Saturday, March 29, 2014

2014 Predictions: AL East

As Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future. These predictions for upcoming season are going to be pretty quick and dirty. You don't want to spend a lot of time reading them anyway, do you? Unlike other prognosticators, though, I'll revisit these to see how badly I did.

Since baseball games are the product of runs scored and runs allowed, I'm going to focus on those two metrics in developing my 2014 predictions. Here's the National League WestCentraland East and the AL West and Central.

Boston Red Sox - 97-65 in 2013, 5.3 runs scored per game (1st in MLB), 4.0 runs allowed per game (13th in MLB): The World Champions didn't add much over the offseason, though they are obviously a good team. They have two rookies (SS Xander Bogaerts and, as soon as Grady Sizemore gets hurt, CF Jackie Bradley) in the lineup and a bunch of guys on the wrong side of 30 who are more likely to be worse than better compared to last year. Prediction: Fewer runs scored, more given up, 90-72.

Tampa Bay Rays - 92-71, 4.3 runs scored per game (11th in MLB), 4.0 runs allowed per game (11th in MLB): Everybody likes the Rays, and with SP David Price still with the team despite rampant trade speculation, the strong starting rotation's intact. But outside of 2B Ben Zobrist, 3B Evan Longoria, and RF Wil Myers, I just don't see them scoring a lot, and Price, arbitration-eligible next year and a free agent in 2016, could still be traded. Prediction: Fewer runs scored and allowed,  88-74.

New York Yankees - 85-77, 4.0 runs scored per game (16th in MLB), 4.1 runs allowed per game (15th in MLB): They added a ton of talent via free agency, but they lost the best second baseman in baseball, they're old, and they were lucky last year, compiling a league-best 30-16 record in one-run games. I think they'll be better, but not that much better, for Derek Jeter's farewell tour. Prediction: More runs scored and allowed, 87-75.

Baltimore Orioles - 85-77, 4.6 runs scored per game (5th in MLB), 4.4 runs allowed per game (22nd in MLB): In 2012, they had the best record in the league in one-run games. In 2013, they had one of the worst. If they can split the difference, they'll be better. They added free agents SP Ubaldo Jimenez and DH Nelson Cruz but otherwise this is the same team as last year's. Prediction: Fewer runs scored and allowed, 85-77.

Toronto Blue Jays - 74-88, 4.4 runs scored per game (9th in MLB), 4.7 runs allowed per game (27th in MLB): The Jays were last season's biggest disappointment, done in by underperformance and a plague of injuries. But here's the thing: they changed almost nothing. They're counting on better health, which is probably a good bet, and marked improvement from a lot of players, which probably isn't. Prediction: More runs scored, fewer allowed, 78-84.

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