Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mass Hysteria's Super Spectacular Baseball Preview - AL East

Baseball season is almost upon us. As the weather (hopefully) gets warmer, we at Mass Hysteria will be previewing all of MLB's divisions to prepare you for what will inevitably take over your life over the next seven months. The format is eerily similar to what HZMLS did with our NFL Previews, so I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery. This is Part 6 of 6: The AL East.

In case you missed it, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, & Part 5.

Baltimore Orioles

Why The Orioles Will Win The AL East

Offense is the name of the Orioles game. Roberts and Markakis are the sure bets, but don't be surprised if we finally see the emergence of Adam Jones (not Pacman) this year, as well as young catching stud Matt Weiters. Aubrey Huff can still rake a little too. They also may or may not have hung 5 runs on a certain obese oaf yesterday.

Why The Orioles Won't Win The AL East

Clearly pitching is a huge concern for the O's - mainly relief pitching. Have you seen this bullpen? Sherrill is a serviceable closer but after that... well, they're in a bit of trouble. Their starting pitching doesn't blow me away either. Unless "ability to dunk a basketball" counts for something, Mark Hendrickson is generally useless.

Boston Red Sox

Why The Red Sox Will Win The AL East

Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Top to bottom, this might be the best pitching staff in baseball. They have three guys who could likely be aces on many other ML teams, and they have depth to beat the band. Beckett, Daisuke, Lester, Wakefield, Penny, Buchholz, Smoltz, Daniel Bard (/cums pants), Bowden... and that's just potential starters. If you're not excited yet, check the bullpen. Paps, Oki, MDC, RamRam, Masterson, Saito, Lopez... this staff is BUILT, with TONS of depth. I'm taking it over the Yankees' every day of the fuckin' week.

Why The Red Sox Won't Win The AL East

So the Sox may have a few offensive question marks. Well, more than a few. They resigned automatic out Jason Varitek, which I guess isn't really a question mark. He sucks and he's going to continue to suck. The question marks start to roll in when we talk about replacing the production of Manny for a full season. Also, the need for production from Ortiz, Lowell, Drew, Lugo and Ellsbury is evident, and all were lacking for some, if not most of last season. Plus, can Youk and Pedroia replicate their monster seasons from a year ago? Can Jason Bay be the big hitter the Sox need him to be? Only time will tell.

New York Yankees

It's with great pleasure that we at MH announce a guest poster for our Yankees preview. We figured what better way to get info on the 2009 Yankees than going behind enemy lines? So without further ado, I present Jay from the Yankee blog Fack Youk. Take it away:

Why The Yankees Will Win The AL East

  • CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett effectively replace Mike Mussina and (Darrell Rasner/Sindey Ponson/Ian Kennedy/Phil Hughes).
  • Jason Giambi has been supplanted by Mark Teixeira, a deserving Gold Glove defender and the definition of an all-around offensive player.
  • Joba Chamerlain has a chance to spend a full season as a starter and has the stuff to be extremely dominant.
  • Brett Gardner, Johnny Damon, and Xavier Nady are a much formidable defensive outfield than the one that got ran out last year, while only giving a little away on offense (Abreu > Nady).
  • Robinson Cano is almost sure to rebound this year.
  • The bullpen had a 3.73 ERA in '08 and it is basically the same cast of characters this time around, with some solid arms waiting in the minors (David Robertson, Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves, Steven Jackson)
  • Jorge Posada is back.

Why The Yankees Won't Win The AL East

  • Every pitcher in the rotation is a fairly significant injury risk. Sabathia (too many innings), Burnett (checkered past), Wang (coming off a Lisfranc sprain), Pettitte (getting older and had shoulder problems last year), Joba (injuries are what allowed the Yanks to draft him with the 41st pick and he hasn't proven that he can handle a full season as a starter)
  • A-Rod is missing at least a month and his injury has the potential nag him all season.
  • He of course has a knack for being a douchetastic fuckface and creating never ending media orgies. It might not hurt the team, but it's certainly not going to help.
  • When the Man in the Mirror comes back, his newly limited range might create one of the worst defensive left sides of the infield ever assembled.
  • Brett Gardner's line in 127 Major League ABs last year was (.228/.283./.299). Gross.
  • Cano's OBP was .305 in '08. That's not gonna cut it this year.
  • If Jorge Posada re-injures his shoulder or is just not healthy enough to catch, that would leave the Yanks with Jose Molina and Kevin Cash behind the dish. Yikes.

Tampa Bay Rays

Why The Rays Will Win The AL East

Young studs. Let's face it, this team is returning basically the same roster from a year ago, except add the power bat of Pat Burrell into the mix. Crawford, Longoria, Upton, Shields, Kazmir, Garza, Sonnanstine... these guys can play. And I know David Price is starting the season in AAA, but trust we haven't heard the last from him. This guy can straight up throw.

Why The Rays Won't Win The AL East

Because they're the Rays. Formerly the Devil Rays. The team that brought epic fail to a whole new level. Granted, these aren't your dad's Devil Rays - they're quite a bit better, but we've only seen one good season from them so far, and like 15 bad seasons. So let's not get carried away. For all we know, everyone had their career years last year.

Toronto Blue Jays

Why The Blue Jays Will Win The AL East

Roy Halladay is pretty good at baseball. One of the elite power pitchers in the game, the dude can do it all. Strikeouts, complete games, K/BB ratio, wins, the works. With him in your rotation, you're going to win ballgames. Mix in a healthy BJ Ryan to close games out, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios on offense, and Kevin Millar passing out shots of JD and you have reasons to be confident if you're a Jays fan.

Why The Blue Jays Won't Win The AL East

Yes, I know I could have said this for the Orioles too, but this division is just too damn tough and the Blue Jays don't have enough weapons to make it happen. I can't imagine being a fan of this team going into the season knowing you have virtually no chance of making the playoffs. With the emergence of the Rays, I don't know if that makes it that much worse, or if it gives you hope in the sense of "they can do it, why can't we?"

Smarty Barrett's pick to win the AL East: I really really really want to take the Sox this year, but the Rays just look too tough for me to pass on. They won it last year, everyone is still young but now a year more experienced, and they signed Pat Burrell to really help their DH production. I still like the Sox to take the Wild Card.

GHABB,Y's pick to win the AL East: I'm predicting a vicious cockfight between Tampa, the Sox and the Yankees for the East's top spot, but in the end, I'm going to have to sadly think the Yanks take the division. The starting pitching, which has always been the Yankees' main problem, has been shored up like whoa, and I'm thinking that Teixeria has an insane year. The return of A-Rod come May or June doesn't necessarily hurt either. I think the Sox are hampered by their lack of power bats and reliance on dwindling fogies (Tek, Lowell, Ortiz) while the Rays relief pitching I think will be shaky this year. It kills me to say it, but I'm thinking it's the Yankees division to lose.

What say you, readers?


The A-Train said...

Granted, these aren't your dad's Devil Rays

Does that really work here? I'm older than the Rays for cripes sake!

How about "these aren't your older brother's Rays"

Oh yeah: Yanks all the way. And if they don't, may God have mercy on my liver, because the Jameson sure as shit won't.

nfsffw said...

Varitek just sucked one down the right field line off shields. He was craptacular at best last year, but I think he bounces back here. Last I checked, he led the Sox in Spring training RBI's, he's not getting divorced currently - take it from one who knows, THAT can fuck with your whole being for awhile - and Heidi's new car smell is now likely slightly alkaline and a tad less bonertaneous. Add this all up and I don't think .260/18/80 is out of the question.

nfsffw said...

I seriously fucking hate gobbless america in the 7th inning stretch. Yep, I know where it started and I know why it started, and if those guys wanna play it from here til Kingdom Come I'm fine with it. As for the rest of bases-ball cities, let's get back to the traditional Take Me Out To the Balls-game (two verses.
Thank You.

DRSimoes said...

Great read.

Despite my living in New York and working now a mile or two from Yankee's stadium, I am still routing for the Red Sox. I wear my hat proudly as I walk out of the 6 train and toward first avenue. Time to break out the Red Sox t-shirts as well.