Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 AL East naked prediction

Trying to select the winner of the AL East without the help of statistics, magic potions or drugs.

In European football competitions, when the draw is made for the groups for same, there is invariably a group that's much harder in terms of standard than the others. This often gets dubbed 'the group of death'. Welcome to the 2009 AL East, MLB's own 'group of death'.

With the exception of the pathetic Orioles, the AL East boasts four of the top tier of Major League Baseball clubs. Any of these teams would waltz through the Al Central or give LA a real pennant chase in the West.

Instead they have to battle it out together for the East.

Poor, sorry, sad Baltimore. They have to play Tampa, Boston, NY and Toronto 19 times each! Goodness. Could we be looking at a 100 loss season for the Orioles? It isn't beyond belief. Meanwhile, of the big four, Toronto are a decent side however they are probably not equipped to take on the big three for the entire season. They might play the role of very dangerous spoiler as September approaches.

What to make of those Yankees? Initial indications are not good, if you are a fan of the Bronx Bombers. Sabathia is out of shape (even for him) and getting shelled and A-Fraud is hurt. Whatever about those obvious signs of distress, what is more intriguing is how this club will hold up over the long course of the summer. When exactly will AJ Burnett's arm fall off? How will the A-Fraud steroids scandal affect the clubhouse atmosphere? What happens when one or two players go down and the Yankees have to turn to their almost barren farm system? What about Giradi? He has not proved as yet he can handle managing a club in the pressure cooker that is the New York media circus.

Tampa? Two words. Sophomore slump. Opposition coaches will not be caught be surprise in 2009. Scouting reports will be adjusted, preparations will be more detailed, and baseball will be ready for the 2009 Devil Rays. The Sophomore Slump is not just an idle threat, it actually happens, frequently too, and the Rays are headed for one in 2009. Nothing too dramatic. Just a second place finish to the most well rounded, deepest and overall most talented squad in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox.

Starting pitching? Superb, with Brad Penny and, more importantly, John Smoltz waiting in the wings. Not to mention Clay Bulletholes. Relief? This could be the strongest, deepest bullpen in Theo Epstein's rein. A healthy Saito backing up Papelbon, Okajimi, Delcarmen and Masterson? Lineup? Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis are now the backbone of this team, three gifted young players who are set to tear it up in '09, ably assisted by the more veteran likes of Ortiz, Drew, Lowell and others.

Dustin Pedroia's offseason workout regime raised a few eyebrows...

No doubt it will be a tough, tight season in this 'group of death', however the Red Sox have all the answers to all the toughest questions, pitching in spades and depth at all levels of the farm in case of emergency (wait until you see Daniel Bard pitch in September, wow).

Observe closely, Yankee fans, this is what's called a 'pitching prospect', your farm doesn't have any but this is what one looks like - Daniel Bard

Predicted finish;
  1. Boston
  2. Tampa
  3. New York
  4. Toronto
  5. Baltimore


Brian said...

Great post. How does Daniel Bard measure up to the likes of David Price?
NYY 3rd?? Controversial! One things is fo' sho', it will be a very interesting season.
Fingers crossed I might get over to see a NYY v BOS game in the Bronx...

Anonymous said...

The blue jays are actually a savvy pick for al east if the young arms respond (CAN U SAY TAMPA?)). The plus is they have better offense than last year with a healthy Hill, Travis Snider, and hopefully a full season from Wells and better years from Rolen and Rios. The blue jays were 51-37 under cito gaston (93-69 over a whole season) with basically less offense than last year and the same pitching as this year except for burnett and the young arms have a chance to do as well as his 4.01 era by mid season. Cito is underrated manger with a ton to prove as only black skipper with two world series rings and never rehired again. As good as Joe Torre or better but because he was black rationalization was that he had great teams (Torre didnt” ? wat happened the last 6 years you were there Joe? Yankees spent a lot more than bjs in those years) There is major competition for the last 2-3 pitching spots if some young guns falter on bjs and they will still have best bullpen in baseball. Yankees should be 5 games better…maybe ….but the division is really a toss up. Texeria and CC should more than offset ARODS problems but Burnett love overdue for elbow problems Boston and Tampa have not really improved. Penny may help Sox but there are many holes (fading skills wakefield ortiz and lowell and i dont think lowrie a championship ss- beckett has also looked shaky for a year) and they are aging. Tampa will still compete very well but they havent improved much on the field (can you say Detroits young pitching guns that looked invincible for a decade 3 years ago)and keeping last years intensity may be hard with young team. You get can 50-1 odds vs bjs making playoffs. Bet a few hundred bucks if u have to take a flyer on and put a down payment on a house as the eastern elite will give u the sucker bet as they love to drink the Kool aid.

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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