Where Is The Value In The AL East?

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The World Baseball Classic is heating up and if you’ve been paying attention, the games have been very entertaining. This is the most interesting baseball we will get for a while but we can still focus on futures and what we can bet on in the divisional play. We’ve already previewed the entire National League, and now we focus on the American League and start with the AL East.

In the past articles, I’ve started with the teams that have no chance of winning the division (for example, the Marlins, Rockies, Reds, etc.) I actually think in the AL East each team has a reasonable shot at winning the division. If I were to rank them I’d probably put the Red Sox with the lowest probability of winning the division. The books aren’t really against me with that one either with them being fourth in the ranks at +1500. Looking at the pitching staff for the Red Sox – if they are healthy, they could be good. However, healthy is not something their team is good at. Chris Sale can be one of the best pitchers in the game, but he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2017, and hasn’t had 25 starts since 2019. Their team is good enough to win the division if things worked out though. I just won’t put money on it because there are too many obstacles to overcome.

The Orioles had a hell of a run last year. Do we think it is going to be repeated this year? I highly doubt it, but I don’t want to count them out either. Their pitching was about as good as they possibly could be last year. I would be surprised if they could do it again, or be better than last season. I also don’t think their hitting is going to be great. I’ll pass on them, but think they should have better odds than +2500.

If you look at the Orioles, you’ll not recognize a name on the team. You probably won’t recognize most names on the Rays either – mostly because they aren’t a big market team. They have one of the best pitchers in the game in Shane McClanahan but there are multiple others that are very talented. In addition, the bullpen is one of the biggest strengths. Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena are two of the better young players in the game as well. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them take the division and there is some good value in the Rays at +340.

Most people are going to come down to betting on the Yankees and the Blue Jays. For good reason, they were the top two teams last season in the division and only seven games separated the two. The Blue Jays didn’t do much in the offseason but now they will have Whit Merrifield for an entire year, and they did add Brandon Belt to the organization. At +205 I’m not sure there is much value here because I personally am not a fan of their pitching staff outside of Alek Manoah.

The Yankees are the favorite and that is to be expected. They have one of the best lineups in all of baseball and if they are in contention you know they will be willing to spend money to make their team better. They have three quality starters, and another two that are talented. I don’t think their bullpen is great, but that might not matter as they have a lineup that can crush everyone. Their lineup is so stacked that they have DJ LeMahieu on the bench – I have to imagine he would start on every other team in baseball. There are some issues, for example their new pitcher Carlos Rodon is injured and will be to start the season. I am not comfortable tying up money until September on this team.

If I had to take a team, the one with the best value would be the Rays. I do think the Yankees can win the division, but I’m not sure that it will be as easy it was for them last year when they ran away with it close to the end. Remember, they also had a really bad stretch where they went 4-15, so they can also play bad baseball.

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Written by David Troy

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