80 minutes and counting until 2011 kicks off! So I thought it was only fitting that we start the 2011 predictions. I have elected to break it up by league and Division and will try to post 1 new division a day for the next week or so. (In the end it will be a good test to my motivation, especially when we have to look at the NL).
Now for our own backyard. AL East standings at the end of this year (drum roll)
Red Sox 97 wins
Yankees 95 wins
Rays 88 wins
Essentially, I have to go with the fact that the Red Sox had, on paper, the best off-season. It was a lot of fun to watch the line up last night (last preseason game). Jacoby, Pedroia, Crawford, Gonzalez.... HOLY COW! Per the previous post, if the starters can improve slightly, the offense holds or improves, and the bullpen improves a lot we should be in good shape to take the East. Of course, this is barring the injury bug that crushed us last year.
Per X's point, the Yankees are too rich and have too much talent to discount. That being said, I do think they are vulnerable. They haven't had the injury bug in a while and they have some aging players. In the end, if they stay healthy I think they are a lock for the wildcard.
Tampa Bay will give it a good run, but will fade. Especially, after Manny hits 20 HR in the first half and checks out mentally. Their pitching is good, but young and that might work the first time around. But as hitters in the AL East get more looks they will start to lock in. So I see a pretty significant second half fade.
Toronto will be above average as will Baltimore. I think Baltimore has some up and coming pitchers that will make it interesting. But neither team has the depth to last deep into the season. I can't wait for the huge slump the O's will experience at some point in the second half. Showalter will blow his cool in some completely crazy way.