Reviewing the AL East 2015 Division Projections


Sep 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays celebrate winning the A.L. East division after game two of a double header in the visiting locker room at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Toronto Blue Jays clinched the division after game one of the double header. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I think I should probably stop attempting to predict the AL East. It is always a tough division to predict, and I am not alone in not doing well with projections on how the standings would finish up.

I thought the Baltimore Orioles would finish 93-69 and take the division. I didn’t talk much about the pitching, other than Ubaldo Jimenez. I instead focused on the offense and the fact the team could replace Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.

And while the team hit a similar amount of home runs, the lack of production from the corner outfielders, along with the struggling starting pitching, it just didn’t work out.

I had the Red Sox second and getting a wild card spot, but cautioned about the team relying on aging stars Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, and young stars like Xander Bogaerts. Well, all of them did just fine. But, I was concerned about the starting pitching, and it was so bad it dragged the team to the bottom of the division.

As for third place, the Jays did better than this. I mentioned the Jays have so much talent but fail to put it all together. Well, that was fixed in 2015. I remarked about how much power the team had, and that the starting and relief pitching were major question marks. And while the pitching wasn’t great, the addition of David Price and the skill of the offense carried the team.

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My concerns on the fourth place Yankees centered around relying on a lot of aging players, and the returns of Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia. and Ivan Nova. Well, for the most part the aging players, guys like Mark Teixiera, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, did just fine. The pitchers were another story, but got enough from Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino and the stellar bullpen to help them make the wild-card game.

I had the Rays’ struggling through a long season because of all of the questions about their offense and bullpen. And that was certainly the case, so at least I got that right.

As for adding up the ranking reviews, well, they look similar to the rankings

  1. Toronto Blue Jays (44 points) – The Jays were third or better at each of the positions in the AL East. Carried by their powerful offense, which included several players acquired in trades, the Jays were the easy winners. And, they had a pretty easy task in winning the division as well. Now, looking forward, the Jays may have traded a lot of their future for the present, so it will be interesting to see the moves made in the offseason.
  2. New York Yankees (34 points) – The Yankees came in second, and while they only had the top end-of-season ranking at relief pitcher, they were second at numerous positions. While the Yankees weren’t the best at any field positions, they were only the worst at second base, a position where everyone struggled.
  3. Baltimore Orioles (30 points) – The Orioles get high marks at first base and center field, as well as relief pitching. However, the major issues with the corner outfielders, shortstop and starting pitching held the team back not only in the rankings, but also on the field.
  4. Boston Red Sox (29 points) – Despite finishing behind them in the final standings, the Red Sox come in fourth in my final rankings. And the starting pitching not being weighted is probably the reason for that, as theirs really dragged them down. The Red Sox owned the middle infield but struggled at the corner infield positions, and in both pitching categories. And when you can’t pitch, it is a good recipe for finishing last.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (28 points) – The Rays and Red Sox were flipped in the final standings, but it is apparent that the Rays’ offense is a major issue. Their starting pitching rivaled the Jays for best in the division, but their offense is so far behind the other teams in the division, and the unwillingness to spend money, could continue to make it a struggle for them to be competitive in the division.