The American League East has been one of the better divisions in all of baseball for the past few years and things do not seem to be changing. The New York Yankees are yet again World Series contenders while the Tampa Rays are ready to take that next step and make a playoff run. The Boston Red Sox are coming off a down year, but they can never be counted out of a division race. While the Toronto Blue Jays still have some holes on their team, their young talent does have the potential to make a wild card run. With the exception of the dreadful Baltimore Orioles, the AL East is a highly talented and competitive division.
Everyone has their expectations for each team in the AL East, the Yankees finish first the Orioles come in last and the Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays make up the middle. While some people like to make safe picks and predictions, what’s the fun in that? Making bold predictions and providing educated reasoning for those predictions are some of the most intriguing conversation starters in sports. While it is very possible these will not happen, here are bold predictions for each team in the AL East.
Baltimore Orioles: Win 60 Games
Well, the Baltimore Orioles are just so bad that winning 60 games for them is a bold prediction. The Orioles have lost more than 100 games in two consecutive seasons and things really are not looking too hot. Despite their terrible record, the Orioles did have a great season in 2019 from their right fielder Trey Mancini.
They also have a couple of pieces. Jose Iglesias is a solid shortstop that can hit for a decent average and Mychal Givens got hit around last season, but is a decent arm in the bullpen. Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez also can hit for some power, hitting 20 and 31 home runs respectively last season. While the Orioles are FAR from being competitive in the AL East, they can certainly improve upon their embarrassing 2019 campaign.
Toronto Blue Jays: Make the AL Wild Card
While the Toronto Blue Jays finished 4th in the American League East last year, they can most certainly become a surprise team in 2020. Many people think the Cincinnati Reds or Chicago White Sox will arise as the league’s dark horse, but refuse to give the Jays their due. They have an influx of young talents such as Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Their starting pitching is somewhat weak, however, they just acquired Hyun-Jin Ryu who is coming off the best season of his career.
Ken Giles is also manning the Toronto bullpen and was one of the best relievers in 2019. He finished the season with 1.87 ERA and 83 strikeouts. The Blue Jays are not quite at the level of the powerhouse New York Yankees, but now that their young stars have some MLB experience, do not be surprised if they become the sleeper team in the league.
Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers finishes Top 3 in MVP Voting
When asked about the league’s young stars, names that quickly come to mind are Ronald Acuna Jr, Gleyber Torres, Pete Alonso, and Juan Soto. Rafael Devers is seldom recognized with these names by those who are not sporting Red Sox colors. He truly had a 2019 season that should rank right among these other young stars. Devers recorded a .311 batting average along with 32 home runs 54 doubles and 115 RBIs. Oh yeah, and he’s only 23-years-old.
So let’s say Devers improves even further in 2020, what happens next? Well, improving on those numbers would certainly put Devers into MVP consideration. He put up elite numbers in 2019 and at such a young age Devers has the opportunity to fortify himself as one of the MLB’s top stars. However, with Mike Trout still representing the American League, Devers’ will have some competition for the hardware for a while.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Tampa Bay Rays Make The World Series
While people may think it is blasphemy that the Rays would be able to outlast the juggernauts of the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, again these are bold predictions. While bold, the Rays most certainly can withstand either team in the postseason as well. The key reason to this lies behind one key component, starting pitching, the key to a deep postseason run. The Rays have the potential to have one of the best starting rotations with Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Ryan Yarbrough. Morton has solidified himself as a true ace, Snell is a former Cy Young winner, Glasnow was putting up great numbers last season and Yarbrough is an above-average 4th starter.
While the Rays bats are not the best, they should certainly be enough to earn them a wild card spot. They do have some dangerous bats such as Hunter Renfroe as well as Austin Meadows. Once the postseason rolls around, they very well might just be carried by their outstanding arms.
New York Yankees: Yankees Win World Series, Judge Wins MVP, AND Cole Wins CY Young
When looking at the New York Yankees, it is difficult to come up with a bold prediction as they are so talented many predictions will not be so bold. Aaron Judge when healthy is one of the most dangerous players in the league and Gerrit Cole is coming off a season where he struck out over 300 batters. Saying these two will win awards are very pedestrian takes. However, saying the Yankees will win the World Series as well as be the representative team for both the MVP and CY Young might just be a take hot enough for even the Bronx Bombers.
The New York Yankees are hungry to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009. They fell just one game short in 2017, where they fell victim to the infamous Astros cheating scandal. Now is the most opportune time for the Bombers. If Judge can stay healthy all year he can for sure make a run for MVP. The greatest way for the Yankees to bounce back from years of failure is to win the World Series as well as these individual awards. By doing this the New York Yankees might just reclaim their spot of immortality.
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