By Josh Kramer
Before the season, many were projecting the AL East as the best division in baseball. Well it took a couple of months, but they are finally living up to the hype. In a way the AL East is similar to the Big East in College Basketball or the SEC in College Football. Teams just beat on each other. And remember in the MLB, divisional foes play each other 18 or 19 times a year. That equates to 11% of a teams season being played against each respective divisional foe. Therefore, teams in the AL East will play each other in over 44% of their games.
Recently there have been talks about the MLB sending either Houston or Arizona to the AL, and negating divisions entirely. This would lead to both the AL and NL having 15 teams apiece. The top three teams from each League would qualify for the playoffs. The teams that were to finish 4th and 5th would duke it out for the Wild Card. With divisions as strong as the AL East, I am beginning to think that getting rid of divisions may not be such a bad thing. But that is a story for another day. Lets get back to the AL East.
This is baseball’s best division without question. The following are reasons why.
– Their top two teams are sporting the top two records in the American League (two of the top three in the MLB).
-The team holding down the cellar, the Baltimore Orioles, have the best record of all the last place teams in baseball.
-In addition, four of five teams in this division have a positive run differential. No other division has more than three teams with a positive run differentials. And in the American League, only three total teams outside the AL East have a positive run differential.
-Next, the three top offenses in the American League (in regards to runs scored) reside in the AL East.
-Plus, the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the AL East, also rank 2nd and 3rd in the AL in runs surrendered.
-Lastly, the past four years, the Wild Card has come out of the beastly AL East.
Many thought the Red Sox were done for when they stumbled out of the gate with an abysmal April. They now sport the top record in the American League and the 2nd best record in baseball. Over the past week, the Yankees (2nd in the AL East) have made a mockery of both Cleveland and Texas, who are both very much in the hunt in their respective divisions. Lastly, please find me a third place team that could match up with Tampa. I guess you could make a case for Cincinnati, but also realize that the NL Central has six teams. I promise you will not be able to make a case for a better 4th or 5th place team than the Blue Jays and Orioles. And if you really think the Pirates could match up with the Blue Jays, you are dreaming.
Come October, the AL East will not set a record for teams that qualify for the postseason like the Big East did this past March (sent 11 to March Madness). You better believe that they will hit the maximum quota with two for a 5th consecutive year though.
The AL East is a definite beast.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.