Tazawa seems primed for a set-up role in the bullpen, but he is eligible for another option year unlike several other Boston relievers. If for that reason he winds up in Pawtucket to start the year, then why not make him a starter?
Webster probably will begin the year with Double-A Portland but there is a possibility he could be ready for the big leagues later in the season.
8. Baltimore will take a step back and miss the playoffs.
The Orioles had an amazing ‘12 run, but expect them to take a step back because their starting pitching won’t perform as well as it did in ‘12.
Miguel Gonzalez was fantastic story a year ago, but it is tough to believe he and others can keep it up.
The O’s should stay competitive though, and 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado will grab many headlines.
9. Kevin Youkilis will spend at least 40 games on the DL.
The new Yankees third baseman has played in just 344 out of a possible 486 the past three seasons. He will continue to break down physically at third base this year.
He should have found a job somewhere as a first baseman or DH.
10. Brandon Morrow will emerge as Toronto’s true ace.
The 28-year-old has tremendous potential if he can keep from getting injured. Last year, he posted a 2.96 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 10 wins in 21 starts.
11. Jacoby Ellsbury will be an All-Star.
The Red Sox center fielder played in just 74 games last year because of a subluxed shoulder and when he did play, he hit .271 with a 682 OPS. He spent all but 18 games on the DL in 2010 because of broken ribs.
But between those two seasons was a massively impressive 2011 in which he batted .321 with a .928 OPS and finished second in the AL MVP vote.