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AL East Predictions and Preview – 2015 MLB Season

AL East Predictions and Preview – 2015 MLB Season

It’s an wide open race to the top of the division over at AL East this year. Last year’s division champion, Baltimore, was severely hampered by the loss of two of its brightest stars. Toronto is still a talented, albeit young, team capable of clinching key wins. There are also the new-look Yankees and the always dangerous Tampa Bay Rays. Not to mention the Boston Red Sox, who are brimming with plenty of firepower heading into the 2015 season.

It’s going to be a wild ride in the AL East. Before you get yourself into profitable MLB futures, check out our guide below for everything you need to know before diving into this division.

While gearing up for all the baseball action, check out our complete division preview of the AL Central as well as our predictions for the 2015 season.

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2015 MLB AL East Preview

Favorites – Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox had a busy offseason. They grabbed two of the best batters in the majors in Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Sandoval was vital in San Francisco’s 2014 postseason run. He batted .366 and had an on base percentage of .423 throughout the playoffs. Ramirez gives the Red Sox an excellent combination of speed and power. Ramirez has hit 20 or more homers and has stolen as many bases in multiple seasons.

[sc:MLB240banner ]But while Boston now boasts plenty of power at the plate, it doesn’t have a proven No. 1 starter in its pitching rotation. The likes of Clay Buchholz, Wade Miley and Rick Porcello just aren’t ace material. Buchholz and Miley finished their 2014 seasons with ERAs well over 4.00, but Porcello offers some balance with a 3.43 ERA.

With all their big bats, the Red Sox are runaway favorites in AL East at +140.

Sleepers – Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays

With Nelson Cruz (home runs and RBI leader) and Nick Markakis (on base percentage leader) off to Seattle and Atlanta respectively, Baltimore’s (+300) season depends on the batting trio of Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado.

Wieters and Machado went down to season-ending injuries last season, but they were both pretty solid before their injuries. Machado had hit .307/.350/.505 with 10 homers in his last 55 games before he was sidelined by a knee injury in August 2014. Meanwhile, Wieters was batting .308 in 2014 before going down to an elbow injury.

But Wieters and Machado may not be enough to make up for the absence of Cruz and Markakis. The Orioles will need Davis to do better than his .196 batting average over 525 plate appearances last season. With a medical exemption allowing him to treat his ADHD starting this year, we may see a bump up in production from Davis. Who knows? He might even regain the form that led him to become the AL home run (53) and RBI (138) leader in 2013.

At one point during the 2014 season, the Toronto Blue Jays (+400) were the kings of AL East. But a horrible road record (37-44) had them falling all the way to third. The Blue Jays can storm to the top yet again with a couple of key acquisitions heading into the 2015 season.

The Jays nabbed third baseman Josh Donaldson from Oakland by way of trade. He led the Athletics in batting average (.255), home runs (29), RBI (98), OBP (.342) and hits (155) in 2014. Donaldson should be a solid acquisition for a Toronto offense which finished with the fifth most runs (723) last season. Former Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin should also offer some balance after hitting .290 last season.

Which of these sleepers wake up to take over the division? Create a betting account now and put your picks to the test.

Player to Watch – Pablo Sandoval

Laugh at his weight all you want; Pablo Sandoval is having none of it. He is listed at 5’11” and 245 pounds, and offers plenty of firepower for the Red Sox. He hit .279 with 16 homers and 73 RBI (all far from his career-highs) for the Giants last year but greatly pumped those numbers up in the playoffs. With his brand new five-year, $95 million contract, plenty of pressure will be on Sandoval to power a Boston side which is lacking solid starting pitching this year.

Key Storyline – New-look Yankees

Strip away all the emotions involved in Derek Jeter’s final year of baseball and you’re left with an underwhelming stat line of .256/.304/.313 with four homers. The Yankees may not even get a boost with Jeter’s replacement, Didi Gregorious, who was a .226/.290/.363 batter last season.

Aside from Jeter’s retirement, most of the headlines have focused on the return of Alex Rodriguez. At 39 years old, A-Rod is past his peak, as he’s failed to put up at least 20 homers in each his last three seasons of play. He doesn’t figure to be much help to the team on the field, but his soap operatic exploits off the field are still fascinating if nothing else.

The Yankees’ playoff hopes this season will rest on the shoulders of their young, excellent pitchers in Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Runs will be difficult to come by for opponents with Tanaka and Pineda posting ERAs of 2.77 and 1.89 respectively.

There’s plenty going on in New York heading into the season. The Yankees can either bomb out of the postseason race early or soar past expectations. They’re +400 to win AL East.

Writer’s Prediction

As long Tanaka remains healthy, the Yankees (+400) take AL East.

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Kevin
Written by Kevin

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