This is it, I actually finished this series of posts and I`m a little shocked at myself. After the teams name I posted how many times they finished in each category. For example, if a team was first at a position 3 times, second 5 times, and third 10 times it would read 3-5-10. Then I made up an extremely unscientific point system in which each 1st place is worth two points, 2nd place is worth 1 point, and 3rd place is worth no points. That isn't the end all-be all though. Get ready for a long post guys.
Yankees- 7-5-3- 24 points- For once the Yankees are coming off a year in which they didn't make the playoffs and, hopefully, they`ll be a better, hungrier team for it. They seem to have been waiting for this great free agent class for a while and they definitely capitalised on it. They went from a team that clearly had the worst rotation in the division to probably having the best. They didn't sell the farm either. Hughes, Aceves, and Kennedy are still all with the team and ready to fill in when someone (coughcoughBurnettcoughcough) gets hurt. They also shored up an aging offense with Mark Texiera. Nick Swisher gives them some solid depth as well. The defense is looking much better this year. Still below average but better. The bullpen looks to be strong as well with some promising young arms. Right now this team looks like a juggernaut. The key player will, of course, be Alex Rodriguez. The sooner he recovers from surgery, the better. They also have the added bonus of a great manager. Joe Girardi's bullpen management was a welcome change from the Torre years. The only worry I have is injuries. In particular, Posada. Right now, they look like they can get back into the playoffs though.
Red Sox- 4-5-6- 18 points- Boston is the closest thing baseball has to a dynasty. I hate to admit it but they're probably the best run team in baseball. They have a group of committed owners who are actually willing to spend money without micro managing (coughSteinbrennercoughcough). They also have a smart front office led by Epstein. They have a strong core of young players like Youkillis, Beckett, and Papelbon so they didn't need to make major changes this offseason. Instead, they bought low on a few risky players for depth. The Manny trade also looks pretty good right now. Jason Bay is a younger, cheaper, comparable player. However, as new players step in, the old guard is leaving. Manny, as I mentioned before, is long gone, Schilling is finally gone for good, Varitek almost left in the offseason, and Ortiz's best years are behind him. Their pitching is very deep and if John Smoltz can regain his form of a year or two ago then it gives them a very scary rotation. On offense, their aren't many stars but everybody is a good solid hitter. All in all, this is a really good team and a serious contender for another World Series victory.
Rays- 4-5-6- 18 points- For years the Rays have seemed like a team almost ready to break through. Last year they finally got the pitching they desperately needed and they had an incredible run. They ran away with the division, won the pennant, and forced me to add a third team to this comparison series. Now they're a year older and, as a young team, a year better. Their farm is still stacked though. Guys like David Price will spend their first full year in the ML's and make major contributions. The veteran bat of Pat Burrell was also a nice free agent acquistion that went largely unnoticed. They have very few guys that are household names. However, they have a strong young core who are going to be major threats to both the Yanks and Sox for the next few years, until they become to expensive. The front of that rotation is killer and they have some stud hitters. However, their are some causes for concern. I believe they overachieved last year and will come back down to earth. The bullpen is also a problem they should have adressed this winter. Like the other two teams they could easily win the World Series or not even make the playoffs.
Final Conclusion- Yankees- Red Sox- Rays- I started these posts way back in the middle of January. Back then I had the Rays first, Yanks second, and Red Sox last. However, after looking at things carefully I've changed my mind. The three of them were ridiculously close before they signed Texiera. However, after that the Yankees pulled ahead a bit in my mind. It seems like most projection systems agree with me to. They have the best pitching, the best offense, and nearly the best bullpen. Even with A-Rod out, I`m pretty confident right now as a Yankee fan (please don't let that be a jinx). Who takes second in the division is a tougher call. I went with Boston because of their better bullpen and incredible pitching depth. If a few key players break out on the Rays though it could swing things the other way. It'll also be interesting to see if the Wild Card will come out of the East. The division is incredibly competitive so the three teams will beat up on each other a bit. The Athletics seem to be gearing up for a run this year and I never like to count out Billy Beane. Pretty much any of the Central teams could make a run as well, other than the Royals. This series was a lot of fun/work and I hope you guys enjoyed, thanks for reading.