Monday, July 8, 2013

Midseason Report: The American League East

     Now that I've looked at the National League, I'm going to get in depth on how the American League has fared so far and what's to come division by division.

     AL East: The AL East has lived up to its billing as being one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Anyone can win this division and everyone has a shot at the postseason. There's a good possibility that this division will claim both wild cards by the end of the regular season.

  1. Boston Red Sox: Under new manager John Farrell, the Red Sox have the best record in the AL. They have scored the most runs in baseball (458) thanks to the likes of David Ortiz (.313, 17 HR, 61 RBI, .399 OBP), second baseman Dustin Pedroia (.321, 111 hits, 50 RBI, .401 OBP, 13 SB), Mike Napoli, (10 HR, 55 RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (.301, 107 hits, 36 SB), Daniel Nava (.294, 10 HR, 50 RBI), and rookie Jose Iglesias (.395, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .446 OBP in 152 ABs). In the rotation, Clay Buchholz has been outstanding (9-0, 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 81 SO), but is on the 15-day DL with neck problems. Must Fix: Losing Buchholz hurts the Red Sox immensely. John Lackey (6-6, 2.80 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) has been the best starter on the staff this year aside from Buchholz. Jon Lester (8-4, 4.41 ERA) hasn't pitched as well as his record indicates and Ryan Dempster (5-8, 49 BB, 100 SO, 4.04 ERA) has the most walks on the team (and the most strikeouts on the team). There's no timetable for Buchholz to return, so Boston needs Lester and Dempster to turn it around. They could also use a closer.
  2. Baltimore Orioles: First baseman Chris "Crush" Davis has made a solid case for AL MVP so far. He's hit .320 with 33 home runs, 85 RBIs, and an 1.106 OPS. Third baseman Manny Machado (.312, 119 hits, 42 RBIs, 39 doubles), center fielder Adam Jones (.289, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 9 SB), and second baseman J.J. Hardy (15 HR, 46 RBI) have also fueled the second-best offense in the MLB. Must Fix: Baltimore has had a below-average rotation throughout the season. But they just acquired Scott Feldman from the Cubs, which is a nice addition. But they'll need more help than that if they're to become a legitimate World Series contender.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays: Tampa Bay is 49-40, but not because of its pitching. First baseman James Loney (.317, 9 HR, 43 RBI) has been impressive and third baseman Evan Longoria (.289, 17 HR, 49 RBI) has been Evan Longoria. Starting pitcher Matt Moore has been quite as impressive, if not more. He started the season 8-0 with an ERA of 2.18. Must Fix: Moore might've been impressive to start off the season, but he's gone 3-3 in his last six starts. He went 2-3 with an ERA of 8.39 throughout the month of June. Last year's Cy Young winner David Price has been an utter disappointment the entire season. He's 3-4 with an ERA of 4.18, but that was due to triceps issues. The Tampa rotation needs to return to form in order to become a legitimate contender in the AL.
  4. New York Yankees: Projected by many to fall off the map, the Yankees are fortunate to be at 45-39. Robinson Cano (.293, 20 HR, 58 RBI) is to thank for keeping the Bronx Bombers afloat along with the second-best fielding in baseball (34 errors, .989 fielding percentage). But still, New York has been hampered by injuries to the likes of Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and even Derek Jeter. To make matters worse, the whole A-Rod drama is swirling above the team's head like a massive dark cloud. Must Fix: The Yankees must stay healthy. Teixeira is out for the rest of the season, so that doesn't help. But the Yankees must keep themselves from suffering any injuries that'll set them back. They must also resolve the A-Rod controversy.
  5. Toronto Blue Jays: Predicted to be a World Series team by plenty of analysts, the Blue Jays have been an enigma. Jose Bautista (20 HR, 52 RBI) has turned it up and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (23 HR, 68 RBI) has provided a lot of pop. The Jays (2.93 ERA) also have the 3rd best bullpen in the majors. Must Fix: Toronto's rotation has the third highest ERA in baseball (5.02), which has been a reason for why the Jays started off so slow. Pitchers like Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey need to pick up the slack.

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