Just How Good Is the AL East

In looking at the MLB standings today, I couldn’t help but notice just how strong the AL East is so far this season.  Even the fourth place team, the Blue Jays, are seven games above .500, and the only bad team in the division is the Orioles.

I thought it might be interesting to see what the differences are when an AL East team is playing in its division as opposed to playing teams in other divisions.  Here are the results with in-division records first:

New York Yankees: 26-18, .591 winning percentage; 43-24, .642

Tampa Bay Rays: 27-17, .614; 41-27, .603

Boston Red Sox: 22-23, .488; 42-26, .618

Toronto Blue Jays: 25-17, .595; 34-35, .493

Baltimore Orioles:  10-35, .222; 28-39, .418

As a whole, AL East teams are 110-110 when playing each other and 188-151 (a .555 winning percentage) when playing out of division teams.

As you can see the Red Sox, Orioles and, to a lesser degree, the Yankees have all played substantially better outside of their division than within it.  The only team to do substantially better in the AL East than outside it is the Blue Jays, and that is entirely the result of the fact the Jays are a perfect 12-0 against the Orioles.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

First, the Yankees look like the best team in the division based on their ability to win both within their division and against non-division teams.  This may mean they’ll play better in the post-season than the other AL East team that makes the play-offs.

This isn’t really news, however, since everyone expects the Yankees to perform well in their post-season, given their high-priced talent and previous post-season experience.

The Rays have played exceptionally well in their division and will need to continue to do so if they are going to make the post-season.  The Red Sox have played poorly against the rest of the AL East and will need to turn that around going forward if they want to make the post-season.

Finally, although the Orioles have the worst record in baseball, they aren’t nearly as bad as they appear to be based on their overall won-loss record.  Instead, the Orioles are taking a pounding under the new weighted schedules that force them to play the other AL East teams more often.

In fact, based on the O’s record outside their division, it seems apparent that they are probably no worse than the Mariners and substantially better than the Pirates, who play in one of this year’s weakest divisions.

The only good thing about being a small market team like the Orioles stuck in a division full of free-spending, top market teams is the Orioles are virtually assured of receiving the first pick in the 2011 Draft.  Let’s hope they use it wisely and some of their good young talent from past drafts and trades begin to gel the way the Rays’s young talent has the last three seasons.

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Explore posts in the same categories: American League, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Pittsburg Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays

2 Comments on “Just How Good Is the AL East”

  1. John Doe Says:

    “As a whole, AL East teams are 110-110 when playing each other and 188-151 (a .555 winning percentage) when playing out of division teams.”

    Why even write that the AL East is 110-110 when playing each other? No shit…when teams play each other one has to win and the other has to lose so you’ll always end up at .500 in division.

  2. John Matthew Says:

    amazing victory by the Mets. Murphy was a beast! Now time to destroy Cubs. Lets go Mets


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