Can The Boston Red Sox Repeat? American League East Preview

Eric Urbanowicz
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As the calendar turns to March, the start of baseball is at hand. With Major League Baseball’s Opening Day scheduled the earliest that it’s ever been it’s time to preview the upcoming season. Welcome To The Start Of Baseball!

Since the players’ strike of 1994, the American League East has produced both the most World Series appearances as well as the most champions. Lead by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees (both with four World Series in that time), to say they’ve become the powerhouse division in baseball is an understatement to say the least. The defending World Series champion Red Sox looking to become the first team since the 1998-2000 Yankees repeat. The up and coming Tampa Bay Rays could look to sink their hopes and the Yankees could look to deal damage. Another question is how will the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays do? Can they shock the world or are they still in the birdhouse? 


Predicted Standings:

5th Place: Baltimore Orioles

Projected Line Up:

  1. CF Cedric Mullins
  2. RF D.J. Stewart
  3. 2B Jonathan Villar
  4. LF Trey Mancini
  5. DH Mark Trumbo
  6. 1B Chris Davis
  7. 3B Renato Nunez 
  8. C Chance Sisco
  9. SS Richie Martin

The Baltimore Orioles are the very definition of a team that’s going through a rebuild. They started their changes by firing Buck Showhalter and naming Brandon Hyde their new manager. Most of the team is young. Minor league players like outfielder Austin Hays and infielder Ryan Mountcastle could see time this season. The Orioles could be a team to watch in the next five years. Their pitching staff is also young enough that the experience could potentially help them in that five year period. This year will definitely be a year for Baltimore to forget, even to the point that it wouldn’t be shocking if they lost 100 games but it will set up for the next few seasons.


4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays

Projected Line Up:

  1. LF Billy McKinney
  2. SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr
  3. 1B Justin Smoak
  4. DH Kendrys Morales
  5. CF Kevin Pillar
  6. RF Randal Grichuk
  7. 3B Brandon Drury
  8. 2B Devon Travis
  9. C Danny Jansen

Once upon a time, the Toronto Blue Jays featured a star studded team with Cy Young candidates and Most Valuable Player award winners. Now they’re full of younger talent. This team can easily be a dark horse candidate because the pitching staff, while not overwhelming, can be productive if all the pieces fall into place. Toronto’s biggest issue is how their young players talent translates onto the field. Most have a year or two of experience now but if they can’t piece together a consistent string of success, they’ll be doomed to a fourth place finish.


3rd Place: Tampa Bay Rays

Projected Line Up:

  1. CF Kevin Kiermaier
  2. LF Tommy Pham
  3. 2B Joe Wendle
  4. DH Ji-Man Choi
  5. 1B Yandy Diaz
  6. RF Austin Meadows
  7. SS Willy Adames
  8. C Mike Zunino
  9. 3B Matthew Duffy

Last year the Tampa Bay Rays looked like a team that would pull off a remarkable playoff run, until they ran out of time late in the season. This year, Tampa Bay could make a run. They have the pitching staff that could earn them a spot in the playoffs and a line up that could be make them a contender for the division. Under the guidance of manager Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay could be an interesting team to watch. 


2nd Place: New York Yankees

Projected Line Up:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. DH Giancarlo Stanton
  4. CF Aaron Hicks
  5. C Gary Sanchez
  6. 3B Miguel Andujar
  7. 2B Gleyber Torres
  8. SS Troy Tulowitzki 
  9. 1B Luke Voit

Last year, the New York Yankees boasted one of the most impressive line ups in all of baseball, only to fall to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series. Going into this offseason, they had three major things to accomplish: fixing the rotation, finding a temporary replacement as shortstop Didi Gregorius dealt with his injury, and trying to balance the line up. They partially did the first by acquiring starting pitcher James Paxton but kept the status quo by resigning CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ. They found their shortstops in former Blue Jay Troy Tulowitzki with former Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu providing a good second option. However, their biggest issue is still balance in the line up. They have players who can play hero ball in the form of home runs. If the Yankees can make do by just battering opponents in that way, they’ll stand a chance. If they can’t, they’ll be stuck in the same place as last season.


1st Place: Boston Red Sox

Projected Line Up:

  1. LF Andrew Benintendi
  2. RF Mookie Betts
  3. DH J.D. Martinez
  4. SS Xander Bogaerts
  5. 1B Mitch Moreland
  6. 3B Rafael Devers
  7. 2B Dustin Pedroia
  8. C Christian Vazquez
  9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr

It’s hard to bet not to bet on the Yankees but after last year, the Boston Red Sox could make one second guess. Their starting rotation is very similar to last years, which saw great success. The line up looks about the same with the only major change coming from second baseman Dustin Pedroia returning from injury. The undoing of Boston’s success will be their bullpen. With no real idea who their closer will be, they’re going to heavily rely on their bats, defense and starting pitching. Boston has the tools to repeat, but they’re going to have to build on last years success.

Eric Urbanowicz


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