This is the fourth of a four-part Baltimore Orioles Preview package for the 2014 season. There was previously a negative perspective of fears that could go wrong, a massively optimistic projection if everything went well, and a balanced perspective of what I truly anticipate as most likely to occur.
Today I do the even crazier thing by making a projection of standings and wins/losses for the AL East teams. I guess it should not be unusual to see that baseball writers everywhere do not give the Orioles a lot of credit or positive anticipation… which is rather curious relative to the last several years, the powerful season of 2013 by Chris Davis and others, the historic team defense, and especially the free agent acquisitions from late in the offseason.
AL East Projections – Quickly stated, I think the Rays are the cream of the crop, having the pitching and an improved offense. I’ll place the Orioles just behind them. The Red Sox will still be good, but not as many fortunes will come their way as in 2013. I see the Yankees’ age, suspect infield and bullpen as finally catching up to them. And the Jays will be better, but not enough to escape the basement. And as always, just about anything can happen, but here will be my call:
Tampa Bay – 95-67
Baltimore – 92-70
Boston – 87-75
New York – 81-81
Toronto – 78-84
I really enjoy Steve Melewski’s columns from the MASN page, and probably the reason is because his projections were amazing similar to mine. The guy is a genius!
Tampa Bay 94-68
New York 82-80
Richard Justice, a columnist for mlb.com put the standings in the following similar fashion:
Challengers: Red Sox, Orioles
Never say never: Blue Jays
ESPN the Magazine’s 2014 MLB Preview Issue used some very odd and bizarre factors to come up with the following (also bizarre) standings:
New York 82-80
From David Brown of Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew:
1. Rays — They have the division’s two best players and its deepest pitching staff.
2. Red Sox — Fragile pitching staff prevents a division repeat.
3. Yankees — Not even the deepest pockets could fill all of the roster’s holes.
4. Orioles — Deep lineup, but top of the rotation not good enough.
5. Blue Jays — Capable of winning 80-85 games, but starting pitching depth is concerning.
From The Sporting News:
1. Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox went from the AL East basement to World Series champs due to great chemistry and a resurgent pitching staff last year. They’ll be big-time contenders for that title again.
2. New York Yankees (wild card) – Injuries and advancing age killed the Yankees last year and they still won 85 games in baseball’s best division. Braced with several new additions, they should be playoff-bound again.
3. Tampa Bay Rays – Every year the Rays’ roster feels a little thin and, yet, they prove each season that pitching and defense can carry a club to 90-plus wins.
4. Baltimore Orioles – They proved in 2013 that their strong 2012 wasn’t a fluke and they can be contenders. Now they have to take the next step with their young nucleus.
5. Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays hope that Year Two of their supposed revival goes a lot smoother than Year One, when they failed to come close to lofty expectations.
From Hot Corner Harbor … this is a really interesting article:
And finally, from the premier Maryland and Baltimore sports web page – The Baltimore Wire – Orioles writer Nate Wardle has:
Red Sox – 93-69
Orioles – 89-73
Tampa Bay – 85-77
New York – 81-81
Toronto – 77-85