American League East Predictions

American League East Predictions
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
March 23, 2006

Passan: Gazing into the crystal ball

Division Predictions: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

 MLB Division Predictions: AL East
Proj Team (Projected 2006 Record)
 1 New York Yankees 94-68
Overview: What gets lost in the Yankees' playoff disappointments the last five seasons is their eight consecutive division championships. Fact is, the Yankees are difficult to beat in the regular season, and a potent lineup adding Johnny Damon is like a bonfire that gets a few sprays of lighter fluid. Starting pitching wins in the postseason, though, and that will continue to be New York's real burning question.
 2 Boston Red Sox 92-70
Overview: The Red Sox are girding as much for the future as they are for this season, and GM Theo Epstein will take a long look at his best young players this season. Trades for Coco Crisp and Wily Mo Pena give Boston two-thirds of its outfield for at least a few seasons, and Josh Beckett will anchor its rotation. Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen all should pitch for the Red Sox this year, making their outlook for 2007 far rosier than 2006.
 3 Toronto Blue Jays 84-78
Overview: With all the money they spent this offseason, the Blue Jays are bound to improve. Yet the fact remains that they're in the most intimidating division in baseball, and toppling the Yankees and Red Sox takes far more than cash. The requisite attitude comes only with victories, and though the Blue Jays now have A.J. Burnett to pair with Roy Halladay, it still isn't enough.
 4 Baltimore Orioles 70-92
Overview: For all we know, Leo Mazzone could work his magic in Baltimore and turn a talented rotation into one that actually produces. Erik Bedard and Daniel Cabrera are aces waiting to happen, and Ramon Hernandez knows how to handle young pitchers from his days in Oakland. That said, the Orioles' bullpen is questionable and their ability to recapture the early-'90s winning won't happen with this team.
 5 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 66-96
Overview: At long last, the Devil Rays have some semblance of a foundation. New manager Joe Maddon, with all of his experience and quirks, is the perfect complement to Ivy-educated general manager Andrew Friedman. And the talent is abundant: Delmon Young, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and others give Friedman a stable to deal from if he wants some pitching to go along with Scott Kazmir.

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Updated on Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 1:29 pm, EST

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