Yankees: A Look At The AL East Over/Under Vegas Book


The Yankees can close down their Spring Training camp because the folks at Westgate Superbook have released their annual Over/Under predictions for the 2017 season. Here’s a look at how the AL East standings will finalize in October.

The Yankees, no one will recall, were listed tied for second with the Toronto Blue Jays at 86.5 in 2016 over/under’s published by Westgate. For those not familiar with “over/under’s”, last season, the Yankees were predicted to finish the season with 86 1/2 wins. Since there’s no such thing as a half a win, predictions (or, if you must, bets) are accepted based on whether you think the team will finish with 87 or more wins (over), or 86 or fewer wins (under). So, last season you would have needed to bet the under to win since the Yankees finished at 84-78.

Like all things pertaining to Las Vegas, you can make it a game of chance or a game of strategy. Since it’s more fun to employ some strategy before losing your money, we’ll take a look at this year’s predictions for the American League East with strategy in mind

A.L. East 2017 Over/Under Predictions

Boston Red Sox 92.5 +5 over 2016
Toronto Blue Jays 84.5 +2 over 2016
New York Yankees 83.5 -3 under 2016
Baltimore Orioles 79.5 +1 over 2016
Tampa Bay Rays 78.5 -3 under 2016

At first glance, nothing earth shattering, right? As soon as the Red Sox won the Chris Sale sweepstakes, everyone went home and declared the season over. There may be an element of truth to that, despite the fact, there are 162 left to play in the season.

But, let’s do a bit of an analysis in an attempt to look at each team individually with an eye towards weighing whether or not these numbers will fall over or under the prediction.

Boston Red Sox 92.5

Needless to say, the Red Sox strengthened their starting pitching with the addition of Sale. They led the major leagues in runs scored. They’ll feel the loss of David Ortiz, but with a big season expected from Andrew Benintendi, they’ll remain at or near the top again in run production.

As with all teams, question marks exist. and perhaps the biggest one revolves around Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, and whether or not he’s capable of duplicating 2016. Boston scored more runs for Porcello than any team in the majors did for any other pitcher. Odds are against that happening again. Boston also needs Steven Wright and David Price to win 15-17 games apiece in order to reach the 93 win mark.

And in the case of Price, he needs to step it up in the postseason when each pitcher gets a turn and Sale can’t make four starts in a row.

Final Assessment

As much as I hate to admit it, the Red Sox have the best team south of the Cleveland Indians and should easily top the 93 win mark. Go with the overs.

Toronto Blue Jays 84.5

This one puzzles me as I don’t see how this team, as currently constructed, can be rated so high. Both Edwin Encarnacion and innings eater R.A. Dickey are gone, and outside of J.A. Happ, who looks like the real thing after last season’s 20-4, they did nothing to improve their rotation in any significant way.

The brought in Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, and together, they should make up for all of the run production of Encarnacion delivered, but that’s two for the price of what was one. They’re still waiting for Justin Smoak to break out and Troy Tulowitzki is always one step or one swing away from an injury. Josh Donaldson plays in rarified air, but beyond that, there isn’t much to their roster when you look at it.

Final Assessment

Ther Blue Jays will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Yankees, but they do not have the makings of a team winning more than 85 games in this division. Go with the under.

New York Yankees 83.5

We write and read about the Yankees every day and we know them well. Their pitching is suspect, but with a break or two, guys like Michael Pineda and Luis Severino could surprise. And we know about the crop of young starters ready to break through if they don’t.

The offense can’t possibly be as putrid as it was last year and having Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge for a full year is bound to help. They’ll be a team that develops slowly as the season progresses and should not be expected to get out of the gate swiftly. There’ll be hiccups along the way and the young talent will be watched closely, especially Judge, who if he can’t solve his strikeout problem, is not much use to the team.

Regardless of where they stand in July, Brian Cashman will not engage at the trade deadline like he did last season. Instead, he’ll wait to see how each player develops over 25 starts or 450 at-bats. Following the season, he’ll clean house a bit with the ones who don’t make the cut.

Final Assessment

The Yankees are the wild card, but I don’t mean wild card winners. Having a team made up mostly younger guys means one thing. They’re going to play hard and hungry. They’ll drive the Red Sox nuts in each of the 19 contests they play against each other and Joe Girardi will drive them hard because he’s on the bubble too. Take the overs.

Baltimore Orioles 79.5

With the exception of Buck Showalter, the Orioles organization appears to be in a freefall. They still haven’t received the memo that says pitching wins pennants. And if they think Yankees castoff, Vidal Nuno, is going to make a difference, they’re due for an unwanted surprise. Ditto Wade Miley.

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38 home runs delivered by Chris Davis does not make up for a .221 batting average and 219 strikeouts. Ditto Mark Trumbo, who they just could not resist in this winter’s maneuvers. They’ll get one more year out of Manny Machado and then he’ll run out of town like a scared rabbit.

Showalter’s genius will manufacture anywhere from 7-10 wins for the team, but Oriole fans will continue to stay away from that beautiful ballpark in downtown Baltimore.

Final Assessment

They’ll do what they always do. They’ll start strong and then wilt. And they’ll continue to give the Yankees fits. But overall, this franchise needs a makeover. Take the under.

Tampa Bay Rays    78.5

Tampa Bay, the perennial forgotten team in the American League East, and maybe, in all of baseball.

The Rays always have good pitching and this year is no exception. Chris Archer was traded seventeen times during the offseason but remains with the team. Nathan Eovaldi, a recent pick-up, could turn into the steal of the year, despite the Yankees having made a last-ditch effort to re-sign him. Alex Cobb is decent and Jake Odorizzi could surprise.

The problem rests with the offense. Name one guy in their lineup not named Evan Longoria who you do not want to face in a tight situation. Their roster is cluttered with pedestrian players like Logan Morrison, Colby Rasmus, Nick Franklin, and so on.

They’re a small market team that is further victimized by having to play in an antiquated venue.

Final Assessment

The Rays are destined to be the also-rans of the AL East for years to come. This season will be no different. Teams that match up with them on a wrong night will face a pitching buzzsaw, but overall, they’ll get stomped on by the Yankees and most other teams. Take the under.

Next: Five Most Effective Pitchers In Yankees History

So there you have it. Just so you know, though, I wouldn’t put a dime on anything I said here.