MLB Futures: Beyond the Yanks, what are the prospects for AL East teams?
With an advantage of thirteen games in the MLB Futures American League East, the New York Yankees are going to win it. Well, that is, unless a major disaster strikes.
But BetOnline patrons know that it’s not over for the other AL East clubs. Nope, not by a longshot. With three wild card slots available, it’s wide open. They could all conceivably be from the division, in fact.
What they do before the trade deadline may have a major effect on what happens in August and September. It’s two weeks away (August 2). Some might move strongly; some may not. But if the playoff format was meant to create some drama, it’s working.
Let’s look at the other teams in the AL East who are very much alive. In this division, that’s everybody. We included some over-under figures for wins, as they have been posted at BetOnline.
MLB Futures Baltimore Orioles
|Over 76 Wins||-115|
|Under 76 Wins||-115|
They’ve been one of the bigger surprises in the big leagues, maybe the biggest. When you win 52 games one season and almost reach that by the All-Star break the next, you deserve some recognition. And so Brandon Hyde has to be considered a candidate for manager of the year as he brought his team into the break with a 46-46 record. And they are doing this without John Means, their top starting pitcher, who’s had to have Tommy John surgery.
Their recent ten-game win streak, which dropped them right into the middle of the American League wild card race (there are three wild cards this season), changes the landscape as far as how they view the trade deadline. At the outset of the season it was thought that maybe someone like Cedric Mullens (a 30-30 guy last season) would bring some value, but aside from that possibility happening with Trey Mancini, will they be sellers or instead buyers? That will determine whether they are “over” or “under” on this one.
MLB Boston Red Sox
|Over 84 Wins||-115|
|Under 84 Wins||-115|
The Sox have underachieved, without question. Or perhaps this kind of so-so effort was expected, as the pitching staff didn’t look so deep at the start of the season?
Boston has the “Big Three” of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez on the offensive end, but the reason they went to the All-Star break only three games over .500, despite a record of 20-6 in June, is that they not only lag behind most of these wild card teams in the pitching department, but also have seen some injury problems there.
Losing Chris Sale doesn’t help. And neither does the fact that Alex Cora’s team hasn’t been able to beat its own division rivals (just 12-26 in the AL East).
The Red Sox could be competitive in terms of making a deal. But they are, at best, lonsghots to land someone like, say, Juan Soto. Unless they drastically improve against the rest of the division, they’re sliding “under” their designated total.
MLB Futures Tampa Bay Rays
|Over 87½ Wins||-115|
|Under 87½ Wins||-115|
The Rays (51-41 at the break), as you probably know, are a team that is heavily influenced by analytics, and they have the guys who really know how to get on base (Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Harold Ramirez). Coming into the season, we figured they would have a good bullpen. But there has been help that came from unexpected places.
For one thing, two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber has made a comeback. That, truthfully, started last year with the Yankees). But he’s had a very solid 1.12 WHIP. And Shane McClanahan is a prime Cy Young candidate, with a 1.71 ERA. That earned him the starting nod in the All-Star Game. And yes, he was “reached” by the NL. But he’s allowed just 5.6 hits per nine innings. That’s phenomenal.
The Rays might pull some minor moves before the trade deadline. But this is a low-budget team, so we’re not sure about anything that shakes people up. But we have enough trust in the organization to take the “over” here.
MLB Futures Baltimore Orioles
|Over 89 Wins||-115|
|Under 89 Wins||-115|
They were the choice of many to walk away with the AL East title, But they’re not close, and that’s been a disappointment. And we say that despite the fact that they are near the top of the widl card race.
Obviously management thought so, as manager Charlie Montoyo got the hook. We’ll see if interim guy John Schneider provides a long-term spark.
There should be no doubt about Toronto’s ability to score runs. Having the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, George Springer, Matt Chapman, et al, is an indication of the power that is available. And you saw young catcher Alejandro Kirk (11 HR, .315 BA) in the All-Star Game.
But they are thin on the back end of the rotation. This is a well-heeled team that should be in “buy” mode in the trade market. And ultimately that might put them “over.”
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