1. Yankees - Ninety-five wins, another AL East crown, and the guess here is an MVP for Mark Teixeira. Outstanding starting depth, great bullpen, sick lineup, where’s the weakness? If you want to argue the outfield isn’t elite and Brett Gardner is nothing … fine. Counter: Where does the infield rank among the greatest in Major League history? How Pecota has these guys finishing third is beyond comprehension.
2. Red Sox - Best pitching staff in baseball, but you have to wonder how much 43-yea-rold Wakefield has left and whether or not Dice-K can return to 2008 form. The Adrian Beltre experiment at third should be interesting. He definitely won’t return to his (allegedly) “enhanced” 2004 when he bopped 48 homers. He’s hit just 59 in the last three years, combined. But perhaps he’ll fit in fine with other alleged cheaters like David Ortiz and Jon Papelbon. As much as we dislike the Red Sox … can’t see ‘em not winning 90 games. We’ll take Boston as our Wild Card team.
3. Tampa Bay Rays – Forsee a July firesale. (Fans of the Rays prefer “reload.”) The only question is who will the Rays take to the cleaners in July? When they’re 10 games back of New York and Boston, how many young studs can they get for Carl Crawford and overrated Carlos Pena? Like Garza, love Price, and hope Evan Longoria starts dating more NFL cheerleaders. We’ll project 85 wins.
4. Baltimore Orioles - Looking for optimism about the Orioles? Then read this post. If floating realignment were in effect, then sure the Orioles could be in the postseason mix. It just isn’t happening anytime in the near future in this division with New York and Boston. Things to like: Adam Jones (fantasy stud was a monster for us last year), Nick Markakis (had a down year, but still a nice player) and catcher Matt Wieters. But the pitching situation inspires no confidence. Can Kevin Millwood help the team with the worst ERA in the majors last year? Doubtful. Haven’t topped 74 wins since 2004. Haven’t had a winning season since 1997. We’ll guess 75 victories.
5. Toronto Blue Jays – Gar-baaage. Trending down the last four years – 87 wins, 83 wins, 86 wins, 75 wins. No Roy Halladay. Poor Aaron Hil and Adam Lind – they’re surrounded by excrement. Will be lucky to crack 70 wins. Note: Liked that joint better when it was known as the Sky Dome. Went there twice in the 1990’s – sweet ballpark.