The American League East has quietly become the most exciting division in all of baseball. It’s the only division in the entire league where any of the teams can legitimately compete for the division title. All 5 teams are within 7 games of the lead and all 5 teams have uniquely different strengths.
Let’s start with the current leader: The Baltimore Orioles.
They’ve been slugging the ball better than most teams in the A.L. They’re led by Mark Trumbo who has 20 home runs and 49 RBIs. Manny Machado, who many consider the best young infielder in the league, is batting over .300 with 17 home runs and 26 doubles. Chris Davis, who had 47 home runs last year, is on track to have similar numbers this year. The Orioles pitching, however, has been mediocre at best.
The Boston Red Sox have been even hotter on the offensive side this year. They lead the American League in runs, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. They have 5 regulars hitting near or above .300, including David Ortiz who’s hitting .344 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs. However, the pitching has been a question mark all season long.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in the opposite situation. Their pitching has been stellar, but their hitting has been sub par. Coming into the season, the Blue Jays were expected to have one of the top lineups in all of baseball, but the pitching has carried them. They rank 1st in quality starts, 5th in opponent batting average and 7th in ERA. If the hitting comes back around, the Blue Jays have a chance to be a legit World Series contender.
The New York Yankees are one of the oldest teams in the league and have relied on their old superstars this year. Carlos Beltran has slugged 16 home runs and 44 RBIs. Jacoby Ellsbury has also been one of the leading hitters on the team. Injuries have been an issue, but if the team can stay healthy as the year goes on, they could contend for a division title.
And finally, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have been hot recently and find themselves within striking distance. Third basemen Evan Longoria leads the team in batting average, home runs, RBIs, total bases and hits. They’ll need him to continue playing well in order to have a shot in October.
As we creep closer to July, which team is the early favorite to win the American League East?