The Yankees are a real-life fantasy team. That makes sense, right? Hope so. The fact is, they have so many great players that they are the one team that the old fantasy rule about not picking players from your favorite team does not apply to.
However, in several cases I’d rather have Rays and Orioles on my fantasy team. Yep, Orioles.
The American League East, ranked based on fantasy talent:
1. Yankees — As said above, talent oozes out of New York. CC Sabathia is a stud pitcher. Alex Rodriguez is the top 3B in baseball. Depending on what ranking you look at, Mariano River is the top closer in baseball. As great as that sounds, there are several other players on the Yankees roster who will be picked in the first five rounds of your draft. The Yankees’ biggest weakness is their age. There are a lot of players who are close to leaving their prime or are already out of it.
2. Rays — In the World Series just two years ago, Tampa Bay still has a talent-laden roster. Matt Garza is a budding fantasy ace and James Shields will be a nice pick in the later rounds for fantasy owners. David Price and Wade Davis are young arms that could make an impact this season. Several young Rays hitters are already making an impact, including Evan Longoria and BJ Upton. We’re all awaiting the encore performance from Ben Zobrist, one of the top waiver pickups from 2009.
3. Red Sox —The two big additions in Boston this offseason, John Lackey and Adrian Beltre, won’t be enough to push them to the top of the division. However, Beltre could be a steal for fantasy owners after the top-line 3Bs are off the board. Kevin Youkilis is always underrated. Meanwhile Josh Beckett and Jon Lester give the Sox a formidable 1-2 punch from the mound. Closer Jonathan Papelbon is one of the best and most consistent in the game. Notice how I didn’t mention Lackey after that first sentence? There’s a reason for that.
4. Orioles — Baltimore has some of the best up-and-coming hitters in the game. When Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters all click, the Orioles are going to be an offensive force to be reckoned with. They have young promising arms — a couple who could become aces and are already at the major-league level. Getting Brian Matusz at the end of your draft could be a considerable steal. If I knew for certain that the young talent on this team would reach its potential this season, I’d rank them second behind only the Yankees.
5. Blue Jays — I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Toronto finishes ahead of the Orioles this season in real baseball, but in terms of fantasy talent, there are few Blue Jays worth owning in 2010. OFs Alex Rios and Travis Snyder are two of them. They do have some promising young talent, like pitcher Ricky Romero and 1B Brett Wallace (who will convert from 3B in the minors this season). The bullpen will be worth watching early in the season. Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor will likely all get some saves… and likely all spend some time on the shelf.
The AL East’s best
- Fantasy hitter: Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
- Fantasy pitcher: CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
- Fantasy hitting MVP: Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
- Fantasy pitching MVP: Matt Garza, SP, Rays
- Prospect: Brian Matusz, Orioles
- Sleeper: Nolan Reimold, OF, Orioles
- Bust: Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles
For more division previews and all of our rankings, sleepers and busts, check out our 2010 fantasy baseball rankings page.