AL East Musings

By Michael Jokinen             8/14/13

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(The A.L. East is coming down to the wire!)

 

Everyone expected the American League East to be one of the most hotly contested and exciting divisions in baseball.  Though it hasn’t gone exactly as planned, or in other words, nobody could’ve foreseen just how bad the Blue Jays have been, the East has certainly lived up to its billing.  The season is culminating with an exciting three-team chase for the division crown, made all the more important with the revamped wild-card structure.  The playoff implications certainly aren’t the only storyline, and here are some other things that have captured my attention:

 

 

– The Red Sox (.509 remaining opponent win %), Rays (.505), and Orioles (.523) each have some of the most brutal remaining schedules in all of baseball – the Orioles actually have the toughest in the entire MLB.  Advantage Boston, as they have a four game lead in the division, and will benefit by having more games left at home than on the road.  For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Playoff Odds Calculator pegs the BoSox as having a 95% chance of getting into the playoffs.  The Rays (64.3%) and Orioles (36.8%) lag far behind.

 

– Wil Myers is really good.  I don’t care what anyone says about the Royals having a chance to vindicate their Shields/Myers trade through making the postseason – it was a totally boneheaded move by Kansas City’s front office.  It’ll be a moot point anyway, as I don’t see the Royals having a prayer (18.4% chance, to be exact, according to ESPN’s Playoff Odds Calculator) at getting into the playoffs.  Have fun watching Wil Myers blossom into a superstar, Royals fans.  Rays fans might’ve had to wait longer than they would’ve liked for their Wil Myers fix, but their payoff has finally arrived in full force.  Myers, the best power hitting prospect in baseball, sports a triple-slash of .318/.368/.497.  What’s noteworthy is that he’s got a terrific chance of becoming the first ever Rookie of the Year recipient to total under 100 games.  In fact, he should finish comfortably under that mark, but I still expect him to easily clinch R.O.Y. honors.  Who’s going to stop him?  Jose Iglesias?  Doubtful.

 

– Chris Davis will crush 50 home runs this year.  His slugging percentage will finish north of .600.  He will drive in over 120 runs, and finish hitting around .290.  All that, and he’ll likely finish third in MVP voting.  Third.  That’s nuts.  That’s more of a tribute to the astounding seasons Cabrera and Trout are having than it is a slight towards Davis, but that’s pretty incredible nonetheless.  I wonder, when’s the last time such a great season was only good for third in MVP voting?  I haven’t done the research, but I’d be curious to find out.

 

– Hiroki Kuroda is sneaky good.  His ERA is now down to 2.33 and he’s squarely in the Cy Young discussion.  He won’t win the award, because he’s not as sexy as Hernandez, Scherzer, or Darvish, but Kuroda’s 2013 campaign should not go unnoticed in an otherwise depressing season for the Bronx Bombers.  He’s 2nd in the league in ERA, 4th in WHIP and innings, and 1st in both WPA (Win Probability Added) and ERA+.  This guy is continually unheralded, and his career ERA now sits at a surprisingly terrific 3.26.  And he’s trending upward, as his ERA is actually better since his move to the Yankees (2.91), and moving into their extreme hitter’s park, than it was when he played for the Dodgers (3.45) in an extreme pitcher’s park.

 

BONUS TIDBIT:

– Okay, this doesn’t exactly fit – because it doesn’t concern the A.L. East – but I had to include this tantalizing nugget.  Did you hear the Pirates approached the Marlins, just before this year’s trade deadline, with a Starling Marte & Gerrit Cole-for-Giancarlo Stanton trade proposal?  There were some smaller parts in the discussion, but that was the general framework.  The Marlins rebuffed the offer, but this really captures the imagination.  It sounds like a video game or fantasy league trade.  And it’s real food for thought, because I don’t know who would’ve gotten the better end of that deal.  If I were in charge down in Miami I would’ve been awfully tempted to pull the trigger on that trade offer.

 

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Posted on August 14, 2013, in 2013, Blue Jays, MLB, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I didn’t know about that Pirates trade offer for Stanton… it is pretty telling of how ambitious the Pittsburgh franchise is. Players will start to want to come to Pittsburgh just like players wanted to come to the Phillies a couple years back. Good for the Pirates.

  2. An excellent and very tasty summary of the AL East. Good job!

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