5 Reasons Why Tampa Bay Rays Will Win the AL East

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5 Reasons Why Tampa Bay Rays Will Win the AL East

5 Reasons Why Tampa Bay Rays Will Win the AL East
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When the curtains were drawn after the 2012 season, one of the most disappointed teams across the league would have undoubtedly been the Tampa Bay Rays.

Of course, missing Evan Longoria for 13 weeks, and going 9-16 in the 25 games leading up to the All-Star Break didn't help their cause, and whilst the Rays finished the year off with 91 wins, one behind their 2011 total, it could have been so much better.

The AL East is always one of the toughest divisions in baseball to get out of come October, and after failing to make the postseason for the first time in three years, Joe Maddon will be eager to ensure the Rays return in 2013, and not just through the newly extended Wild Card system. With a positive offseason within the club, the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays have been the subject of many a column inch throughout the winter, making the AL East, as ever, the most talked about division.

With the hope that players such as Longoria can remain healthy throughout the year, whilst a rotation that includes ace David Price and up-and-coming star Matt Moore, the Rays will be out to erase the memories of a season that, even early on looked destined to disappoint, and duly delivered.

So with that in mind, have a look at the five reasons that the Tampa Bay Rays will go on to take the AL East Title in October.

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Evan Longoria has MVP Potential

Evan Longoria has MVP Potential
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Evan Longoria is one of the more exciting players to watch in Major League Baseball. He instantly improves the Rays when healthy, and his mere presences makes Tampa Bay a tough hurdle for anyone else in the AL East, but with the power he showed in his last full season, combined with a strong offseason, Longoria could really makes some headlines in 2013.

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The Rays Possess a Top 3 Rotation

The Rays Possess a Top 3 Rotation
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If Tampa Bay are said to hold a solid lineup, their rotation is better. Whilst Jeff Neimann and Roberto Hernandez fight for the final spot on the roster, David Price has already been named as Opening Day starter, and is easily one of the aces amongst the AL deck. With Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, and Alex Cobb completing one of the most exciting rotations in the big leagues, for now at least, they could carry the Rays to 70+ wins alone.

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The Blue Jays May Struggle to Live Up to Expectations

The Blue Jays May Struggle to Live Up to Expectations
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With the decline of the division's two powerhouses, the Toronto Blue Jays have taken the baton as the leading AL East team in the eyes of Vegas. With a host of banner headline moves, including the now-infamous trade with the Miami Marlins, as well as acquiring the services of NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, it is tough to tell if the Blue Jays can bring it all together in time to make a run for the postseason.

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The Yankees Have Been Obliterated by Injuries

The Yankees Have Been Obliterated by Injuries
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Over the past decade and more, projecting the winner of the AL East has always been a relatively simple task, and rarely has that selection strayed from the New York Yankees, however with a roster annihilated by injury, including the long-term absences of hitters Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, whilst Michael Pineda and Phil Hughes will likely miss some time on the mound, the Bronx could be a miserable place come the fall.

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Baltimore Cannot Repeat Their 2012 Success

Baltimore Cannot Repeat Their 2012 Success
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Becoming the best team in 122 years in one-run games last season, with a .763 record, the Baltimore Orioles completed just one fantastic feat in a memorable season, that concluded in an ALDS appearance, and despite some exciting players in their roster, the O's just can't repeat their success of 2012.

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