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 runsAlbert Pujols hit his 2500th career hit on Sept. 6 making him the 98th player to do soElvis Andrus broke the Rangers record for most stolen bases, record was set by Ian KinslerAdrian Beltre recorded his 500th career double on April 27th, 59th player to achieve thisDerek Jeter set the record for most doubles in Yankee history with 535. Broke Gehrig’s recordMadison Bumgarner/Buster Posey become the first batterymates to hit grand slams in the same game in MLB historyYu 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
Total Wins Prediction: 95 Wins
Best Pitcher: Wei-Yin Chen – –
Biggest Offensive Threat: CF Adam Jones
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.
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.
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.
Total Wins Prediction: 89 Wins
Best Pitcher: Closer Koji Uehara
Biggest Offensive Threat: OF Hanley Ramirez
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.
Biggest Sleeper: OF Mookie 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.
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
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 BAPitches: Splitter (87mph), Slider (84mph), 4-Seam FB (93mph), Sinker (91mph), Cutter (89mph), Curveball (74mph), Changeup (88mph)
Biggest Offensive Threat: CF Jacoby Ellsbury
Rookie to Watch: 2B Rob Refsndyner
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.
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
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 Throws: 4-Seam Fastball (avg.90 mph), 2-Seam Fastball (avg.90 mph), Curveball (upper 70s mph), Splitter (mid 80s).
Biggest Offensive Threat: 3B Evan Longoria
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.
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.
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.
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
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%
Prospect to Watch: RHP Alberto Tirado
Stats (3 seasons in Minors): (8-4) 3.40 ERA 159 K’s 1.44 WHIP .228 Opposing BAAccomplishments:Was ranked 10th in the Jays Journal 2014 Top Prospects List Was ranked 76th on the 2014 Baseball Prospectus Top 101Was ranked the 8th best Blue Jays Prospect by Baseball America
Biggest Sleeper: 3B Danny Valencia
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 500Airs live from 12:30-1:30pmwanna call-in?? follow me on Twitter, and DM me that you want to be on the podcastLink to the show: www.mixlr.com/analyzedsportsA 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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