The AL East was perhaps the strongest division in baseball last season, with three teams that made the postseason, four that finished above .500, and a fifth place team that would have finished third in most other divisions. Given that divisional strength last season, it’s no surprise that Fangraphs’ Playoff Odds give every team in the AL East at least an 8% chance to make the playoffs. By contrast, no other division’s projected last place team tops Detroit’s 3.1% odds. With Opening Day just over a week away, let’s take a look at the AL East’s five clubs (in order of their finish in the 2022 standings) in search of the division’s next champion.
New York Yankees (99-63 in 2022)
The Yankees were historically dominant in the first half of the 2022 season, but struggled to a 43-42 finish in the regular season after the calendar flipped to July, largely buoyed by the heroics of AL MVP (and pending free agent) Aaron Judge. Most of the focus this offseason in the Bronx was on retaining Judge, which they did on a nine-year deal. They also re-signed Anthony Rizzo to lock down first base, but signed just two new players to big league deals this offseason: lefty ace Carlos Rodon signed a six-year deal while reliever Tommy Kahnle signed on for two years. What’s worth, both of those free agent acquisitions are expected to open the season on the injured list alongside trade deadline pickups Harrison Bader and Frankie Montas.
Between an offseason marked by a low quantity (though high quality) of additions and a slew of spring injuries, this Yankees team looks unlikely to reach the heights they did in the first half of 2022, having lost the likes of Jameson Taillon and Matt Carpenter to free agency this offseason, but perhaps healthy returns from the likes of Rodon and Bader can help them improve upon their second half struggles from last season, to say nothing of exciting prospects like Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe who seem likely to impact the club at some point this year.
Toronto Blue Jays (92-70 in 2022)
After a solid campaign that saw the Blue Jays return to the playoffs in a full season for the first time since 2016, Toronto was aggressive in mixing up their roster throughout the offseason. In an effort to get more left-handed and improve the defense, the club added Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier to their outfield mix at the expense of Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno while also landing Brandon Belt to solidify the DH spot. As for the pitching staff, Chris Bassitt was brought in to solidify the middle of the rotation behind Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah, while Erik Swanson will strengthen the back of the Toronto bullpen.
While the Blue Jays certainly made significant changes over the course of the season, whether they can surpass the Yankees to claim the division crown will likely require returns to form for some players who performed below expectations in 2022, such as Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi, both of whom figure to open the season in the rotation despite posting ERAs north of 5.00 last season.
Tampa Bay Rays (86-76 in 2022)
After making their fourth consecutive postseason in 2022, the Rays had a very quiet offseason, with no major trade acquisitions and right-hander Zach Eflin standing as their lone major league signing. Indeed, it seems most of Tampa Bay’s resources were dedicated to extensions, as they agreed to long-term deals with Pete Fairbanks, Yandy Diaz, and Jeffery Springs shortly after the calendar flipped to 2023. That left the roster churn this offseason to be defined by departures rather than additions, as key players like Kevin Kiermaier, Mike Zunino and Ji-Man Choi departed the organization.
Still, the Rays have plenty of assets in place with which to make things interesting, as young players like Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, and Isaac Parades turned in excellent performances in 2022. With so few changes to the roster following a season where they finished 13 games back in the division race, however, the Rays are likely going to have to bank on improved health from stars Tyler Glasnow and Wander Franco along with bigger contributions from players who struggled last season like Brandon Lowe, Taylor Walls and Francisco Mejia if they are to claim the NL East crown this year.
Baltimore Orioles (83-79 in 2022)
The Orioles were one of the most fascinating stories of the 2022 season, as the club surged in the summer months toward surprise contention after not having won more than 54 games since 2017, though they ultimately failed to make the postseason. With young talent like Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Grayson Rodriguez all either already in the big leagues or knocking on the door, with still more prospects to come, it seemed as though the rebuild in Baltimore was over.
Expectations have surely been tempered among the Orioles faithful after a relatively quiet offseason, however. Kyle Gibson, Adam Frazier, and Mychal Givens made up the club’s free agent signings this offseason. That said, Mike Elias’s front office did fairly well on the trade market, picking up Cole Irvin to solidify the rotation and James McCann to back up Rutschman. After a surprise surge over .500 in 2022, it’s easy to imagine the Orioles slipping back underwater in 2023. That being said, with so much young talent breaking into the majors and percolating in the upper levels of the farm system, they certainly can’t be ruled out from making a surprise push into playoff contention or even toward the division title.
Boston Red Sox (78-84 in 2022)
2022 was a difficult season for the Red Sox, as the club finished three games under .500 despite opting not to sell off valuable players like Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez who went on to walk in free agency this offseason. The headline move of this offseason for the Red Sox has to be Rafael Devers signing a ten-year extension back in January, but the Red Sox were active players in the offseason marketplace as well, adding Mastaka Yoshida, Corey Kluber, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Adalberto Mondesi, among others. Still, the departures of Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Martinez, Rich Hill, and Michael Wacha, in addition to the deadline trade that sent Christian Vazquez out of the organization, all left plenty of question marks on the roster.
Those questions are particularly worrisome up the middle, where the Red Sox figure to use Adam Duvall, Enrique Hernandez, Reese McGuire, and Christian Arroyo to open the season. The Red Sox enter 2023 with more than enough talent on the roster to attempt to return to contention this season. That being said, there’s enough question marks and holes in the roster that it’s just as easy to see another sub-.500 season from this club as it is to see a return to the playoffs after missing out in 2022.
While this division ultimately seems most likely to come down to the Yankees and the Blue Jays, who both finished well ahead of the competition in 2022 and improved most significantly over the offseason, the AL East could certainly see all five of its clubs in the thick of the postseason hunt come the summertime. What do MLBTR readers think? Will the Yankees reclaim the crown, will the Blue Jays or Rays surge from their Wild Card spots to capture the division title, or will the Orioles or Red Sox surprise? Let us know in the poll below.
I have a feeling the Rays are going to win it but I think any of the 5 teams could if things go right. And while my Sox don’t look great, I think they’re going to be better than people expect them to and be in the race. Orioles have a fair shot too.
I chose the Rays though because I think Yankees and Blue Jays will face injuries that may hurt their chances. Yankees are already injured. Tampa has the pitching but I think their young guys may come through offensively and propel them to win it.
Still up in the air though.
Do remember that Rays won by a lot in 2021. Although last year was a “down” year, they still have a great core.
I agree. This is a much better rays team than last year and they got Glasgow and Bradley coming at some point of season. Also seems like a good time for Franco to break out
Paredes is underrated and Josh Lowe will probably be much better too.
I’m hoping the Sox are on the good side this year but it could truly go any way with them.
Rays. Other big two could win it and are more likely. Rays are the best ran team in division so of it’s somewhat close I will go with them.
The ALE always feels like the Rays to win. They seemingly always pull wins out of nowhere.
I think it will be a team no one is expecting, maybe even one that isn’t even in the division currently… I’m going with the Delmarva Shorebirds
I agree… I suppose I’m biased as a Red Sox fan but beyond being a “fan” I truly believe that statistically… they are going to be significantly better than people realize. Now there’s also the chance Sale, Whitlock, Devers, etc etc etc. get hurt and they’re deadline sellers. But IF (and yes it’s a big IF) guys like Sale, Paxton, Kluber, Turner have one more solid season left in then (healthy-ish) and youngsters like Casas, Bello maybe even Mata produce from the jump and bounce back efforts from Duran or Dalbec or someone like Crawford or Winckowski takes a big step forward and all of a sudden things don’t look so bad. Added bonus of IF Story comes back as Trevor Story and not the shell of himself from 2022.
basically the point is — there are IF’s EVERYWHERE you look on this roster. But people are writing them off too quickly I think — “IF” isn’t “NO” — things could break MUCH better than expected.
Now winning the division? NO almost certainly not unless other teams collapse and/or the Sox “IF’s” translate into career seasons across the board (ie not going to happen) but 8-10 more wins than 2022? That’s VERY do-able and puts them right smack in the wild card hunt.
PS – last year lead AL in blown Saves… this year have actual bullpen. If bullpen just blows 25% fewer games than in 2022 — that’s 7/8 wins right there!!
The problem Jeff is that the red sox have lost both a lot of offense and defense compared to last year’s club, especially up the middle, and the starting rotation is pretty questionable from a health and longevity standpoint.
It’s easy to say less saves will be blown, but, will there be as many leads late in games?
@GA We have already seen what Masataka can do on offense, Arroyo is hitting if he stays healthy. I really think our offense is fine. We may be worse with the loss of Xander but I don’t think our offense is too bad. Still a lot of if’s with health but not as drastic as people make it seem. Our only major loss on offense is Bogaerts…
And he’s absolutely right. We gain 7 to 8 games off the bat with a better bullpen.
There’s about 27 teams that could win the world series this year if everybody’s healthy and plays like they did at their peak.
Now there’s also the chance Sale, Whitlock, Devers, etc etc etc. get hurt and they’re deadline sellers.
I agree. I had them at 87 wins, but the spread is more like 78-92. Sale alone could count for a difference of 4 games depending on whether he starts 30 games or 10 games.
That said, the Yankees might have the same issues. Montas is out, and Cortes & Rodon are nicked up, and Severino is having an “interesting” ST. Their range might be huge as well, like 88 to 100.
Best Screenname Ever
If we divide the AL East itself into divisions, I think the Yanks and Rays have to be seen as the first division, with Baltimore, the Sox and Toronto in the second. I would bet that one of NYY or Tampa will win the division, and I would bet that one of Baltimore or the Sox are going to surprise and be either in or on the edge of the playoffs. Those three teams, Baltimore, Sox, Toronto, could finish in any order.
Predicting injuries….. Thx Nostradamus
Predicting success off of ST and WBC results is just as ridiculous.
I didn’t predict success of WBC. I just said Masataka has shown he has been a great hitter. And it should be recognized that Japan beat us at our own game when we had one of the best lineups. WBC or nor, the guy has show he can hit.
And Yankees already have a ton of injuries, so not sure how that makes me Nostradamus. They happen and some are the sake guys over again.
Furthermore, I get you’re using sarcasm but you really don’t have context behind it s I really would like to know more of your opinion.
Just as I don’t overexcited about a top draft pick or put much weight into their ST performance, I don’t put much into Yoshida’s performance in Japan or the WBC. Do I hope that he’s great? Sure. But I’ll wait until he’s put in the grind of a full season against MLB pitchers before crowning him as great or awful.
As far as Japan beating us at our own game, while true it doesn’t make them better overall. Heck, the A’s or Pirates have a decent chance of beating the Astros or Dodgers in a single game. Also, we left some top notch pitching off the table for the WBC.
Just like predicting injuries, ST stats have some relevance when assessing if an injured player is at full-speed, or if a 2nd year player is ready to take a step forward.
I don’t think WBC performances indicate anything what-so-ever. Here’s why:
The guys pitching havent been getting in the work they would in a normal ST.
On the pitching side, not only are many of the better arms not out there playing, but, the ones that are havent been getting up to speed. Normally pitchers start of slower and get to their true abilities sometime early April.
Likewise, hitters start off with an advantage over pitchers in the spring. In the WBC you’re also seeing a lot of guys there isn’t much of a book on, and so the prep is somewhat lacking.
If we’re in August and Yoshida has kept up with mlb pitching adjusting to him, then we will know something.
Maybe you have a point but I still think you’re going out on all ends to deny any good the Sox could potentially do before the season starts. Do you really hate Bloom that much? You really think the Sox are that bad?
I don’t feel I deny any good, I just don’t buy into the hype the pr machine is generating to try to override the rightfully earned sentiment. Guys like Whitlock I applaud, except, I think he had more value as closer.
As goes bloom – I very very much dislike him for the forgoing reasons, and I’ll try to strip some details out in what’s likely to be a fail at brevity.
1) I don’t buy that any dismantling was needed after ’19. People go to great lengths to say now ’22 could’ve been better “if only” but ’19 doesn’t get the same leeway despite the numbers of ’18. And people claim the farm needed rebuilding, BUT, the prospects largely fuelling that recovery were already here in ’19, so it would’ve basically recovered on its own sans bloom.
2) even if you had to trade mookie after ’19, including price was a judgment call. And if you believe price was ordered out by ownership, whoch we never heard of the way mookie news was leaked, there was still a good core to build on and a lot of wasted spending.
3) there’s a lot of reactive, not pro-active moves. I won’t list them all, but, holt was a FA, people clammored we needed him, or another super-utilitu guy. Bloom ignored what a super-utility guy gives off the bench, until that glaring need was visible and exploited. Then the next year he got one. Same with destroying the OF defense, then knee jerk reaction to get some back. Then ignoring the BP, ignoring it again at the deadline, etc etc, then finally addressing it well after everyone clamored its a weakness.
4) a series of really bad moves and trades, and, mismanaged assets. We could talk about squandered control and not timely trading assets. We could talk about bad moves, groome, benintendi, renfroe headed out, jbj hosmer, moving in. Etc. We could talk about how he disrespects and sabotages the clubhouse culture, take vazques as one example. We could talk the Bogey debacle. We could talk going over cbt and losing draft slots + bonus money. We could talk about mismanaging the 40-man and, unlike the Padres who saw their crunch coming traded guys from strength, bloom either waited till the guys were dfa and you lost leverage, or, gave them away free in Rule 5. The nominal cash from rule 5 pick give doesn’t count to me for a franchise as rich as Boston. It’s not like this is PIT that can spend it on players they’d otherwise lack funds for.
Again, trying to hit on big points and be sparse on details for brevity.
I don’t buy into the pr bs they feed us fans, and I don’t approve the treatment of future HOFers that should’ve been sox for life.
I had complaints about DD – I said they wouldn’t keep mookie after signing jdm, that he’d want more than jd got and rightfully so, and was against it and the sale extensions at the time. But, they still built a winner and were more good than bad. With bloom it’s just an overriding cloud of bad. And learning nothing from seeing how mookie went, they did the story deal, then did a Lester move on Bogey as well and lost him. When you look at bloom offeasons it looks rudderless, make it up as they go, and pick around the edges and leftovers rather than know what they need, attack on those fronts all at once, and get talent. What we get is they go for one yhing… it works, or doesn’t, then they pause to make a new next move on the fly. Meanwhile the good players cone off the board left and right.
Over the years I’ve spent many, many, many, many thousands supporting the sox. I wouldn’t be as negative if I didn’t care. But even in bad sox years, you had longtime players, career guys, you rooted for. Bloom is churn and burn, you dont get those guys. The only guy bloom kept, Devers, is the one he should’ve let go of the bunch. One dimensional overpaid player, no speed, no defense, no gregarious personality like Ortiz, or even like Bogey, like tek, guys the fans connected to. Devers hits, but not worth 30m hitting. You’re paying about 1m a hr with him, maybe he will grow, but even still, one dimensional guys aren’t 30m guys.
Red Sox Nation deserves better.
@GA You go into depth here so I applaud you because the tone is much better than the other Bloom haters out there who complain with little reason. And you have very fair points. I’m about neutral with Bloom until I see what happens this season, but believe me, I don’t highly praise him at all.
GASoxFan- I agree with everything you’ve stated with the exception I have a little more hope with Devers. Out of the three though I would’ve kept Mookie, Bogaerts, Devers in that order, ideally keeping all three.
I honestly think some of the anti-bloom posts come from duplicate accounts. Not all, but some. But, there’s the same on bloom defenders who write off and flippantly deny criticism.
To give context, this season Bloom end ’19 – current will have been around as long as DD end’ 15- end ’19, as long as cherington after ’11- Aug ’15.
I don’t believe in a ‘free pass’ from covid because 29 other gms competed fine, and, he got the free unimpeded offseason. Any question marks, health concerns, etc for ’23 are because THIS is the team bloom designed and built, and with copious payroll to do it. So, if he doesn’t get a WS appearance this year I think it’s proof he just doesn’t have it.
Yeti – I try to remind myself how YOUNG Devers was when he got rushed up to the majors. He didn’t get lots of time in the minors to work on defense and throwing. But he’d always be slow.
Problem is, there still isn’t that progress you’d like to see. He waffles between really bad on defense, and almost average, then regresses and repeats. Makes me think that after this many years that is his ceiling on defense. Hitting id like to see him grow into a 45hr guy at least 6 of the next 10 years. But, his HRs dropped with the ball change. Makes me think his true ceiling there may be a lower to mid 30s guy, which, would be about 33% improvement over age-25 season.
Having been a realist, a bogey/mookie/Devers tandem would’ve been something to see play for another 7 years. But… I always thought you’d get at least 2 of 3, and had the same pecking order.
@GA Agreed with the exception of World Series. That’s a hard task to put on anyone. If he doesn’t make the postseason, I see him gone.
I’m not sold high on Betts much more. He hit 35 homers, which is great, but his .235 average is nothing spectacular. It could’ve been a down year but who knows… I’m satisfied we traded him but we should have easily done it earlier (the previous year) and gotten much more back.
Predicting injuries….. Thx Nostradamus
Not exactly. It might be as much art as science, but if I am picking a fantasy team, I’ll mark players up and down depending on an injury assessment. There is a reason why Trout is #15 instead of #1, and why Correa is #110.
That was not always the case with Byron Buxton the past few years. Guy is injured more than anyone else and was listed top 5 in the past.
LOL! Buxton will always be the guy that makes you look like a genius or an idiot. He has top-10 talent, His bWAR/650 PAs is 6.1. He just can’t stay healthy.
Buxton was phenomenal in April. After that his average plummeted, even when he was healthy. He hit .224 last year, which doesn’t show his April in good light. He’s a career .244 hitter with a career .301 OBP. Healthy or not, I don’t find his small impressive stints as overall impressive. You have to know how to execute the tools you have- even when on the field, his stats are scattered.
2017 was his longest stint and he still only hit .253/.314. That’s not top 10 talent, no matter how many tools you have.
The Rays won their offseason by not losing any consequential pieces to free agency. If they bring up as much new talent this season as they do most years, and they don’t get hammered by quite as many injuries as last year, they’ll be hard to beat.
I learned in September 2011 to never count out the Rays and their bs
hee hee hee…. 😉
It’s the Yankees until someone steps up
Might say that about ATL LA HOU but Yankees haven’t dominated their division.
I believe Yankees won by 8 games last year?
Rays, but even if the Yankees win it, they still won’t win the World Series. No World Series since 2009. So much for the farce of the Yankees ‘championship culture’.
Guess who just won the WBC??? New username again, eh?
Haven’t been following or care about who “won” the gimmicky World Baseball ‘Classic’ and it’s irrelevant.
Not getting the reference. The Yankees didn’t win the WBC. I assume you weren’t saying that but the context you give makes little sense to those who don’t get the inside joke.
@pwndroia It’s all good. Just some playful banter between him and I.
The Blue Jays or the Rays ain’t winning the AL East, but thanks for y’all your votes though! I love all the Yankee hate, but that won’t stop them from winning the AL East. I do like the chances of the Jays and Rays getting in the playoffs in 2023 though.
You sound very confident. Anything can happen. Yankees probably won’t have Judge hitting 62 Homer’s again. Sure, they’ll still be great and in the race, but I wouldn’t rule out the Rays one bit. They won in 20, 21, and had a down year last year. They’re sneaky good.
As a Sox fan, I never count out the Yankees, but I think the Rays are very good. I wouldn’t be over confident because anything can happen.
Yes, I doubt Judge will hit that many homers this season. I definitely think the Yankees are winning the AL East again, with that said not confident in beating Houston though, the Yankees got to beat them lst.
Captain – As a Yankee fan your comments are appropriate. The Blue Jays have a young core that keeps improving so they should be a challenge for the division title unless Guerrero or Bichette get hurt. The Yankees need Judge to continue to play at a top 5 level if they hope to win the division. Their problem is they are designed for the long season but not a short playoff series. I think NY or TOR will win the AL East but I don’t see either of them winning the Pennant. Houston is still the best team in the league and Altuve will be healed by the time games start counting in the post season.
The Red Sox, are one of the bottom 5 teams in baseball and as a fan I just keep counting the days until Bloom is fired with Cora and the organization does another 180 like they did the day they fired Dombrowski. Until then, it’s a two tiered four team division with Boston sitting in the cellar looking up the stairs asking why things keep getting worse when all the front office promises say things are getting better.
@Pulleda- I pretty much agree with everything you said. Yes,I really don’t think anyone will beat Houston, but I definitely hope I’m wrong. I feel the Blue Jays are getting there. I would have to see them win the division lst to take that next step forward. I definitely see the Rays and Jays as playoff teams in 2023 though.
If Boston even has a sense of chance this season, you’re going to hear it. And knowing you, you’ll still deny it and call it a “lucky” season.
I would definitely say Boston has a chance, nothing is set in stone. The Red Sox could surprise.
Agreed captain. And Sale could return to throw 200IP, 300k, and 3 no hitters.
But is there a GOOD chance? Not really
Thats pretty negative hate. Judge is not as injury prone as some suggest, Rodon is already throwing, and they’re overrated prospects can play. Spew hate against some other team.
“their”. I don’t want grammer police correcting!
“Grammer” Its drug dealer code for, ‘Im in the basement making up packages.
Yes, he is. He has missed major time in half his seasons and that doesn’t get better with age and he is massive and 31 years old in less than a month. It’s an albatross contract (yet another 1 for the Yankees) and Yankees fans will be widely complaining about how terrible of a contract it is and how bad of a move it was less than 4 years from now. He will average less than 3 WAR over the course of the contract.
Time will tell. But he’s played 6 seasons. You’re right, 3 were healthy. The 3 that weren’t, were a hit by pitch that broke his wrist, an oblique strain, and a calf strain in a pandemic shortened season. Hit by pitch wasn’t his fault. An oblique strain happens all the time. And he missed 30 games in a shortened season for a calf strain. Do some research guy!
He’s extremely fragile. By your logic, it could be argued that almost any injury is a ‘fluke’. It’s an albatross contract and Brian Cashman got played again as usual.
By your logic, any player can be deemed fragile. The guy has like 37 war through 6 seasons. What the hell else do you want?
It’s almost never smart to sign a player who is 30 or older to a long term mega contract. Especially a player a fragile as Aaron Judge and who is also the biggest player in baseball. He will age terribly, both in terms of durability and on-field performance.
C Yards Jeff
@NWYanksfan; In response to “What the hell else do you want”. How about showing up in the playoffs. Comparing playoff performance between him and Harper last year (2 high priced high offensive players), one fan base got their monies worth, the other did not.
Not a whippersnapper “72”. Barely younger than you. I just appreciate the game and don’t spew hate to others
Umm, the second part of your last comment was all hate hypocrite!
@saratoga72- Wow, that sounds like a great life? Just as long as your sure. That’s a great amount of hate. Lol.
Am I wrong to say the Yankees offense has holes and their pitching lacks depth? This is based off no research. I’m not trying to rip on the Yankees, but am having a tough time predicting a winner. I voted tampa to win. Big on Jeffrey Springs this year as a sleeper cy young winner. Really hoping Baltimore can take strides forward, but am afraid the pitching will regress, mainly in the bullpen and the depth starters. Toronto looks best on paper, but they never seem to be as good as they should. Waiting for Boston to come out of nowhere. Best division in baseball top to bottom
You have a lot of truth here, nice take on it
You’re not wrong. The have no every
day leftfielder and SS is still unsettled. The team is old. Their SP has some depth with Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt with Frankie Montas out. The bullpen will be their greatest strength. I wouldn’t be surprised if every AL East team finishes above .500.
YankeesBleacherCreature – Seriously? You have issues with your own team?
You have two catchers far better than anything on Boston
Your 1B is all-star caliber
Your 2B has a high floor and a very high ceiling
Your SS is your big challenge but you have two youngsters who could end up being great, a solid SS as a third possibility and a 2B who has played there too
Boston wishes it had issues like this at ANY position compared to the huge holes we have at Catcher, Shortstop, Second base, Center field and Right field. Not to mention an iffy 1B who needs to do what you guys are asking 2 SSs to do.
You have a former all-star and now a league average 3B but he can field unlike Devers who can only hit OR you have LeMahieu who could have a bounce back season. Both 3Bs are at least average if not above average.
LF is covered by either a youngster proving himself, an injury prone player trying to make a comeback or STANTON a butcher fielder with massive power.
CF is Bader which is a lot better than Duvall
RF is Judge
DH is Stanton.
That is a stellar line-up without any significant weaknesses.
The pitching is Cole, Rodon, Cortez, Severino, Montas with German and Schmidt giving it depth. Other than Montas, the others are all above averages pitchers with Cole being an elite pitcher. Rodon needs to prove it again to move up from being above average to elite. Severino needs to prove his potential is achievable but his bad years are above league average. Cortez is an up and comer. Great staff with depth. And the relief corp is always better than most.
Don’t sleep on the Yankees. They are loaded just like Toronto and Houston.
TB has good pitchers and Springs could have a great year. Glasnow will miss significant time. So many of the TB pitchers fluctuate from year to year that you can’t confidently predict they will be great. They weren’t last year but they were the year before. TB has the largest beta in predicting their performance.
Baltimore just keeps improving and Rutschman is the future best catcher in baseball. He’s the type of leader that goes beyond the Judges and Devers of the world. He seems to inspire his team mates. Devers always seems to be playing for himself. Judge is so quiet but does lead by example. It just seems like Rutschman is more of a Buster Posey type guy who leads by example and by motivating others. Baltimore and Tampa Bay should have a great race for the last playoff spot.
Well we know you have issues with your team, so it’s perfectly fine he can question his.
Rays pitching will be just fine in 2023. Their top 4 arms produced 2.9 fWAR or better last year, and 3 of those guys are back. McClanny led the race for the CY at the ASG before slowing down as the season wore on (his first full season as a major leaguer). He’s a legitimate CY candidate in 2023. Glasnow was a CY candidate in 2021 before TJS and while I don’t think he’s a CY candidate in 2023 because he won’t come anywhere close to the IP required to win the award, he should be filthy again (based on his dominant return last year). Glas is only out til late April, so I don’t think you can say he’s missing significant time. Rasmussen and Springs had great years in 2022 and are back. It’s easy to see McClanny, Springs, Ras and Glas all having good years in 2023. Eflin was signed to the biggest free agent contract in Rays’ history, so I’m thinking the Rays think his best is yet to come. Put it all together (plus top prospect Bradley in AAA) and the Rays have a great rotation primarily made up of returning veterans. Most don’t know it, but the Rays have put together quite possibly their best rotation ever, and with the Pen returning a strong group and the position players all healthy (unlike last year when the Rays lost their 2 best bats for more than half the year, plus a number of other key contributors), the Rays are absolutely stacked heading into the season. On paper, I think the Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees are all 90-95 win teams. For a number of reasons, health mostly, I think the Yankees come in 3rd place, with the Rays or Blue Jays winning the division, but any one of these teams could win the division.
YankeesBleacherCreature – Seriously? You have issues with your own team?
Not everyone is a True Believer. Most fans from every team can acknowledge their team’s strengths & weaknesses. It doesn’t make him any less a Yankee fan to acknowledge Montas’ injury, or Rodon & Cortes being nicked up.
Joe injuries will tell the tale in the AL East.
The one area that Boston has quietly gotten much better at is depth in pitching. It’s quite likely that Boston will have to rely on young pitchers again this year but imo they are in much better place this year depth wise. The AAA rotation should be well stocked with Walter, Murphy, Mata and both Crawford and Winckowski look like solid depth options. I really like how the ball is coming out out of both Crawford and Winks hands this spring. I don’t put much stock on spring numbers but both those guys are throwing well ball coming out free and easy. They both got their feet wet last year and look like they worked hard on secondaries and control.
I feel their pitching is much better better and deeper this year and in a much better position to weather the storm of injuries.
Absolutely spot-on correct. Everyone loses SPs. The teams with the 6/7/8 guys are the ones that survive. Crawford, Winc, & Mata have to prove it, but they’ve looked okay so far.
@JoeBrady The irony is that PulledaBloom probably complains about his team the most before we even hit the field (and will choose to argue those against him who have faith in his team) but he is all over someone else for complaining when it’s about their team. There’s a lot of logic in that if you get my sarcasm.
That’s just the crazy coming out. Coming from The Bronx, most of the people I know are Yankee fans. Virtually all of them have the same story as BleacherCreature: uncertainty about LF, SS (if IKF starts), Donaldson, Rodon, what to do about Volpe, etc.
In fact, if I talked to Met fans, their concerns would also look like each other. That’s because it is all reality-based. The Bloom-haters just think in absolute terms.
For the third straight season, the Blue Jays will be the trendy choice for 1st place. For the third straight season, the trendy choice will disappoint.
…says the low-life poster.
Honestly I think this division’s full standings will come down to which team remains the healthiest. Each team has their strengths and weaknesses, but I’d probably say the best odds are: NYY, with Toronto close to them, and then the three other teams all competing for a WC spot at best.
NYY: They have SP depth for now to deal with injuries, but they’re relying on some of those arms to remain consistent. Left side of the field is a question mark. They should DFA Donaldson if he continues to look cooked. Put DJ and IKF there, give Peraza and/or Volpe a shot at SS, and put Cabrera in LF. Hicks can 4th OF unless he looks cooked too.
TOR: The rotation depth is very thin. I’m higher on Mitch White than most, but if he or Kikuchi aren’t up to the task then you better hope Tiedemann or someone else is ready for their big league shot. Their lineup is very good but prone to streakiness. BP remains a bit of a question mark to me as well outside of a handful of them.
TB: A team that supposedly has a great development system has had some duds and setbacks as of late. They still seem to work wonders on pitchers, but they’re banking on some key batters returning to form. Does the back half of the lineup really hold up as anything more than average players at best?
BAL: Heavens, I wish they’d have gotten a more reliable SP or two. They have a promising lineup and bundles of young talent either debuted or ready to. I understand why they’d have a quiet offseason, but the hitting is going to be really legit this year but feel wasted due to the lack of arms.
BOS: Largely panned by a lot of folks this offseason, I think they could hit on some of those question marks and surprise people with that lineup. The pitching likely isn’t close to strong enough to be a real playoff team, but there are enough intriguing arms where I wouldn’t rule them out. A kind of team you could convince me pushes for 2nd in the division or ends up dead last.
Mostlytoasty – I think you exaggerated the issues with NY and TOR. I liked you TB assessment of their recent failures. I think you have their pitchers under rated and their hitters over rated. BAL is exactly what you said. Pitching is their Achilles.
Now the BOS part. The line-up is horse manure. No legitimate lead off person since Cora will use Kiki. Yoshida will get on base but Devers will need to homer to drive him in since he’s a bad base runner. After that, there is just a bunch of mediocre hitters. Casas could surprise everyone and live up to his hype which would allow Devers to score a few runs but the rest of the team are league average or below cheaply priced wasted roster spots. Even Verdugo, isn’t anything more than a league average guy. Duvall, probably below league average, Kiki is well below league average, Arroyo at best is league average, So it all comes down to Devers and Yoshida producing runs and maybe Casas too. The Red Sox have had line-ups with Mookie, Benny, Bogey, JD, Devers as their first five. Now they have Kiki, Yoshida, Devers, Casas and Verdugo. The hitting will surprise people if they are expecting it to be anything similar to the last decade. The talent is gone except for Devers and the injured Story. Yes, Casas could be a great surprise but that still leaves them far short of the talent that EVERYONE ELSE has in the division.
Ironically, I think you missed on the Red Sox pitching. Now I fully expect Cora to screw it up but I like a starting staff with Sale, Kluber, Houck, Whitlock and Pivetta with Bello as the 6th SP. I think this could be the best starting staff and bullpen that Boston has had since DD was GM. Their problem will be scoring runs and playing defense. You can’t blame the pitchers when the score keepers only count half of Devers errors and you add a bad fielding left fielder, a bad fielding shortstop and you have two iffy outfielders in Duvall and Verdugo. Verdugo looked terrible in right field when he first came to Boston and now he’s forced to play there since Yoshida is so bad they had to replace Verdugo in LF the weak spot in the outfield.
This team has absolutely no shot at 2nd in the division because 81 wins is their upside and that won’t get you 2nd place in the AL East.
I would most definitely take the under on 81 games for the Sox if I were a betting man. That being said, I think this team has shown many times in the past two decades that they’re capable of overachieving past their expected results. Not to mention every year there are teams that exceed expectations. The Guardians and Orioles far exceeded both projections and ‘insider’ picks for records/standings last year. That’s what helped Tito win Manager of the Year.
Now, a LOT would have to go right for them in the field, but I am pretty high on Yoshida being a great contributor to that lineup. Arroyo, Casas, Duvall, and even Dalbec have all looked quite good in ST so far, but we can of course take that with a grain of salt (anyone remember Higashioka putting up like a 1.700 OPS in ST last year?). A lot is riding on that middle INF to pan out. I think they’re league average at worst, which is fine if you can get production at all your corner spots. Duvall is only two years removed from a Gold Glove winning season in which he hit 38 HRs and a league-leading 113 RBIs.
Will he replicate that kind of performance? Probably not, even if he’s fully healthy. But there is enough upside in many of these castoffs that I think if enough of those hit the 75th+ percentile, they could be a WC contender. Again, would I bet on that? No. Could it happen? I don’t see why not.
Mostly Toasty = You need to contribute more often. Outstanding analysis. With regard to the Red Sox, a big contributor to the roller coaster past of the Red Sox (last 10 to 20 years) has been bad decisions (Cherington), bad managing (Valentine) but one reason they could have the ups to go with the downs was they had a talented roster. In years when they played poorly the team was down and yet in 2013 they added a couple of key pieces to an already loaded roster and won it all.
2023 doesn’t start with a fully loaded roster like all the times in the past. It starts with the worst roster since the early 60s. Yaz got Tony C and things started to get better after years of being bad. Bloom took a championship team and stripped it down to Devers and Sale. Devers needs Casas to be his Tony C to start the assent back to greatness but that can’t happen in 2023 since the average player is below league average but cheap so Bloom can justify his bad choices. Winning comes from a good core set of players like in 2021 when Bogey, Devers, JD had up years and carried the mediocre players like Kiki. Renfroe was a nice surprise and Schwarber later in the season. The core is now simply Devers. That’s not enough to mount a 2021 type season. I wish it was!
No team should really approach the season by saying we really need a ton of luck to have an outside chance to make the playoffs but that’s where Boston is after Bloom dismantled the championship team.
ST after watching a half century of performances seldom reflects the regular season. I’ve seen near perfect STs turn into team that flop. I’ve seen horrendous STs turn into rings. ST is against the back-ups on other teams. It doesn’t reflect reality. Lets see if Boston is 10 out by the end of April. If not, then maybe they are better than their past performances.
Duvall is an enigma. I agree. Huge beta in performance. Lightning in a bottle for him? Maybe. For Kiki? Absolutely not no matter how many advantages he gets from his pops being best friends with Cora. He’s a lifetime .241 hitter who has hit .239 in Boston the last two years. Those numbers don’t lie after nearly a decade of poor performances. His two week bender at the end of 2021 seems to stick in peoples minds but his other 50 weeks of terrible play seem to be spun into oblivion by the marketing team in Boston. Kiki is a AAA player and has been for a decade.
He will be the single biggest contributor to their lack of success because he will receive opportunities not earned. I would play Mondesi at SS and bench Kiki and if Mondesi gets hurt, then flip a coin between Kiki or Dalbec at SS because they provide similar value. More speed for Kiki, more power for Dalbec.
Bad managing, extremely low talent and a GM who lacks the knowledge or skill to fill the roster with talent is a bad combination. 65 to 81 seems very likely without injuries. If Devers goes down, all bets are off.
TB struggled in 2022 because they lost their best bats to injuries, not because those guys had bad years. Those guys are now healthy. Take Judge out of the Yankees lineup and tell me how good the Yankees would be.
Rays are stacked heading into 2023. They could easily have 4-5 position players who generate 4 fWAR or better (Franco, B.Lowe, Diaz, Arozarena, Siri (off his defense)) and their pitching is going to be dominant with multiple CY candidates. They have as good a chance of winning the division as the Yankees and Blue Jays, with overall health probably determining the winner.
Yeah, interesting that the OP says health is key, yet dismisses health when discussing TB’s season (still made playoffs even w two best bats missing most of the year). But I am used to a lack of respect being thrown their way…just makes winning sweeter. See: Mike Brosseau (among others).
“They could easily have 4-5 position players who generate 4 fWAR or better (Franco, B.Lowe, Diaz, Arozarena, Siri”
20 seasons played by those players, they have ONE season combined with an FWAR over 4, but 4 or 5 will achieve it this year? ZIPS at Fangraph predicts none of those players having 4.0 WAR.
Injuries will play a role and Siri? Nobody is going to produce 4 WAR with a .268 OBP.
Love your Homer enthusiasm though.
Allow me to expand on that statement then. 😉
Lowe – Has been victimized by the shift 85% of his ABs, with his average being about .100 lower with the shift (according to Rays’ announcers this Spring). His best year was a 4.9 fWAR year. If he stays healthy, he has as good a chance to exceed 4 fWAR as anyone.
Franco – 2 half seasons in the Majors have him hitting 121 wRC+ and a total of 4.7 fWAR. I’d be shocked if he didn’t exceed 4 fWAR in 2023 if he stays healthy.
Diaz – Put up 3.8 fWAR last year. No reason he can’t do better this year.
Aroz – He put up 3.8 fWAR in 2021. Yeah, his results suffered last year as the team struggled overall with injuries, but everyone knows Aroz’s play is based on excitement and enthusiasm (see WBC and 2020 post-season). No reason he doesn’t take his game to a new level this year.
Siri – Obviously this is the big reach, but hear me out. Siri played about a third of the year with the Rays in 2022 and let me tell you, he looked as good as KK in his prime. Prime KK produced fWAR of 4.3, 3.6 and 3.6 from 2015 to 2017 largely off his defense. In fact, in 2015, he produced 4.3 fWAR with below 100 wRC+. I’m not saying Siri will definitely post 4 fWAR, but I won’t be shocked if he does. He posted 1.2 fWAR in only 178 PAs last year with the Rays.
Let me expand on your expanse.
“Lowe – Has been victimized by the shift 85% ”
Lots of players have been victimized by the shift. So all those players will improve, negating the effect. He still has to improve more than the improvement everyone else gets from removing the shift. Also, the shift is kind of still there, they just move an OFer in, instead of a IFer across. — And thats not even going into whether he’ll stay healthy. ZIPS predicts 3.6
He’s the real deal, he should make 4 War, but he wouldnt be the first cant miss player, who regressed in his 2nd season. ZIPS predicts 3.6.
“Diaz, No reason he cant get better”
No reason he cant stay the same. This will be his 7th season in ML, and he has never had a 4.0 WAR season. Regression from 3,9 is just as likely. ZIPS predicts 3.1 FWAR.
Same as Diaz. 5th season and hes never had a 4.0 WAR season, he even had a regression last year. ZIPS predicts 3.6.
Ridiculous. Not even worth commenting on. ZIPS predicts 2.2
To predict 4 to 5 to produce 4 FWAR, you have to assume no one gets injured and theres no regression. I know ZIPs is only a projection average, but you have all 5 beating their projections. Tough sell.
Id say Franco get there and 1 or 2 of the others (no way Siri). Thats 2 or 3 players with 4 WAR.
@Sideline & @mp2891
I don’t discount the injuries the Rays have had, I quite literally started off my post about how health is key to all of these teams due to suspect depth for most of the clubs. I didn’t want to write five pages of text though to go super in the weeds on each team. “Returning to form” to me can very much = “return to how they were before they got hurt,” so I’m not sure what y’all are missing there.
And it is very much true that the Rays have had some key prospects that they hoped would help in 2021 and 2022 that failed to do so. Brujan and Josh Lowe can’t hit enough to utilize their other tools elsewhere. Walls and Aranda aren’t marquee guys but they also floundered with the bat.
League average OPS was .706 in 2022. Rays had 17 guys with 150 PAs or more last year and only 6 of them hit better than that marker.
All of that being said, I would be very excited if I were a Rays fan because many of these struggling and/or hurt players are all very young and they are developing a very talented core group of players on both sides of the ball.
Noids – I didn’t predict the Rays would have 4-5 guys hitting 4 fWAR. I said I could see 4-5 of them hitting that level, and I can for the reasons stated. As for Steamer and Zips projections, I learned a long time ago to take their projections with a grain of sand when it comes to the Rays. They could be right, and they could be wrong, but it’s certainly possible that the Rays’ position players have really good years.
They only lost KK. Any time a team like TB only loses a 1.1 bWAR player, they are almost automatically better. But you really need a return from Glasnow.
30 years is long enough. Jays win division and ws in 6. Varsho mvp
I’m liking the Rays to win the East. Yankees are not a well constructed team and will regress. Their team is riddled with injuring. The Jays might be a decent team this year.
Hope this turns out better than your Israel WBC Winners prediction…
I guess you missed the sarcasm in the WBC post…
Should be a tough division from top to bottom. Could almost see every team playing .500 or above, but something will break the wrong way for one of the teams. It’s baseball.
Yankee first, although it will be a tough battle. Sure, Judge won’t repeat his 2022, but highly unlikely they Yankees will experience the issues they had the second half either. They had their worst August in 30 years before rebounding in September. They won’t be as good as first half Yankees, nor as bad as second half Yankees. They’ll still be a 95-100 win team.
Rays second. Jays third. Red Sox fourth. Orioles fifth.
The Orioles are already being picked by many as a “surprise” team, but I believe their surprise was last year. They won’t sneak up on anyone this season. They didn’t make any significant improvements in the offseason, so I see 2023 as a year where they retrench a bit, settle in as a tough opponent, but in a tough division. They’re probably still a year away from being a true contender.
I like a number of the moves the Red Sox made. They won’t be great, but they’ll be above .500.
Let the games begin.
Just having Gunnar and Adley on the squad all year will be a big improvement. Plus, any contribution they get from Grayson with the limited innings he’ll be throwing will be good.
Red Sox (playoffs)
LOL. Thanks for the morning laugh (Red Sox in the playoffs and Rays out of it).
It’s absolutely hilarious that 130 people voted for the Red Sox to win the East.
It’s actually not that far-fetched. It’s baseball and anything can happen. Season hasn’t started yet.
Actually, it is. Red Sox missed the playoffs last year by a pretty wide margin and I don’t think anyone would say they improved in the offseason.
Red Sox missed the playoffs last year by a pretty wide margin
Not really. They missed 8 games. A healthy Sale by himself could’ve made up that difference.
A healthy Sale would have added a max of 4 wins based on recent performance. Losing Bogaerts will take more than that off the win total.
Wow! And people say I’m a homer. Missing the playoffs by 8 games when the playoff race was expanded to include more teams is a huge miss in my book. Sale ain’t making up that difference by himself.
If every single player on the Red Sox exceeds their career bests by 10% they would be about 4 wins short of taking the division.
I’m a fairly optimistic Red Sox fan who voted for Toronto. I’m confused about New York running almost as high as Toronto. I think Toronto is the clearly elite team in the division and the other four teams all have some questions and upside. The Yankees in particular have racked up a lot of injuries already.
Obvious Homer answer is Toronto will take the AL east.
If I can’t pick my team, I’d go with the Rays as well, I don’t see the Yankees even taking 2nd place. And may even get passed by Baltimore if they aren’t careful
This division is Toronto’s to lose. The Yankees are two inconsistent. Judge had a career year and they won the division but that was it. He’ll come back to normal in 2023. TB has very little talent compared to TOR and NYY so they will be in a dog fight with the surging Orioles. If Baltimore could find pitching they could beat TB for 3rd. The Red Sox will be a distant 5th place. They are four games over .500 after three years of Bloom and this is the worst team yet by far.
If they win 81 games it will be a miracle and fans should be happy. If they win 65 games nobody should be surprised. Most likely it will be somewhere between their ceiling of 81 and their floor of 65. Health will be a big factor since the team has many vulnerable players and has already been experiencing the hamstring issues of a team with a poor training program and the more severe problem of lat strains.
The big hope for this season is that Cora plays the youngsters so they can develop during this wasted season and both Bloom and Cora are fired at some point soon but no later than the end of the season. Those things will improve the future of the Red Sox dramatically.
All you fans painting a bright picture for 2023 please don’t get emotionally tied to success with this team. It’s not going to happen. I’ll be rooting for the players that deserve to be in the line-up and hoping for wins but realistically the best thing that could happen is Casas develops into an every day 1B, Story gets healthy so he’s ready to play at 100% in 2024, Sale returns to form, Houck and Whitlock prove they belong in the middle of the rotation, Bello proves he’s a MLB starter and guys like Dalbec prove they have the ability to be an effective bench player with power and a versatile glove.
It would be nice if Yoshida isn’t as bad as reported by everyone. I’m not holding my breath on that one since so many sources said he can’t field, has very little power and can’t run the bases. The rest of the team can be released at the season’s end so the new GM can bring in quality players. There are two dozen mediocre to bad players on the 40 man roster and just because they are cheap doesn’t mean they are worth it. The first to go needs to be the highly over used .239 hitter whose father got him a job with Boston. After Kiki is gone, the infield will improve, the outfield will improve and the batting order will improve.
The destruction by Bloom has been comprehensive. No catchers, a 3B that can’t field, a SS in the minors that needs to graduate, a 1B from DD that needs to prove he’s an every day player, a potential all-star 2B that can’t stay healthy, a questionable LF who is grossly over-paid, a journey man CF who can be released to find a much better starter and the biggest downgrade of all is right field. We went from Mookie, to Renfroe, to Refsnyder to Verdugo. Each step down hurt the team. Verdugo and Refsynder are a wash so maybe the decline in right field is over.
The good news is the young pitchers like Houck, Bello, Mata and even the Rule 5 pick-up Whitlock present the best young pitching Boston has seen in years. Bloom did good in picking up Whitlock but he also inherited an excellent farm system despite the bogus ratings. Houck and Casas could end up being all-stars in the future so DD’s contribution will be significant down the road. Bloom’s choices haven’t been very good except the fortunate 4th pick in the draft where two teams passed on the 2nd best player in the draft. Who says it’s not better to be lucky than good!! That was pure luck that a star of Mayer’s caliber was overlooked by two teams.
Overall, the future can be brightened significantly with two firings and a 2023 season where player development actually happens. If Cora turns this into the kiki show and lets him hit first with a .200 average like the last two years, then we should see win totals very close to 65 not 81.
I don’t think Verdugo will make much difference in RF from ’22 to ’23. Not saying he will be good – he won’t – but if you look up RF last year, if you exclude the franchy failure, sorted by WORST RF boston trotted out the 5th, 12th, and IIRC around the 17th worst players in RF in all of MLB last year in uzr/150.
Rf in fenway plays with a range like CF, except, when you miss a ball the wall is so low its an automatic 2B.
So, it’s a wash in RF from last year, and 3B since Devers is back there, with downgrades at CF, LF, SS, 2B, and C respectively on defense.
TB has very little talent? Remind me again which team won the division 2 of the past 3 years. Rays enter 2023 with the best team of the past 4 years. They aren’t the runaway favorite for the division (no team is), but I don’t see how anyone can think the Rays aren’t entering 2023 with as good a chance of winning it all as the Yankees and Blue Jays. They are absolutely stacked and have good depth.
mp2Bg1 – I noticed you didn’t document your opinion with facts. That makes it just one fans biased opinion. You have to use facts for credibility.
Bettencourt/Mejia aren’t as good as Rutschman, but it’s fair to say they hold their own against the Yankee and Blue Jay catching duos. Clearly they are better than Boston’s catchers as is the local High School team!! Yandy Diaz does not compare favorably with Vlad Jr. or Rizzo so at best he’s third of 5. Brandon Lowe used to be good but two bad seasons and I’d rank him behind Merrifield and Torres for sure and fairly comparable to Frazier and Arroyo. OK not Arroyo but Frazier can match his numbers. I’m a huge Franco fan but Bichette is better right now, so is Bogaerts … oops he’s not in Boston, so he’s 2nd best in the division. Third base is a disaster for TB when comparing them to Devers (despite his fielding), Chapman, the kid Henderson and Donaldson/LeMahieu in NY. 5th out of 5.
In the outfield TB has a strong Arozarena in LF versus Varsho, Yoshida, Hays and Hicks/whoever. That’s one strength. CF has Siri versus Mullins and Bader which is clearly a big step down. Kiermeyer Siri and Duvall is how I’d rank the final 3 CFers.. In RF Judge, Springer and Santander are clearly better than Margot. Heck Verdugo might even be better. At DH TB has Harold Ramirez and the Yankees have Stanton, TOR has Kirk/Belt, BOS has Turner and BAL has a huge hole. TB 3rd or 4th out of 5.
See, when you actually look at the facts, TB DOES NOT have a great offense like you suggested. They need huge bounce back years from Franco and Lowe to be competitive. As good as Arozarena is he can’t carry the team any more than Devers can carry the BOS offense. They are better than Boston, comparable to Baltimore and far behind both the Yankees and Blue Jays in hitting.
That’s why they will be fighting it out with BAL for 3rd in the division but they won’t be embarrassed by finishing 5th. That spot is sown up by the Red Sox. Thank you BLOOM!!
PAB – I provide pitching facts above and position player facts below. Do I need to write a 1000 word essay every time? And if your comment “TB has very little talent compared to TOR and NYY…” is meant to be a player by player comparison, then I would say you need to work on your communication skills. That sentence clearly says TB has very little talent and I’m saying that is 100% wrong.
BTW, do you even watch baseball?
First Baseman – I’m not going to say Diaz is better than Vlad (although I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a better 2023 like 2022), but he’s definitely better than Rizzo at this point in their careers.
Diaz – 2022 (146 wRC+ and 3.8 fWAR); 2023 Steamer projection (138 wRC+ and 3.7 fWAR).
Vlad – 2022 (132 wRC+ and 2.8 fWAR); 2023 Steamer projection (160 wRC+ and 5.2 fWAR)
Rizzo – 2022 (132 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR); 2023 Steamer projection (130 wRC+ and 2.7 fWAR)
Second Basemen – Are you kidding me??? B.Lowe was injured last year, but he’s back and healthy this year. In 2021 he produced 137 wRC+ and 4.9 fWAR. If that’s a bad year in your mind, then I don’t know what to tell you. Merrifield (LOL) – Dude can’t even hit 100 wRC+. Torres best year at the plate is 125 wRC+, which would rank #4 on B.Lowe’s career stats (out of 6 total years). A healthy B.Lowe is the best 2B in the ALE and it’s not particularly close.
I could go on player by player, but I suspect I’m wasting my time, and baseball remains a team sport anyway and the Rays are a complete team. You want to believe the big names that other teams have are better than the Rays (Donaldson and Merrifield – LOL), but if you really take an objective look, you’ll see that the Rays are competitive across the board (even Siri compares favorably to KK and Bader right now, and as an everyday player might rival Mullins (Siri put up the equivalent of about 4 fWAR with the Rays after they acquired him last year (if you prorate his results over a full year)). The Rays don’t have a Judge, but few teams do.
Maybe mp2891 knows that we don’t want to read a mile-long comment like the ones you are posting, so he kept it short and simple. And opinions are what this site is all about anyway. It’s a rumors site, and his opinions are as valid as your’s or anyone else’s.
I would love for the Sox to prove the naysayers wrong but I’m not sure how probable that is. Beyond that i think this could be Toronto’s division for the taking
Earlier this offseason I said I’d wait through ST to give a prognosis on the team this year as far as wins, so on, so forth.
Smart money is against them doing anything. Other clubs fight for a playoff berth. This team will be struggling to get .500 on the season as it’s victory.
Rsox – I’m right with you. I would love to see guys like me who deal in past performances and statistical projections to define the logical expected performance of a team to be wrong. Unfortunately, that’s a double edged sword. If that happens it will be longer before we get a real GM and Manager so I find it easier to simply root for the individual players and their development so the future is brighter.
Leaning Yankees. They won 99 games last year with some of the crappy starting lineup still on the roster. Don’t think Judge will hit 62 but he’ll probably get 40-45 if healthy. And their bullpen is strong.
RayKings – The Yankees would probably be the prohibitive favorite if Boone was NOT the manager. He’s nearly as bad as Cora so you have to take away 6 to 12 wins for bad managerial choices during games. On paper, NY looks very good.
No manager is taking away 12 wins in a season. Come on, man!
The comments on this thread are surprisingly reasonable and articulate. Keep it up people!
Oh, and Jays. Don’t forget Ryu and Ricky T likely can help out in July or so. Vlad and Bo look locked in after just ok seasons. Chapman is on a walk year. And they have a more professional attitude this year. Will need some luck like anyone. But should be fun to watch.
The attitude is my biggest concern about Toronto. They have great talent. Elite talent. But that was true last year too. They haven’t shown me that they can grind over the long season and find ways to win.
The Yankees could be great, but they are top heavy until their young guys prove they are ready for the big time.
The Rays are my pick because they are so deep and versatile. They aren’t overly dependent on any one player so injuries impact them the least. Other posters criticism of their inability to fully develop productive regulars is completely fair though.
I have a bad feeling about Baltimore. Even their front office doesn’t seem ready to believe just yet.
Too many questions in Boston. I think the 2021 success was a lot like San Francisco’s. I get what they are trying to do, but I don’t think they are decisive enough. The Story signing and staying above the luxury tax line last season smack of PR driven logic rather than real analytical decision making.
I’m a Rays fan and I’m frustrated by the rookies’ struggles too, but honestly, is that a huge concern when talking about the Rays’ ability to succeed in 2023? Yeah, J.Lowe and T.Walls struggled in 2022 (their first real exposure to extended ML playing time), but it seems like folks are grasping if that’s the reason they are using to say the Rays aren’t good enough to win the division. It also completely ignores the contributions they got from late spring trades last year for I.Paredes (2.4 fWAR; 116 wRC+) and H.Ramirez (119 wRC+). Show me the holes in this lineup:
1B – Y.Diaz (146 wRC+ and 3.8 fWAR in 2022)
2B – B.Lowe (137 wRC+ and 4.9 fWAR in 2021 (he was injured for most of 2022)
SS – W.Franco (116 wRC+ and 2.3 fWAR playing hurt and missing 1/2 the season – He probably destroys those numbers in 2023)
3B – I.Paredes (116 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR in 2022)
LF – Arozarena (125 wRC+ and 2.7 fWAR in 2022)
CF – Siri (93 wRC+ and 1.2 fWAR with the Rays in 2022 (1/4 of the season))
RF/4th outfielder – Margot (106 wRC+ and 1.5 fWAR missing 1/2 the season)
DH – Ramirez (119 wRC+ and 1.2 fWAR in 2022)
C – Bethancourt (101 wRC+ and 1.2 fWAR with the Rays in 2022 (1/2 season)
The wild cards are the rookies, particularly J.Lowe (RF/4th outfielder), T.Walls (infield utility) and L.Raley (1B/COF/DH), but it’s certainly reasonable to expect them all to play better in 2023 now that they’ve had a chance to work on the issues that held them back in their first extended ML playing time. And if those guys fail, the Rays have another crop of top prospects ready by mid-season (Mead, Manzardo, Aranda, and Basabe), with Mead, Manzardo and Basabe all having great Springs (Aranda was in the WBC).
I’ve said it several times in this comment section, but the Rays are stacked! Combine those bats with elite pitching and I see very good things ahead for the Rays.
Mp2BG1 – You listed lots of irrelevant past performances that aren’t even real stats. fWAR is a joke since other just call it WAR and disagree on the numbers. That’s not a stat that’s simply ONE PERSON’S estimate and your estimate or my estimate is just as valid because it’s an ESTIMATE not a fact.
You want to use modern metrics quote recent trends in OPS+ even though that has a batting average bias. Or simply show OBPs and their recent trends because it always comes back to getting on base to score. Wins against Replacement is a faulty concept. It’s for guys who want to play a computerized version of STAT-O-MAGIC. They want to compare things that aren’t validly comparable. That’s the issue with all the simulated data created by companies like Fangraphs. It’s a simulation model based on a ton of constants that must be estimated and variables that must be estimated. The estimates do not accurately represent past performance, they were originally intended to estimate future performances which is why they are classified at estimates NOT FACTS. A batting average or on base percentage is an accurate statistic of how well a person played in the past. Estimating those numbers is as flawed as WAR. Trending the numbers does not guarantee a more accurate number than your opinion or mine.
So, read the comparison I did elsewhere in the column and put the TB offense into perspective. It’s not that good on paper but miracles happen. Look at Boston in 2021. TB could completely over perform their historic stats. But since we don’t know whether that will happen or not, we have to use what they’ve done to create a baseline estimate. Thus, a 3rd place or 4th place finish aligns with their past performances. If Glasnow was healthy, Franco was the superstar many predicted and Lowe had maintained his outstanding play from several years ago they would add to Arozarena’s emergence as a star player and make the TB offense very formidable.
It could happen but I think the odds are against it.
As a baseball fan you must compare facts to metrics like wRC and fWAR.
Brandon Lowe hit .221 with an OBP of .308 in 65 games in 2022 after hitting .247 with an OBP of .340 in 2021. The ONLY thing Lowe did right for the last two years was hit 39 HRs in 2021 after never hitting over 22 in a season since he started in the minors in 2014. How many times has he played over 100 games in his 5 MLB seasons? ONCE. So how many games are you predicting for him and when he’s not playing is 2B represented by his back-up as a 100 plus wRC? I don’t think so. Your numbers are incredibly misleading. How he hit so many HRs in 2021 is a mystery. He never had a tendency to do it since 2014. Is it fair to use 2021 as an estimate of the future? I don’t believe it represents his “average performance” I believe it represents his ceiling. People can make data look like what ever point they are trying to make. Lowe needs a huge rebound to be the average guy of his first 5 years. A .249 average which is mediocre at best, an OBP of .335 which is acceptable but not good, 17 HRs which is acceptable as a 2B, 3 stolen bases and a solid defender.
TB has one stud in LF and a potential stud at SS and an average to above average 2B. Their catchers are average. Their 1B sturggles to stay healthy and is average but is streaky. Their 3B hit .205 last year yet had a wRC over league average. Doesn’t that show you how bad the estimate called wRC is for representing how well a player hits? The stat doesn’t work. Also, this guy spent 7 years in the minors and never hit anywhere near .300 yet kept being promoted. He’s now facing MLB pitching and he hit .205 in 111 games!!! He’s terrible. That stats show he is but the fabricated metrics suggest something different. Dump the fabricated data and use real stats to evaluate players!!!
I’ll evaluate players the way I see fit and you do you. Folks love to cite HRs and RBIs when talking Yankees because of that little league porch in RF. I’ll go with wRC+ thank you. My response to your post on player by player comparisons was deleted by the Mods, so I’ll repost it without whatever offended them (I used a curse word, heaven forbid).
But nothing you say will convince me the Rays don’t have a good team and will be in contention for the ALE title all year. I follow baseball too closely not to recognize that if the Rays have a healthy year they will win a lot of games.
Bloom, stop trying to write a book. TL;DR.
He’s gonna have to get the last word in. Reminds me of another Bloom-hating Red Sox fan on this site
Error in Judgement had an incredible WBC so I expect big things from him.
Like not showing up.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Jays over the Yankees? That’s quite interesting. Even without Rodon, they get to plug in the whole in the lineup with a top shortstop prospect.
deGrom – Exactly. Few weaknesses. Toronto needs a player to step up like Rutschman did for Baltimore last year and LEAD the team to victory. TOR seems to lack the heart or killer instinct that I thought Vlad Jr. was going to bring to the club. They are one leader away from taking that next step. Until then, they need to hope for Yankee injuries to win the Division. The smoke and mirrors trick in TB seems to have lost it’s luster after Boston beat them in 2021 in the playoffs. The magic that carried them for years seems to have worn off. Their pitching should keep them ahead of Boston and probably BAL but their hitting really needs a boost.
As much as I hated to do it, I chose the Stankees. It isn’t so much what a team looks like now. It what the team looks like going into the trade deadline.
Who is hurt, and how badly? Who is over performing and are they likely to continue to over perform? Who is underperforming?
Who will have the most financial power and willingness to use it to make moves to compensate for all those questions?
As usual, the answer to that question is the Evil Empire.
Sadly, I am viewing my Sox as a sub .500 glove. The lenses on my rose colored glasses broke when Mookie left and I haven’t bought a replacement pair yet.
Yanks can’t win with IKF & Hicks. Bader is a ? Too. Too many players that offer “savings” rather then talent
I think it’s the Jays this year.
My guess is that every ALE team can finish > .500. But until they prove otherwise, my money would have to be on the Yankees.
TO has some talent, but I am not impressed with the rotation. Manoah & Gausman are really good, maybe Bassitt might be good, but I have no faith in their #4/5 SPs. And while I like defense, I’m not crazy about putting KK & Varsho right next to each other.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Do these people not understand the Yankees’ Pythagorean win loss had them at 106 wins last year?
They’ll win 106 games against all other triangles. Good for them.
deGrom Texas Ranger
This is just their runs scored divided by total runs. If you score 700 and give up 700, you are expected to be 81-81. It’s too simple an idea to be called something so ridiculously complicated.
Math is hard for some of these folks.
Wouldve been nice if you explained first. This looks like a relatively new concept (as if baseball isnt bloated with silly stats). And you dont get anything when you google “yankees pythagorean”. So I made a joke about it.
Being a dick is easy for some folks.
deGrom Texas Ranger
I guess so, but this is “Pythagorean Win Loss” on Google. The first result is MLB.com.
If you put those exact words in, got it. I was just making a joke. Your response was genuine, and appreciated. The other comment not so much.
Wouldve been nice if you explained first.
Maybe, but I’d make the assumption that most fans are aware of most models. I would, for example, explain WAR or BABIP, etc.
I would **not**, for example, explain WAR or BABIP, etc.
Youre saying Pythagoreans win loss is just as common as WAR.
Give me a break, who got you in a bad mood.
I’m not in a bad mood. It is the one-week anniversary before the start of the season so it is impossible to be in a bad mood.
My assumption here is that most people have heard of Py W/L. That doesn’t mean every has, but it also means that I don’t feel the need to explain it.
“I dont feel the need to explain it”
No one asked you to. You jumped into a conversation, that was already dead, now youre trying to make yourself a victim. Youve become a dick.
Tampa is the wildcard here there pitching is absolutely elite and when healthy might quietly from top to bottom be the best in baseball when healthy. The old adage that good pitching beats good hitting is said for a reason because it’s true however you still need to put runs on the board to win and as good as their pitching is they struggle to score runs. If there pitching stays healthy and the young hitters take a step forward the sky is the limit for this Rays team.
I’m a Blue Jays fan and I’ve voted the Yankees. As much as I love the Jays roster, they were unable to get things over the finish line in the last three seasons. There was a bit of a shake-up this off season, so maybe there’s a chance…
I learned in September 2011 to never bet against the Rays. Those devils never go away, they merely lurk for the right moment to stab you in the heart
I voted Baltimore. They’re my team so I don’t need a reason. They play team baseball plus they will have Means back the final push whereas Toronto’s players are too busy admiring themselves on the screen.
If not my beloved Red Sox ( I lite so many candles for them the church has turned off the heat) I wouldn’t mind Toronto to take the next step.. one thing every year is a team that is supposed to be dominating falls flat and a team that’s supposed to be ehh. Win’s there division or makes it say championship round… for teams like Toronto/Padres/ Mets( till injury) they look every bit as good as LA/ NY/ Houston or possibly even better on paper . But have to do it on the field now…. Most overrated word in world is potential… play ball!!! Looks like my buddy Brais is on team… time to light more candles….
I lite so many candles for them the church has turned off the heat)
Fracking laughed out loud! Well done!
Yankees taking the division again.
The analysis of Boston here and elsewhere is almost willfully ignorant, The one month in which the team was relatively healthy, in June, it sprinted and looked like a certain play-off team. Even with all the injuries and off seasons by literally every regular, the team was three wins from .500, and having a competent closer in April alone would have gotten those wins. The offense, starters and bullpen should all be better than last season. If Judge doesn’t duplicate his monster season, and he won’t, the Sox have a good chance to finish ahead of the Yankees
Jack…shhh WE know.. keep it on the low(“13”)
Red Sox look good this spring. Relatively healthy and lots of depth. Theyre going to surprise a lot of people.
JM – Are you really that confident that the Red Sox got better with all their player losses this year? As a Rays fan, I shrug at big names on the downtrend of their career walking out the door, but losing Bogaerts, Story and others has to hurt. The rotation looks like it could be good, but it could be pretty bad too. I don’t follow the Red Sox as closely as their fans do, but Boston’s offseason looked like a pretty bad one down here in Tampa.
Yankees are winning the AL East. The other teams can have participation trophies.
I have them winning East, but lets not go crazy, its by a thin margin. Their hitting is as good or better than anyones. But, they have a lot of questions on that pitching staff: Rodon, Kahnle, Trivino, Montas, Severino. Thats a lot of ‘ifs’.
But, Cashman is determined (this year especially) and will be making moves to sure up areas of need. I still think they’ll win division.
Power ranking the 3 pieces of a team: 5 points for 1st, 1 for 5th
Orioles 8 + 2 orioles magic = 10
Red Sox 5
Based off the undeniable analytics, Rays/Yankees/orioles/ blue jays/ Red Sox
No sense playing the season then. Youve already cracked the code.
But, seriously. Who’s making the power ranking, what basis is employed. Why are bullpens being given just as much weight as the entire batting lineup? Do length of beards factor in? These factors and more need to be considered before it becomes “undeniable”.
Beard factor comes into play, but that analysis is for premium subscribers only.
The beard factor was what won it for us in 2013. Do not underestimate it.
Has a 293 million payroll ever not won the division? Heads should roll if they don’t.
No team has made more improvements than Boston. As for the Rays, too many ifs. The Jays got better on D, but every year they under achieve. The Yankees bring back the same crappy lineup from last year. Maybe, if they add Volpe and Jasson to the 25-man but it appears Hicks, Gleyber, and Donaldson will remain in the lineup. Despite their winning record, the Orioles lineup is loaded with free swinging sluggers that can’t draw walks. Bottom line, polls mean jack and it’s a long season.
Sorry do the blue jays not get broadcast in the USA?
This has been one of the most bizarre comment section
Seriously look at what the jays have done with their roster…..this is a 100 win team this year.
They are prepared for 162, load management schedules, room to add, and finally they have triple a depth ready to contribute.
I’m only worried about orioles, rays are finally gonna take a step back and Yankees……come on now.
On paper, the Blue Jays probably should win 100 games. Time will tell. It doesn’t hurt that all ALE teams will play each other a lot less going forward with the new scheduling format.
I hate to break it to you, but the Rays step back was last year. I hope you enjoyed it. The next 2 years the Rays are going for it.
Orioles lack pitching. Nothing to see there until they get at least a couple #1s or #2s in their rotation.
Yankees have a good enough team to win the division but I see a lot of injury risk to that team, and I don’t see the depth that some do.
I always like to put a prediction in writing.
So, here’s my AL East prediction
I also predict that the division will be tight with the last place O’s finishing less than 14 gb
I’ll provide a prediction too:
1. Rays (I think it’s a coin flip with Toronto, so I’ll go with my team)
2. Blue Jays
5. Red Sox
The top 3 could all win the division, with talent across the board. The Orioles rotation remains a hot mess in my opinion with arguably nothing but #3 and worse starters. Prospect call ups will help, but I think they are still a year away (at least) from the playoffs/division title. I think the Red Sox could surprise to the upside, but there just seems to be too much player loss and bad vibes coming from Boston to survive 162 games. They may start the season hot with an underdog “us against the world” mindset, but the long slog of the season and the inevitable injuries and bad stretches that occur will eventually knock them out of contention.
I like putting it in writing as well.
TBR 94 WC
TOR 92 WC
BRS 87 Tie with Seattle for WC
Heart pick: Boston
Logic pick: Toronto
Probable pick: New York