Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 MLB Season Preview Part 6: AL East

Wrapping up our 2011 Season Preview with the most talked-about division in the sport. There are more words spilled on paper, more saliva spat between sports show hosts about the AL East teams than any in baseball. It seems at times that ESPN and SportsCenter are concerned with only two teams in baseball, the Red Sox and Yankees. So for this last part of the preview I will limit myself to just two sentences for each team since this is baseball's main-stream and it's already flooded.

AL East
Weaker Yankee and Rays teams open up the Wild Card door for AL contenders.

1. Red Sox
PECOTA: 93-69
My take: Over

Baseball's powerhouse features a deep lineup, rotation, bullpen, and even solid defense. They'll probably surpass 100 wins.

2. Rays
PECOTA: 85-77
My take: Over

Crawford is gone, the bullpen is a bargain bin bundle, but one of the smartest organizations in baseball continues to compete with the AL East beasts. Division's best rotation and a surprisingly strong offense led by a middle of Manny, Evan, and Danny (Johnson) leads the Rays to Wild Card playoff berth.

3. Yankees
PECOTA: 92-70
My take: Under

Explosive lineup and door-slamming pen keep them competing in baseball's best division but flimsy rotation falls short of Rays and Sox. Wild Card race should be exciting.

4. Orioles
PECOTA: 81-81
My take: Over

Interesting mix of young and old bats outscore opponents stifled by youthful rotation. With three "bona fide closers" in the pen, somebody ought to get the job done.

5. Blue Jays
PECOTA: 76-86
My take: Over

Fun team that relies on taters and a veritable factory of young arms. An 82-win season will leave them in 5th place, though they'll be a baseball novelty.

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