AL EAST | AL CENTRAL | AL WEST | NL EAST | NL CENTRAL | NL WEST
I’m committing myself to watching every team this season, at least one full game each.
No longer will I load up MLB.tv after work, wait to see which games are being played at a UK friendly time, then refuse to watch another Tigers @ Royals game.
There must be at least one reason to watch a full 9-innings from every single team, right? It’s time I found them.
Here’s what I’m most excited for, in the AL East.
New York Yankees
Standby for a scorching hot take. This team is going to be pretty special this year. Considering they managed to win 103 games last year, while having 103 players on the injured list, what could they achieve with a healthy 26-man roster?
Not only have they gathered the majority of the old crew together again, they have also signed a rather good starting pitcher in Gerrit Cole. This will help bolster a rotation that only managed to toss 778.1 innings last year, putting them 26th in innings pitched for 2019. Now, when you have the bullpen the Yankees have, and that dinger mashing lineup, it’s not too much of a worry. However putting pressure on the lineup to deliver and strain on the relievers arms, isn’t a long term policy any GM should be comfortable with.
Cole adds to a rotation that is looking seriously formidable heading into 2020, Paxton had a good 2019, Tanaka despite an inflated ERA almost matched Paxton in fWAR and finally we are due a full season of the exciting Luis Severino.
I’ve not even touched on their lineup, which finished just one HR behind the table topping Twins, with the Bronx Bombers mashing 306 dingers in 2019. That power will still be there, despite Edwin Encarnacion departing, helped by Miguel Andujar (27 HR in 2018) returning fully fit in 2020.
There’s so much to like about the Yankees this year, unless you’re a fan of any other team that plays against them.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays continued their trend to do lots with little resources in 2019. The trade for Austin Meadows in July 18 continued to reap rewards as he finished the season with a 142 wRC+ while clocking up 591 plate appearances. This sandwiched him above Juan Soto and below Pete Alonso in the leaderboards when sorted by wRC+. Not bad eh?
They also utilised the opener, continuing their ways of zigging while everyone else is zagging. This lead to their bullpen finishing top of the fWAR leaderboard, ahead of the aforementioned Yankees and the Twins pen.
A full season of Blake “Slapdick Prospect” Snell and Tyler Glasnow continue to get the juices flowing. However if that isn’t enough for you, then go watching some Ji-Man Choi highlights and enjoy the happiness oozing all over your soul.
As for their prospects, the Rays system is pretty stacked with top prospect Wander Franco expected early 2021, however this year may be the arrival of the next two-way sensation (maybe) Brendan McKay.
Another exciting year ahead for the Rays, as long as they can stay healthy.
Boston Red Sox
Well, where do we start? There are plenty of unknowns for the team right now, including their manager. There are still rumours swirling about the team trying to get maximum value for Mookie Betts, whilst also trying to ditch David Price‘s contract.
Are the team heading for a rebuild? A mini-rebuild? One last hurrah with this current roster? If I was a betting man, I’d see the Red Sox pushing it until the All-Star break and then making a decision there. I would be surprised if they bring in any more free agents right now.
Anyway, what will I be excited to watch? That lineup. Bogaerts, Betts, Devers, all had excellent seasons in 2019. Christian Vazquez also added some pop and put up good hitting numbers alongside his already strong defensive numbers. JD Martinez is a hitting machine, such a joy to watch.
It will be interesting to see what the Red Sox do with their starters during Spring Training. Chris Sale didn’t have the best of starts in 2019, which may have been down to the Sox beginning his work late into Spring Training in an attempt to save his arm come October. Well, it turned out they didn’t need his arm in October as the Red Sox failed to make the post season. It’s almost like keeping your closer in the bullpen because the closer is the closer and that’s what he does. What do I know though?
This team has a lot to prove with the allegations surrounding Cora and the 2018 season, how will they react? Whatever happens, it will make for interesting TV.
Toronto Blue Jays
I like the moves the Blue Jays have made this off-season.
Aside from Hyun-Jin Ryu, the moves have not been flashy, but they have been solid and sensible moves. Tanner Roark is expected to slot into the three slot of the rotation, with Travis Shaw sliding into 1B and 5th in the lineup. Sensible might not win a World Series, but it puts the franchise in the right direction, instead of signing replacement level players to just try and get through a season.
What about that infield beyond Shaw? The big draw for watching the Blue Jays 2020 has to the youngsters that fill the rest of the slots. Cavan Biggio at 2B, Bo Bichette at SS and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 3B, makes this lineup very good TV, if not must watch TV.
Also, Toronto is beautiful with the roof open.
The Orioles lost 108 games last year.
They don’t have a huge amount going for them in terms of prospects (Except catcher Adley Rutschman who is expected early 2021) to get you sparked for this season.
Their free agency work has been pretty stagnant, with the only real signing being SS Jose Iglesias.
So what is there to watch?
Chris Davis watch, how long for hit number one? Will we see old old Chris Davis back?
Will Trey Mancini continue on from his very good 2019?
What is hard hitting (but only 12 HR) Hanser Alberto? Is he going to top the lineup again, despite hitting well and only stealing four bases?
John Means is genuinely worth watching in 2020. After producing good numbers in 2019, there’s a chance the Orioles could build around his abilities, it’s unlikely he’s going to be an ace, but it’s a good starting point.
Also, that ballpark.
Come back soon as I look for reasons to watch the AL Central.