I was hoping to get a guy in here to do some American League analysis but no such luck so far and I can't let Chris the NL King have all the fun. So for now, I'll try to throw down some AL Only League knowledge and try to keep up with Chris' pace.
American League East
New York Yankees
- Is Brett Gardner going to play Full-time?
- Who will bat second in the lineup? Nick Johnson or Curtis Granderson?
- Is Derek Jeter in a decline?
- 5th Spot.... Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes?
Thoughts: I would expect Gardner to get a minimum of 450 AB assuming he can hit consistently enough and by consistently, I mean at least in the .270 range. Gardner is probably the best defensive CF on the team so he'll definitely start a majority of the games. Randy Winn is more a platoon/Pinch Hitter/Defensive sub type a guy on this team. In the second spot, we're thinking Nick Johnson because he's a .400+ OBP guy. Duh, that's a no brainer. For the 5th spot in the rotation, I'm thinking Joba. The reason is that Joba has 4 quality pitches while Hughes only has 3. I wouldn't bank on Joba getting the job and I personally think he should be in the pen, but if I was a betting man, I'd say he's starting. And no, don't expect much of a decline with Jeter. I told you that last year too but no one listened to me!!!
Boston Red Sox
- Should we really be ranking Dustin Pedroia above Robinson Cano?
- Will Adrian Beltre be the home run hitting machine all the analysts are making him out to be?
- Is Clay Bucholz going to nail down the 5th spot and show us that upside?
- Will Jon Papelbon bounce back to his normal self?
- Is Big Papi finished?
Thoughts: The upside on Cano is .320+/30/100/100/5... am I wrong? Cano has a higher ceiling than Pedroia in my opinion. Simple as that. Pedroia has more Sb potential and might score a few more runs but Cano beats out pedroia in 3 of the 5 categories! Adrian Beltre does the same thing year in and year out (except for the year he looked like Godzilla) and hit 40 something home runs. He's a .270/25/90 guy and he'll be just that in 2010 with maybe a few more homers but not as big a deal as everyone is making his move to Fenway out to be. If Bucholz doesn't make the 5th spot, someone please trade him. He wasn't impressive in 2009, so I'm not expecting the world, and neither should you. I like Papelbon to bounce back and I like Big Papi to have a little bit more of a consistent season with 30+HR!
Tampa Bay Rays
- What do you see for Carlos Pena in a contract year?
- Will Matt Garza finally enter the elite class of starting pitchers?
- Will Rafael Soriano stay healthy?
- Will Ben Zobrist play everyday and were his 2009 numbers a fluke?
- Will B.J. Upton boom or bust?
Thoughts: I am a believe in B.J. Upton. When he stands at the plate, he just looks like he's oozing with talent. It's going to happen this year! Yes, I think Zobrist is for real and should come close to duplicating last years numbers. I'm not sure if he's a 30HR guy though but he'll most likely be your everyday 2B. I love Carlos Pena in a contract year and if Matt Garza doesn't win 15+ games, I'll rip my face off! I don't really trust Rafael Soriano that much but I do like that he'll be on a team built to win, so just stay healthy man!
- Is Matt Wieters ready to break out?
- Does Nick Markakis justify his average draft position?
- Brian Matusz or Chris Tillman?
Thoughts: Look at Wieters numbers. He did that in a half season's worth of at bats. Multiply all of that by two and you tell me if he's ready! I look at Markakis every year and I see him drafted in the 4th, 5th or 6th rounds of a 12 team draft and I ask myself why? Everyone touts this guy as ready to break out and every year he disappoints. His numbers are always solid, but less than 20 HR and less than 15 Sb with less than a .300BA and less that 100 RBI is always disappointing for me from my 5th round pick. As for Matusz or Tillman, jeez, flip a coin! I think Tillman is more the power guy while Matusz my have slightly better stuff. I don't know. Both are pretty nasty so if you miss on the first one that comes out, definitely grab the second and stash.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Is Travis Snider going to break out?
- What is this pitching staff going to look like?
- Will Aaron Hill repeat?
Thoughts: Does anyone really think Aaron hill is going to hit 36HR again? I know he was quite consistent from month to month in the HR department but I just don't see it. This was a fluke year and it's just a gut feeling. Can he come out and hit 25HR, yes I think so, but I don't see 30+ again. Travis Snider should make the team and start everyday and I'll expect some bumps and bruises but while everone worries about the Stephen Strasburg hype machine, Aroldis Chapman and Buster Posey, you should be thinking about the overlooked guys such as Snider, Cameron Maybin and Homer Bailey. At closer, the Jays picked up Kevin Gregg so even with Scott Downs as a possibility, you have to think Gregg will start the year with the job.