2013 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few days we’ve been previewing the 2013 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East.

The Blue Jays totally revamped the rotation and added Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to the lineup. Is that enough for a 20+ game swing and the division title?

The Rays lost James Shields but they still have tons of pitching. But where is the offense going to come from?

Is the Jeter-Rivera Yankees dynasty finally over? Do the Bombers have a better chance at first place or the cellar?

The Orioles shocked the world by making the playoffs in 2012. Was it smoke and mirrors or the beginning of a sustained return to prominence in Baltimore?

The Red Sox’ 2012 was a train wreck. Are they back on track in 2013?

Below are our team-by-team previews for the AL East as well as our HBT Extra feature on the division. Enjoy.

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Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: