2013 MLB Preview: AL East – O’s look to repeat

It’s been one of the most competitive divisions in Major League Baseball over the past decade – and this year, once again, it could be one of the hardest divisions to predict.

It’s the American League East.

But, despite how hard it may be to pull apart, here’s how this year’s AL East breaks down.

Baltimore Orioles (2012: 93-69 // 2nd in the AL East)

Baltimore Orioles

Last season marked the first time since 1997 that fans in Baltimore had the chance to see playoff baseball. The Orioles grabbed the top wild card spot in the American League, but were sent home early after losing to the New York Yankees in the divisional series.

So where does this team sit coming into 2013?

Fans won’t see many changes to the team. The starting rotation should be pretty similar to last year. Tommy Hunter may start the season in the bullpen and expect Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Zach Britton to compete for the four and five spots.

This is a good sign if they can have the same kind of success that they had last year – shocking many in the baseball world.

Their starters ranked 9th in the AL last year with a 4.42 earned run average and held opposing hitters to a .261 batting average – which ranked 8th amongst American League teams.

Add those pitching stats to a team that ranked 2nd in the AL in homeruns (214) – behind only the Yankees – and had a team average of .247 (10th in the AL) and you’ve got a team that could compete in a division that will certainly rely on high run totals down the stretch.

If the bullpen can hold teams the same way they did in 2012 – the Baltimore Orioles should have no trouble competing atop the AL East.

The O’s also have a lot of young talent they are looking forward to using this season – with the likes of shortstop Manny Machado who is only 20-years-old and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy who will give them a boost in the starting pitcher position.

Look for Bundy to be called up if Wei-Yin Chen or Jake Arrieta don’t pan out early in the year.

And could Jim Thome be back mid-season if he doesn’t sign somewhere else? He definitely wasn’t a bad addition last year, so look for his name to be mentioned around the if the team starts off slowly.

Of course the team’s success will rely significantly on injuries throughout the season (a problem the Yankees will have to address already). But with what seems to be a healthy team at the mid-point of spring training, don’t count Baltimore out of what will certainly be an exciting year of baseball in the American League East.

Count on Buck Showalter to make it another exciting year for fans in Maryland with a team that should feel confident coming into the 2013 season.

Added: 1B Travis Ishikawa, SP Jair Jurrjens, OF Yamaico Navarro, OF Jason Pridie, OF Trayvon Robinson, RP Daniel Schlereth
Lost: SP Joe Saunders, 1B Mark Reynolds, SS Omar Quintanilla, RP Zach Phillips, C Ronny Paulino, 2B Bill Hall, RP Kevin Gregg, OF Endy Chavez, 2B Robert Andino

American League East Previews:
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox


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