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06
American League East Spring Training Betting Preview

American League East Spring Training Capsules

If you bet on baseball, remember to do some research on what teams did in the offseason.  We'll do the work for you. Let's take a look at the American League East where the aging New York Yankees are still the favorite to win the division. The odds listed below are from Bovada.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

2012 record: 93-69, second place in the AL East

Against the Money Line: $+3683

Manager: Buck Showalter, fourth year

World Series Odds: 40-1

Key Additions: 2B Alexi Casilla, SP Jair Jurrjens, 3B-DH Danny Valencia. 

Key Subtractions: 2B Robert Andino, OF Endy Chavez, 1B Mark Reynolds, DH Jim Thome. 

Key Questions: Baltimore brought back LF Nate McClouth, but is he a full-time player? Will Brian Roberts finally be healthy enough to play second base? Can Chris Davis play first base full time?

Key Players: Baltimore did very little in the off-season but they didn’t have to do a lot. At first base, Chris Davis has great power and they need to get him in the lineup with his 33 home runs. The pitching staff lacks a dominant ace but Jason Hammel and We-Yin Chen pitched very well most of the year. They’ll have a group of pitchers battling it out for 3-4-5 including Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25), Chris Tillman (8-8, 3.63) and Jair Jurjens (3-4, 6.89), who is trying to return from injuries. 

Boston Red Sox

2012 record:69-9, fifth place in the AL East

Against the Money Line: $-3685

Manager: John Farrell, first year

World Series Odds: 28-1

Key Additions: SP Ryan Dempster, SS Stephen Drew, OF Jonny Gomes, RP Joel Hanrahan, 1B-C Mike Napoli, C David Ross, RP Koji Uehara, OF Shane Victorino. 

Key Subtractions: IF Mike Aviles, SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, RP Mark Melancon, RP Vicente Padilla, OF Scott Podsednik, OF Cody Ross, 1B James Loney.

Key Questions: The Red Sox are coming off a disaster of a season and will need to find some a semblance of a starting rotation. John Lackey is returning from Tommy John surgery and wasn’t very good before that. Do they have the replacement for Jon Papelbon as a closer?

Key Players: Pitchers Clay Buchholz (11-8, 4.56) and Jon Lester (9-4, 4.82) need to bounce back from bad seasons. Ryan Dempster struggled in the American League after getting traded to Texas from the Cubs. Joel Hanranan should at least settle the closer spot but if the pitching doesn’t improve, his impact will be minimal. First baseman Mike Napoli provides power if he can stay healthy. The BoSox did add Stephen Drew, who should solidify the spot until one of their youngsters is ready. John Farrell will be tested in his first season.

New York Yankees

2012 record: 95-67, first place in the AL East

Against the Money Line: $374

Manager: Joe Girardi, sixth season

World Series Odds: 15-1

Key Additions: DH Travis Hafner, 3B Kevin Youkilis.
 
Key Subtractions: 3B Eric Chavez, SP Freddy Garcia, OF Raul Ibanez, OF Andruw Jones, RP Derek Lowe, C Russell Martin, RP Rafael Soriano, OF Nick Swisher. 

Key Questions: The Yankees have many issues starting at center field with Curtis Granderson, who could miss the first month, sitting out due to a broken forearm. Brett Gardner will likely take his place though prospect Melky Mesa could start if he makes the roster, moving Gardner back to left field. WIth Russell Martin moving on, they need to find a permanent catcher. Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli are ordinary but watch out for Austin Romine, who played just 31 games last year due to back problems. Age is also a concern  as Gardner is the only under-30 regular. 

Key Players: SS Derek Jeter (.316, 15, 58, 9sb) continues to get the job done. 3B Alex Rodriguez (.272, 18, 57) might never return due to hip surgery and more steroid concerns. At least they picked up 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis (19HRs), who will look odds in a Yankees uniform. The Yankees will also rely on aging pitchers in Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda. They also need big Michael Pineda to stay healthy. 

Tampa Bay Rays

2012 record: 90-72, third place in the AL East

Against the Money Line: $602

Manager: Joe Maddon, eighth season. 

World Series Odds: 22-1

Key Additions: SS Yunel Escobar, SP Roberto Hernandez, 1B James Loney, OF Wil Myers, SP Jake Odorizzi. 

Key Subtractions: SP Wade Davis, RP J.P Howell, IF Jeff Keppinger, 1B Carlos Pena, SP James Shields, OF B.J. Upton.

Key Questions: Not many teams can afford to lose a James Shelds and B.J. Upton and still look good. OF Desmond Jennings (.246, 13, 47, 31sbs) will have more pressure on him to produce, while OF Wil Myers, one of the top prospects in baseball, was added in the Shields trade. P Chris Archer (1-3, 4.60) will vie for the rotation that is still strong with Alex Cobb (11-9, 4.03), David Price (20-5, 2.56), Matt Moore (11-11, 3.81) and Jeremy Hellickson (10-11, 3.10).

Key Players: The Rays added some defense with 1B James Loney, who adds little power and SS Yunel Escobar (.253, 9, 51), who is an upgrade to the middle infield. OF Shelley Duncan adds a big bat who has never been giving the full-time opportunity. OF/INF Ben Zobrist (.270, 20, 74, 14sbs) is a very versatile player, but if he’s your best power hitter, the Rays are in trouble. 

Toronto Blue Jays

2012 record: 73-89, fourth place in the AL East

Against the Money Line: $-1200

Manager: John Gibbons, sixth season

World Series Odds: 7-1

Key Additions: C Henry Blanco, UT Emilio Bonifacio, LHP Mark Buehrle, OF Melky Cabrera, IF Mark DeRosa, RHP R.A. Dickey, IF Maicer Izturis, RHP Josh Johnson, SS Jose Reyes, RHP Esmil Rogers, C Josh Thole.
 
Key Subtractions: RHP Henderson Alvarez, SS Yunel Escobar, 2B Kelly Johnson, LHP Aaron Laffey, C Jeff Mathis, RHP Carlos Villanueva. 

Key Questions: The Blue Jays are coming off a disappointing season, but they added three key starting pitchers including knuckler R.A. Dickey, who needs a special catcher. They traded for Josh Thole, who caught 185 1/3 IP of Dickey’s games last year. Melky Cabrera (.346, 11, 60, 13sb) is a big question mark based on his suspension and whether he can hit that well clean. 

Key Players: Jose Bautista (.241, 27, 65) missed most of the second half with a wrist injury that required surgery. He now gets some help with Cabrera and INF/OF Emilio Bonfiacio (.258, 30sbs), who can lead off. C J.P. Arencibia (.233, 18, 56) should only get better while SS Jose Reyes (.287, 11, 57, 40sbs) adds more speed. Dickey  (20-6, 2.73, 230k) was sensational last season and won the AL Cy Young. Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81) has all the stuff but isn’t durable. LHP Mark Buehrle (13-13, 3.74) just knows how to win. 

Posted in: MLB

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