As we turn the page into 2019 we are drawing ever closer to Spring Training and the start of yet another MLB season. Last year brought us plenty of memorable games and surprising moments. With Spring Training right around the corner and the landscape of the league beginning to take shape, now is a better time than ever to take a look at how the American League East stacks up in 2019.
Boston Red Sox (2018 Record:108-54)
The Red Sox were far and away the best team in baseball last season, dominating from the very start of the season all the way to their World Series win over the Dodgers. The Sox figure to be a powerhouse yet again in 2019 as they are bringing back all of the major pieces from their championship team a season ago. Despite key bats such as Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez returning to the team in 2019 there is some uncertainty around the club. Losing setup man Joe Kelly to the Dodgers may prove to be a big loss in what was already a thin bullpen. In addition to this closer Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned as the calendar flips to January, making it anyone’s guess as to how the back end of the bullpen will look when Opening Day rolls around. Even with some question marks in the bullpen the Red Sox are still in a great position to repeat as A.L. East champs in 2019.
2019 Record Prediction (102-60)
New York Yankees (2018 Record:100-62)
2018 was an interesting year for the Yankees. They made a big splash last offseason by trading for Giancarlo Stanton, and the trade worked out great for the Yankees. However a late season injury to Aaron Judge resulted in the Yanks season being largely derailed and ultimately lead to a quick exit in the ALDS. The Yankees ran into some issues with pitching down the stretch as Luis Severino fell off towards the end of the season and arms like Sonny Gray and Lance Lynn couldn’t pick up the slack. This issue was promptly resolved when the Pinstripes dealt top prospect Justus Sheffield to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for James Paxton. The Yankees figure to be the top challenger to the Sox this season, and it will be a fun race to watch down the stretch in 2019 and hopefully into another playoff series.
2019 Record Prediction (97-65)
Toronto Blue Jays (2018 Record: 73-89)
The Blue Jays are prime candidates for a major turnaround in 2019. Toronto has one of the top farm systems in baseball, and some of their top prospects are finally beginning to hit the big leagues. With Danny Jansen, Rowdy Tellez, and Sean Reid-Foley making their big league debuts last year, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. as well as Bo Bichette slated to hit the majors in 2019, the Jays will certainly have some exciting young players that could help in boosting their win total from their measly 73 win season in 2018. In addition to the infusion of young talent, the Blue Jays also made some changes on their coaching staff, hiring former Rays Bench Coach Charlie Montoyo to be their new manager. Having a new voice in the clubhouse may give the Blue Jays the change in culture that they seem to need. While Toronto has no chance of being a serious contender in the division this year they’ll definitely take a step in the right direction in 2019.
2019 Record Prediction (83-79)
Tampa Bay Rays (2018 Record:90-72)
The Tampa Bay Rays came out of nowhere in 2018 and won 90 games. It seemed as though every move that manager Kevin Cash made worked out for him. The only negative from this season for the Rays was that they missed the playoffs after being buried behind two 100 win teams in the division and the 97 win Oakland A’s in the Wild Card. Looking ahead into 2019, I believe that we will see a small step back for the Rays. Their roster doesn’t scream 90 wins, especially in such a tough division. Many of Tampa’s wins came at the expense of teams like Baltimore and Toronto, who couldn’t seem to get out of their own way last year. With that being said the Rays won’t be a bad team, but I have a very hard time seeing them have a repeat of their impressive 2018 campaign.
2019 Record Prediction:82-80
Baltimore Orioles (2018 Record:47-115)
There’s no way that the Orioles could be any worse than they were in 2018...right? It seemed that everything that could go wrong in Baltimore last season did. Whether it was the complete flop of a signing Alex Cobb turned out to be, or the historically bad season turned in by Chris Davis, the O’s were just plain terrible. The ownership in Baltimore cleaned house after the season firing manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette. New faces all around the organization should hopefully add a sense of optimism in Baltimore, but there is no way that they will be able to field a competitive roster in 2019. Orioles fans are in for a pretty large scale rebuild and should probably get used to losing a lot for the foreseeable future.
2019 Record Prediction:55-107