With the New Year upon us, everyone seems to be writing 2013 prediction columns. So I thought I would join the parade. Here are my 13 AL East predictions for ‘13.
1. The Yankees won’t make the playoffs.
New York has a decent starting rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. And don’t forget about Michael Pineda, who should return in May or June. He still has the potential to be one of the top young starters in baseball.
But the Yankees lineup, which averaged 2.2 runs in 10 postseason games last year, lacks power. The Bronx Bombers certainly will miss an injured Alex Rodriguez and also Nick Swisher, who signed with the Cleveland Indians.
2. Toronto will win the AL East.
I love the addition of 2012 National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who should be exciting to watch because he throws his knuckleball harder than most and led the NL in strikeouts (230) last year. His knuckleball averaged out at 77.1 mph last year, according to fangraphs.com. Tim Wakefield’s averaged at 66.5 mph during the final 10 years of his career.
With Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Ricky Romero, Toronto has the third best rotation in the AL behind Detroit and Tampa Bay. The Jays have a pretty darn good offense, too.
3. Mariano Rivera will win Comeback Player of the Year.
After missing most of last year with a torn ACL, the Yankees closer will save 30 or more games and have an ERA between 2.00 and 2.50.
Rivera is 43 years old but he only has gotten better with age. Since his 38th birthday, he has posted a 1.72 ERA.
4. Tampa’s Evan Longoria will win AL MVP.
Move over Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. If Longoria can stay healthy, there is no reason he shouldn’t have his best season statistically.