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The AL East was the same crucible it has always been last season. The Tampa Bay Rays separated themselves from the field early but that didn’t keep the New York Yankees from making a push. With only sixty games played this past season, the room for error was slim but a full slate of games will be played in 2021.
The East division is one of the more talented divisions in baseball, which makes it one of the most difficult to play in as well. The Rays took the division crown last season but the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays are poised to dethrone them. With the sneaky Boston Red Sox hanging around, we could see a fight for a Wild-Card spot this year.
Tampa Bay Rays
2020-21 Record: 40-20
The Rays were one of the better defensive teams in the AL last season. Adding a few pitchers to the fray helps that tremendously as they added starter Collin McHugh and retained reliever Chaz Roe to round out the rotation. Losing Jose Alvarado and ace Blake Snell hurts, but the bullpen shouldn’t suffer too much.
They will need to find more offense to help them in this high-powered division, but their defense should be enough if they can stay healthy. This team did compete in the World Series last year and came up short due to their lack of big offense against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Moves will need to be made, but this team is still among the best in the AL East.
Over/Under Win Total 2021-22: 100 Wins
New York Yankees
2020-21 Record: 33-27
There were a lot of positives for the Yankees last season, but the team still struggled in the pitching department. Losing starters Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ didn’t help the situation, but the Pinstripes did add former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Adding Kluber to a bullpen that includes Gerrit Cole, Deivi Garcia and Jameson Taillon from Pittsburgh makes this a strong group.
The Yankees made the playoffs on their offensive strength, but now their pitching and defense should shine as well. The only concern for this team is health for this roster. If they can stay healthy, the Yankees could enter the season as World Series favorites on Opening Day.
Over/Under Win Total: 95 Wins
Boston Red Sox
2020-21 Record: 24-36
Boston had a very uncharacteristic season in 2020. The .400 win percentage was the lowest since 1965, and the first losing season since 2015. They look to change that with new manager and former Red Sox player Alex Cora.
The Red Sox were on of the league’s best hitting teams ranking third in batting average a year ago. Adding players like outfielder Hunter Renfroe, second baseman Kiké Hernández and outfielder Franchy Cordero bolsters that gaudy statistic and adds some much needed offense. Expect the Red Sox to make a push this year as an AL playoff contender.
Over/Under Win Total: 80 Wins
Toronto Blue Jays
2020-21 Record: 32-28
One of the big movers and shakers last season were the Toronto Blue Jays. With some great moves at the deadline last year they made the playoffs, and looked like one of the more promising teams to make a run. This year the Blue Jays boast one of the more balanced teams, and yet still have some holes to fill.
They made moves to sure up the rotation with starter Steven Matz. They also signed outfielder George Soringer and shortstop Marcus Semien to add some offense. Even with the additions they have on both sides, the Blue Jays have to makes some moves at the deadline or before to compete with the rest of one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
Over/Under Win Total: 75 Wins
2020-21 Record: 25-35
The Orioles have been in rebuild mode since the Spring of 2018 and this year is no different. Last season had no high hopes or low expectations for the Baltimore ball club, and they still have big needs to fill. The bright spot is they have plenty of high value prospects that will get a chance to shine this year.
Pitchers Dean Kremer, Keegan Akin and Bruce Zimmermann are all impressive and should get a chance to join the bullpen rotation in 2021. With Jose Iglesias and Freddy Galvis manning the shortstop duties, it will be up to prospects to fill the other outfield/infield positions. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle are good pieces that can do just that, but it will be a few years before the Orioles are a competitive team.
Over/Under Win Total: 55 Wins