Boston took the division last year, with Toronto giving them a run but ending up getting a Wild Card spot. This year, I expect much of the same as the Red Sox have only gotten better, and the Blue Jays are the same team, minus Encarnacion. Here are my 2017 American League East projections:
American League East Projections
5 Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay is an offense away from being a good ball club. They have a very solid rotation, led by Chris Archer and young lefty Blake Snell. Third baseman Evan Longoria is still the face of the Tampa Bay offense. However, he is surrounded by Brad Miller and Kevin Keirmaier. Their bullpen will be an issue as they don’t really have any notable arms.
4 New York Yankees
The Yankees are still in the midst of their rebuild. They traded most of their big bats away in exchange for top prospects. As a result, they now have one of the best farm systems in the league. New York was still able to resign hard throwing closer Aroldis Chapman. Second year men, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge will look to help keep the Yankees record respectable.
3 Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles rotation is not very deep. They have Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman, but that is really it. Their offense is solid 1-5 in the order, but after that it is weak. They will be a very power happy offense with Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and Jonathon Schoop. Closer Zach Britton is one of the best in the game.
2 Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto is a very solid offensive ballclub. However, the loss of slugger Edwin Encarnacion will certainly be felt. MVP candidate Josh Donaldson makes some plays only he can make on both sides of the ball. They have a very power happy lineup with Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Kendrys Morales, and Troy Tulowitzki. Toronto has a very strong rotation with Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Francisco Liriano. They strengthened their bullpen by signing veterans J.P. Howell and Joe Smith.
1 Boston Red Sox
Boston is an easy favorite to win the East. With Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello, they easily have the best rotation in the American League. Their offense is very solid as they are led by MVP candidates centerfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Pablo Sandoval is a prime candidate for a comeback year at third base for the Sox. Their biggest issue is their bullpen as the only notable arm they have is closer Craig Kimbrel.
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