Sunday, March 13, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: AL East

            It's getting close to that time of year. The time where you take your friends to a baseball game. The time where you soak up the beautiful outdoors and its scenery. The time where you do the seventh inning stretch. That's right, the MLB regular season is nearly upon us. That means it's time we preview every MLB team. We'll start in the AL East, a division that can be won by any team within its division. Without further ado, let's get started with our preview!

Baltimore Orioles
Sweet Dream: A lineup featuring Chris Davis (47 homers, 117 RBI, .361 OBP) and Manny Machado (.286 BA, 35 homers, 86 RBI, .359 OBP) continues to rake for Baltimore as the lineup takes advantage of the bandbox known as Camden Yards. The fielding (77 errors, second-fewest in baseball) and the relievers (3.21 ERA, fifth in MLB), lead by Darren O'Day, (1.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 82 SO) help to make this team look like a more powerful version of the Kansas City Royals as they win the AL East.
Nightmare: Yovani Gallardo falls apart and the Orioles miss Wei-Yen Chen. Kevin Gausman doesn't break out for the Orioles as the rotation looks for help and aid. The lineup only hits home runs and nothing else as the Orioles fall to the AL East basement.
Boston Red Sox
Sweet Dream: Xander Bogaerts (.320 BA, 81 RBI, .355 OBP) and Mookie Betts (.291 BA, 18 homers, 77 RBI, 21 stolen bases, .341 OBP) help send off David Ortiz (37 homers, 108 RBI, .360 OBP) with another World Series title as the youth movement in Boston continues. Craig Kimbrel (2.58 ERA, 39 saves, 87 SO, 1.04 WHIP) shuts down the competition and fills a void left at the closer role.
Nightmare: David Price is the either the only starting pitcher who performs well or is hit with a bad season. The Red Sox have more fielding issues (97 errors, 12th in the AL), which leads to a season of being 12 or more games below .500.
New York Yankees
Sweet Dream: What is perhaps the best bullpen in all of baseball lives up to its billing with Dellin Betances (1.50 ERA, 131 SO, 29 holds, 1.01 WHIP) and Andrew Miller (2.04 ERA, 100 SO, 36 saves, 0.86 WHIP) closing the door on the competition. Luis Severino (2.89 ERA and 56 SO in 11 games) continues his ascent as he forms a great pitching duo with Masahiro Tanaka. Pitching is stellar for the Yankees as they return to the postseason.
Nightmare: Aroldis Chapman (1.63 ERA, 33 saves, 116 SO, 1.15 WHIP) comes back from his 30-game suspension a little rusty. The age of the lineup begins to show as Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran all struggle to produce. This leads to the Yankees falling to near or at the bottom of the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sweet Dream: Chris Archer has another spectacular season as he leads an underrated rotation (sixth-best ERA in baseball with 3.63 ERA). Opponents will have a hard time figuring out the starters (fourth-lowest BAA in baseball at .240). This team goes on to win the AL East with under-the-radar players like Kevin Kiermaier (10 homers, 40 RBI, 18 stolen bases) and Logan Forsythe (.281 BA, 17 homers, 68 RBI, .359 OBP).
Nightmare: The lineup (644 runs scored, 25th in MLB) can't score runs, leaving the starting pitchers with little run support. The bullpen struggles while Brad Boxberger's (1.37 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, six blown saves, 3.71 ERA) transition to closer falls off the tracks due to control problems.
Toronto Blue Jays
Sweet Dream: Baseball's top offense (891 runs scored last season) continues to mash with the likes of Jose Bautista (40 homers, 114 RBI, .377 OBP), Edwin Encarnacion (39 homers, 111 RBI, .372 OBP), and AL MVP Josh Donaldson (.297 BA, 41 homers, 123 RBI, .371 OBP). Adding Troy Tulowitzki last year (,280, 17 homers, 70 RBI, .337 OBP) bolsters the lineup even more. The rotation holds up as Toronto defends their AL East crown.
Nightmare: The loss of David Price hurts the Blue Jays as no one in the starting staff can fill his void. The pitchers doesn't put away enough batters (1,117 SO for all pitching, 26th in MLB) as the Blue Jays miss out on the postseason.

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