Time to Face the Music - AL East

NY Yankees
What I got right - Roger Clemens wasn't as good as expected.  The Ynaks were merely good without Joe Tore at the helm.  The Yanks did not feel the absense of departed Tim Raines as the platoon of Curtis and Ledee was reasonably productive.  Regardless, the Yanks had enough to coast to it's second consecutive division title.

What I got wrong - Darryl Strawberry, true to baseball's enduring legacy toward bans, remained in baseball and actually played this season after being indicted on several felony charges in the spring.

Outlook for next year - The Yanks once again look like the team to beat.  However, the front office has been slow to address their aging rotation and has had absolutely no success restraining the rapidly increasing salaries of their young stars Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.  The Yanks stay at the top could be short lived.

Boston Red Sox
What I got right - Pedro Martinez was the most important signing of the last two years.  Signing his brother Ramon turned out pretty well also, as he pitched very well in the Sox' postseason surprise of the Indians.  However, the rotation during the regular season was basically Pedro and a bunch of innings eaters.

What I got wrong - The Red Sox Nation did not behead Dan Duquette, as he got the beloved Red Sox to the postseason again, largely due to the right arm of Pedro Martinez.  The offense wasn't exactly Nomar Garciaparra and a bunch of role players.  Troy O'Leary, Jason Varitek and Jose Offerman all had very solid years and shoul;d continue to produce.  Trot Nixon suffered through a terrible April but was very good the rest of the year.

Outlook for next year - The Sox farm system is finally producing and the addition of Carl Everett should deepen the line-up.  If Ramon Martinez is healthy and the Sox can get some solid relief, they should contend for the postseason once again.

Toronto Blue Jays
What I got right - David Wells was a nice acquisition for the Blue Jays, anchoring a staff of young fireballers.  Had it not been for back troubles, the Jays probably would have hung around a little longer in the wild card race.  Roy Halladay, Cris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar all showed flashes of their immense potential as well as their youth with some terrible outings.  Robert person was traded and sure enough, a quality closer was found from the rest of the bullpen in hard throwing Billy Koch.  Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green produced great years.

What I got wrong - Shortstop Alex Gonzales never got on track as injuries derailed his expected breakout year.  Third baseman Willie Green lost his job to Tony Fernandez.  Jose Cruz, Jr. had another disappointing year and Shannon Stewart posted numbers below expectation as well.

Outlook for next year - The Jays still have solid pitching throughout their staff and even with the loss of Green, they should have enough offense to stay competitve.

Baltimore Orioles
What I got right - The Orioles front office wouldn't know how to put together a good team if you gave them a road map and it's largely due to the intereference of their owner, Peter Angelos.  The Orioles lack of defense in the outfield and the corners killed their pitching.  Albert Belle had a decent year at the plate but was again a butcher with the glove.  Charles Johnson had one of his better years in the majors and did a very nice job of handling the pitchers.  The Will Clark signing still looks terrible as it's keeping hard-hitting Calvin Pickering on the bench and Clark is now around replacement level in offensive production.  Mike Timlin was brought in to be the closer, but was did nothing but throw gas on each fire he was sent in to extinguish.

What I got wrong - Not much.  Much of the blame will go on Ray Miller, and at least some of it should, but his front office certainly greased the slide on his way out of town.

Outlook for next year - More of the same.  As long as Angelos and his sons insist on playing amateur GM, the team will continue to perform like a bad rotisserie team.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
What I got right - Jose Canseco was on pace to threaten 60 homers when back problems effectively knocked him out for the rest of the season in July.  Fred McGriff improved over his 1998 numbers and nearly made a liar out of me when he hit 32 homers - I said he wouldn't get 35.  Other than those two, the offense was prety anemic, although Bubba Trammell and John Flaherty had good years by their standards.  The farm system didn't help much either, although Ryan Rupe was promoted early and pitched rather well.

What I got wrong - The pitching was wracked by injuries and finished with the second worst ERA in the league.  Help from the farm in the form of Matt White and Bobby Seay.

Outlook for next year - The Devil Rays loaded up on power hitters this offseason and should be pretty entertaining to watch.  However, that still might not get them out of the basement, although as long as Baltimore is in the division, there's always a chance.

Who I picked last year:
1) New York
2) Toronto
3) Boston
4) Baltimore
5) Tampa Bay