How can Blog know so much about a division, following it endlessly, yet find it so impossible to predict? It has to do with undying hope that Orioles will over-perform … and one of these days they will. Blue Jays could be surprising this year but solid Rays team is unlikely to surprise anybody.
Baltimore Orioles - Team improved rotation depth, so much so that Zach Britton, who is injured, and Brian Matusz — two of 2011′s hopes — may not see nearly as much Big League action. They got younger at first base and DH, where last year they relied on aged veterans who did not add to winning formula. They’ve shown little stomach for serious free agent acquisitions that could compliment on-board talent. Can starting corps “step up,” as J.J. Hardy has put it, and give home run happy offense chance to compete? BONUS QUESTION: Hey Nicky Markakis, what up? Also, Blog speaks for all Orioles nation when it says: Please be good at baseball, Nolan Reimold.
Boston Red Sox – Too much uncertainty to ticket them into playoffs with any conviction — this despite return of MLB’s most prodigious offense. Can bullpen stalwart Daniel Bard handle himself in starting five? Just one of many questions about Boston’s rotation once you get past impressive top two. Biggest question of all — not just one for 2012 — is this BONUS QUESTION: Who will end up boss of Red Sox nation after departure of Theo Epstein? Potential for chaos in Boston this year is high with Bobby V at helm. No John Lackey though – so presumably less fried chicken and Clubhouse Braus.
New York Yankees - Is A-Rod ready for long season? One could see injuries felling all or part of traveling All-Stars’ starting corps but they’ve hired suitable veteran backups in ongoing use of vast war chest to deprive competitors of bring in talent. They’re probably good for 90-plus wins but they won’t be unstoppable. There could be weak spots in rotation allegedly featuring Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Michael Pineda but, again, there is backup.
Tampa Bay Rays - Low-payroll Rays punch above their weight and have managed to bring back preponderance of playoff 2011 squad plus home run hitting additions of Carlos Pena at first base and Luke Scott at DH. Can young Matt Moore bottle up recent October magic in starting rotation? Depth of Rays’ starting corps will take pressure off of Moore, which will augment his chances. These guys have potential to throttle AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays - Young Henderson Alvarez is talk of Jays camp. He’ll join injury-prone Dustin McGowan and Brett Cecil as a third question mark in rotation behind Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Right fielder Jose Bautista is hitting home runs again this spring, natch. Can golden child Colby Rasmus live up to long years of top billing as super prospect whilst patrolling center field in Great White North? Dunno, but Colby says he has new lease on game and gives himself credit for being awesome. Jays are 20-4 in spring games. That’s impressive even if spring games don’t matter much.
Predicted Order of Finish
No idea but if you put gun to Blog’s head: Rays
Very shaky on this one
Maybe, just maybe, somebody in last besides Orioles
* Wild Card mix