New York Yankees
Adhering to a 100-win year that just earned them a second-place finish in the American League East, the New York Yankees did what they needed to in the offseason.
From re-signing J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia and trading to get James Paxton, the Yankees enhanced a starting rotation that published a 4.05 ERA this past year. Together with Zack Britton back for more and Adam Ottavino fresh to the combination, what was already arguably the best bullpen ever seems even better for 2019.
The offense produced a single-season-record 267 homers last year. In 2019, it ought to capture more from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and of course fellow slugger Gary Sanchez.
Another 100-win season and also a return to October are very much in the cards for these Yankees.
Playoff chances: 90 percent
Boston Red Sox
The 2018 Boston Red Sox won 108 games plus the World Series with shocking ease.
A number of this was luck, however, along with the Red Sox have not safeguarded against regression as well as their rivals in the Bronx. They brought back Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce, sure, but their Joe Kelly-less and Craig Kimbrel-less bullpen looms as a massive weakness.
On the bright side, Eovaldi, Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello anchor one of MLB’s best rotations. Likewise, reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are back to lead what was the league’s best offense last season.
Even if the Red Sox do regress in 2019, it should not be so bad that they miss the postseason entirely.
Playoff chances: 80 percent
Tampa Bay Rays
Last year’s Tampa Bay Rays astonishingly won 90 games by all manners.
Their innovative trick was to efficiently strip their pitchers of tags and simply utilize their abilities strategically. This Resulted in a 3.50 ERA after May 18. Led by reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and newcomer Charlie Morton, they have the goods to keep this up in 2019.
The Rays also had a strong crime in the second half of 2018. New to the mix for 2019 are Mike Zunino and Avisail Garcia, both of whom have All-Star upsidedown. Despite these words, the Rays seem like the third-best team from the AL East. They may only have a shot in the AL’s second wild-card spot, and they’ll face competition for it from outside the division.
Playoff chances: 40 percent
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays have lost 175 games since 2017, yet ahead progress should be produced in 2019.
It won’t be long before Toronto promotes Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette out of the No. 3 farm system. If Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, Ken Giles and others live up to their established upsides, the Blue Jays could have a surprise playoff series inside them.
What’s more likely, however, is that the Jays will lag from the AL East forces and cut their losses with a fire sale at the trade deadline. The end result would be yet another losing season.
Playoff opportunities: 5 percent
The Baltimore Orioles lost 115 games last year, which was despite needing Manny Machado for half of it.
The Orioles focused their offseason on restructuring their direction. Though this had to be done and it must pay off in the long term, the drawback in the meantime is the roster does not look any better than it did at the end of 2018.
Frankly, it’s best not to give hope where there is none.
Playoff opportunities: 0%
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