Go check out the AL East division and look at who is leading it.
New York? Nope
It’s the Toronto Blue Jays. They are 27-19, even though they have lost five in a row. They are a half game ahead of both the Yankees and Red Soxwho are both 25-18. Meanwhile, the Rays are 22-23 and sit 3.5 games back. Sound like a stacked division? It is.
Let’s look a little deeper into the AL East’s dominance:
The Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees are 1, 2, and 3 respectively in runs scored while the Red Sox are 8th amongst all of Major League Baseball. All four teams are in the top 6 in team OPS in baseball. Without a doubt, these are four of the top offenses in baseball and they are all in the same division, facing each other day in and day out.
Not surprisingly, the teams’ pitching, with the except of Toronto, has terrible stats. The Yankees are 26th in ERA, the Rays are 21st, and the Red Sox are 18th ( Toronto is 5th). However, let’s look deeper into these stats:
Boston is 6th in the league in Quality Starts and is second in reliever’s ERA. Their pitching may be bad on the outside, but digging deepers shows that generally, Boston’s pitching has been good with a couple of really bad days.
Tampa has had 21 Quality Starts, good for 14th in the league. That’s mediocre and so is their record. However, their best pitcher, David Price, is still at Triple-A, but should be coming up very soon. Look for the Rays’ pitching to suddenly improve with his promotion.
The Yankees’ pitching is brutal no matter which way you look at it. Burnett has been a huge disappointment, sporting a 5.28 ERA while C.C. Sabathia has not been the Cy-Young pitcher that the Yankees expected he would be (4-3 with a 3.43 ERA). Either pitcher is capable of throwing a shutout on any night though and that’s what makes the Yankees’ pitching dangerous, not their teams stats.
How about the +/- of each division?
The AL East has scored 69 more runs than it has given up? Doesn’t sound very good right. Check out the other 5 divisions:
AL Central: -12
AL West: -35
NL East: -58
NL Central: +41
NL West: -5
One other division in MLB is positive and it is +28 less than the AL East. The AL East was considered stacked entering the season with Tampa, Boston, and New York. With Toronto coming out of nowhere to not just contend, but lead the division, the 2009 AL East is looking like the top division in MLB history. It is that good. Sadly, only two of those teams will make the playoffs (I’m giving them the wild-card) and they will beat each other down all season to the point that they may fall apart come October. Either way, two of these teams are facing each other almost every day (except during Interleague play) so enjoy watching these teams battle, because divisions like this come around once in a lifetime.