The way I see the AL East which in recent times has been considered the best division in baseball, you have a lot of good teams but with major question marks. I am going to focus this article on the 4 contenders and not the Tampa Rays. I know the Rays have a solid starting pitching staff but they are in sell mode. The Rays I believe will be contenders in the AL East as soon as 2016. Let’s look at the other squads.
There is no sugar coating it, this has been a rough off season for the Orioles. Everyone knew that the O’s were going to lose Andrew Miller but it still hurts. Miller was a big weapon for Showalter in the second half of the season and the playoffs. But for the Orioles to lose both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz is a big hit to their lineup. Manny Machado is coming back from knee surgery and Matt Wieters from Tommy John (not a guarantee he will be ready come the beginning of the season). Chris Davis and Ubaldo Jimenez are coming off rough 2014’s and can Steve Pearce really do it again in 2015? To me the last few years the Orioles have been a team that has been greater than the sum of it’s parts. That is going to be tested in 2015.
There is no doubt the Sox have a scary lineup come next season. Having said that they may have to win a lot of 9-8 games. I have a ton of question marks on Boston’s entire pitching staff. Continue reading AL East Contenders Question Marks
Today we look at the NL Central where each organization is at and what each team should be looking to do this winter. The cream of the crop of this division has been the St.Louis Cardinals the last 4 years. The last 4 years the Cards made it to the NLDS twice before their season ended and made it to the World Series twice winning the Fall Classic back in 2011. The Pirates are the team next in line in the division in terms of recent success making the playoffs the last two years as the home Wild Card team. The other teams have to catch up.
The Cubs have been going through a painful rebuilding program but the fruits of their labor are about to sprout. The Cubs lead by their big boss Theo Epstein who ended the championship drought in Boston is determined to do the same for the fans at Wrigley. The Cubs just hired Joe Maddon who is terrific manager and great with young players. Perfect fit for where the Cubs are at in terms of their development.
The Cubs have a lot of extremely talented young position players already on the main roster in Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Soler and Alcantara. The Cubs two best young position players have yet to make it to the big club in Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Bryant appears to be ready for the Majors but the Cubs might want to wait until early June of 2015 because of his super 2 clock. Russell we probably won’t see until the summer time. The abundance of talent the Cubs have up the middle in Castro, Baez and Russell makes one of them expendable in a trade which will net a large return. Continue reading MLB Off Season Outlook NL Central
The odds to win the 2015 World Series were released last week and the AZ Diamondbacks’ were listed as 100/1. That puts them at number 30, which is last in all of baseball. That is attributed to a terrible 2014 season, where they posted a 64-98 record.
This team will need to make adjustments to both their offense and defense (hitting and pitching) in order to have an above 500 season, let alone a post-season appearance.
The Diamondbacks could be one of the best offenses in baseball in 2015, but it will come down to power and hitting with runners in scoring position. We know this team does not have much power outside of Paul Goldschmidt and they have struggled with runners in scoring position for several years. In 2014, A.J. Pollock emerged as a definitive leadoff hitter and showed some speed on the bases. Chris Owings was good during stretches of the 2014 season, and whether he stays at second base or slides over to short stop, he will remain an everyday player on this team’s roster. Having a healthy Mark Trumbo will provide power in the middle of the lineup. And, if Aaron Hill is not traded, look for him to have a bounce back year. Continue reading Off-Season for the AZ Diamondbacks