The American League East saw the Red Sox win 108 games and the World Series, the Yankees win 100 games, and the Rays surprise the league and put together a 90 win season. The ALE also saw the Orioles put together one of the worst seasons of all time, winning just a whopping 47 games. But what can we expect from every team in the ALE for 2019? Let’s dive right in.
1. New York Yankees
Key additions: DJ LeMahieu, Troy Tulowitzki, Adam Ottavino, James Paxton
Key losses: David Roberston, Andrew McCutchen
After disappointing losses in the playoffs in 2017 and 2018, the Yankees look to 2019 trying to finally put themselves back on top of the baseball world and win the World Series. The Yankees addressed their depth issue by adding 2 new infielders, a new bullpen arm and another starting pitcher. They didn’t make the big free agent move (Machado, Harper), but they were able to address all the areas they needed to address.
The Yankees win the division if…..
Everyone stays healthy and the players perform the way they’re expected. Injuries sidelined the best players on the team at different times, which made it tough to put together a legit run to try and take the division back from the Red Sox. Sanchez, Stanton and a couple other players had down years, so positive regression from them will be key to winning the division and ultimately the World Series.
2. Boston Red Sox
Key Additions: Re-Signed Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce
Key Losses: Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly
Fresh off a World Series title, the reigning champions haven’t really done much to help them repeat. They’ve lost their two best relievers, and haven’t added any new talent to the team. Re-signing Eovaldi was a good move, as Evo was lights out down the stretch and throughout the playoffs. In reality, there were very few moves the Sox needed to make. The biggest area of concern for the Sox is the bullpen, which they failed to address this offseason.
The Red Sox win the division if….
They do the exact same thing they did in 2018. The bullpen wasn’t a strength in 2018 and they still won the World Series, so as long as Mookie Betts and JD Martinez continue to anchor the lineup and the rotation continues to be strong suit, the Red Sox are legitimate threats to repeat.
3. Tampa Bay Rays
Key additions: Yandy Diaz, Mike Zunino, Charlie Morton, Austin Meadows
Key losses: Wilson Ramos, Jake Bauers
The Rays surprised everyone in 2018, busting out for 90 wins in a year everyone thought they’d be pushing for last place in the division. Blake Snell had his coming out party, winning the AL Cy Young award, and Kevin Cash became a baseball genius by popularizing the opener and “bullpen days”. The Rays are looking at some regression for 2019, as Snell should regress a bit, and the offense was led by players who may have already peaked. However, adding Morton and getting full seasons from Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows might be enough to overcome any regression they see. Willy Adames did not look great in his first taste of the majors, so he’s a name to look out for in 2019.
The Rays win the divisions if…..
Everyone on the team overperforms again and the Rays are able to use the opener and bullpen days flawlessly. Crazier things have happened in baseball than the 2019 Rays winning the AL East, but with two powerhouse franchises in the division, getting into the playoffs looks like a nearly impossible task in itself.
4. Toronto Blue Jays
Key additions: Matt Shoemaker, Clayton Richard
Key Losses: Josh Donaldson, JA Happ, Yangervis Solarte, Russell Martin
The Blue Jays are in the middle of a mild-rebuild, and in 2018 they saw themselves finish 73-89. In 2019, they’re looking at a similar season of mediocrity, but it should be highlighted by an eventual call up of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., MLB’s top prospect. The Blue Jays already said that they’ll be holding down Guerrero Jr. until they get an extra year of team control, so we’re looking at a probable early May call up. The Blue Jays are getting full years of Danny Jansen and Sean Reid Foley, which will be the first steps in getting back to the playoffs for the Blue Jays
The Blue Jays win the division if….
Guerrero Jr. comes up and hits .400/.500/.800 and finishes with 15 WAR in his 130 games. In all seriousness, winning the division isn’t really in the cards for the Blue Jays, as this year looks to be a building year for some of the young talent they’ll be introducing to the big leagues.
5. Baltimore Orioles
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Adam Jones
The Orioles just finished one of the worst seasons in league history, going 47-115, even with half a season of Manny Machado. This year isn’t gonna be much better, but we can at least expect them to be a little better, just from the fact Chris Davis can’t physically be that bad again (or at least we think). The Orioles are destined to finish among the worst teams in baseball, and there really isn’t much to look forward to with them either, so we’re just looking at a lost season for the Baltimore Orioles franchise. The best we could be expecting is a potential Dylan Bundy breakout, Austin Hays finally looking at everyday playing time, and if we’re lucky we could possibly see Yusniel Diaz or Ryan Mountcastle in September.
The Orioles win the division if….
The Orioles front office perfects the practices of dark magic, every other team decides to disband, or the MLB feels so bad for the Orioles, they just give them the division to be nice.