MLB BASEBALL FUTURES ODDS – 2017 AL EAST PREDICTIONS
Looking for 2017 AL East Predictions? We’ve got your back! Spring training is finally here – all of the talking and reshaping of lineups will come to light as we inch closer to Opening Day. The AL East has always been a dogfight, and a dogfight it will remain in 2017, with all five teams plausibly being decent, although two seem to be the cream of the crop.
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Things should certainly be interesting, especially considering that the third place team could still be in the mix for the American League Wild Card. With that parity in mind, let’s break down each team in the division.
2017 AL East Predictions: Baltimore Orioles
Orioles AL East Division Odds: +750
Orioles Win Total Odds: 81
Baltimore has got its tried tested and true formula: Hit Taters. Hit lots of ’em.
The 2017 vintage of the O’s will once again hit the ball out of the yard plenty, and strike out plenty too.
Boppers like Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the super-talented Manny Machado are still the centerpiece of this lineup. Baltimore may get an infusion of youth midseason with catcher Chance Sisco, who has been hitting like Mike Piazza in the minors (.317/.403/.430).
There is a spot with homegrown Matt Wieters finally blowing the coop to DC; the O’s acquired Welington Castillo, but he’s a stopgap at best.
The high-water mark of the Orioles will be determined by starting pitching. We know their lineup is potent and we know their bullpen is effective with studs like Mychal Givens, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton as the closer.
How the rotation takes shape after Chris Tillman is critical. If Baltimore gets touched up for more runs than they can blast out themselves, the bullpen becomes superfluous and this team will not achieve success in a tricky division.
2017 AL East Predictions: Boston Red Sox
Red Sox AL East Division Odds: -175
Red Sox Win Total Odds: 93
Thanks to their track record and their all-in approach to grab marquee talent, the Boston Red Sox are yet again the class of the AL East.
If you’re getting tired of this narrative, join the club consisting of pretty much everyone outside of New England.
The Sox seemingly win a title, have a down year or two while they re-assemble the arsenal, and then are right back in the thick of the World Series hunt.
Like virtually all teams in Massachusetts right now, it is a testament to an effective front office and ownership group.
This time, the Sox grabbed Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale to bolster a rotation that already featured current and former Cy Young winners in Rick Porcello and David Price. Boston had to give up a prized prospect in Yoan Moncada to Chicago, but you gotta give talent to get talent.
Franchise icon David Ortiz finally retired, even though he was still tearing the cover off the baseball. First baseman Hanley Ramirez should see a lot more time at DH to try and fill the huge void.
Don’t fret, as there’s ample talent remaining with OF Mookie Betts (future MVP), SS Xander Bogaerts and OF Jackie Bradley. Two bagger Dustin Pedroia is an old dog that can still hunt.
The only real concern here is the status of Price’s elbow and forearm; a visit to Dr. James Andrews is never a good sign, and he’s been shut down for most of the spring to control the inflammation and discomfort in his throwing arm. Stay tuned on that front.
Still, this year Boston is the king of the castle.
2017 AL East Predictions: New York Yankees
Yankees AL East Division Odds: +550
Yankees Win Total Odds: 81
The Yanks are a tough team to get a read on, as their roster is a hodgepodge of good veterans and baby-faced, inexperienced talent.
They are not loaded up for one of their World Series runs of old, as this Brian Cashman team may be biding its time until they can make a splash in free agency in the future.
There are lots of good players on this New York squad, but the depth isn’t championship-caliber.
Good veterans like ace Masahiro Tanaka and OF Brett Gardner could get shipped out at the trade deadline if New York isn’t contending, which would bring on a more full-scale rebuild process.
New York has some tantalizing young studs in catcher Gary Sanchez and huge corner OF Aaron Judge (6″7, 275 lbs).
If Judge makes more consistent contact, he should be able to hit the ball to Long Island on a regular basis, like Sanchez already has done during his call-up last year.
Despite having studs Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances in the ‘pen, the pitching depth is not good behind Tanaka, Michael Pineda and C.C. Sabathia.
If any injuries occur in the rotation – not out of the realm of possibility given these guys’ track records and C.C’s advance age – the Bronx Bombers could be in trouble.
Still, you should slate New York for a third-place finish in the AL East this year.
2017 AL East Predictions: Tampa Bay Rays
Rays AL East Division Odds: +1800
Rays Win Total Odds: 82
Tampa Bay always has its starting pitching, and 2017 is no different.
Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb will be at the front of the rotation, with intriguing prospect Jose De Leon coming from the Dodgers in the Logan Forsythe trade. De Leon is a top prospect and he could slot in the starting five right away.
The Rays must always try to find a low dollar competitive advantage, which is why they took a flyer on OF Colby Rasmus and C Wilson Ramos, who is great but is coming off an ACL injury.
Tampa also has a great closer in Alex Colome, although the guys in the ‘pen entrusted to getting the game to Colome intact were not good last season.
There needs to be improvement in the middle and long relief guys if Tampa is going to contend.
Tampa has some interesting bats, if nothing else, with Corey Dickerson, all-of-a-sudden-big-power-guy Brad Miller and hyped youngster Mallex Smith.
Regardless, if Tampa Bay is way out of the race by midsummer, keep an eye on longtime franchise linchpin 3B Evan Longoria. He could finally be shipped out for controllable young talent.
Tampa Bay is at the bottom looking up in the AL East in 2017.
2017 AL East Predictions: Toronto Blue Jays
Blue Jays AL East Division Odds: +425
Blue Jays Win Total Odds: 86
The Jays starting lineup, offensively and defensively, is very impressive on paper. Their depth is such, though, that the Bluebirds can ill afford to have anyone go down with injury.
That’s a real tightrope to walk in a 162-game season.
Despite losing premier masher Edwin Encarnacion to the Cleveland Indians there is still ample offense in the batting order, especially if aging OF Jose Bautista can silence all the doubters with a throwback season.
It is a fairly safe bet, considering “Joey Bats” plays best when he has something to prove.
Three bagger Josh Donaldson is still one of the best players in the majors, while Edwin’s replacement, newly-acquired Kendrys Morales, should hit plenty of dingers in the homer-happy Rogers Centre.
A vintage season from greying SS Troy Tulowitzki and C Russell Martin will go a long way to ensuring Toronto’s pennant viability.
The rotation was great last year, and even if they regress a bit, it shouldn’t be a disaster. The bullpen has to get the game to young phenom Roberto Osuna intact.
Again, the Jays top to bottom can compete with any team in the MLB, but there’s too many ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ for me to put the Jays any higher than finishing second in the division – and maybe grabbing a Wild Card.
What do you think of our 2017 AL East predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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