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Full disclosure: I really want to pick the Sox to win the AL East.

Why? Because no one else is. What a fun thing that would be to be right about.

Accordingly, I am taking the approach that I have to be talked out of the Sox finishing first.

The nice people at RotoChamp have projected the lineups for each team. They've also projected some 2012 stats, based on prior performance. To dig deep you really need Baseball Reference.

Worried about Toronto? RotoChamp puts all but two of their 2012 ERAs over 4.00. All the Sox pitchers kept their ERAs under 4.00 last year -- except John Lackey, who's out for the season. Daisuke's career ERA is 4.25, but it has spiked higher. The active pitchers on staff are the ones that allow the fewest runs.

For the Yankees, Sabathia is outstanding. After that, they're not so scary. Michael Pineda could work out quite well for them. But Hiroki Kuroda is 37, and Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes aren't exactly terrifying.

In Tampa, David Price is coming off his worst year. Big Game James Shields is barely .500 (.533) lifetime in the not-so-big regular season games.

Baltimore is going to stink again, despite some interesting moves by the Duke. I predict at least one Sox killing by Dontrelle Willis, perhaps in middle relief.

I'm not going to compare all the bullpens. My working assumption is that the Sox bullpen will be good enough -- not lights out, but not blowing games on a regular basis. I don't think this is the year Mariano Rivera breaks down, and the Yanks have another good reliever in David Robertson. So the Yankees have the edge there, but the Sox have the edge in starters.

So far I still think they'll finish first.

Jim Corrigan 3/29/2012 11:17:00 PM Edit
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