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EAST Baltimore Orioles Last year: 96-66 (first in AL East, lost in the ALCS to Kansas City). Manager: Buck Showalter (sixth season with Baltimore, 377-328; overall 1,259-1151).


Baltimore Orioles

Last year: 96-66 (first in AL East, lost in the ALCS to Kansas City).

Manager: Buck Showalter (sixth season with Baltimore, 377-328; overall 1,259-1151).

Key pitchers: Chris Tillman (13-6, 3.34 ERA), Wei–Yin Chen (16-6, 3.54 ERA), Bud Norris (15-8, 3.65 ERA).

Key players: CF Adam Jones (.281, 29 HR, 96 RBIs), SS J.J. Hardy (.268, 9 HR, 52 RBIs), 3B Manny Machado (.278, 12 HR, 32 RBIs in 82 games).

Outlook: Losing Nelson Cruz and his 40 homers will hurt. Machado must have an injury-free season and 1B Chris Davis must rebound. The staff isn't overpowering, but the Orioles are still good enough to repeat in a wide-open division.

New York Yankees

Last year: 84-78 (second in AL East).

Manager: Joe Girardi (eighth season with Yankees, 648-486; overall 726-570).

Key pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (13-5, 2.77 ERA, 140 ERA+), Michael Pineda (5-5, 1.89 ERA, 206 ERA+ in 13 starts), CC Sabathia (3-4, 5.28 ERA in eight starts)

Key players: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.271, 16 HR, 70 RBIs, 39 SB), C Brian McCann (.232, 23 HR, 75 RBIs), LF Brett Gardner (.256, 17 HR, 58 RBIs, 87 R).

Outlook: The Yankees need everything to go right to contend, but with too many old players ready to break down, it will be difficult to do. One key is whether hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi (6-14, 4.37 ERA with Miami) can benefit from a change in scenery.

Toronto Blue Jays

Last year: 83-79 (third in AL East).

Manager: John Gibbons (eighth season with Blue Jays, 462-472).

Key pitchers: R.A. Dickey (14-13, 3.71 ERA), Drew Hutchinson (11-13, 4.48 ERA, 184 SO, 184 2/3 IP), Mark Buehrle (13-10, 3.39 ERA, 115 ERA+)

Key players: RF Jose Baustista (.286, 35 HR, 103 RBIs, .928 OPS, 158 OPS+), 3B Josh Donaldson (.255, 28 HR, 98 RBIs with Oakland), 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (.268, 34 HR, 98 RBIs, .901 OPS, 150 OPS+)

Outlook: Marcus Stroman's season-ending injury hurts an already thin starting rotation. The Jays can hit with anybody and should contend in the division, but questions in starting and relief pitching could hold them back.

Tampa Bay Rays

Last year: 77-85 (fourth in AL East).

Manager: Kevin Cash (first season).

Key pitchers: Chris Archer (10-9, 3.33 ERA), Jake Odorizzi (11-13, 4.13 ERA, 174 SO, 168 IP), Nate Karns (1-1, 4.50 ERA).

Key players: 3B Evan Longoria (.253, 22 HR, 91 RBIs, .724 OPS), 1B James Loney (.290, 9 HR, 69 RBIs, .716 OPS), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.241, 14 HR, 61 RBIs with Cleveland and Washington).

Outlook: The Rays have an anemic offense and an injured pitching staff where Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly are not ready to start the season and Matt Moore projected to return around midseason. This looks like one of the AL East teams that won't be in contention.

Boston Red Sox

Last year: 71-91 (fifth in AL East).

Manager: John Farrell (third season with Red Sox, 168-156; overall, 322-326).

Key pitchers: Clay Buchholz (8-11, 5.34 ERA), Rick Porcello (15-13, 3.43 ERA with Detroit), Joe Kelly (6-4, 4.20 ERA with St. Louis and Boston)

Key players: DH David Ortiz (.263, 35 HR, 104 RBIs, .873 OPS, 143 OPS+), LF Hanley Ramirez (.283, 13 HR, 71 RBIs with the Dodgers), 2B Dustin Pedroia (.278, 7 HR, 53 RBIs).

Outlook: This should be a strong offense so the Red Sox figure to contend for the division, but the starting pitching is weak and the relievers are questionable. The season hinges on whether the pitching staff can even be adequate.


Detroit Tigers

Last year: 90-72 (first in AL Central; lost in the ALDS to Baltimore).

Manager: Brad Ausmus (second season with Detroit, 90-72).

Key pitchers: David Price (15-12, 3.26 ERA, 271 SO, 248 1/3 IP with Tampa Bay and Detroit), Justin Verlander (15-12, 4.54 ERA), Anibal Sanchez (8-5, 3.43 ERA).

Key players: 1B Miguel Cabrera (.313, 25 HR, 109 RBIs, .895 OPS, 146 OPS+), DH Victor Martinez (.335, 32 HR, 103 RBIs, .974 OPS, 168 OPS+) LF J.D. Martinez (.315, 23 HR, 76 RBIs, .912 OPS, 149 OPS+).

Outlook: The Tigers are showing their age, but still have an excellent chance to win their fifth consecutive Central Division crown. Besides age and injuries (including one for Verlander, who will start the season on the DL), the one thing that could keep Detroit from repeating is one of the worst bullpens in MLB.

Kansas City Royals

Last year: 89-73 (second in AL Central, lost in World Series to San Francisco).

Manager: Ned Yost (sixth season with Royals, 373-402; overall 830-904).

Key pitchers: Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20 ERA), Danny Duffy (9-12, 2.53 ERA), Greg Holland (1-3, 1.44 ERA, 46 saves).

Key players: C Salvador Perez (.260, 17 HR, 70 RBIs), LF Alex Gordon (.266, 19 HR, 74 RBIs), CF Lorenzo Cain (.301, 5 HR, 53 RBIs).

Outlook: Losing James Shields from the rotation in free agency will hurt, but the Royals should still be a serious division contender. The Royals have one of baseball's best bullpens and need offensive improvement from 1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas.

Cleveland Indians

Last year: 85-77 (third in AL Central).

Manager: Terry Francona (third season with Cleveland, 177-147; overall, 1206-1062).

Key pitchers: Corey Kluber (18-9, 2.44 ERA, 1.095 WHIP), Carlos Carrasco (8-7, 2.55 ERA, 140 SO, 134 IP), Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.18 ERA).

Key players: LF Michael Brantley (.327, 20 HR, 97 RBIs, .890 OPS, 154 OPS+), C Yan Gomes (.278, 21 HR, 74 RBIs), 1B Carlos Santana (.231, 27 HR, 85 RBIs)

Outlook: The Indians are a major division contender, but the offense must be more consistent and people like CY Young winner Kluber must duplicate their seasons. How much the young arms improve will determine if the Indians can win the division.

Chicago White Sox

Last year: 73-89 (fourth in AL Central).

Manager: Robin Ventura (fourth season with White Sox, 221-265).

Key pitchers: Chris Sale (12-4, 2.17 ERA, 208 SO, 174 IP), Jeff Samardzija (7-13, 2.99 ERA with Oakland and the Chicago Cubs), Jose Quintana (9-11, 3.32)

Key players: 1B-DH Jose Abreu (.317, 36 HR, 107 RBIs, .964 OPS, 169 OPS+), LF Melky Cabrera (.301, 16 HR, 73 RBIs with Toronto), CF Adam Eaton (.300, 15 SB, 76 runs).

Outlook: The White Sox made many offseason upgrades and are among the many division contenders. Sale, who is recovering from a foot fracture, won't be ready to start the season and that is a difficult early setback the White Sox will have to overcome.

Minnesota Twins

Last year: 70-92 (fifth in AL Central).

Manager: Paul Molitor (first season).

Key pitchers: Phil Hughes (16-10, 3.52 ERA), Ervin Santana (14-10, 3.95 ERA with Atlanta), Kyle Gibson (13-12, 4.47 ERA).

Key players: 2B Brian Dozier (.242, 23 HR, 71 RBIs), 1B Joe Mauer (.277, 4 HR, 53 RBIs), RF Torii Hunter (.286, 17 HR, 83 RBIs with Detroit)

Outlook: With a great minor league system, this is a team of the future, but not this season. The 4.57 team ERA was second worst in MLB and while the addition of Santana will help, another last place finish is likely.


Los Angeles Angels

Last year: (98-64, first in AL West, lost in the ALDS to Kansas City).

Manager: Mike Scioscia (16th season with Angels, 1331-1099).

Key pitchers: Jered Weaver (18-9, 3.59 ERA), Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.61 ERA), Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 3.04 ERA),

Key players: CF Mike Trout (.287, 36 HR, 111 RBIs, .939 OPS, 167 OPS+), 1B Albert Pujols (.272, 28 HR, 105 RBIs), RF Kole Calhoun (.272, 17 HR, 58 RBIs).

Outlook: The Angels led MLB with 773 runs and the offense should again be strong. The starting rotation is solid and Richards is coming off a knee injury and the Angels will need him in top form. The defending division champs will be difficult to unseat.

Oakland Athletics

Last year: 88-74 (second in AL West, lost in the wild card game to Kansas City).

Manager: Bob Melvin (fifth year with A's, 325-260; overall, 818-768).

Key pitchers: Sonny Gray (14-10, 3.08 ERA), Scott Kazmir (15-9, 3.55 ERA), Jesse Chavez (8-8, 3.45 ERA)

Key players: 2B Ben Zobrist (.272, 10 HR, 52 RBIs with Tampa Bay), RF Josh Reddick (.264, 12 HR, 54 RBIs), DH Billy Butler (.271, 9 HR, 66 RBIs with Kansas City).

Outlook: The wholesale offseason changes may be good for the future but not for this season. It's difficult to see the A's contending for the division or even a wild-card spot. It also won't help that Shawnee graduate and closer Sean Doolittle is recovering from a shoulder injury.

Seattle Mariners

Last year: (87-75, third in AL West).

Manager: Lloyd McClendon (second season with Mariners, 87-75; overall, 423-521).

Key pitchers: Felix Hernandez (15-6, 2.14 ERA, 248 SO, 236 IP, 170 ERA+), Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9, 3.52 ERA), James Paxton (6-4, 3.04 ERA).

Key players: 2B Robinson Cano (.314, 14 HR, 82 RBIs, .836 OPS), 3B Kyle Seager (.268, 25 HR, 96 RBIs), DH Nelson Cruz (.271, 40 HR, 108 RBIs, .859 OPS with Baltimore).

Outlook: The Mariners finished one game behind Oakland in the wild-card race and now are a serious division contender. Cruz will give the offense needed punch and if the pitching stays healthy, Seattle will be an extremely dangerous team.

Houston Astros

Last year: (70-92, fourth in AL West).

Manager: A.J. Hinch (first season with Houston; overall, 89-123).

Key pitchers: Dallas Keuchel (12-9, 2.93 ERA), Collin McHugh (11-9, 2.73 ERA, 157 SO, 154 2/3 IP), Scott Feldman (8-12, 3.74 ERA).

Key players: 2B Jose Altuve (.341, 7 HR, 59 RBIs, .830 OPS), RF George Springer (.231, 20 HR, 51 RBIs), DH Chris Carter (.237, 37 HR, 88 RBIs).

Outlook: The Astros were second in MLB with 1,442 strikeouts and the lack of contact could be a problem. Still not a contender, Houston would do well to reach the .500 level.

Texas Rangers

Last year: (67-95 (fifth in AL West)

Manager: Jeff Banister (first season).

Key pitchers: Nick Martinez (5-12, 4.55 ERA), Colby Lewis (10-14, 5.18 ERA), Ross Detwiler (2-3, 4.00 ERA with Washington).

Key players: 3B Adrian Beltre (.324, 19 HR, 77 RBIs, .879 OPS, 147 OPS+), RF Shin-Soo Choo (.242, 13 HR, 40 RBIs), 1B; Prince Fielder (.247, 3 HR, 16 RBIs in 178 plate appearances).

Outlook: RHP Yu Darvish is already out for the season following Tommy John surgery, which weakens an already mediocre pitching staff. The Rangers once again have the look of a last-place team.