preview

2011 NY Yankees Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 C. Sabathia
SP2 P. Hughes
SP3 A. Burnett
SP4 I. Nova
SP5 S. Mitre
Catcher R. Martin
First Base M. Teixeira
Second Base R. Cano
Third Base A. Rodriguez
Shortstop D. Jeter
Left Field B. Gardner
Center Field C. Granderson
Right Field N. Swisher
Designated Hitter J. Posada

The Yankees welcome back most of their team from last year, with the exception of a couple new faces and one major name moving spots.  Jorge Posada, who has been the Yankees Catcher for as long as I can remember, now moves over to the DH position to make room for full time catcher Russell Martin. Martin is decent defensively, can handle a pitching staff, and has his moments at the plate, but it will take a while to get used to a new Yankees backstop.  The infield is untouched with Teixeira, Cano, Jeter and A-Rod.  This unit hasn’t really slowed down despite starting to get a bit older in age. Look for them to return again for a strong 2011 campaign.  The outfield is also untouched, as all three members (Swisher, Granderson and Gardner) played in more than 150 games together last year.  The pitching rotation, of course, is led by CC and followed up by Hughes and Burnett. Hughes had an unreal year and will look to maintain or improve upon the 18 wins he posted last year. Burnett will try to return to form in 2011, as last year saw him post his first losing season since 2003.  All in all, the Yankees have the pieces to take the AL East in 2011.  I predict that they will have no problem overtaking the Rays – it’s the Sox that have the best chance to stand in their way.  As always, Yankee Stadium is an amazing place to watch baseball, so get your tickets and head on down to the park.

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2011 Boston Red Sox Preview

2011 Bos Red Sox Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 J. Beckett
SP2 J. Lester
SP3 J. Lackey
SP4 C. Buchholz
SP5 D. Matsuzaka
Catcher J. Saltalamacchia
First Base A. Gonzales
Second Base D. Pedroia
Third Base K. Youkilis
Shortstop M. Scutaro
Left Field C. Crawford
Center Field J. Ellsbury
Right Field J. Drew
Designated Hitter D. Ortiz

The Red Sox aren’t used to finishing third in the American League East, so they went out and made some moves in preparation for the 2011 season.  Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzales didn’t come cheap, but everyone knows that wins aren’t free in the AL East.  The addition of those two superstars should give the Red Sox a great chance to win the division title in 2011, but they need to continue seeing solid production out of the rest of their lineup. Pedroia and Ellsbury, two of Boston’s young stars, saw their seasons shortened by injury, and they combined to play less than 100 games.  They will need to come back healthy and ready to play if the Sox are to have any chance at winning the AL East.  Lester and Lackey, pitching behind Josh Beckett gives the Red Sox one of the best pitching staffs in the American League East. Oh, and did we mention Buchholz and Matsuzaka?   This pitching staff, on paper, can match up very well with the Phillies over in the NL East.  I think that the race for the AL East will come down to the Sox and Yankees in the final week of the 2011 season.  Getting tickets to see the Sox play at Fenway is tough, but we have some tickets available here – don’t wait, the are going fast.

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2011 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

2011 Tor Blue Jays Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 R. Romero
SP2 B. Morrow
SP3 B. Cecil
SP4 K. Drabek
SP5 J. Litsch
Catcher J. Arencibia
First Base A. Lind
Second Base A. Hill
Third Base J. Bautista
Shortstop Y. Escobar
Left Field J. Rivera
Center Field R. Davis
Right Field T. Snider
Designated Hitter E. Encarnacion

It’s not every year that your team wins 85 games and finishes fourth in your division, but make no mistake, the AL East is the most competitive division in baseball and if you aren’t spending big money, you aren’t catching the Sox or Yanks.  Regardless, the Jays had a stellar season last year and committed to spending money – at least on some of their big stars. Jose Bautista saw a big contract extension, following a season in which he belted 54 homers.  Aaron Hill and Adam Lind both hit more than 20 homers last year too, so there is no doubt that this team has power.  The pitching staff, at least the first three projected starters, all had above average seasons last year, but will need to improve just a smidge if they want to crack 90 wins and have a real shot at contending for the American League East.  If this team was playing in any other MLB division, they would probably be sitting atop their division. But for now, they will have to take pride in their winning seasons.  2011 will be a great year to watch the Jays play.  Head on down to the Rogers Centre and catch the Blue Jays.

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2011 Baltimore Orioles Preview

2011 Bal Orioles Projected Starters
Position Name
SP1 J. Guthrie
SP2 B. Matusz
SP3 J. Arrieta
SP4 B. Bergesen
SP5 J. Duchscherer
Catcher M. Wieters
First Base D. Lee
Second Base B. Roberts
Third Base M. Reynolds
Shortstop J. Hardy
Left Field L. Scott
Center Field A. Jones
Right Field N. Markakis
Designated Hitter V. Guerrero

The Orioles finished in last place at 15 games under .500.  They tried to make some offseason moves, with the biggest acquisition coming with Derek Lee as their new first baseman.  They also picked up some power at the other corner with Mark Reynolds, but with him, they also inherit a guaranteed 200 strikeouts. A healthy Brian Roberts at second base should mean some more decent offense in the lineup and JJ Hardy might not be a threat, but he isn’t exactly a liability either.  Just looking at the Orioles infield, should give fans a reason to be optimistic about the 2011 season.  The outfield isn’t too shabby either, anchored by Adam Jones in center.  Luke Scott and Nick Markakis are also solid pieces on defense and in the lineup.  As I previewed the Baltimore Orioles’ lineup for 2011, I am pleasantly surprised and really feel that they should be a good offensive team.  The pitching staff, on the other hand, is lacking in big names and big numbers.  Neither of their projected top 3 starters had winning seasons last year, although a couple of them got close.  Offensively, this team can keep up with just about any in Major League Baseball – the pitching is what will hold this team back from really making any waves in the AL East.  This team will be very exciting to watch, so spend a night with the Orioles at Camden Yards, one of the most beautiful ballparks in all of Major League Baseball.

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The Rest of Our 2011 MLB Previews

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