1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles
The Red Sox have the best lineup, one of the best defenses and one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. This division is theirs for the taking unless something catastrophic happens.
The Rays just don’t have the firepower to outhit the Yankees and Red Sox, but they have the talent to outplay any other team in any other division.
What will eventually do in the Yankees’ division title hopes is their subpar defense: Jeter’s liability as a defensive SS is starting to enter public knowledge, A-Rod’s slipped at 3B himself (plus he’s going to miss about half the season, with the questionable Cody Ransom taking his place), and Xavier Nady’s injury actually led the Yankees to upgrade his subpar defense in RF by playing Nick Swisher. That said, they should still outlast the Rays for the Wildcard, as the Yankees have more offense and much better pitching, which can offset the defensive shortcomings.
Toronto’s patchwork pitching staff, led by a very strong Roy Halladay, should work well with a solid defense to get the Blue Jays around .500 despite a subpar offense, not bad for a 4th place team in MLB’s toughest division.
The Orioles have an average lineup and a decent defense, but their pitching situation is horrid, with a lack of depth leading them to run AAA-worthy arms out there. Expect 100 losses.