The American League East is the best division in baseball this season by a pretty substantial margin.
The most eye-opening example of that dominance was this stat posted by ESPN’s Buster Olney on Sunday morning comparing the combined run differentials of the six divisions in the Major Leagues.
Just look at how far away the American League East is from every other division.
That is a staggering level of dominance compared to the other five divisions. The only other division on the positive side of the ledger going into Sunday was the National League Central, at only plus-13. The AL East is 212 runs better!
A lot of that edge comes from the first-place Tampa Bay Rays who own a plus-126 run differential that is by far the best mark in baseball. The Texas Rangers (plus-98) are the only other team better than plus-62 for the season.
But this isn’t just about the Rays. Every other team in the American League East has a run differential of at least plus-12, while all five of them rank within the top-14 in the league. They are also all at least four games above .500 going into Sunday, and have a combined record of 104-54 against every other division in baseball. It is the perfect storm of a couple of big-market, big-spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox sharing a division with three teams that have built deep lineups in Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto all emerging as contenders at the same time. The division not only features five of the best teams, but also some of the best and most exciting individual talent in the league with Aaron Judge (Yankees), Vladimir Guerrero (Blue Jays), Wander Franco (Tampa Bay), and Adley Rutschman (Baltimore) all calling the division home. As the standings sit entering Sunday, there would be three playoff teams from the division (Tampa Bay, Baltimore and New York) with Boston and Toronto both within 1.5 games of a Wild Card spot. It is going to be an amazing race for the playoffs this season in the division.