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nittanychris

The Myth that the AL East is Tough on Pitchers

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A few years ago it was a widely acceptable view that one should be very careful when selecting Starting Pitchers on your fantasy team that reside in the AL East. That division was just stacked with powerful offenses that placed these starters at a disadvantage. Well, the truth today is very different and here is why:

1. Tampa Bay- The Rays ranked ELEVENTH in runs scored in the AL in 2012. While it's true that Longoria is returning, they have never had a prolific offense, even with Longo, instead relying on their awesome pitching depth to get Ws.

2. Baltimore- The Birds ranked NINTH in the AL in runs scored in '12. Their DH is Wilson Betemit, who is far from an established hitter. Their first basemen, Davis, is a prime candidate for a massive regression in batting average this year. And while they do have some young studs still improving in Jones and Wieters, they still also have a dud like Nate McLouth starting in their OF.

3. New York- So now they have lost Grandy and Teixeira for a long time. Gone are Swisher's pop from last season and ARod is toast. Jeter and Ichiro are well past their prime and Jeter is coming off a huge injury. Cano cannot do it all himself. This offense will take a MAJOR step back this season, and I don't think that is a bold prediction at all.

4. Boston- Their biggest slugger, Papi, is really struggling with those achilles, and this could be the year he starts to decline after an amazing career. They brought in some nice guys in Victorino and Napoli and Middlebrooks emergence should help. I think this offense will be slightly above league average.

5. Toronto- Nothing bad really to report here. This will be a powerhouse offense in '13. Minor qualms are Lawrie's injury proneness, Encarnacion not having a long track record yet and Lind being an absolute zero in the middle of the lineup.

So, to summarize, this division has THREE subpar offenses in TB, Balt and NY. One slightly above average in Boston and one monster offense in Toronto.

So, despite some small ballparks, feel free to take starters from the AL East. ESPECIALLY if they are Toronto starters that throw a lot of ground balls.

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It's the ballpark factor that makes me shy away. Yankee Stadium and Fenway are very small parks, and Camden Yards is hitter friendly too. then Toronto's offense is supposed to be great. There aren't many obvious play matchups that come from a pitcher in the AL East.

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Toronto, Boston and New York will all finish top 10 in MLB in runs scored. And Tampa and Baltimore will be around 15; no lower than 20. Still the toughest division to pitch in, and it isn't really close.

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The Rays have the 3rd lowest team ERA in baseball over the past three years

It's the ballpark factor that makes me shy away. Yankee Stadium and Fenway are very small parks, and Camden Yards is hitter friendly too. then Toronto's offense is supposed to be great. There aren't many obvious play matchups that come from a pitcher in the AL East.

And not surprisingly, the Trop is one of the most run & HR-suppressing parks around. TB's ERA is a combination of their talented rotation, above-average team D (which actually took a hit last year with their brutal SS situation and Longo out, his D is really top-level, and the 3B guys they put out were abysmal glove-wise) and the home park.

Sure, the Sox & Yankees are in decline this year - and that's fine for a redraft league. But the AL East deserves its past reputation for being the hardest place for SP's to thrive - it just may be a little easier this year - but likely only on the road.

Much like I red-flag games in COL/ARI/CIN in the NL, and the Cell/Arlington for the AL non-East, I still red-flag games in Fenway/Yankee Stadium (and in actual fact, Camden is a huge crapshoot - it used to be the BAL O could be exploited based on meagre skills to offset the friendly park, but that's no longer the case). For Rogers Center, it's all about whether the roof is open or not - open, the ball just carries, and the run/HR's go up.

If you've got an ace, it won't matter - you run them out all the time. But, the practice of avoiding some parks still holds to Fenway/Yankee Stadium (which makes 7 in total - NYY, BOS, COL, ARI, CIN, CHW, TEX). Of course, if you know the lineup is pitiful (like BOS's September lineups - you'd have Mauro Gomez, Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava & Pedro Ciriaco every day, you'd be taking your chances too), it mitigates the effect. But really, until the parks become a lot less pitcher friendly, it's a still a poor SP matchup, barring elite skills or absolutely brutal lineups (which for daily leagues, is worth speculating on, but caution is still warranted). And as the Sox are on the right course to rebuild, 2013 might be a little easier - but given the Sox & Yankees large payrolls, this downturn won't last for that long.

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The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.

Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?

THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.

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The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.

Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?

THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.

Maybe if BOS/NYY play on the road - but if it's at Fenway/Yankee Stadium, the point still applies. To be clear - NYY/BOS/CHW/TEX home games are still red-flags barring aces (and really, if BAL is back, Camden is another of the top 10 parks in all of baseball - and top 5 in the AL) because of the run/HR promotion in park factors. Again, if it's an ace, it's irrelevant. But playing @ Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Camden, and when Rogers Center has the roof open (very useful info for the daily leaguers), caution is still more than warranted. I agree their struggles makes BOS/NYY a more palatable matchup away from their home parks, but the home park is just as much a factor to stay away from teams who face the AL East...

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The point is that the reputation of the AL East being tough on pitchers was earned. IN THE PAST. For the reasons I mentioned that is not the case this year. As for being top 10 or 15 in MLB, it useless to include the NL because it doesn't have the DH. The rankings I mentioned were in the AL only, as is most relevant.

Did anyone really think that TB scored less runs than Minnesota or Oakland?

THIS year, the AL East will not be particularly tough on starters. Not at all.

If you play in an AL only league, then NL teams aren't relevant. But if you play in a mixed league, then they are because you can play NL starters. It's not "fair" from a talent point of view, but neither are the park factors. Your pitching stats aren't adjusted to take into account that they were playing in a bandbox, and they aren't adjusted to take into account that they had to face a DH. Those hits and runs hurt you just the same. And I guarantee you the 5 teams in the AL East score more runs cumulatively than the 5 teams in any other division.

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problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

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problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.

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Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.

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Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.

No, the larger point is that the AL East will score more runs than any other division. I don't care who you start against them and who you don't. It will be the toughest division to pitch in still.

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Disagree. If you are in an AL only league it's important to know that the AL Central will score more runs than the AL East this year. Mark it down.

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problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.

Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.

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Point taken about mixed leagues. I DO play in an AL Only league so that is why I'm only looking at AL stats. The larger point is that, there are some park factors that are still relevant, but the lineups, with the exception of Toronto, don't scare me at all this year. Even for a pitcher who is not an ace. IE, I will not be shy about getting an Alex Cobb this year because he has to face NY and BOS.

Well, last year 6 pitchers in the AL east had the Qualifying IP and an ERA under 4. 4 of those 6 were Tampa Bay Rays. (Kuroda, and CC were the other 2)

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problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.

Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.

Thats the Key, Opening day. Tex and Grandy are not going to be out all year. They will both be back.. When couple that with playing half the games at Yankee stadium and with a little Helping from facing the Orioles and Red Sox. Its not unpromising for them to finish in the top 10. Even if they don;'t have a top 10 lineup right now...

and I agree its not a strong as it has been..

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Yeah its a different league now, AL East is nothing special. Yankee Stadium is still a wind tunnel but that's 1 field where you are wary about pitching.

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Park factors are real gentlemen. Do you remember the crap lineups that Boston and Colorado threw out there last season? Well they still finished 6th and 8th in runs scored. 1st and 4th @ home respectively. No matter how crappy you think the Yankees lineup will be they will still be a terror to play @ Yankee Stadium.

As for your AL East v AL Central prediction.

Pecota has the following projections:

AL East - 3842 runs scored

AL Central - 3689 runs scored

AL West - 3627 runs scored

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problem is, new York, Boston, Baltimore are still all pitcher friendly. Just because none of those lineups scare you. Does not mean they still won't do damage to your ratios. That and while Toronto plays a bit more neutral.. that lineup still has pop to it. Not sure if you can look at total runs alone here. You have to consider ball park factors.

The runs (and hits and walks, which are very positively correlated with runs) are what hurts your pitcher when you play them, so of course that's what I'm looking at. I will say that park factors affect my run projections. I project the Yankees to be top 10 in runs because they play in YS. If they were in Safeco, I certainly wouldn't. But all that matters for your matchups are that the AL East will once again score more runs than any other division.

Curious about why you think the Yankees will be in the top ten if you are talking about mixed formats. The starting projected line up to start the season is pretty laughable (in my opinion).

If you are talking AL only top 10 could still be less then 50% of the teams.

I agree with the original poster that the AL East isn't the strongest division from top to bottom.

Been hearing this about the Yankees for years. They scored the 2nd most runs in baseball last year. "This year will be different." Uh huh, I'm sure it will. :rolleyes: Top 10 in baseball easily. Possibly top 5.

Disagree. If you are in an AL only league it's important to know that the AL Central will score more runs than the AL East this year. Mark it down.

LOL no. AL Central is the Tigers and a bunch of trash.

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So to but it bluntly the reason the Yankees will be a top offense is that they were in the past. Losing Swisher, Ibanez, ARod, Martin, Granderson, and Tex won't make any difference. Replacing them with the likes of Youkillas, Rivera, Cervelli, and Nunez the Yankees won't miss a beat.

You maybe right.

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Why is Chris Davis a prime candidate for a "massive regression" in his batting average this year when he hit exactly his career BABIP last year?

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So to but it bluntly the reason the Yankees will be a top offense is that they were in the past. Losing Swisher, Ibanez, ARod, Martin, Granderson, and Tex won't make any difference. Replacing them with the likes of Youkillas, Rivera, Cervelli, and Nunez the Yankees won't miss a beat.

You maybe right.

ARod to Youkilis isn't a downgrade. Granderson and Tex aren't out all year. The rest are losses, and will drop them from 2nd overall to likely the bottom half of the top 10 in runs. But they will not be a below average offense, and they will be very dangerous.

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So to but it bluntly the reason the Yankees will be a top offense is that they were in the past. Losing Swisher, Ibanez, ARod, Martin, Granderson, and Tex won't make any difference. Replacing them with the likes of Youkillas, Rivera, Cervelli, and Nunez the Yankees won't miss a beat.

You maybe right.

ARod to Youkilis isn't a downgrade. Granderson and Tex aren't out all year. The rest are losses, and will drop them from 2nd overall to likely the bottom half of the top 10 in runs. But they will not be a below average offense, and they will be very dangerous.

They also get Gardner back. The sky is falling mantra on the Yankees is getting a tad out of hand, like you said they will still be very dangerous.

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So to but it bluntly the reason the Yankees will be a top offense is that they were in the past. Losing Swisher, Ibanez, ARod, Martin, Granderson, and Tex won't make any difference. Replacing them with the likes of Youkillas, Rivera, Cervelli, and Nunez the Yankees won't miss a beat.

You maybe right.

ARod to Youkilis isn't a downgrade. Granderson and Tex aren't out all year. The rest are losses, and will drop them from 2nd overall to likely the bottom half of the top 10 in runs. But they will not be a below average offense, and they will be very dangerous.

You have more faith then I do in Youkillas. Watching him the last year (or did I miss something last year in Boston/Chicago), a team he might be considered an upgrade with is the Yankees. He has always seemed a tad over rated and lived off his 2008-2009 reputation.

Granderson and Tex will miss the 1st month to month and a half of the season. Tex has become a huge injury risk the way it was before this year. Now he starts out injured.

The Yankees have become old and injury prone. This years Yankees aren't the Yankees of old fueled by the soaring payroll and George's will to win. Fiscal sanity has entered the equation with the new regime. At least for this year to avoid salary cap penalties next year.

The Yankees will be living off the past. Hope I am wrong but that is how their roster looks to me.

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Sounds like Cashman doesn't believe the Yankees will be alright as much as you do.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday that he plans to reach out to Chipper Jones' agent.

It's worth a shot, but all indications are that Chipper is happy in retirement. Even if he did entertain the idea of returning it would surely be with the Braves, who could use some help at the hot corner. Cashman is looking for someone that can help out at the corner infield spots with Mark Teixeira sidelined. He's also reached out to Derrek Lee and Scott Rolen.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he's "not optimistic" the club will sign Derrek Lee.

Cashman confirmed a report that he has reached out to the pseudo-retired first baseman, and on Monday he didn't rule out the possibility of signing him. It doesn't sound likely to happen, though. Lee batted .267 with 19 home runs over 113 games in 2011 for the Orioles and Pirates before taking 2012 off.

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