1st Place: New York Yankees- Look, I know they're the Yankees, and we hate them-- but they're a very good team and should finish first for the 13th time in the last 15 years. Last year, they finished 11th in MLB in pitching, and even so, made a huge push to acquire pitching this offseason. On the free agent front, they acquired Hiroki Kuroda (right)(13-16/3.07/161) and trading for Michael Pineda (9-10/3.74/173) to bolster a decent rotation. They have the best bullpen in baseball, and an offense that ranked 7th last year which, this year, will be helped by a solid DH in Raul Ibanez (.245/20/84). Expect the Yankees to win the division as they've been doing.
2nd Place: Tampa Bay Rays- If you say you expected the Rays to do what they did last year, then you're lying. They traded all sorts of pieces from their 2010 team and still won the Wild Card and won 91 games. They had the 2nd best pitching in the AL and while their rotation should remain the same, they made a few additions to their bullpen in Fernando Rodney (3-5/4.50/26) and Burke Badenhop (2-3/4.10/51). While their pitching was strong, their offense at 2nd worst in the AL was weak. What they did to improve the offense was acquiring power bats like Carlos Pena (left)(.225/28/80) and Luke Scott (.220/9/22 in 64 games). They also got a few singles hitters like Jeff Keppinger (.277/6/35) and Jose Molina (.281/3/15). Expect the Rays' pitching to carry them to a playoff berth.
3rd Place: Boston Red Sox- Much like nobody expected the Rays to do what they did last year, nobody expected what happened to the Red Sox last year. It was their pitching (22nd in the league) that suffered last year and they made several low-risk high-reward type acquisitions such as Vicente Padilla (0-0/4.15/9 in 9 games), Aaron Cook (3-10/6.03/48), and Ross Ohlendorf (1-3/8.15/27). However, the moves they made to their bullpen should really make a dividend-- guys like Mark Melancon (8-4/2.78/66) and Andrew Bailey (right)(0-4/3.24/41). They had the best offense in the league last year, and should stay at a similar pace after they upgraded their right field position by adding Cody Ross (.240/14/52) and Ryan Sweeney (.265/1/25). Expect the Red Sox to win around 90 games, but in this division-- that isn't enough.
4th Place: Toronto Blue Jays- The Toronto Blue Jays may be the best fourth place team in baseball, but in this division, they aren't going anywhere. Their pitching was very rough last year at 24th in the league and while their rotation stayed about the same, their bullpen improved massively. They acquired Francisco Cordero (5-3/2.45/42), Sergio Santos (left)(4-5/3.55/92), and Jason Frasor (3-3/3.60/57). On offense, the Jays were only 20th in the league-- but look for that to improve as Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus, and Jeff Mathis get adjusted to their new home. The Blue Jays aren't going anywhere yet, but in a few years they could be a contender.