Baltimore Orioles: AL East Predictions
By Jacob Adams
Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Orioles will win the AL East by a relatively large margin again in 2015.
Normally the AL East is the strongest division in baseball. However, last season the Orioles dominated a division that was in virtual shambles, and there isn’t any reason they won’t do it again this time around.
The Rays have mostly dismantled the roster that has been so good in recent years. They will still have solid starting pitching, but it just isn’t enough. They always seem to find a way to rebuild quickly with their endless supply of young talent, but they’ve dug themselves quite a hole this time. Without their mad scientist, Joe Maddon, pulling all the levers, the glaring holes in their roster look even bigger than they are. They may in fact need a few seasons to rebuild before they can contend again.
The Yankees are going to struggle. If healthy, their starting pitching should be somewhere in the middle of the pack in the American League, but that’s a big “IF”. Adding Andrew Miller and losing David Robertson is probably a push, so the back end of their bullpen should be solid. However, the roster as a whole is rough. All the big names on their roster would make a solid baseball card collection, but almost all of those big names are significantly past their prime. If the Rays weren’t in full rebuilding mode, the Yankees would be in last place in September.
The Red Sox have made a lot of moves in the past year, and they should be significantly better than last season, but they were atrocious last season. They have an almost completely different starting pitching staff than last season, but it’s not clear exactly how much they’ve upgraded. Acquiring Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval will make their lineup much stronger than last season, and they do have several position prospects who could make an impact later in the season. However, it still isn’t enough. Their starting pitching, bullpen and defense are still behind the Orioles, and the Blue Jays for that matter. They could always make a move for a name like Cole Hamels, but as the roster looks today, they’re still a ways from competing for a division title.
The Blue Jays should be the Orioles’ biggest competition. The middle of their lineup is built like a beer-league softball team—they swing hard and try to see how far they can hit it. Unfortunately for the competition, they’ve had a lot of success doing that in recent years. They also have an underrated amount of young talent in the lineup; talent that will get a lot of playing time in 2015. Mix that with their good base of solid veterans, and it should make for one of the best lineups in baseball. Also, with the additions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, their defense should also be one of the best in the American League. However, the biggest question mark is still their starting rotation, specifically their inexperience. They should have a solid front of the rotation, but their 4 and 5 starters have a combined 1 major league start. The Blue Jays should contend for a Wildcard spot, but they’re probably a season away from making a legit run at the division.
Toronto Blue Jays 86-76
Boston Red Sox 82-80
New York Yankees 77-85
Tampa Bay Rays 75-87