Saturday, June 19, 2010

AL East Season 16 Preview

Season 15 Recap: Cleveland won (yawn) 114 to take its 10th straight division crown. Washington D.C. surged late to win 96 and get a wild card spot. Pittsburgh improved a game to 85 wins; Rochester slipped back to 76 wins after 3 straight .500+ years. The Katanas got to the ALCS for the 6th straight year but lost to Jackson for the 4th straight time; the Revenge lost in the first round to Cincinnati. Cleveland took 3 of the 4 major awards, with Thomas Simpkins winning both the MVP and ROY, and Aaron Torres taking the Cy Young.

CLEVELAND seems to just reload every year. They lose Harry Encarnacion in FA and bring up Season 10 supplemental pick Scott Becker (he'll hit a ton). Otherwise, it's pretty much the same as last year's crew. They'll score 1000 runs or close to it, as usual. And as usual, their pitching may look like it has weaknesses but will be near the top of the league in ERA.

WASHINGTON D.C. eagerly awaits the ML debut of Season 10's #2 overall pick, Omar Carrasco. He pairs with Rob Workman (20 wins each of first 2 seasons) to give the Revenge perhaps the best 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation in Belle. They could also call up OF Mark Gang, who's ML-ready but doesn't have a position open. He (or someone else) could be traded for a 3B, as the departure of Vinny Ma has left an opening there. Could this finally be their year?

PITTSBURGH has surged to 84 adn 85 wins the last 2 years, thanks to its big Season 14 FA signings plus an influx of talent from the minors. The farm system has produced a couple more this year in power-hitting RF Joaquin Alvarez and lefty sinkerballer Louie Yang. Not hard to see the Alleghenys winning 90-95 this year.

ROCHESTER has some retooling to do following a 76-win season and quite a few FA losses. The Replacements are hoping for a better sophomore season from Season 11's #10 overall pick, Rich Grace, plus a monster MVP year from 24 year-old SS Jesus Gomez. Even if they get those and win 85 games, they're likely to finish 4th in this ball-buster division.

1. I've been picking D.C. to unseat Cleveland for years, now. Even with Carrasco joining the rotation, I can't see the Revenge picking up 18 games. Katanas win, but in a much closer race.
2. D.C. and Pittsburgh both win 90+ and get wild card berths.
3. Watch for the aforementioned MVP bid by Rochester's Jesus Gomez, and a CY bid by Pittsburgh's Jung Wanatabe.

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