Predicting the division where your favorite team resides is tough for any fan because it hits at an emotional level, but I tried to be optimistic as a Yankees fan.
But truth be told, 2014 in the AL East will be dominated by Yankees Captain Derek Jeter’s farewell tour, which will certainly make all those Yankees haters blood boil.
Ok, ok, ok… let me get to my prediction of what the AL East will look at the end of the 2014 regular season:2014 AL East Predictions
|*Boston Red Sox||95||67|
|**New York Yankees||92||70|
|**Tampa Bay Rays||90||72|
|Toronto Blue Jays||83||79|
*Division Winner **Wild Card
Boston Red Sox – Losing Jacoby Ellsbury will hurt, but the defending World Series Champs have plenty of firepower to take the AL East again. What puts Boston ahead of the rest is pitching depth. As the Red Sox have a solid rotation with Lackey, Doubront, Buchholz, Peavy and Lester, but also Boston is home to one of the nastiest bullpens in the Bigs. This team is all around tough, and adding A.J. Pierzynski behind the dish to replace Jarrod Saltalamacchia will play out perfectly. The Champs will continue to govern their division in 2014, but it won’t be as easy as last season.
New York Yankees – The Yankees lost Robbie Cano, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, but added Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. The infield is the weak link, so the pressure is on for Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter to not only stay healthy but also be productive. The rotation could prove dominant if both Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda pitch well. The Yankees do boost the best outfield in the AL, and a lot the motivation to send their beloved Captain into retirement on top. Even without Mo in the ninth, D-Rob will be enough to get this team a Wild Card berth.
Tampa Bay Rays – Betting against the Rays is not smart, as their skipper Joe Maddon has the magic touch. Led by 2012 CY Young winner David Price, the Rays have an imposing starting rotation that got them to the postseason five out of the last seven years. The only thing really holding the Rays back is their offense, and they didn’t do anything to improve it. And with the way the Yankees and Red Sox offenses look heading into 2014, the Rays could have used another bat or two for insurance. Think the Rays will win the second Wild Card over the Detroit Tigers (please read my updated AL Central Prediction).
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles made two late off-season signings, pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and slugger Nelson Cruz. Cruz will only boost an already powerful Orioles offense that belted the most home runs (212) in 2013. Chris Davis and Cruz will make life tough for opposing pitchers. But bats aside, the O’s pitching posted the fourth-worst ERA (4.57) in 2013 and Jimenez comes with risk. Biggest regret trading closer Jim Johnson, who led the AL in saves in 2012 (51) and 2013 (50), especially when you have a shaky rotation.
Toronto Blue Jays - The Blue Jays should be a tad better in 2014 if they can stay healthy. And Toronto is coming off a disappointing offseason, as they did not fix any holes and their starting rotation stinks. But the main reason the Blue Jays are destined for the AL East basement is not based on lack of talent, but unfortunate circumstance.