2015 MLB Breakdown- AL East

American League Previews: #1 out of 3

By: Trent A. Brinkley                                       February 18, 2015. Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports)

   We are 46 days away from the 2015 MLB Season, and spring training starts next week. It looks like another great MLB season after last year was filled with tons of great moments and some historic milestones. Some of the 2014 MLB Season milestones included:

  • Evan Longoria broke Carlos Pena’s record for the most career Home Runs by a Rays player, now has 184 career home runs
  • Albert Pujols hit his 2500th career hit on Sept. 6  making him the 98th player to do so
  • Elvis Andrus broke the Rangers record for most stolen bases, record was set by Ian Kinsler
  • Adrian Beltre recorded his 500th career double on April 27th, 59th player to achieve this
  • Derek Jeter set the record for most doubles in Yankee history with 535. Broke Gehrig’s record
  • Madison Bumgarner/Buster Posey become the first batterymates to hit grand slams in the same game in MLB history
  • Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher to reach 500 Strikeouts in a career. He achieved this record in 401 2/3 Innings Pitched, breaking Kerry Wood’s record of 404 2/3 Innings Pitched.

  Last season, the San Francisco Giants, won the 2014 World Series defeating the Kansas City Royals in seven games winning the series 4-3. The Giants won the World Series from solid pitching and big hits and a decision by Giants Manager Bruce Bochy to put Pitcher Madison Bumgarner into Game 7. Bumgarner’s role was to close the game for the last 5 innings. If he did this, it would mark as the longest save in World Series History. It was a risky move from Bochy since Bumgarner was coming off only three days rest after his start in Game 5. Bumgarner retired 14 batters in a row during the game to close out the Wolrd Series. To me, this moment in World Series history, reminds me of the 1926 World Series between the New York Yankees vs St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals having future Hall-of-Famer Pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (inducted in 1938) pitched 3 games in the span of 7 days, in fact, two games back-to-back days to lead the Cardinals to win the World Series. It was another example of a manager taking a risk with their ace pitcher, with Rogers Hornsby. the Cardinals Manager,putting in Grover Cleveland Alexander, who came into the game and won the game and World Series Title for the Cardinals. Did you know?? That the 1926 World Series ended on a stolen base attempt by the great Babe Ruth trying to steal second base. Just ponder that thought for a moment…

  Here at Analyzed Sports, myself and another writer on the site, Zack Warren, will be breaking down each division in Major League Baseball as the season approaches. We will keep you covered on all things MLB this season here on the site. Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @TrentA_Brinkley and @Rally__Squirrel . Here is my American League East preview, tomorrow, I will have my American League Central Preview.

AL East Preview

Orioles

Total Wins Prediction: 95 Wins

Best Pitcher: Wei-Yin Chen                                                                                                    – –

  • 2014 Stats:  (16-6)  3.54 ERA  1.23 WHIP  136 Ks  .266 opposing BA 
  • Chen’s Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, 2-Seam Fastball, Slider, Curveball, Changeup
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Biggest Offensive Threat: CF Adam Jones

  • 2014 Stats:  .281 BA  29 HR  96 RBI  .469 Slugging%   .311 On-Base%
  • Awards (Since 2011): 3 Time All-Star, 3 Time Golden Glove Winner, 1 Time Sliver Slugger
Joy Absalon – US Presswire

Joy Absalon – US Presswire

Rookie to Watch: Dylan Bundy

  • 22 year old Bundy is looking to pitch a full season with the Baltimore Orioles after he underwent Tommy Johns surgery on June 27, 2013 after being called up in 2012. Bundy can throw 5 pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, 2-Seam Fastball, Cutter, Changeup, and a Curveball. Bundy’s three best pitches he can throw are: 1) 4-Seam Fastball: reaches 94-96 mph, and at times he can throw it 100mph. 2) Cutter: reaches 88-94 mph and it is mostly against left-handed batters because his Cutter reaches 88-94mph, and he can throw it on the inner half of the plate to overpower them. 3) Curveball: reaches 75-82 mph, and it is one of best curveballs I have seen for such a young pitcher like Bundy.
(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Biggest Sleeper: 1B Christian Walker

  • Christian Walker who played for the University of South Carolina from 2010-2012, racked up the stats while playing for the Gamecocks. USC Numbers: 248 Hits  .336 BA  45 Doubles   30 HRs  168 RBIs, having his best batting average in 2011 with .358. Walker was drafted in the 2012 MLB in the 4th Round (132rd Overall). Walker who played 2 years in the minors before getting called up in 2014, had solid numbers in the minors with 5 teams (.292 BA  39 HR  161 RBIs  .469 Slugging% .361 On-Base%  57 Doubles). He is expected to start this season to start with veteran 1B Chris Davis now in the backup role.
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Defensive Alignment: C Matt Wieters, 1B Christian Walker, 2B Jonathan Schoop,         SS JJ Hardy, 3B Manny Machado, LF Alejandro De Aza, CF Adam Jones, RF Travis Snider, DH Steve Pearce.

 

Red Sox logo

Total Wins Prediction:  89 Wins

Best Pitcher: Closer Koji Uehara

  • 2014 Stats: 64 Game Appearances  2.52 ERA  0.92 WHIP  80 K’s  8 BB   26 Saves
  • Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball (89 mph), Splitter (81 mph), Cutter (84 mph), Curve (77 mph)
Photo by: Matt Stone

Photo by: Matt Stone

Biggest Offensive Threat: OF Hanley Ramirez

  • 2014 Stats: .283 BA  35 Doubles  13 HR  71 RBIs  .448 Slugging%  .369 On-Base%                     
Getty Images

Getty Images

Prospect to Watch: LHP Henry Owens

  • LHP Henry Owens was drafted 36th Overall in the 2011 MLB Draft out of Edison HS (Huntington Beach, CA), has made quite the splash in the minors during his career. In his 3 years in the minors, Owens has put up these numbers: (40-16)  3.34 ERA  1.21 WHIP  29 HRs   .211 opposing BA. Owens has a good set of pitches: 88-92 mph Fastball, 76-79 mph Changeup, 74-76 mph Curveball, and also another 68-72 mph Curveball. During his senior year at Edison HS, he was very impressive, in fact, his numbers were: (11-0) 1.13 ERA  114 K’s  25 BB  0.86 WHIP and averaged 13.52 K’s/Per 9 Innings. At 6-7 he can use his size to overshadow his batters, and makes quick work, in fact in his 3 years in the minors, he has 469 strikeouts. I expect Owens to stay in the minors until the 2015 All-Star Game, and I expect him to be called up after the All-Star Game.
AP Photo/Ken Babbitt/Four Seam Images

AP Photo/Ken Babbitt/

Biggest Sleeper: OMookie Betts

  • RF Mookie Betts made his MLB career debut in 2014, playing in 52 games for the Red Sox, his numbers in 2014 were: .291 BA  12 Doubles  5 HR  18 RBIs   .444 Slugging%  .368 On-Base%  . Mookie hits really well against AL opponents, in fact, against AL teams he played against he hit (.308) collectively. In the AL East, he batted off pitchers all season: Yankees (.348), Blue Jays (.250), Orioles (.259), Rays (.304). Other teams that he hit well off were: Tigers (.500), Royals (.308), Mariners (.385), and Astros (.500). I expect Mookie to keep making positive strides this season, and be one of the best offensive and defensive players for the Red Sox.
 Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Projected Defensive Alignment: C Christian Vazquez, 1B Mike Napoli, 2B Dustin Pedroia,             SS Xander Bogaerts, 3B Pablo Sandoval, LF Hanley Ramirez, CF Rusney Castillo, RF Mookie Betts, DH David Ortiz

 

YankeesLogo

Total Wins Prediction:  86 Wins

Best Pitcher: SP Masahiro Tanaka

  • 2014 Stats: (13-5) 2.77 ERA  1.06 WHIP  15 HR Given-Up   141 K’s  .240 opposing BA
  • Pitches: Splitter (87mph), Slider (84mph), 4-Seam FB (93mph), Sinker (91mph),                             Cutter (89mph), Curveball (74mph), Changeup (88mph)
Photo by: AFP

Photo by: AFP

Biggest Offensive Threat: CF Jacoby Ellsbury

  • 2014 Stats: .271 BA  27 Doubles  16 HR  70 RBIs  .419 Slugging%  .328 On-Base%            
  • Additional #’s: 128 Hits/Season  23 Doubles/Season   10 HR/Season  .435 Slugging% /Season
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Rookie to Watch: 2B Rob Refsndyner

  • Career Numbers (3 years in Minors): .297 BA  24 HRs  142 RBIs .444 Slugging%  .389 On-Base% 
  • Expected to fill the void of Robinson Cano
Tomasso DeRosa/Four Seam Images

Tomasso DeRosa/Four Seam Images

Biggest Sleeper: 2B/SS Didi Gregorius

  • 2014 Stats: .226BA  6 HR  27 RBIs  .363 Slugging%  .290 On-Base%
  • He is expected to replace Derek Jeter as the Yankees shortstop, and he will help in the infield with veterans Chase Headley (3B), Stephen Drew/Brendan Ryan (2B) and Mark Teixeria (1B) giving Gregorious advice, and as a unit will play solid defense all season.
All rights to ESPN

All rights to ESPN

Projected Defensive Alignment: LF Brett Gardner, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, RF Carlos Beltran, C Brian McCann, 1B Mark Teixeira, DH Garrett Jones, 3B Chase Headley, 2B Stephen Drew, SS Didi Gregorius

 

ray

Total Wins Prediction:  74 Wins

Best Pitcher: SP Alex Cobb

  • 2014 Stats: (10-9) 2.87 ERA  1.14 WHIP  149 K’s  .231 opposing BA  11 HRs Given-Up 
  • Pitches Cobb Throws4-Seam Fastball (avg.90 mph), 2-Seam Fastball (avg.90 mph), Curveball (upper 70s mph), Splitter (mid 80s).
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Biggest Offensive Threat: 3B Evan Longoria

  • 2014 Stats:   .253 BA  26 Doubles   22 HR  91 RBIs  .404 Slugging%  .320 On-Base%                  
  • Career Numbers: .271 BA  226 Doubles  184 HR  635 RBIs  .494 Slugging%  .351 On-Base%
Meric, Getty Images

Meric, Getty Images

Prospect to Watch: SS Daniel Robertson

  • The 20 year old Daniel Robertson is one the best SS prospects currently in the MLB. After being drafted 34th Overall by Oakland in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Rays acquired him on January 10, 2015 in a trade that sent Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Athletics in exchange for John Jaso, Daniel Robertson, and Boog Powell.
  • In his 3 years in the minors with 4 teams, Robertson had put up good numbers:  .287 BA  70 Doubles  6 Triples  29 HR  136 RBIs  .434 Slugging%  .373 On-Base%. 
  • Robertson was a non-roster invite to the Tampa Bay Rays for Spring Training this year, I expect him to showcase his fielding and great batting ability in spring training and earn a roster spot on the 25-man roster.
 (Beloit Snappers)

(Beloit Snappers)

Biggest Sleeper: CF Desmond Jennings

  • The former 10th round (289th Overall) in 2006, Desmond Jennings, has made quite an impact for the Rays since his debut on September 1st, 2010 against Toronto. Last season, Jennings hit .244 BA 10 HR  36 RBI  .378 Slugging%  .319 On-Base%. I expect Jennings to take it to the next level for the Rays this year, and be the best offensive outfielder hitter for the Rays.
Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Projected Defensive Alignment: C Rene Rivera, 1B James Loney, 2B Nick Franklin, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B Evan Longoria, LF Steven Souza, CF Desmond Jennings, RF Kevin Kiermaier, DH John Jaso.

 

JaysLogo

Total Wins Prediction: 82 Wins

Best Pitcher: SP Marcus Stroman

  •  2014 Stats:  (11-6)  3.65 ERA  1.17 WHIP  111 K’s  7 HRs Given-Up  28 BB                     
  • Stroman’s Pitches: 4-Seam FB (94 mph), Sinker (93 mph), Cutter (91 mph),                    Curveball (83 mph), Changeup (86 mph), Slider (88 mph)
  • Draft: 2012 MLB Draft (22nd Overall) ; Debut:   5/4/2014 
AP Photo/Gene J. Puska

AP Photo/Gene J. Puska

Biggest Offensive Threat: 1B Edwin Encarnacion

  • 2014 Stats: .268 BA  34 HR  98 RBIs  .547 Slugging%  .354 On-Base%                                
  • Pre-All Star Game Numbers:   .277 BA  26 HR  70 RBIs  .591 Slugging%  .368 On-Base%            
  • Post-All Star Game Numbers: .248 BA   8 HR   28 RBIs   .450 Slugging%  .323 On-Base%
Abelimages/Getty Images

Abelimages/Getty Images

Prospect to Watch: RHP Alberto Tirado

  • Stats (3 seasons in Minors):  (8-4) 3.40 ERA  159 K’s  1.44 WHIP .228 Opposing BA
  • Accomplishments:
    • Was ranked 10th in the Jays Journal 2014 Top Prospects List 
    • Was ranked 76th on the 2014 Baseball Prospectus Top 101
    • Was ranked the 8th best Blue Jays Prospect by Baseball America
All rights to the Toronto Blue Jays

All rights to the Toronto Blue Jays

Biggest Sleeper: 3B Danny Valencia

  • 2014 Stats.258 BA  4 HR  30 RBIs  .371 Slugging%  .296 On-Base%                                   
  • Stats against LHP: .321 BA  8 Doubles  2 HR  15 RBIs  .464 Slugging%      
  • Stats against RHP.211 BA  8 Doubles  2 HR  15 RBIs  .303 Slugging%
(David J. Phillip, Associated Press)

(David J. Phillip, Associated Press)

Projected Defensive Alignment: C  Russell Martin, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, 2B Maicer Izturius, SS Jose Reyes, 3B Josh Donaldson,   LF Michael Saunders,  CF Dalton Pompey,  RF Jose Bautista, DH Dioner Navarro

 

Upcoming Work in February:

  • A look at the AL Central Division… Comes out on Friday (2/20/15)
  • Burnin’ Rubber Podcast: A look at the 2015 Daytona 500
    • Airs live from 12:30-1:30pm
    • wanna call-in?? follow me on Twitter, and DM me that you want to be on the podcast
    • Link to the show: www.mixlr.com/analyzedsports
  • A look at the AL West Division… Comes out Sunday (2/22/15)
  • A preview of our NCAA March Madness Tournament Bracket Challenge (2/27/15)
  • HS Hoops Interview: Colonial Forge Women’s Basketball Senior Bri Sullivan (2/28/15)

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