As the 2021 MLB season approaches, here are my bold predictions for all the teams in the AL East.
Baltimore Orioles: Rutschman wins AL ROTY
Bottom line: the Orioles won’t be good this year. There is no reason to not have catcher Adley Rutschman start this year behind the dish and make a big impact. The former 1st overall pick in 2019 will see more time than any other rookie this year, prove his potential and win the Rookie of the Year in the AL.
Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez bounces back, Chris Sale isn’t the same
Martinez and Sale both had extremely disappointing 2020 seasons and Boston hopes they still have a few good years left. Chris Sale is coming off of Tommy John surgery and after a poor 6-11 season in 2019, his better days might be behind him. Sadly, I believe if he even plays this year, we would be lucky to see the Chris Sale of old. J.D. Martinez on the other hand, while likely bouncing back a bit this season will not return to Silver Slugger level.
New York Yankees: Starting Rotation lets them down
The Yankees were bound to lose a few decent starters this year in Paxton, Happ, and Tanaka, but decided to go high-risk, high reward with their replacements. Led by Gerrit Cole who will surely have another ace-like season, the new additions of Jameson Taillon (trade), Corey Kluber (sign), and the return of Luis Severino. Problem being? Between those three players, there are four total Tommy John Surgeries and since 2019, only 1 inning pitched. If this was a few years ago, this rotation would be stacked, now it is a huge gamble. And while the names may be flashy, this year’s staff will be less than that.
Tampa Bay Rays: From World Series Finalists to missing the playoffs
After making it to the World Series in last year’s 60-game sprint, the Rays made one fatal mistake: pulling Blake Snell early. After losing their best two starters in Morton and Snell, and the Yankees and Blue Jays making moves, it looks like a third-place finish is likely. If the Rays are lucky, they could find themselves in a wildcard spot based on their pen alone but their offense probably won’t be as effective as they were in the playoffs. It’s hard to believe Randy Arozerena will have such an outstanding run again as well but I would love to be proven wrong.
Toronto Blue Jays:Jays add another arm, make it to at least ALCS
Toronto just added George Springer, and Kirby Yates to an already playoff potential team, and they aren’t done there. While Michael Brantley’s deal fell through, this lineup still looks dominant especially with the new look Vladimir Geurrero Jr. and now Marcus Semien. Sign Odorizzi or make a trade deadline splash to round off an already decent pitching staff and the Jays are looking solid going forward. At least an ALCS appearance would be a successful season for the Jays alongside a battle with the Yankees for tops in the division.