Since 1990, the AL East has been the most dominant division in the sport. Over the past 22 World Series, an AL East constituent has competed in 13 of the Fall Classics. However, this season the AL East is incredibly weak because the Rays are rebuilding, Yankees and Red Sox have many of question marks, Blue Jays have not achieved success in years, and the Orioles lost key contributors in free agency.
1. Toronto Blue Jays
Even before the addition of Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, the Jays ranked 5th in MLB in runs scored. This year, they should contend for first, if they can remain healthy throughout the season. However, the biggest question is their starting pitching. If their impressive young arms, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchinson, and Dan Norris, can acclimate to the AL East quickly, the Jays should be ready to contend for the AL East crown
2. Boston Red Sox
Over the past two seasons, the Red Sox have been a team that goes from worst to first and back to worst. However, this offseason, they made numerous moves, acquiring Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Rusney Castillo, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson. Although the pitching and defense will be suspect at times, they should possess one of the best offenses in baseball.
3. Baltimore Orioles
Like the Jays and Sox, the O’s have a formidable offense, but lack a true ace or a deep rotation. Although the O’s won 96 games last season, they lost their best hitter, Nelson Cruz, to the Mariners and Nick Markakis was signed by the Braves. They must hope that Manny Machado and Matt Wieters will be able to return from injuries without missing a beat. In addition, they will be without the services of Andrew Miller, who was one of the five best relievers last season.
4. New York Yankees
The Yankees may possess the best bullpen in the entire Major Leagues with Betances and Miller, but it is unknown if they will handing the game to these stoppers with many leads. With the injury concerns that surround the starting rotation, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Ivan Nova, it is likely that each of these starters will spend time on the DL. In addition, the lineup is littered with players on the wrong side of 30 and dissipating skills, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. If every thing goes right for the Yankees, they likely will reach the playoffs and win the division, but right now those odds seem to be stacked against them.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
This past year marked the end of the Rays’ greatest era in their short history as an organization. Joe Madden left for Chicago, Andrew Friedman joined the Dodgers, and David Price, Ben Zobrist Jeremy Hellickson, and Wil Myers were traded. However, the Rays should contend to remain competitive in the AL East as they boast the best rotation, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, and Chris Archer. In addition, they still have Evan Longoria, James Loney, Desmond Jennings, and prospect Steven Souza in the lineup.