Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Closest Division Race in 2012

The closest race next year will be in the American League East. We say that every year because of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. But in 2012 it will be so much tougher than usual. The Red Sox and the Yankees are always at the top regaurdless of the pieces they are missing and their aging players. Each team has their own strengths, the Rays being the only team who's strength is pitching. Each team has homerun hitters and Gold Glove defenders. The biggest threat in 2012 in the AL East in my opinion will be the Blue Jays. The have one of the top lefties in Ricky Romero and a new closer in Sergio Santos. Having Jose Bautista and young Brett Lawrie in there lineup will make them dominate. Also I'm not going to count out the Orioles. It's really anyones division and I can see no one in the division winning the Wild Card with the race being to close. Now for the speculated lineups. Blue Jays first.
  1. Yunel Escobar               .290/77/149/24/3/11/48/3
  2. Kelly Johnson               .222/75/121/27/7/21/58/16
  3. Jose Bautista                 .302/105/155/24/2/43/103/9
  4. Adam Lind                   .251/56/125/16/0/26/87/1
  5. Brett Lawrie                 .320/90/148/32/10/27/87/20 (MLB-AAA)
  6. Colby Rasmus              .225/75/106/24/6/14/53/5
  7. Edwn Encarnacion       .272/70/131/36/0/17/55/8
  8. Eric Thames                 .307/96/168/49/9/19/82/7 (MLB-AAA)
  9. J.P. Arencibia               .219/47/097/20/4/23/78/1
Now they are a young team, but a powerful team. I could have gone a couple of ways with this lineup, but this was the most likely.
Next is the Orioles.
  1. Jai Miller                  .276/81/113/24/4/32/88/16 (AAA)
  2. Nick Markakis         .284/72/182/31/1/15/73/12
  3. Adam Jones             .280/68/159/26/2/25/83/12
  4. J.J. Hardy                .269/76/142/27/0/30/80/0
  5. Matt Weiters           .262/72/131/28/0/22/68/1
  6. Wilson Betemit       .285/40/092/22/4/08/46/4
  7. Mark Reynolds       .221/84/118/27/1/37/86/6
  8. Chris Davis             .319/66/127/34/1/29/43/2 (MLB-AAA)
  9. Ryan Flaherty         .280/74/133/31/3/19/88/5 (AAA-AA)
Once again a young team. I speculated they would use Ryan Flaherty at second base, because of his excellent year in AAA and AA.
Now Tampa Bay.
  1. Desmond Jennings       .267/112/157/28/7/22/64/37 (MLB-AAA)
  2. B.J. Upton                    .243/82/136/27/4/23/81/36
  3. Ben Zobrist                   .269/99/158/46/6/20/91/19
  4. Evan Longoria              .244/78/118/26/1/31/99/3
  5. Carlos Pena                   .225/72/111/27/3/28/80/2
  6. Luke Scott                    .284/70/127/29/1/27/72/2
  7. Matt Joyce                    .277/69/128/32/2/19/75/13
  8. Jose Molina                  .281/19/048/12/1/03/15/2
  9. Reid Brignac                .193/18/048/04/0/01/15/3
The Rays will live and die with pitching next year. They have amazing pitching so they have a good chance. But there offence isn't bad so look out
Now the Yankees. With aging players and players who strikeout a lot, they'll have trouble, but they hit a lot of homeruns so you never know.
  1. Derek Jeter                  .297/84/162/24/4/6/61/16
  2. Curtis Granderson      .262/136/153/26/10/41/119/25
  3. Robinson Cano           .302/104/188/46/7/28/118/6
  4. Mark Texiera              .248/90/146/26/1/39/111/4
  5. Alex Rodrigez            .276/67/103/21/0/16/62/4
  6. Nick Swisher              .260/81/137/30/0/23/85/2
  7. Raul Ibanez                .245/65/131/31/1/20/84/2
  8. Russell Martin           .237/57/100/17/0/18/65/8
  9. Brett Gardner            .259/87/132/19/8/07/36/49
The Yankees are an aging team with young pieces. Jeter was the Jeter we know after he hit his 3000 hit, but A-Rod, who's career homerun average is 42 homeruns a season, had only 16. Yes he was plagued with injury, but it will be hard to come back as strong as they hope he does.
Now the Red Sox
  1. Carl Crawford                 .255/65/129/29/7/11/56/18
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury               .321/119/212/46/5/32/105/39 
  3. Dustin Pedroia                 .307/102/195/37/3/21/91/26
  4. Adrian Gonzalez             .338/108/213/45/3/27/117/1
  5. Kevin Youkilis                .258/68/111/32/2/17/80/3
  6. David Ortiz                     .309/84/162/40/1/29/96/1
  7. Cody Ross                      .240/54/097/25/0/14/65/9
  8. J. Saltalamacchia           .235/52/084/23/3/16/56/1
  9. Mike Aviles                   .281/52/116/25/5/16/64/20
Now the Red Sox had 3 MVP quality players and one player, Jacoby Ellsbury, should have won MVP. But they still managed to blow it. A bad season from Carl Crawford, no right fielder and a hurt Kevin Youkilis led to an offensive downfall. Not to mention faultering pitching and hurt pitchers. They have the most work to do this offseason.
So my vote for winner of the AL East is the Blue Jays

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