While the Patriots begin to gear up for their 2017 playoff run, the question remains the same. Will the Patriots or the field come out of the AFC? Well I have a similar question for you. Will the Red Sox or the field come out of the American League East in 2017? Well, if you are the type of person that is uninterested in the explanation and just wants the answer, then I’ll give you the short version. Bet your life savings on the Red Sox. Now, for those of you who want to see what thinking went behind making such a bold statement, here we go.
We’ll start off with pitching. Advantage Red Sox. The Sox boast what many consider to be the best starting rotation in baseball headlined by the three headed monster of Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello. The only starting pitchers in the rest of the American League East that I’m afraid of seeing are Aaron Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Tillman, and Marco Estrada. Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman are good pitchers, but when they step on the mound against the Sox they become these ultra thin-skinned little girls that are too easy to make fun of. Based on the month of September and the addition of Tyler Thornburg, the Red Sox should have a very good bullpen. Nevertheless, I’d still say the Yankees and Orioles still have a slight edge in that department. Overall, the Red Sox should have good all around pitching, the Blue Jays will have a good rotation and a shitty bullpen, the Yankees and Orioles will have shitty rotations and good bullpens, and the Rays…. They have Alex Columé and Drew Smyly, I guess.
Now let’s look hitters. Once again, advantage Red Sox. The Red Sox lost David Ortiz; however, they are returning 3 of last years AL All-Star team starters in addition to a full year of Andrew Benintendi in left field. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are replacing Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. So their lineup basically consists of Josh Donaldson and Kevin Pillar. The Yankees will benefit from a full year of Gary Sanchez, but they will inevitably suffer through the growing pains of their young players trying to adjust to Major League pitching. The Orioles are losing last year’s AL home run leader in Mark Trumbo, yet their lineup still has arguably the most pop in the division. They’ll be a lot of home runs, and a lot of swings and misses, but it will essentially come down to the fact that you can’t win consistently by swinging for the fences every time. And as for Tampa Bay….They have Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier, I guess.
On paper the Red Sox look like the clear favorites to win the American League East. However, it will be up to them to play out the 162 game season with consistent effort and focus in order to achieve results that they want and that the fans expect. Anyway, here is my (way too early) prediction of how the American League East will unfold:
Photo Credit: (Boston Globe)