The American League East is one baseball’s most powerful divisions. Teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox continue their reign of excellence. Over the last few years however, several teams have come out of the woodwork. So how will the AL East shape out in 2020? Let’s break down each roster.
Baltimore Orioles :
The Baltimore Orioles have been the laughing stock of Major League Baseball for the past two seasons No matter what they do, they can’t do it right. Despite having a talented player like in Trey Mancini, they still cannot get over the hump.
The Orioles finished last in the AL East in 2019, going 54-108. First baseman, Chris Davis ended a historically long hitless drought of 54 at-bats. Davis batted only .179 with 12 home runs.
Orioles fans should be prepared for yet another season of failure in 2020. With no one leading the rotation and only one real closer. They also could have a real problem without reliable pitching.
However, their future is bright. The Orioles have several prospects coming up. One young star the Orioles have already, Austin Hays, is prime for the MLB. Hays played 21 games in 2019, and batted .309.
Boston Red Sox:
The Boston Red Sox have fallen from grace since their historic 2018 season. They finished 84-78, winding up in 3rd place and missing the postseason. Since then, they have lost a lot of talent and their manager, Alex Cora.
Mookie Betts, the Red Sox former all-star, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with David Price. Both players were key to their success in 2018. The Red Sox will not be the same team they were in 2018 or 2019 since they’ve lost assets.
Another issues the Red Sox have is the loss of their manager, Alex Cora. Cora was fired due to his part in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. The Red Sox have since named Ron Roenicke as their new manager.
Longtime ace, Chris Sale is slowly declining as well. Sale went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 2019. Sale missed some of last season with shoulder complications. And as of March 19, the Red Sox announced that Sale will need Tommy John surgery.
The Red Sox won’t have a great season, but it won’t be bad. They do have a glimmer of hope in their young third baseman, Rafael Devers. Devers hit .311, with 115 RBI and 32 home runs.
I expect the Red Sox to finish in fourth place. They just don’t have the fire power they once had to push themselves.
New York Yankees
The addition of Gerrit Cole makes the Yankees an easy choice for the World Series. The Yankees rotation has been lacking for years. So, General Manager Brian Cashman, bit the bullet and gave Cole a historic deal.
Gerrit Cole adds not only youth, but knowledge to the Yankees’ rotation. Cole possess a great mind for pitching and is extremely willing to learn new techniques. Cole lead the MLB in strikeouts with 326, while going 20-5 in 2019.
With all the good that’s been going on in the Bronx, there will be the negative. The Yankees yet again are dealing with injuries. Starting pitcher, Luis Severino, has opted to have season-ending Tommy John surgery. Severino missed most of 2019 with lat injuries.
Sluggers, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are also hurt. Judge has a stress fracture in his ribs. While Stanton has a grade 1 calf strain. Although these injuries aren’t ideal, both players could return in time for Opening Day.
But even with all the injuries, the Yankees still find a way to win. I think they will win the AL East and the American League, eventually going to the World Series.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have been a tough team for awhile and I think they will just get harder to beat. Tampa Bay went 96-66 in 2019 and they will be a tough out in 2020.
The thing the Rays have is a great starting rotation. They have a great one-two punch in Blake Snell and Charlie Morton. Snell was the 2018 Cy Young and although 2019 was a step back for him, 2020 should be a better year for him.
Morton on the other had a fantastic 2019 season, going 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA. If the Rays build upon these two pitchers and some offensive depth and a good bullpen, they can be scary. They gave the Astros a hard time in the ALDS, taking them the full five games.
The Rays will be a great team for years to come, if they keep Morton and Snell together. I see the Rays finishing in third place.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are a team that is going to get better. And when they do, watch out. They are a young and fast team with many years of greatness ahead of them.
The Jays have young players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. Those three players can make any team better. The youth this team has is staggering, and the rest of the MLB should take notes.
The Jays also acquired starting pitcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu had a career year with the Dodgers in 2019. He is the next piece of the puzzle for Toronto to succeed in 2020.
What the Blue Jays need to do next, is to put someone behind Ryu in the rotation. They must strengthen their bullpen, with Ken Giles as their closer. If they can successfully do this, they will be the next Yankees in the American League East.
I have the Jays finishing in second place in the AL East. Their talent is fresh and young, and I feel they will be dangerous in a few years.
Final American League East Standings:
First place: Yankees
Second place: Blue Jays
Third place: Rays
Fourth place: Red Sox
Fifth place: Orioles
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