There is a stark difference between the American League East and the other two divisions in the AL. Four of the teams in the AL East are serious pennant contenders, while only one or two teams are expected to be competitive out of both the AL Central and AL West. The unbalanced schedule will lead to one of those strong AL East teams missing out on the postseason, but two of the three wild cards in the expanded playoffs are expected to come from this division.
Toronto Blue Jays
Although Toronto missed out on the playoffs last year with a 91-71 record, many observers are expecting the Blue Jays to be the best team in the league in 2022. This team is extremely talented and getting better every year with so many young players. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is one of the best young hitters in the game and adding Matt Chapman helps this team’s defense too. The outfield has a ton of talent led by center fielder George Springer, and the pitching staff is much better with the addition of Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, and Yusei Kikuchi.
Carlos Correa left for Minnesota earlier this month, but Houston still has a lot of talent and should win the AL West for the fifth straight regular length season. The Astros showed that the scandal didn’t affect them too much last year, and this is probably the second-most dangerous lineup in the AL behind Toronto. Yuli Gurriel led the AL in batting average, and Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman round out a great infield. Kyle Tucker has come into his own in the outfield, while Michael Brantley is one of the best contact hitters in baseball. There are concerns about the pitching staff though as Lance McCullers Jr. is injured and Justin Verlander is a big question mark after missing all of 2021 following Tommy John surgery.
New York Yankees
The Bronx Bombers have six players that could hit 30 or more home runs this season. New York re-signed slugger Anthony Rizzo, and D.J. LeMahieu should fare better at the plate after a bizarre 2021 campaign. Newly acquired Josh Donaldson still has some pop in his bat, and Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton are three of the most dangerous sluggers in the majors. The Yankees must be able to get on base though, and they need another pitcher to emerge outside of ace Gerrit Cole if they want to win their first World Series in 13 years.
Chicago White Sox
This is arguably the most intriguing team in the league. Chicago is in the weakest division in the AL, and the White Sox could conceivably win 100 games or more this season. They dealt with a lot of injuries in 2021, but they still managed to claim the AL Central title and win 93 games. Luis Robert is one of the most promising young talents in the league, and there are solid hitters throughout the lineup. This pitching staff is very underrated too, and the bullpen is one of the best in the AL.
Tampa Bay Rays
We have seen Tampa Bay turn over a new leaf this offseason. The Rays spent money on budding superstar Wander Franco, and they tried to acquire Freddie Freeman too. This franchise has long been known for its ability to get the most out of a miniscule payroll, but it sounds like the ownership is ready to loosen up the purse strings a little bit. They have won the AL East in back-to-back seasons and can’t be discounted despite the lack of house