The American League East features some of the top World Series contenders almost every year, and 2021 is no different with the New York Yankees leading the way as the overall favorite in the American League. The Yankees have retooled their roster quite a bit in recent years, and it’s kept them ahead of some surging younger teams. The Rays did take home the division crown in 2020 and even advanced to the World Series, but the Yankees look like the clear favorites in this division despite the Rays’ impressive run.
New York Yankees
World Series Odds: +550
American League Odds: +230
AL East Odds: -200
Win Total Over/Under: 95.5
MVP Contenders: Aaron Judge +1200, Gleyber Torres +2500, DJ LeMahieu +3300
Cy Young Contenders: Gerrit Cole +350, Corey Kluber +1800, Luis Severino +3000
ROY Contenders: Deivi Garcia +2200
The shortened 2020 season was heavily influenced by injuries for the Yankees, as almost all of their best players missed substantial amounts of time with various issues. Of the team’s position players, only Luke Voit, Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Wade played in at least 50 of the 60 games — while James Paxton made just five starts and Luis Severino didn’t make any. The Yanks are the class of the American League when healthy, and they made it to the second round of last year’s playoffs despite all of their issues. 2021’s lineup should look very similar to that of 2020, with the key offseason moves primarily happening on the mound. The Yankees added Corey Kluber and James Taillon to their roster, while Paxton is back in Seattle and Masahiro Tanaka will be pitching in Japan. In the end, those moves should be roughly a wash in terms of rotation depth.
Tampa Bay Rays
World Series Odds: +2500
American League Odds: +850
AL East Odds: +350
Win Total Over/Under: 85.5
MVP Contenders: Randy Arozarena +5000
Cy Young Contenders: Tyler Glasnow +950
ROY Contenders: Randy Arozarena +350, Wander Franco +1000, Brendan McKay +1800, Luis Patino +1800
Tampa Bay’s front office decisions are always curious, and this offseason was especially strange coming off of a trip to the World Series. The Rays offense should look roughly the same as the 2020 version, but the notable moves were the departures of Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, who were both integral parts of the World Series run. The Rays got back useful pieces in the Snell trade with the Padres — including a Rookie of the Year contender in Luis Patino (+1800) — but it continues a trend of the Rays always deferring resources further down the line. On a positive note, last year’s postseason star Randy Arozarena is actually the favorite for this year’s AL ROY (he didn’t have enough at-bats to qualify as a rookie last year), and he’s one of many young Rays players who could help push towards another deep playoff run if they can reach their potential sooner rather than later.
Toronto Blue Jays
World Series Odds: +2200
American League Odds: +875
AL East Odds: +350
Win Total Over/Under: 86.5
MVP Contenders: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. +2500, Bo Bichette +3300
Cy Young Contenders: Hyun-Jin Ryu +1300, Nate Pearson +3300
ROY Contenders: Nate Pearson +1500
The Blue Jays were a middle of the pack team in the American League last season, but with some solid offseason additions, they should have a good chance to contend for a playoff spot and perhaps even play deep into the postseason. The Jays’ 2020 squad was full of highly touted prospects, and while that’s still true in 2021, there are also some veterans now around to help solidify the roster. Marcus Semien should be an upgrade in the infield, but the most notable acquisition was George Springer, who figures to be the best power bat in what was already a powerful lineup. The big issues for Toronto at the moment are that Springer is currently dealing with an oblique injury and may miss Opening Day and, perhaps more significantly, that the Blue Jays won’t actually be playing in Toronto for much of this season. For at least the first part of the year, the Jays will be playing home games in their minor league affiliate stadiums, perhaps reducing their home field advantage.
Boston Red Sox
World Series Odds: +5000
American League Odds: +2300
AL East Odds: +2000
Win Total Over/Under: 80.5
MVP Contenders: Rafael Devers +3000, Xander Boegarts +3300
Cy Young Contenders: Eduardo Rodriguez +3500
ROY Contenders: Bobby Dalbec +1500
2020 was an uncharacteristically bad year for the Red Sox, as they actually finished a game behind the Orioles for last place in the AL East. Much of the struggle was due to injuries, however, a healthy starting rotation would go a very long way in making the Red Sox a playoff contender in 2021. It’s unclear how much Eduardo Rodriguez, Garrett Richards and, most importantly, Chris Sale will pitch this season, but good outcomes on that front should mean a good team for the upcoming season. This is still a roster with plenty of offensive talent, and while J.D. Martinez has taken a step back, Rafael Devers and Xander Boegarts are among the favorites for the AL MVP award. The development of Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec, as well as new additions Hunter Renfroe and Franchy Cordero, will be key components to a potential Boston playoff berth in 2021.
World Series Odds: +10000
American League Odds: +4000
AL East Odds: +5200
Win Total Over/Under: 64.5
MVP Contenders: N/A
Cy Young Contenders: N/A
ROY Contenders: Ryan Mountcastle +1200, Adley Rustchman +1200,
The Orioles are the lone team in the AL East with virtually no chance to make the postseason, as they’re over 50-to-1 to win the division and have a win total set at just 64.5 games. That doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to be excited about the 2021 Orioles, though, as they have a couple of prospects who could contend for the AL Rookie of the Year award in Ryan Mountcastle and Adley Rustchman. There’s virtually no question that this will be a bad team, but John Means and Anthony Santander were two players who took significant steps forward in 2020, and their furthered development should at least make them compelling players to watch as this season progresses.
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