New York Yankees
Following a 100-win year that only earned them a second-place finish in the American League East, the New York Yankees did everything they needed to in the offseason.
From re-signing J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia and trading to get James Paxton, the Yankees enhanced a starting rotation that published a 4.05 ERA this past year. Together with Zack Britton back for longer and Adam Ottavino new to the combination, what was arguably the best bullpen ever seems even better for 2019.
The crime produced a single-season-record 267 homers last year. In 2019, it ought to get more from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and of course fellow slugger Gary Sanchez.
Another 100-win season and also a return on October are very much in the cards for these Yankees.
Playoff opportunities: 90 percent
Boston Red Sox
The 2018 Boston Red Sox won 108 games and the World Series with shocking ease.
Some of that was luck, however, along with the Red Sox haven’t defended against regression as well as their rivals from the Bronx. They brought back Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce, sure, but their Joe Kelly-less and Craig Kimbrel-less bullpen looms as a massive weakness.
On the bright side, Eovaldi, Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello anchor one of MLB’s greatest rotations. Similarly, reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are back to direct what was the league’s best offense last season.
Even if the Red Sox do regress in 2019, it should not be so bad that they miss the postseason entirely.
Playoff opportunities: 80 percent
Tampa Bay Rays
Last year’s Tampa Bay Rays surprisingly won 90 games by all manners.
Their innovative trick was to efficiently strip their pieces of labels and simply use their abilities strategically. This Resulted in a 3.50 ERA after May 18. Led by reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and newcomer Charlie Morton, they have the products to keep this up in 2019.
The Rays also had a powerful crime in the second half of 2018. New to the mix for 2019 are Mike Zunino and Avisail Garcia, both of whom possess All-Star upside. Despite these kind words, the Rays look like the third-best group from the AL East. They might only have a shot in the AL’s second wild-card spot, and they’ll face competition for it from outside the branch.
Playoff chances: 40 percent
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays have lost 175 games because 2017, yet forward progress needs to be made in 2019.
It will not be long before Toronto boosts Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette from its No. 3 farm program. If Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, Ken Giles and many others stay up to their recognized upsides, the Blue Jays may have a surprise playoff series inside them.
What’s more likely, however, is that the Jays will lag from the AL East powers and cut their losses using a fire sale in the trade deadline. The end result would be yet another losing season.
Playoff chances: 5 percent
The Baltimore Orioles dropped 115 games last year, and that was despite having Manny Machado for half of it.
The Orioles concentrated their offseason on restructuring their direction. Though this had to be done and it must pay off in the long term, the downside in the meantime is the roster does not seem any better than it did in the end of 2018.
Frankly, it is best not to give hope where there is none.
Playoff chances: 0%
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