2019 MLB Preview: AL East

This division has probably the two best teams in baseball and then three other teams that compete for third, fourth, and fifth. I realize that’s harsh, but the reality is that its true. Only three teams won 100 games last season, two of them came out of the AL East. Let’s not forget that the Baltimore Orioles also had the most losses in league with 115.

Boston is the defending World Series Champions, and the Yankees came in first place in the wild-card standings with 100 wins. Bottom line is this division will come down to these two teams while the other three teams either rebuild or rely on the farm system to hopefully win at some point down the road.

Boston Red Sox” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
  1. Boston Red Sox
  • 2018 Record: 108-54
  • Postseason Result: World Series Champion

Off-season acquisitions:

  • Re-signed SP Chris Sale, Re-signed 1B Steve Pearce, Re-signed SP Nathan Eovaldi, receive RHP Colten Brewer form Padres for 2B Esteban Quiroz.

Off-season Departures:

  • RHP Joe Kelly (Dodgers), 2B Ian Kinsler (Padres), SP Drew Pomeranz (Giants).
  • Craig Kimbrel, Justin Haley, and Brandon Phillips are all still free agents.

2019 PREVIEW / BIG QUESTION

This Red Sox team just had one of the best seasons in baseball history on their way to a World Series title. Nobody has repeated as champions since the Yankees in ’99, 2000. You can be assured this will be a fun season in this AL East.

The heart and sole of their pitching staff, Chris Sale, just signed a five-year extension with the team. David Price and Nathan Eovaldi are both back as well. The only piece of pitching Boston lost is Craig Kimbrel, but with the depth of their starting staff, they should be okay for the most part. Someone in the bullpen will have to step up.

Boston’s stellar young outfield is really what drives their team, and they didn’t lose any pieces from 2018’s team.

For them to make another world series run it depends on three things; 1) can David Price pitch like a top starter consistently, 2) can Nathan Eovaldi pitch all season like he did in the postseason, and 3) Can JD Martinez follow up that career year with another just like it?

2019 Prediction: 98-64

  1. New York Yankees
  • 2018 Record: 100-62
  • Postseason result: Lost to BOS in ALDS

Off-season acquisitions:

  • Re-Signed Zack Britton, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia
  • Signed Adam Ottavino, D.J. LeMahieu, Gio Gonzalez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Troy Tulowitzki
  • Acquired LHP James Paxton from Seattle
  • Acquired RHP Jefry Valdez from Colorado
  • Acquired Tyler Hill from Detroit
  • Acquired Josh Stowers from Seattle

Off-season Departures:

  • Andrew McCutchen to Philadelphia
  • Lance Lynn to Texas
  • David Robertson to Philadelphia
  • Neil Walker to Miami
  • Shane Robinson to Philadelphia
  • Sent RHP Justus Sheffield, LHP Erik Swanson, and CF Dom Thompson-Williams to Seattle
  • Sent RHP Jordan Foley to Colorado
  • Traded Ronald Torreyes
  • Traded Shed Long
  • Traded Sonny Gray

2019 PREVIEW/ BIG QUESTION

Last season the Yankees certainly didn’t get the results they wanted, but they had a pretty good off-season in many people eyes.

They did however set a new home run record and are looking to do it again this season. The Yankees problem for the past couple years has been consistent starting pitching, hopefully with the acquisition of Paxton they can fix that problem but once again before the season even starts, they have injury problems.

All of the off-season signings they made are probably going to have a massive impact on their season because a few of them will have to play a considerable role almost immediately because of the injuries that the Yankees have been facing with so far.

The big questions for the Yankees will be 1.) Can the starting pitching hold up and will James Paxton make a positive impact, or will he turn into Sonny Gray? 2.) Can the offense maintain its power from last year while staying healthy and producing good batting averages?

2019 Projected Record: 99-63

  1. Tampa Bay Rays
  • 2018 Record: 90-72
  • Postseason result: Did not make Postseason

Off-season acquisitions:

  • SP Charlie Morton
  • RF Avisail Garcia
  • C Mike Zunino, LF Guillermo Heredia and LHP Michael Plassmeyer from Seattle
  • 2B Gionti Turner from Cleveland
  • 3B Yandy Diaz, RHP Cole Sulser from Cleveland
  • RHP Rollie Lacy from Texas

Off-season Departures:

  • Sergio Romo
  • Traded CF Mallex Smith and CF Jake Fraley to Seattle
  • Traded RHP Chih-Wei Hu to Cleveland
  • Traded OF Jake Bauers to Cleveland
  • Traded LHP Kyle Bird, LHP Brock Burke and RHP Yoel Espinal to Texas

2019 PREVIEW/ BIG QUESTION

The Rays had a good season last year despite not having any pitching other than American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell, but they still managed a winning record. For most of the second half of the season, the rays used Blake Snell and then relievers to start games even sometimes and just went full games with only relievers.

This year the Rays need to focus on starting pitching. Snell is good, and he is going to be good for years to come, but he can’t be the only starting pitcher on that team that consistently puts up good games for them. They are a young team and could make the playoffs this year or in the next couple years if other teams falter, and they get pitching. Let’s be honest nobody besides New York or Boston is winning that division for a while, so at this point Tampa is essentially fighting for a wild card spot and probably the second one because whichever team between the Yankees and Red Sox doesn’t win the division is going to earn the first wild-card spot most likely.

2019 projected record: 88-74

4: Toronto Blue Jays

  • 2018 Record: 73-89
  • Playoff Result: Didn’t make the playoffs

Off-season acquisitions:

  • SS Freddy Galvis
  • SP Matt Shoemaker
  • SP Clay Buchholz
  • RP David Phelps
  • RP Daniel Hudson
  • RHP Julian Merryweather from Cleveland
  • RHP Trento Thorton from Houston
  • LHP Clayton Richard from San Diego
  • RHP Andrew Sopko, SS Ronny Brito from LA Dodgers

Off-season Departures:

  • SP Marco Estrada to Oakland
  • RP Jake Petricka to Milwaukee
  • SS Troy Tulowitzki to Yankees
  • Traded SS Aledmys Diaz to Houston
  • Traded RF Connor Panas to San Diego
  • Traded C Russell Martin to LA Dodgers
  • Traded LF Dwight Smith Jr. to Baltimore

2019 PREVIEW / BIG QUESTION

Toronto fans aren’t going to want to hear this, but the reality is Toronto has a lot of problems. Marcus Stroman is your top pitcher and even he wasn’t that great last year, Kevin Pillar is injury prone, and they need to start rebuilding now.

There is good news though, Toronto has a ton of amazing prospects in their farm system highlighted by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who if he plays for them this season will probably win the AL Rookie of the Year award, Yes, he is that good. The year of Rebuilding starts now.

They probably aren’t going to see the playoffs for a while, but right now I would worry about getting to a .500 record and keep developing top prospects to make the playoffs shortly hopefully.

Big questions here are 1.) Can Marcus Stroman get back to his All-Star from? 2.) Will Vlad Guerrero Jr. play this year and if so, how big of an impact could he make for this team?

2019 Projected Record: 70-92

  1. Baltimore Orioles
  • 2018 Record: 47-115
  • Playoff result: Didn’t make the playoffs

Off-Season Acquisitions:

  • Signed SP Nate Karns
  • SS Drew Jackson in a trade with Philadelphia

Off-Season Departures

  • CF Adam Jones signed with Arizona
  • 3B Tim Beckham signed with Seattle
  • C Caleb Joseph signed with Arizona
  • Traded 2B Breyvic Calera to the Giants

2019 PREVIEW / BIG QUESTION

There isn’t any way to sugar coat this, the Orioles are awful and have become the laughing stock of baseball. They lost their biggest star in Adam Jones to free agency, Chris Davis went from hitting 40+ home runs in a year to being probably the worst hitter in the game of baseball, I mean I hate to say it, but there isn’t anything to say about this team.

They have no star, they did nothing in free agency, and so the team won’t be much different and probably just as bad. It’s safe to say they are in a rebuilding period and will be for quite some time. Sorry Orioles fans!

2019 Projected record: 42-120

PREDICTED DIVISION STANDINGS

  1. New York Yankees (99-63)
  2. Boston Red Sox (98-64)
  3. Tampa Bay Rays (88-74)
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (70-92)
  5. Baltimore Orioles (42-120)
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