Tha Sports Junkies 101

Who Will Take The AL East Crown In 2016?

AL East Walktheworld1 via


The AL East is any teams for the taking as the regular season winds down

With just over 40 games remaining in the 2016 season, the AL East is the most exciting and closest division in all of baseball. Currently, the Toronto Blue Jays hold a slim one game lead over both the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. All three teams deserve to be in the playoffs but only one can claim the title of AL East champion in 2016.

The case for the Toronto Blue Jays:

The Blue Jays have been an exciting team to watch this season. With players like reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion, the Jays have the offensive firepower to blast them into the playoffs. As a team, they are batting .246 which ranks them 23rd in the majors. This is disappointing considering all the weapons in the Blue Jays lineup. In order to pick up the slightly sub-par offense, the pitching needs to be great for the Jays. With Aaron Sanchez leading the charge, the Blue Jays own the 6th best ERA in the majors at 3.71. Sanchez himself leads the team with a 2.84 ERA but he is not even the “ace” of the staff this season. That man would be J.A. Happ. He has 16 wins and a 2.96 ERA so far this season. With 75 quality starts this season, the Jays staff have proven it can go deep into games. That is the most valuable thing to have come October and November.

My prediction for the Blue Jays:

With stellar pitching and power bats throughout their lineup, the Blue Jays are going to be a tough team to beat this season. I believe that the Jays will make the playoffs but not by winning the division. They have a solid team with good pitching but they will end up needing a wild card spot to make the playoffs.


The case for the Baltimore Orioles:

Many people did not expect to see the Orioles succeed the way they are this season. They are currently one game back in the East but hold one of the two AL wild cards. It has been a year of offensive production for the Orioles. They rank 10th in runs scored with 552 but have given up 516 as a team. Orioles’ pitching has been shaky this season as they rank in the bottom half of the league in quality starts, WHIP, and batting average against. Chris Tillman has been good for the staff this season. He has 15 wins but a slightly high ERA of 3.46. One department the Orioles don’t have much problems with is the offensive side. With Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado leading the way, the Orioles own the 3rd best slugging percentage in the majors at .447. Trumbo has 34 home runs and Machado leads the team with a .304 batting average. Offense has been the key for a team that struggles with pitching. They will need to address their pitching problems if they hope to beat out good teams in the playoffs.

My prediction for the Baltimore Orioles:

The Orioles have great offensive power but lack the pitching to make a deep run into the playoffs. I think they will make the playoffs but it will be in the form of a wild card game on the road in Toronto.


The case for the Boston Red Sox:

Just like the Orioles, the Red Sox also trail the Blue Jays by one game in the AL East. Of the three teams in the hunt for the division, the Red Sox have the best offense. They have scored 648 runs which are the most in all of baseball. Along with runs scored, they lead the majors in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage. The Red Sox are an offensive juggernaut that can not be contained for long amounts of time. Mookie Betts is a big reason why the Red Sox are scoring more runs than anyone else in baseball. Betts leads the team with 28 home runs, a .315 batting average and 157 hits. His name is floating around MVP discussions and could very well be the MVP if he continues on this pace. Another Red Sox that is mashing the baseball this season is David Ortiz. In his farewell season, “Big Papi” is leading the Sox with 92 RBI’s and a .407 OBP. Ortiz has proven that he will not go softly into the night like former all-time greats have done in their last season. Pitching has been a slight problem for the Sox this season. David Price has not been the same since coming over from Toronto but does lead the team in strikeouts this season. Knuckle-baller Steven Wright has been good this season and even earned himself an All-Star game appearance earlier in the season. With a 4.24 ERA, the Red Sox pitching will need to find a grove if they hope to hunt down and pass the Blue Jays in the next month or so.

My prediction for the Red Sox:

The Red Sox are going to ride their hot offense into the playoffs come October. They need their pitching to be solid and let the offense do all the work. Behind Betts and Ortiz, I feel like the Red Sox are poised to take the division from the Blue Jays and Orioles.



Expect the AL East to be the 2016 version of the NL Central from a year ago. Three teams from the East will make the playoffs. Currently the Red Sox and Orioles hold the wild card spots while the Blue Jays lead the division. That story is likely to change as I predict the Red Sox will take the division with Toronto hosting the AL wild card game against the Orioles. This division is going to be the most exciting division to watch as the season winds down. It’s important to remember that anything can happen because that’s the way the crazy game of baseball works from time to time.