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Posts Tagged ‘Dustin Pedroia’

There can be no doubt that the American League East is easily the best division in baseball. In fact, this year could wind up being historic in terms of division play, as my projections show 4 of the 5 teams capable of winning 90+ games this season – a feat that’s never been accomplished before. Is the talent level in the East really that much better than the rest of the AL? In a word, YES.

Both the Boston Red Sox and Yankees look to be the class of baseball this year. I project both teams to win 105 games this year and finish tied for the division crown. How evenly matched are the two juggernauts? The projections also have them splitting the season series, 9-9. Many prognosticators are giving the edge to the Red Sox this year, based on their starting rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. While the Yankees rotation is known to be unsettled, relying on a return to form by AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes avoiding regression from his 18-8 2010 season, and a collection of rookies and reclamation projects to fill the 4 & 5 spots, the Sox rotation also has question marks. Can Lackey reclaim his form? Can Beckett come back from an injury plagued season? Will Buchholz ever deliver on his promise? Can Matsuzaka come back from injuries and inconsistency? In short, both teams could have excellent rotations – or horrible ones, once you get past the aces. But offensively, both squads are loaded 1 – 9. The Yankees projected line-up of Derek Jeter, Nick SwisherMark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Brett Gardner may actually be better than the team that led the league in runs scored last season. Boston counters with Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, JD Drew, Marco Scutaro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury. Both line-ups are capable of scoring 1,000 runs. The real differentiators between the teams are in the bullpens and on the bench. The Yanks have a slight edge in the bullpen, with the 1 – 1a tandem of Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano. The Sox have a slight edge on the bench.

As for the rest of the division, Tampa Bay suffered some tremendous free-agent losses. Despite that, they come into the season with their only real question being the strength of the bullpen, where the oft-traveled Kyle Farnsworth heads a makeshift relief corps. The additions of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, along with new shortstop Reid Brignac and rookie Desmond Jennings, should actually make the offense better. And Tampa’s rotation remains one of the game’s best, led by David Price. But while good enough to win pretty much any other division in the game, this year’s Rays aren’t in the same class as either New York or Boston.

The same goes for the Orioles, although Baltimore may have the most improved team in the league. The infield was completely remade, as Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee and JJ Hardy join Brian Roberts. The O’s also brought in veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero and closer Kevin Gregg. Add in what looks to be the league’s best young rotation and proven winner (and old friend) Buck Showalter as manager, and Baltimore is poised to shock people the same way Toronto did last year.

As for the Blue Jays, this team lost too much – and replaced those parts with questionable signings – from last year’s overachieving squad to compete this year. They’ve brought in pitching guru John Farrell to lead the team, but this team will suffer from losing Cito Gastons “let-’em-fly” attitude on offense. Include a rookie catcher, changes at 1st, 3rd and all three OF spots and it will prove to be too much turnover to overcome. One bright spot for the Jays this year could be rookie starter Kyle Drabek, one of the game’s more hyped young pitchers.

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In part one of our three part Yankees vs Red Sox series we examine the infield between both teams. We will be judging each infield starter on their expected defensive and offensive contributions to their respective teams this year.

Jorge Posada vs Victor Martinez

Offensive Edge: Negligible. Most teams (except for the Twins) would love to have either of these catchers offensive numbers for them as they both are some of the better offensive catchers in the game.

Defensive Edge: Slight edge to Victor Martinez. While Jorge has thrown out a better percentage of runners as compared to Martinez, Posada’s defense has degraded slightly over the last few years. With shoulder surgery a few years ago, it is unlikely Jorge will make any giant leaps forward defensively. Martinez is in his prime and has room to improve. (more…)

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After years of either poorly drafting (See: Jed Lowrie), trading away franchise shortstops (See: Nomar Garciaparra) and future franchise shortstops (See: Hanley Ramirez) it appears as the Red Sox have floated the idea of moving All Star Dustin Pedroia to shortstop.

Pedroia stated that he was all for the idea and was hoping that Terry Francona would ask him. He also stated that Derek Jeter should “watch out for his Gold Glove and his Silver Slugger.” While he appeared to be joking, one has to wonder how serious he really was with his comment.

Remember how all those experts with the ‘fielding stats’ said that Derek was one of the worst shortstops ever? What happened? He turned around and had a stellar season in the field. One has to wonder how serious Derek takes this faux threat and how much he will push to prove that he is still the offensive force that he is, even at the advanced age of 35 (36 in June 2010).

Regardless, I look forward to a response from Jeter on the field, because we know Jeter will just laugh it off in the media and not take a shot at Pedroia like Pedroia did.

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     According to the New York Post, Derek Jeter has made the 1st cut for team USA.The provisional roster also includes Dustin Pedroia & Kevin Youkilis, who could join him in the starting infield. That makes it pretty interesting. There are forty-three players on the current provisional roster. The roster will be cut to 28 players by the end of February, and it must include 13 pitchers and two catchers.

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Major League Baseball does not need a cap  /  Few mentions of Pudge this winter

Arbitration absurdity  /  Tony Pena’s ’03 KC Royals Manager of the Year award auctioned off on ebay

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