By Ethan Salm
Last year the American League East was the best division in baseball- by a mile.
This year, I expect more of the same. The Red Sox are returning basically all of their World Series championship team. Their rotation will once again be headlined by Chris Sale, one of the best pitchers in baseball and he will be supported by former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello. The Sox starting lineup will include 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, and the man that finished in voting, J.D. Martinez.
The power of those 2 along with the talent of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi will propel the Red Sox to the 95+ wins again this year. I expect the Yankees to end the season right on Boston’s tail once again.
New York has a solid rotation once again, headlined by Luis Severino and James Paxton. Paxton had a great year for Seattle in 2018 and was a major acquisition for the Yankees this offseason. He strengthens their starting pitching if he can perform anywhere near like he did in 2018. The Yanks also have the high-powered duo of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who have hit 176 home runs over the past 2 seasons. The depth of both teams is incredible with stars up and down the lineup and on the bench. The Yankees are an extremely talented team and definitely have the potential to beat the Red Sox, but I think they slide in just behind them this year.
After the Boston and New York, I expect the Tampa Bay Rays to finish in third. The Rays have reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who is poised to have another monster year on the mound. The team signed former Houston righty Charlie Morton, who is an adequate second starter and a great addition to the Rays pitching staff, which was lacking after trading Nathan Eovaldi to Boston in July. Joey Wendle and Tommy Pham should have a productive year at the plate again. The Rays just lack the star talent and depth of the Yankees and Red Sox. They should comfortably slide into third in this division.
After the Rays, the division drops off. Toronto figures to slide into fourth, simply because Baltimore is in this division. No one is really expecting anything from the Blue Jays this year. They made no major acquisitions this offseason. The most exciting thing that I expect from them is giving Vladimir Guerrero Jr. a chance to play. He is the top prospect in the Blue Jays system and one of the best in all of baseball. Other than that, the team I expect the team to play similar to last year and coast into a fourth-place finish. That leaves the Baltimore Orioles in last. This was an easy one to call. The Orioles were the worst team in baseball last year by far. I see more of the same for them this year. They didn’t do much this offseason and the team that lost 115 games last year is on that track again in 2019. All of that being said here are my predictions for the 2019 season:
2018 Final Standings
- Boston, 108-54
- New York, 100-62
- Tampa Bay, 90-72
- Toronto, 73-89
- Baltimore, 47-115
Ethan’s Projection for 2019: No change.
- New York
- Tampa Bay
Playoff teams: Red Sox, Yankees
Edited by Garrett Jones | @firstname.lastname@example.org