MLB 2017 Season Preview
American League East
FanPicks examines the American League East division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get started with fantasy baseball right now!
The Orioles always appear at a disadvantage in a division filled with big spenders. They also don’t have the prospects to swing major deals. They know who they are, and they somehow make it work. There’s no reason to believe they won’t contend in 2017, but the rotation could stand in their way. It’s filled with question marks.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are all-in on 2017. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has blown up the farm system to obtain All-Stars pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale, and he won’t hesitate to move more young talent if the Red Sox develop an obvious need before the trade deadline. Everyone from Dombrowski to manager John Farrell to ace David Price, as well as young stars Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts will be feeling the heat as the Red Sox attempt to win it all for the fourth time since 2004. Anything short of a World Series berth will feel like a disappointment.
New York Yankees
If catcher Gary Sanchez is the real deal, pitcher Luis Severino returns to form, prospects Aaron Judge and Greg Bird provide some power, and the rotation has enough depth, the Yankees could be a playoff contender with a bright future. If not, the growing pains could be ugly and again leave the Yankees sitting home in October.
Tampa Bay Rays
This is a crossroads season. Can the shuffled management team exhume the cash-strapped franchise’s record of innovation and success, or was that a proprietary product of the predecessing Andrew Friedman/Joe Maddon dream team all along? To approach its potential this season, the team must unearth two more offensive hammers. It’s an unlikely scenario even if any of the arm-for-bat trade opportunities it was seeking deep into the winter reaches fruition. For the Rays, it all start with their starting pitching. Unfortunately, it may also end there.
Toronto Blue Jays
The gap between the Blue Jays and Boston appears to only have widened. The Blue Jays will once again be heavily reliant on their pitching staff, and they’ll have precious little margin for error on that front. And the new-look offense bears watching (Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce), as the Blue Jays can no longer count on being able to bludgeon opponents into submission. Still, they are too talented to count out, and another playoff berth is a realistic possibility.