The AL East Division is one of the more interesting and competitive divisions. With the Boston Red Sox ready to defend their World Series title, there will be other teams in the division hungry to take over as the AL East Champs. The New York Yankees will once again be their biggest competition, but we shouldn’t overlook the Tampa Bay Rays as well. They’re trying to make improvements from their 90-win season last year and are a potential dark-horse playoff contender this year.
1. Boston Red Sox (102-60)
The Boston Red Sox have all the weapons to repeat not only as AL East Division Champions, but as World Series Champions. They do have some potential weaknesses and that includes the departures of Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel. Despite their departures, both Ryan Braiser and Matt Barnes are very capable to fill in the gaps. This team is just as dangerous as last year, and offensively, they brought back their key players for the highest-scoring offense in the entire league. Anything can happen during the course of a long season, however, if nothing drastic goes wrong with the Red Sox, this still looks like the team to beat.
2. New York Yankees (99-63)
Once again, the New York Yankees will most likely be the Red Sox’s biggest competition for this upcoming season. The Yankees are coming off of a 100-win season, and are going to continue getting better. They weren’t able to pick up Manny Machado, nor Bryce Harper, however, this team was able to bolster their starting rotation with the additions of J.A. Happ and James Paxton. They also picked up veteran Gio Gonzalez due to the injuries of Luis Severino and from CC Sabathia receiving a 5-game suspension. New York has a stacked bull-pen and a high-scoring offense, and the only thing in their way is a matter of how the starting rotation goes.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (92-70)
It was a remarkable season for the Tampa Bay Rays, as they were able to win 90 games last season, despite suffering many injuries. The Rays also went 36-19 in their last two months, and went a respectable 17-21 against the Red Sox and Yankees. As usual, the Rays will be relying on their pitching staff. Their pitching staff allowed the second fewest runs per game, as that should help the team out tremendously throughout the season. With the signings of Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasno, it gives the rotation a bit more stability. The main question with this team is whether or not they can produce on the offensive end. With Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames, they could go a long way.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (71-91)
For the Toronto Blue Jays, this will most likely be a rebuilding year for them. They did add Clay Buchholz and Matt Shoemaker, which makes it an improved starting staff. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will also give the fans a glimpse of the future. It’s definitely possible that Guerrero Jr. will come in the league and tear things up right away. Either way, this is an extremely tough division, and as for the Blue Jays moving forward, they’re building for the future. They’ll have trouble taking on contending teams like the Red Sox and Yankees and probably won’t have much of a chance against them. Regardless, this division is just tough for the Blue Jays.
5. Baltimore Orioles (54-108)
There’s no other way to word it: The Baltimore Orioles were a complete embarrassment during the 2018 campaign. It’s going to take a complete rebuild for this team in order to start becoming better. Last season, they lost 115 games with Manny Machado playing 60 percent of the season for them, so it’s tough to imagine what it’ll be like for them without Machado. It’s not a question whether or not they’ll lose 100 games again this season, but rather they will exceed their loss total from last year, and that’ll be pretty tough to do. It’s a rebuild year for them, and they’ll just be relaxing at the bottom of the division, especially with all of these competitive teams.