* The Blue Jays don’t have the pitching to reach post-season play … says Young Eyes in his final division rundown what teams we’ll see in October. The Jays lost RHP Marcus Stroman when he blew out the ACL in his left knee during PFP (Pitcher’s Fielding Practice).
Playoff Speculation: AL East Edition
By Zach Swanson
As the dust almost all but clears, the question shifts from who goes where to how will the teams turn out in the regular season. I look at the possible playoff teams, surprises and busts in the finale of this 6-part series.
A division that, just years ago, was arguably the best in baseball took a hypothetical back seat to the rest of the divisions. Until this year, that is. With the Blue Jays coming back strong thanks to the monstrous addition of Josh Donaldson, this may be the first year where they truly look like they could grab that division title for the first time since 1993.
The only thing standing in their way? The power lineups of the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees.
Just to clarify, the Rays won’t win the division. They have a few pieces in Evan Longoria paired with a still young pitching staff, but they don’t show enough want in the offseason to be competitive.
The Red Sox have one of the most feared lineups in all of baseball, led by David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia along with newly acquired free agents Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. They also have some extraordinary young outfield depth that could be used as trade bait to possibly grab a top of the rotation starting pitcher.
The Orioles will look to have another strong year after having the second best record in the American League at 96-66 last season.
The Yankees have enough pieces to put a division title together, but they are an old team constantly plagued by injuries. If key players like Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira can stay healthy, they could give a real push for the playoffs. The resurrection, if you will, of Alex Rodriguez could also be key to the success of the Bronx Bombers.
Absolute: No one. The Red Sox and Blue Jays don’t have enough pitching for me to give them the free pass to October, and the Yankees and O’s seem to always have a full disabled list.
Surprise: Could the Yankees count as a surprise if they took the division? I would be surprised, but they need to stay healthy to do so.
Bust: The hype around the Jays is spectacular, but they do not have enough pitching to consistently go 2-for-3 or 3-for-4 in regular season series, much less in the playoffs. Oh, and the Rays. Sorry Evan Longoria, this just isn’t your year.