My projected winner of the AL East the offense heavy Toronto Blue Jays.
Projected Record: 93-69 1st in the AL East (AL East Champs)
Potential Lineup: SS Tulowitzki #2, 3B Donaldson #20, RF Bautista #19, DH Encarnacion #10, 1B Collebello #15, C Martin #55, LF Saunders #21, 2B Gonis #17, CF Pillar #11
Potential Rotation: 1.Stroman #6, 2.Dickey #43, 3.Estrada #25, 4.Happ #33, 5 Sanchez #41
Potential Bullpen: CL Ozuna #54, 8th Storen #45, 7th Cecil #27 MID Relief: Loup #62, Chavez #30, Delabar #50, Floyd #TBD
Potential Bench: C Thole #22, 1B Smoak #13, OF Carrera #3, IF Barney #18
Injuries: IF Travis #29
After one of the best second half’s in MLB history where the Jays thanks to big time additions at the July trade deadline the Blue Jays ended the longest postseason drought in professional sports winning the AL East in 2015. The Jays went a stunning 40-18 in the second half of the season entering the trade deadline just a .500 ball club and trailing the first place Yankees by eight games for the AL East crown the amazing second half propelled the team to a division title. After losing in the ALCS to the external World Series Champion Royals the Blue Jays will turn the page to 2016 where they should still pose the best offense in the Majors. The team scored 891 runs in 2015 over 100 runs more than the team with the second most runs scored the rival New York Yankees. The team was led by the MVP of the American League Josh Donaldson who hit 41 long balls and drove in 123 runs. With no subtractions to that amazing offense the Blue Jays offense the Jays should still be considered the best offensive teams in baseball. As for the starting rotation the team did suffer a major subtraction. Trade deadline question signed on with the Boston Red Sox leaving the Blue Jays without a true ace. Marcus Stroman will be a key factor for the Blue Jays pitching staff as he will look to pitch a full season for the first time in two seasons after he did not return to the mound in 2015 until September after tearing his ACL in Spring Training. The Jays pitching staff also brought back Marco Estrada who had a very solid first year in Toronto and will look to build on that in 2016. Other than Estrada and Stroman the Jays pitching staff will need JA Happ to build on the success he had while in Pittsburgh after being traded to the Bucos mid season a year ago, and will look for a rebound season from 2015 opening day starter Drew Hutchison who was pulled from the rotation mid season due to having an ERA over 5. As for the Jays bullpen they finally found a closer in 2015. Rookie Roberto Ozuna just 20 years old pitched to a solid .258 ERA and closed out 20/23 save opportunities. Aaron Sanchez and Brett Cecil both ex starters also had solid years out of the Jays pen and with the additions of Drew Storen at the backend and then Jesse Chavez who can both start and relief in long inning situations the Jays bullpen should be improved in 2016. With such a feared offense and a starting rotation and bullpen that looks just good enough to get the job done the Jays should be considered a threat to repeat as AL East Champs.