This is an annual exercise meant to humble all those who participate. Injuries especially those to the elbow and shoulder, bad hops, bad breaks and bad baseball can turn April’s contenders into September’s pretenders.
Monday, the Orioles get it started with the Blue Jays (isn’t that where we left off last year) here’s a stab at how the Boys of Summer might stack up in the fall.
- Boston—No Papi, will Price be right? Concerns but don’t panic. With Sale, Porcello, Kimbral, Pedroia,Bogaerts and an outfield of Benintendi (Rookie of the Year?) Bradley Jr and Mookie (MVP candidate) the Red Sox win the division on paper and likely on the field.
- Toronto— They rival the Red Sox and Indians for the best starting pitching in the league. Kendrys Morales should hit 30 HR’s and help the Jays make up for the loss of Encarnacion. Expect another postseason in Toronto.
- Baltimore—The winningest team in the league over the last 5 years is paper thin in starting pitching. If Chris Tillman’s shoulder injury is serious home runs won’t save Buck’s Birds, but with adequate starting pitching and their top-notch bullpen they can be in the hunt.
- New York—Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge should give Yankees fans a new look and an interesting summer, too bad they can’t pitch. Betances and Chapman are lights out in the pen but how often will the starting pitchers get to them with a lead?
- Tampa Bay— You know the Rays story, good pitching and weak bats. That good pitching was average in 2016 (8th of 15 AL teams) as expected the bats were weak they ranked 14 of 15 in runs scored. Expect more of the same this summer.