Players To Lookout For: AL East Edition

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Today, I will start by talking about the best division in baseball. First off, this division is crazy because anything can happen between all five teams and anyone can win. Each team is different in many ways and have their pros and cons. Today, I will pick one player from each team that could be the one factor to why their team could win it all in the east.

First off, lets start by talking about the Rays newest outfielder in Corey Dickerson. Dickerson can play the outfield and be the designated hitter if needed. Dickerson was acquired this off-season in a trade for southpaw Jake McGee. Dickerson has to show he will be healthy and boy did he find the right training staff to do so. The Rays’ staff will keep him healthy. The 26-year-old missed 97 games last year to a gruesome foot injury. He was on pace for a true breakout season in 2015 after his strong 2014 season. Dickerson finished the 2015 season with 10 homers, 31 RBIs and a batting average of .304. Dickerson will provide the power and contact that the Rays need in their lineup to make the offense flow. Dickerson will be also be the man in charge of cleaning up the lineup and protecting Longoria, which hopefully Rays’ fans see a resurgence of Longoria’s bat due to Dickerson’s appearance. Dickerson’s power has shown up already as he belted this moonshot in yesterday’s game against the Orioles.

 

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Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Next, the Orioles where a tricky team to pick a player from. It came down to Jonathan Schoop or Kevin Gausman. I picked Gausman because pitching wins championships. The former 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft has had a up and down career, but I think as he has matured over the years, he is ready to take that next step in his career. The Orioles rotation is a seesaw due to the fact that they are streaky and are up and down most of the time. Gausman is fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation, but should win it over Mike Wright. He was very sluggish last season and could not find a grove. Near the end of the year he started to pick up the slack and finished the season with  4-7 record in 25 games (started 17) with a 4.25 ERA by posting 112.1 innings. Gausman will have to remain confident and consistent to have a good season. The Orioles need him to bolster the lower part of the rotation by at least touching 175 innings this year. Lastly, eat up the innings and pitch like he was projected to do when the Orioles drafted him.

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Credit: (Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press)

In addition to the list, the best offense in baseball will need help from the other side of the game by having their pitching so up. They do not have Price, who did help them a lot last season in their late run to the playoffs. Now, Aaron Sanchez will get his chance to be in the rotation after spending the past two seasons in the pen. Sanchez will not eat up 170 plus innings due to the fact you do not want to burn up his arm in his first full season as a big league starter. Baseball is a grind and will hurt him. Sanchez needs to pitch 140 to 150 innings with restricts. I know he will give up runs, but he will have to limit them so his team still has a chance to win games due to their bullpen and offense. Sanchez joins Stroman, Dickey, Estrada, and Happ in the rotation. To conclude the Blue Jays pick, the 23-year-old pitched well out of the pen in both of his first two seasons by posting a 2.66 ERA, 9-8 record in 65 games (11 starts) and punching out 88 batters in 125.1 innings of work. He needs to limit the walks as he walked 44 in 2015.

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Credit: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

Furthermore, the Yankees are an old team with veteran starters. I could take the easy way out and just pick Masahiro Tanaka, but Brian McCann is the man I am picking. McCann is one of the vocal leaders on the team, which is one reason why they will remain in contention, also when Teixeira went down last year, the name who produced was B-Mac. The 32-year-old has been missed at least 20 to 30 games the past couple of years and that will change since he should see some days as the designated hitter. McCann fits New York well with his bat and that short porch in right field. McCann will bat in the middle of the lineup, which is where the Yankees will get most of their runs at. Now, McCann won’t hit .260 a season again, but with the field playing in his advantage, he will still drill at least 30 homers a season. McCann has hit the ball 223 times, which lead to 49 homers and 169 RBIs in his early New York tenure. In those 275 games, he has a batting average of .232.

Finally, the Red Sox have shown up. The Red Sox will try to get David Ortiz one more ring, since this is his last year before he retires of into the sunset. The area of the team that derailed the Red Sox 2015 season was their pitching. The worst rotation in the AL East last year with a bunch of back end starters pitching as their one’s and two’s. When they did not re-sign Lester it hurt them like it did for the Rays when James Shields left. Those two run the rotations with their leadership abilities such as work ethic and experiences. Now, the Red Sox made a big signing this off-season by reeling in the big fish. They signed David Price to a seven-year deal worth $217 million dollars. The 30-year-old has matured to a higher extent and will bring Lester/Shields like abilities. Price finished the 2015 campaign by going 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 32 starts and 220.1 innings thrown. He punched out 225 batters, which he does at a regular basis now. Price will be the ace with out a doubt, but he will have Porcello, Buchholz, Rodriguez, and either Owens or Kelly beside him in the rotation.

David Price, John Henry, Tom Werner
Credit: (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

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