The AL East is still a beast

Even with four losses in four games so far this year against the Yankees, the Orioles are 14-9 and just one game out of first place as the calender turns to May in baseball’s toughest division.

There have been some stories written already this year, especially after Boston’s poor start, that the American League East is slipping a bit, but the standings after one month tell a different story.

All five AL East teams begin play today at .500 or better and there are just four teams at .500 or better in the rest of the league - and two of those are right at .500.

Here are the AL East records this year vs. the AL Central and AL West:
Baltimore: 9-4
Boston: 7-5
New York: 7-6
Tampa Bay: 9-4
Toronto: 8-3

Meanwhile, the combined records of the nine AL teams from the Central and West against the East is 23-40 for a winning percentage of .365.

It is just one month, but the East is clearly still a beast in looking at those numbers.

One other stat that many analysts use to determine a team’s strength is run differential. That is, does a club outscore its opponents when adding up all its games and if so, by how many runs?

In that category the AL East is 5-for-5. All five clubs right now have outscored the opposition on the year.

New York: plus-18 runs
Baltimore: plus-12 runs
Toronto: plus-9 runs
Tampa Bay: plus-8 runs
Boston: plus-3 runs

Here are how many teams have a plus run differential in the rest of baseball:

AL Central: 1
AL West: 1
NL East: 2
NL Central: 2
NL West: 4

So while 100 percent of AL East teams have a plus run differential after the first month, just 10 of 25 in the rest of baseball, or 40 percent, have a positive run differential.

It’s early and things can change. But we’ve seen this before. The AL East is flexing its collective muscles so far and they are impressive.

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