Saturday, March 18, 2006

Prediction: AL East

For the past few years, the AL East has boiled down to a battle between the Yankees and Red Sox. The Blue Jays, Orioles and D-Rays have been perrenial also-rans. This year could be different...or it could be the same. The determining factor will be the Red Sox. They could be really good or really bad. With all of the changes they made over the winter, it's hard ot tell exactly how good they will be.

The Red Sox have a lot of questions to answer. How will they respond to the loss of Johnny Damon? Will Mike Lowell be the Mike Lowel of old or the Mike Lowell of the past year? Will Boston's pitchers stay healthy or will history repeat itself? In my opinion, there are just too many questions to count on the Red Sox to challenge for the division in 2006.

One thing we know for sure is that the Blue Jays were serious about improving their team during the off-season. The big question for the Jays is, did they add enough to beat the Yankees. My answer to that question is "no." The Blue Jay will be better, but not good enough to win the division.

The Orioles started the 2005 season as overachievers, but their true colors came through by the end of the year. They made some changes during the winter, but how will those changes work out for them during the season? Once again this year, Baltimore will not be anywhere near the top of the division unless MLB decides to rank the teams alphabetically.

Those pesky D-Ray have been basement dwellers for too long. This year will be different. In 2006, expect the D-Rays to fight and scrap their way into a fourth place finish in the division. They may even challenge for third place, but in the end they'll fall short.

That leaves the Yankeees. Love em or hate em, the Yankees do everything they can to win. With the addition of Johnny Damon, both a good centerfielder and very good lead-off hitter, the Yankees will be the class of the field. The only question mark they have is their starting pitching. I predict it will be good enough and the Yankees will win the AL East.

Here's how they'll end the 2006 season in the AL East:

1) New York Yankee
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) Boston Red Sox
4) Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5) Baltimore Orioles

Next time, the NL East.


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