|Photo courtesy of Fox Houston|
(Is that a copyright infringement? Probably. What are they going to take from me? I'm still a minor.)
You're about to dive into a long preview of the entire baseball season that will be way too interesting to quit reading. If you've been on an island all winter and aren't prepared for this baseball season, I've got you covered. If you want to read this just so you can laugh at me when I make a bad call about Tanner Scheppers being good in his move to the rotation, only for him to give up 20 earned runs in 18.1 innings to start the year, and go on the DL for basically the rest of the season, come at me. (In my defense, Scheppers was pitching with an elbow problem, so his four terrible starts wasn't indicative of him being a bad pitcher. Plus, he's redeemed himself in my eyes with a killer videobomb.)
Let's get on with the division by division previews. As always, when I give best and worst case scenarios, I'm assuming the general health of their roster, because I'm not a psychic. If I were, I would have objected to becoming a Mets fan ten years ago, but I'm a mere mortal.
We begin with the AL East.
|Photo courtesy of Fox Sports|
Opening Day Lineup:
LF De Aza
P Tillman, Chen, Gonzalez, Norris, Jimenez
Team Outlook: Last year's division winners are in a good position to repeat as AL East champs as they pretty much stood pat this offseason. They're even adding talent, in the form of Matt Wieters about a month into the year to replace the offensively bad (in that they were so bad at offense that I was offended) combination of Caleb Joseph, Steve Clevenger, and Nick Hundley. Manny Machado will be back to start the year after missing the final month and a half with a knee injury. Chris Davis and Jonathan Schoop were so bad for large chunks of the year that there should be natural upgrades at first and second base as well. There are concerns that their pitching staff will take a step back. Even so, their roster is still above average as a whole. This is a really good team who decided to run it back in 2015, and they should be successful.
Worst Case Scenario: 84 wins. This is contingent on not only the Os regressing themselves, but the BoSox and Blue Jays taking steps forward, making this division tough to navigate.
Best Case Scenario: 100 wins. After 96 wins last season, Wieters is a massive upgrade behind the plate, Chris Davis is at least consistently average, and the rest of the team repeats their performance from last year.
Player to Watch: Kevin Gausman. Gausman was one of the top prospects in baseball prior to last season, and after pitching well to start the year in AAA, he was called up and provided good #2 starter production when he wasn't constantly bouncing between Norfolk and Baltimore. He's a flamethrower, averaging 94.8 MPH on his fastball, on which he is heavily dependent. As he starts to work in his off-speed stuff a bit more, he should be one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won't start the year in the rotation, but it won't be long before he gets the nod.