2019 AL East Preview

Cole Weintraub, Staff Writer

1st Place: New York Yankees

Projected Record: 103-59

2018 Record: 100-62

2018 Result: Lost ALDS to BOS (3-1)

Key Additions: James Paxton (trade with SEA), Adam Ottavino (signed 3yrs/27M from COL), DJ LeMahieu (signed 2yrs/24M from COL), Troy Tulowitzki (signed league minimum from TOR), CC Sabathia (resigned 1yr/8M), Zack Britton (resigned 3yrs/39M), J.A. Happ (resigned 2yrs/34M), Gio Gonzalez (signed 1yr/3M from MIL)

Key Losses: David Robertson (signed with PHI),  Andrew McCutchen (signed with PHI), Sonny Gray (traded to CIN), Neil Walker (signed with MIA), Lance Lynn (signed with TEX)

The Bronx Bombers made big splashes this offseason.  After a devastating ALDS loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees made a big trade with Seattle to receive James Paxton to bolster their starting rotation.  Third-year superstar Aaron Judge will look to have an MVP caliber season.  Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres will try to piggy-back off of their phenomenal rookie seasons.  With the additions of DJ LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki, the Yankees added lots of depth in their infield.  2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton said that the biggest difference between Miami and the Bronx was “playing in games that mattered past May 7.”  He will be more comfortable in the American League after his first season and will be able to help carry the Yankees with the long ball.  The Yanks have the best bullpen in the MLB consisting of flame throwers Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Zack Britton.  The Yankees added “pitching wizard” Adam Otta

vino to demoralize opposing hitters.  Gary Sanchez is the difference of the 2019 Yankees.  With production from the young catcher, the Yankees will take over the American League East holsting the World Series trophy in late October.



2nd Place: Boston Red Sox

Projected Record: 98-64

2018 Record: 108-54

2018 Result: Won World Series over LAD (4-1)

Key Additions: Nathan Eovaldi (resigned 4yrs/68M), Steve Pearce (resigned 1yr/6.25M)

Key Losses: Joe Kelly (signed with LAD), Ian Kinsler (signed with SDP), Drew Pomeranz (signed with SFG)

The defending World Champions will look to repeat this year in a different fashion.  Boston extended Chris Sale which is an implication that they will not resign Craig Kimbrel.  This will take a hit to their already weak bullpen especially with the loss of flamethrower Joe Kelly.  The Sox did resign Nathan Eovaldi and World Series MVP Steve Pearce to hold down the utility man role, platooning at first base.  Nonetheless, the Red Sox have the reigning MVP Mookie Betts and JD Martinez who will look to take that crown this season.  Xander Bogaerts had one of his best seasons last year and looks to be the player that every Red Sox fan expected.  Through his first few seasons, Andrew Benintendi is looking like a star.  Many think that the Sox outfield is all gold-glove caliber.  One major issue is, Boston did not do too much this offseason.  Although they won the World Series, the New York Yankees made many moves to improve their roster which will be the deciding factor in this seasons division race.



3rd Place: Tampa Bay Rays

Projected Record: 84-78

2018 Record: 90-72 (3rd Place/18.0 GB of 1st)

2018 Result: Missed Postseason

Key Additions: Charlie Morton (signed 2yrs/30M from HOU), Avisail Garcia (signed 1yr/3.5M from CWS), Mike Zunino (trade with SEA), Yandy Diaz (trade with CLE), Emilio Pagan (trade with OAK)

Key Losses: Jake Bauers (trade with CLE), C.J. Cron (DFA/signed with MIN)

The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the most overlooked teams in baseball.  The Rays put up 90 wins last season and only cracked third place because of the heavy top two teams in the East.  They were a very “scrappy” team last season. They even started a strategy called the Opener, where a relief pitcher starts the ballgame.  The Rays have a lot of talent. Last year’s CY Young award winner, Blake Snell will look straight ahead in having a stellar 2019 campaign.  Tampa added veteran arm Charlie Morton who has had lots of success as of late.  Young shortstop, Willy Adames, was on fire at the end of the season and will carry it on in 2019.  He has good power and is slick with the glove. The Rays made a very interesting move by designating CJ Cron who hit 30 homers in the ‘18 season.  After trading away Wilson Ramos at last year’s trade deadline, the Rays looked weak at the catcher position.  In a beneficial trade with Seattle, the Rays picked up power-hitting catcher Mike Zunino who will likely be the power surge they needed filling in for Cron.  The Rays’ biggest kryptonite are the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  The Rays will make a huge run at the second wild-card spot during a successful 2019 season.



4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays

Projected Record: 78-84

2018 Record: 73-89 (4th Place/35.0 GB of 1st)

2018 Result: Missed Postseason

Key Additions: Freddy Galvis (signed 1yr/5M from SDP), Clay Buchholz (signed 1yr/3M from ARI), Bud Norris (signed 1yr/3M from STL), Matt Shoemaker (signed 1yr/3.5M from LAA), Clayton Richard (trade with SDP)

Key Losses: Troy Tulowitzki (released/signed with NYY), Russell Martin (traded to LAD)

The Jays have such a bright future.  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. already looks like a superstar and will be able to make a large impact on this struggling Blue Jays ballclub.  He will make a heavy push for AL Rookie of the Year. Marcus Stroman will make a push to bounce back after having a rough 2018 season.  In his limited time in the bigs, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was a game changer.  He was a base hit machine and will continue that in this upcoming season.  One sleeper player on the Blue Jays roster is their rookie catcher, Danny Jansen.  Jansen only hit around .250 last season in his small sample of plate appearances but will progress as time goes on.  There isn’t much else to look forward to for the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays, but they will be trouble in upcoming seasons.



5th Place: Baltimore Orioles

Projected Record: 56-106

2018 Record: 47-115 (5th Place/61.0 GB of 1st)

2018 Result: Missed Postseason

Key Additions: Nate Karns (signed 1yr/800K from KC), Alcides Escobar (signed 1yr/700K from KC), Jesús Sucre (signed 1yr/850K from TB)

Key Losses: Tim Beckham (signed with SEA), Caleb Joseph (signed with ARI)

The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were a COMPLETE disgrace.  The Orioles did not do anything in the offseason which reflects on the awful Chris Davis contract.  Nothing will go right once again for the 2019 Orioles and they still do not have the assets to win more than 60 games.