With opening day right around the corner, I am going to give you my AL East preview over the next five days. The AL East is one of the strongest divisions in baseball and it should be a tight race to the finish.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have been bottom dwellers for a while in the AL East and tried to break that mold with last year’s acquisitions. They fought plenty of injuries and struggled to get anything positive going all year. They finished in last place in the AL East, 23 games behind the eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox.
The Jays have an abundance of talent all around the field.
- Jose Reyes: He batted .296 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in only 93 games last season. Reyes is one of the most explosive players in the league when healthy and is very important to the Jays’ success.
- Jose Bautista: Bautista is one of the most dangerous power hitters in today’s game. He is one of the team’s leaders and is always capable of having a big night at the plate.
- Colby Rasmus: Rasmus is a promising young outfielder who started to show his potential last season. He had a .501 slugging percentage along with 22 home runs and 66 RBIs in 118 games in 2013.
The Blue Jays have plenty of things holding them back to go along with that strong talent. Pitching is certainly their Achilles heel with all of their starting pitchers sporting an ERA above 4.00. If there is one thing that can neutralize a dangerous lineup, it is poor pitching.
I think the Blue Jays will still be a respectable team, but ultimately finish last in the highly touted AL East with a 77-85 record. They are close to being a contender for an AL Wild Card spot, but need to figure out their pitching issues, which can take a few years.
Brett Lawrie: The Jays third baseman is only 24 years-old and has battled injuries in his first three years in the majors, but he has a lot of potential. Lawrie is a solid defender and is figuring it out at the plate. He had 11 home runs, 46 RBIs, and a .254 batting average in only 107 games last season. If Lawrie can stay healthy this season, look for him to mature and put up solid numbers for a late round fantasy pick.
Keep an eye out for the rest of my AL East preview over the next few days!
*All statistics from www.baseball-reference.com