2022 American League East Power Rankings
After a contentious lockout between the players and the owners, both sides were able to create a new collective bargaining agreement. Now, a new MLB season is thankfully upon us. No games will be cancelled, and fans can prepare for what is shaping up to be an epic 162 game saga. And after a flurry of offseason moves that occurred (and are still going on), once the lockout ended, many teams feel they have positioned themselves as serious postseason threats. But how to separate the contenders, from the pretenders? That is what this series of articles will attempt to do, as each division will receive their power rankings. To begin, we start with one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the American League East.
Last Place- Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles fans have a lot to be excited about in the coming years. This season, however, is not something to look forward to. Cedric Mullins had a great breakout season last year, Trey Mancini just won Comeback Player of the Year, and catching prospect, Adley Rustchman, looks like a Rookie of The Year favorite behind Bobby Witt of the Royals. But beyond those three studs, there isn’t much to be enthusiastic about. The starting rotation is one of the worst in baseball, and the bullpen is doing them no favors either. The Orioles will be competitive in the near future. But this year, in a stacked AL East, they’re lambs to the slaughter.
Fourth Place- New York Yankees
Beyond the Orioles, places 4-1 are a crapshoot in the AL East. Any one of these next four teams could end up in 1st place, just as easily as they could end up in 4th. With that being said, the New York Yankees have too many risk factors involved with their roster this year to put them higher than 4th. There is a lot to like about the boys in pinstripes this season. Aaron Judge is a
top ten outfielder, Gerrit Cole is a top four starting pitcher, and the trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa gives them a much needed upgrade at shortstop defensively. But the success of the Yankees hinges too much on the health of aging veterans like Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson. The bullpen also is not what it has been in previous seasons. Aroldis Chapman looked very hittable last year, and beyond Johnathon Losaiga, there is not a lot of reliability in the later innings. Too many things have to go right for the Yankees to finish higher in this division than fourth.
Third Place- Boston Red Sox
Offensively, the Boston Red Sox have the potential to once again be a wrecking crew. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers compose an elite duo on the left side of the infield, J.D. Martinez has shown no signs of slowing down despite his age, and Alex Verdugo is blossoming into a promising outfielder. But pitching wins championships, and the Red Sox have little to offer in that department. Chris Sale is once again on the shelf indefinitely, this time with a stress fracture in his ribs. So where does that leave the rotation? Nate Eovaldi once again becomes the ace of the staff, and the Red Sox have to hope they can squeeze decent performances out of Nick Pivetta, the ageless wonder, Rich Hill, and the sophomore, Tanner Houck. The offense will ensure that they stay competitive, and even give them a chance at winning the division, but a starting pitching collapse looks inevitable at this point.
Second Place- Toronto Blue Jays
The word that seems most fitting when describing the 2022 Toronto Blue Jays, is sexy. Vladimir Guerrero is an AL MVP front runner while only being 23 years old, the front office made up for the loss of Cy Young winner, Robbie Ray, by extending Jose Berrios, and signing breakout pitcher Kevin Gausman. Additionally, Toronto should get a full season out of star outfielder, George Springer, after his 2021 campaign was riddled with injuries. So why are they second in the power rankings? Their bullpen could be an Achilles heel for them this season. Jordan Romano solidified himself as a dependable closer in 2021, posting a 2.14 ERA. But the bridge to
get to Romano is at best, rocky. Free agent signing, Yimi Garcia, is projected to be the setup man, but he had an ERA of 4.21 in 2021, and no other reliever besides Romano is projected to have an ERA below 3.50 by FanGraphs. The Blue Jays have great starting pitching and a wrecking crew of an offense, but the bullpen could cost them crucial games that keep them from winning the division.
First Place- Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays have won the AL East crown two years in a row. They won 100 games last year, which was third-most in MLB behind the Giants and Dodgers. Yet somehow, the Blue Jays are already being crowned division victors by pundits across baseball. Toronto has certainly bolstered their roster during this offseason, but let’s not forget who the real king of the AL East is. Tampa Bay has one of the most complete rosters in all of baseball. Young guns Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz headline a promising starting rotation. The bullpen is projected to be one of the best in baseball. And Wander Franco anchors one of the most elite offenses in baseball. They aren’t as flashy as Toronto, and they don’t spend the big bucks like the Yankees. But until someone comes and knocks them down, it’s Tampa Bay’s division to lose.