Thoughts on the A.L. East

A quick introduction…

I’m DA’s freelance blogger,  Michael Seff… and this is the first installment of my ongoing blog series: SeffSpeak.

The AL East is already the strongest
division in baseball, so it would likely be safe to assume that the
top teams in it figure to be on the mark with this year’s draft.

It’s a shame the Baltimore Orioles
won’t have the top pick until next year’s draft, because Bryce Harper
is a rare can’t-miss prospect. He will end up less than an hour down
the road in Washington.

The interesting teams to watch, as
usual, will be the division’s top dogs. Namely, the Yankees, Red Sox,
and Rays.

In recent years, the trio has hit on
some big-time prospects who have helped elevate the clubs into elite
status. Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano are gems of the Yankees’
system, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz have blossomed for the Sox,
and the Rays have a future star in David Price.

With the depth those particular
organizations have in their farm systems, rushing a young player to
the majors is not something they need to worry about.

The Orioles have the third overall
pick, and thus an outside shot at University of Miami shortstop Manny
Machado. Since Cal Ripken’s departure, to say that has been an area
of need is an understatement.

The Rays’ first selection comes at 17,
while Boston gets number 20 and the Yankees do not choose until 32.
While some of the premier names may be off the board by then, there’s
no question those teams can still land a top-notch player.

Tampa Bay has a revolving door in
right field, and with Carl Crawford’s pending free agency it might
not be too presumptuous for think they will target an outfielder.
Texas-Arlington’s Michael Choice, MTSU’s Bryce Brentz, and
high-schooler Austin Wilson all could be available at 17.

As for the Red Sox, their new
philosophy centers around pitching and defense. Seeing how much
success they’ve had drafting pitchers of late, it wouldn’t be
far-fetched for them to try and nab a project like UNC’s Matt Harvey
or The Citadel’s Asher Wojciechowski.

Boston not only loves to develop their
own pitchers, but they are quite fond of power arms. A number of
their current pitchers can touch the mid-90’s and beyond.

Then there’s the Yankees. The jury is
still out on Joba Chamberlain, but Phil Hughes has been dominant this
year. This could encourage them to try and replicate that success,
but there always seems to be grumblings about the need to upgrade
their outfield, so the Yankees could go either way there.

Of course, the MLB draft is nothing
like the NFL draft. Teams rarely draft for need because there are so
many players, so much stock that goes into player development, and no
real timetable for any particular player to get to the Major Leagues.

But one would have to think that
teams, especially struggling ones like the Orioles, can’t help but
think shorter-term as far as plugging holes on their roster.

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