MLB 2021: AL East Division Preview

by Scott Rickenbach

AL East Division Preview for MLB 2021

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are projected by most to finish with a win total in the mid-60s. Baltimore is a young team that is trying to build for the future. They just can not keep up with the big spending of divisional foes like the Yankees. In a few years the youth movement should pay off but right now the Orioles have a weak rotation, poor bullpen, and will have to try and notch some victories with big games at the plate. Baltimore was one of the better hitting teams in the American League in the shortened campaign last season. 

Boston Red Sox – Boston is projected to finish at about .500 this season. The Red Sox still have the long-term reputation but really this team is a shell of its former self. They can win some games with their bats particularly when at home in hitter-friendly Fenway Park. However, though the bullpen has some solid arms, the starting rotation has many concerns. That said, likely to be another season in which Boston again finishes near the bottom of the table for important stats like team ERA and team fielding. This team also does have defensive concerns for sure. 

New York Yankees – The Yankees are expected to win this division and get to a win total in the mid-90s but the Rays and Jays are likely to have something to say about that. One of the two could emerge as a challenger to the Yanks for sure. What would be a weakness with the bankrolling Yankees? The starting rotation for sure is a concern. Fantastic bullpen it appears but who is going to be the support behind Gerrit Cole in the pitching rotation? The Yankees were only in the middle of the pack for team pitching last season and heavily rely on their sluggers to win games. Generally, as the sluggers go, so go the Yankees. Definitely a strong bullpen when healthy. 

Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays should get into the mid-80s for a win total this season. Amazingly one of the lowest payrolls in baseball but Tampa Bay still finds a way. They are so competitive. A small market team that is easy to like based on the competitive level they bring despite not having the star power. Of course the losses of Charlie Morton and Blake Snell form the rotation are big changes for this season. Tampa Bay will take a step back as a result but always hard to count these guys out and this is especially true if they get some solid contributions from the guys they picked up including in the Snell deal with the Padres. 

Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays are expected to get into the mid-80s for their win total this season. But that is just where they seem stuck right now as they do not have the top-tier rotation guys to truly dominate teams. Toronto has to rely on their big sticks to try and win games as their rotation has a lot of mid-level guys but not any real standout dominators. Also, their bullpen has some strong arms but not a lot of depth and is also a bit of a concern. That said, a team whose slugging percentage ranked 4th in the AL last season will again be the key for the Blue Jays and how their season goes this year. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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