AL East Preview Capsules

The Associated Press

Giancarlo Stanton is among the New York Yankees who had injury shortened seasons in 2019. (AP Photo)

Giancarlo Stanton is among the New York Yankees who had injury shortened seasons in 2019. (AP Photo)

Capsules of American League East teams, listed in order of finish last year:

New York Yankees

2019: 103-59, first place, lost to Houston in ALCS.

Manager: Aaron Boone (third season).

He’s Here: RHP Gerrit Cole, C Erik Kratz, C Chris Iannetta, C Josh Thole, RHP Nick Tropeano, LHP Luis Avilán.

He’s Outta Here: LHP CC Sabathia, SS Didi Gregorius, 1B Edwin Encarnacion, C Austin Romine, RHP Dellin Betances, OF Cameron Maybin, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, 1B Greg Bird, RHP Chance Adams, LHP Stephen Tarpley, LHP Nestor Cortes Jr., RHP Cory Gearrin.

Projected Lineup: CF Aaron Hicks (.235, 12 HRs, 36 RBI in 59 games), RF Aaron Judge (.272, 27, 55 in 102 games), SS Gleyber Torres (.278, 38, 90), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.288, 3, 13 in 18 games), C Gary Sánchez (.232, 34, 77 in 106 games), LF Brett Gardner (.251, 28, 74), 1B Luke Voit (.263, 21, 62 in 118 games), 3B Gio Urshela (.314, 21, 74 in 132 games), 2B DJ LeMahieu (.327, 26 HRs, 102 RBI but may miss start after contracting COVID-19)/2B Tyler Wade (.245, 2, 11, 7 SB in 43 games).

Rotation: RH Gerrit Cole (20-5, AL-best 2.50, MLB-leading 326 Ks), LH James Paxton (15-6, 3.82), LH J.A. Happ (12-8, 4.91 in 30 starts and 1 relief appearance), RH Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA), LH Jordan Montgomery (0-0. 6.75 in 1 start and 1 relief appearances following return from Tommy John surgery).

Key Relievers: LH Aroldis Chapman (3-2, 2.21 ERA, 37/42 saves, .182 BA against, 85 Ks in 57 IP but may miss start after contracting COVID-19), LH Zack Britton (3-1, 1.91, 3 saves, .179 BA against), RH Adam Ottavino (6-5, 1.90, 2 saves, .195 BA against, 88 Ks in 66 1/3 IP), RH Tommy Kahnle (3-2, 3.67, .199 BA against, 88 Ks in 61 1/3 IP), RH Chad Green (4-4, 4.17, 98 Ks in 69 IP), RH Jonathan Loaisiga (2-2, 4.55), RH Luis Cessa (2-1, 4.11 but may miss start after contracting COVID-19).

Outlook: New York has started with more than six wins in its first 10 games just once since 2003. The Yankees hope the regular season is a tuneup of 12-13 starts for its rotation ahead of another push for the Yankees’ first title since 2009. Hicks, Judge, Stanton, Sánchez, Voit and Miguel Andújar, shifted to the outfield and DH, are coming off injury shortened seasons — New York placed a record 30 different players on the injured list last year. Hicks, Judge, Stanton and Paxton all used the hiatus to heal injuries that would’ve sidelined them for the start of the season. Tampa Bay is expected to be the most challenging competition within the division. Tanaka could start on the IL after getting hit on the side of his head by a Stanton liner on July 4.

Tampa Bay Rays

2019: 96-66, second place, lost to Houston in Division Series.

Manager: Kevin Cash (sixth season).

He’s Here: OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, OF Hunter Renfroe, 1B/OF Jose Martinez, OF Manuel Margot, OF Randy Arozarena, C Kevan Smith, C Chris Herrmann, LHP Aaron Loup.

He’s Outta Here: C Travis d’Arnaud, INF Eric Sogard, OF Avisail Garcia, OF Tommy Pham, 1B Jesus Aguilar, INF Matt Duffy, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Austin Pruitt.

Projected Lineup: RF Austin Meadows (.291, 33 HRs, 89 RBI in 138 games), 3B Yandy Diaz (.267, 14, 38 in 79 games), 1B Ji-Man Choi (.261, 19, 63), LF Hunter Renfroe (.216, 33, 64 with Padres), DH Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (.272, 29, 79 with Yokohama of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization), 2B Brandon Lowe (.270, 17, 51 in 82 games), C Mike Zunino (.165, 9, 32 in 90 games), CF Kevin Kiermaier (.228, 14, 55, 19 SBs in 129 games), SS Willy Adames (.254, 20, 52).

Rotation: RH Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05 ERA, 240 Ks in 194 2/3 innings, 33 starts), LH Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29, 147 Ks, 107 IP, 23 starts), RH Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78, 70 K, 60 2/3 IP, 12 starts), LH Ryan Yarbrough (11-6, 4.13 in 28 games, 14 starts), RH Yonny Chirinos (9-5, 3.85 in 26 games, 18 starts).

Key Relievers: RH Nick Anderson (3-0, 2.11 in 23 appearances with Rays; 2-4, 3.92, 1 save in 45 games with Marlins), LH Jose Alvarado (1-6, 4.80 in 35 appearances), RH Chaz Roe (1-3, 4.06 in 71 appearances), RH Pete Fairbanks (2-1, 5.11 in 13 appearances with Rays; 0-2, 9.35 in 8 games with Rangers), RH Diego Castillo (5-8, 3.41 in 65 appearances, 6 starts), RH Oliver Drake (5-2, 3.21), LH Colin Poche (5-5, 4.70), LH Jalen Beeks (6-3, 4.31), RH Trevor Richards (3-0, 1.93 in 7 appearances, 3 starts with Rays; 3-12, 4.50 in 23 games, 20 starts with Marlins), LH Brendan McKay (2-4, 5.14 in 13 games, 11 starts), RH Andrew Kittredge (1-0, 4.17 in 37 appearances, 7 as opener), LH Aaron Loup (0-0, 0.00 in four appearances with Padres).

Outlook: Consecutive 90-plus win seasons, as well as the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013, showed the budget-conscious Rays are capable of competing with teams with much larger payrolls and talented enough to potentially win it all. Starting pitching remains the foundation, with Morton, Snell and Glasnow leading a rotation that has a chance to be one of the best in baseball. The offense was bolstered by the offseason acquisition of Tsutsugo, Renfroe and Martinez, and the defense — spearheaded by three-time Gold Glove CF Kiermaier — can be a difference-maker, too, in a shortened 60-game schedule.

Boston Red Sox

Manager: Ron Roenicke (first season with Red Sox).

2019: 84-78, third place.

He’s Here: OF Alex Verdugo, OF Kevin Pillar, RHP Brusdar Graterol, C Kevin Plawecki, C Jett Bandy, C Connor Wong, RHP R.J. Alvarez, 2B José Peraza, LHP Martín Pérez, RHP Josh Osich, LHP Matt Hall, RHP Austin Brice, 2B Jeter Downs.

He’s Outta Here: Manager Alex Cora, OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, RHP Andrew Cashner, INF-OF Brock Holt, RHP Jhoulys Chacín, RHP Rick Porcello, 1B Steve Pearce, INF-OF Chris Owings, OF Gorkys Hernández, RHP Steven Wright, 1B Sam Travis, C Sandy León.

Projected Lineup: LF Andrew Benintendi (.266, 13 HR, 68 RBI), 3B Rafael Devers (.311, 32, 115), SS Xander Bogaerts (.309, 33, 117), DH J.D. Martinez (.304, 36, 105), 1B Mitch Moreland (.252, 19, 58), RF Alex Verdugo (.394, 12, 44), C Christian Vazquez (.276, 23, 72), 2B José Peraza (.239, 6, 33), CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.225, 21, 62).

Rotation: RH Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 5.99 ERA), LH Martín Pérez (10-7, 5.12), RH Ryan Weber (2-4, 5.09), LH Brian Johnson (1-3, 6.02), followed by an opener, with LH Eduardo Rodríguez (19-6, 3.81) joining if he recovers from COVID-19 in time.

Key Relievers: RH Brandon Workman (10-1, 1.88, 16 saves), RH Matt Barnes (5-4, 3.78, 4), RH Heath Hembree (1-0, 3.86, 2), RH Marcus Walden (9-2, 3.81, 2), LH Josh Taylor (2-2, 3.04), RH Collin McHugh (4-5, 4.70), LH Darwinzon Hernandez (0-1, 4.45).

Outlook: The Red Sox made major changes after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and they aren’t necessarily aimed at improving in 2020. They traded Betts and Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a salary dump for Verdugo, Wong and Downs. Verdugo, 23, will be asked to replace 2018 AL MVP Betts in the outfield. Cora was let go for his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and replaced by Roenicke, the only member of the coaching staff with managerial experience, after the start of spring training. With Rodríguez getting a late start because of COVID-19 — and even after he returns — the rotation looks to be a weak point. If Boston can keep pace with the Yankees and Rays in the East, it could squeeze into a wild-card berth and return to the postseason for the fourth time in five years. If not, the shortened season will have been a good year for them to reset their collective bargaining tax threshold.

Toronto Blue Jays

2019: 67-95, fourth place.

Manager: Charlie Montoyo (second season).

He’s Here: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, RHP Tanner Roark, RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Shun Yamaguchi, RHP Anthony Bass, INF Travis Shaw, RHP Rafael Dolis, INF Joe Panik, INF Breyvic Valera, INF Ruben Tejada, C Caleb Joseph, RHP Justin Miller, RHP A.J. Cole.

He’s Outta Here: He’s Outta Here: 1B Justin Smoak, RHP Ryan Tepera, RHP Clay Buchholz, C Luke Maile, 2B Devon Travis, RHP Derek Law, RHP Justin Shafer, RHP Jason Adam, LHP Buddy Boshers, INF Richard Urena.

Projected Lineup: SS Bo Bichette (.311, 11 HRs, 21 RBI in 46 games), 2B Cavan Biggio (.234, 16, 48, 71 BB), LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.277, 20, 50 in 84 games), 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.272, 15, 69), 3B Travis Shaw (.157, 7, 16 in 86 games with Milwaukee), CF Randal Grichuk (.232, 31, 80), DH Rowdy Tellez (.227, 21, 54), RF Teoscar Hernandez (.230, 26, 65), C Danny Jansen (.207, 13, 43).

Rotation: LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-5, NL-leading 2.32 ERA with Dodgers), RH Matt Shoemaker (3-0, 1.57 in five starts before season-ending knee injury), RH Tanner Roark (10-10, 4.35 with Oakland), RH Chase Anderson (8-4, 4.21 with Milwaukee), RH Trent Thornton (6-9, 4.84 as a rookie), LH Ryan Borucki (0-1, 10.84 in two starts before elbow surgery).

Key Relievers: RH Ken Giles (2-3, 1.87, 23/24 saves), RH Anthony Bass (2-4, 3.56 with Seattle), RH Rafael Dolis (5-4, 2.11, 19 saves in 56 games with Hanshin Tigers), RH Shun Yamaguchi (15-4, 2.91 in 26 games with Yomiuri Giants), RHP Jordan Romano (0-2, 7.63 ERA in 17 games as a rookie).

Outlook: General manager Ross Atkins believes his team has a better “objective” chance of competing in a 60-game season than it would have over 162. If they are to make a postseason charge, the Blue Jays will need Ryu to pitch like the ace the team imagines him to be. At the start of summer camp, Montoyo said second-year slugger Guerrero would move from third base to first base, a switch designed to diminish his defensive duties and boost his offensive output. Although no Blue Jays players opted out, the team has battled uncertainty over where they’ll play their home games, and still didn’t have an answer with less than two weeks to go before opening day.

Baltimore Orioles

Manager: Brandon Hyde (second season).

2019: 54-108, fifth place.

He’s Here: SS José Iglesias, INF Pat Valaika, INF Richard Ureña, RHP Kohl Stewart, RHP Travis Lakins, RHP Michael Rucker, RHP Kohl Stewart, RHP Cole Sulser, LHP Tom Milone, LHP Wade LeBlanc.

He’s Outta Here: INF Jonathan Villar, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Aaron Brooks.

Projected Lineup: 2B Hanser Alberto (.305, 12 HRs, 60 RBI), RF Austin Hays (.309, 4, 13 in 21 games), CF Anthony Santander (.261, 20, 69), DH Renato Núñez (.244, 31, 90), 1B Chris Davis (.179, 12, 36, 139 Ks in 105 games), 3B Rio Ruiz (.232, 12, 46), LF Dwight Smith Jr. (.241, 13, 53), SS José Iglesias (.288, 11, 59 with Reds), C Pedro Severino (.249, 13, 44).

Rotation: LH John Means (12-11, 3.60, 121 Ks, 155 innings as rookie), Alex Cobb (0-2, 10.95 in 3 games before hip surgery), LH Wade LeBlanc (6-7, 5.71, 26 appearances and 8 starts with Mariners), RH Asher Wojciechowski (4-8, 4.92, 80 Ks in 82 1/3 innings), LH Tommy Milone (4-10, 4.76, 6 starts with Mariners).

Key Relievers: RH Mychal Givens (2-6, 4.57 ERA, 11/19 saves in 58 games), RH Hunter Harvey (1-0, 1.42, 0/1 saves in 7 games as rookie), RH Miguel Castro (1-3, 4.66, 2/5 saves in 65 games), LH Richard Bleier (3-0, 5.37, 4/5 saves), LH Paul Fry (1-9, 5.34, 3/8 saves, 55 Ks in 57 1/3 innings), LH Tanner Scott (1-1, 4.78).

Outlook: Coming off two straight 100-loss seasons, the rebuilding Orioles hope to continue their progression toward respectability in their second full season under Hyde and general manager Mike Elias. The prospect for significant improvement has been hampered by the loss of OF Trey Mancini, who underwent colon cancer surgery in March after leading the team in homers and RBI last season. The depth in the OF is thin, and it didn’t help that Santander and Smith didn’t start summer camp on time — Santander said he had COVID-19, while a reason has not been provided for Smith’s absence. This season is important to one of the few over-30 veterans on the team, 1B Chris Davis, who batted .179 last year in the fourth season of a seven-year, $161 million contract.

Giancarlo Stanton is among the New York Yankees who had injury shortened seasons in 2019. (AP Photo) Stanton is among the New York Yankees who had injury shortened seasons in 2019. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

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