The New York Yankees may be the most iconic team in baseball, but they should not be favored to win the AL East this year.
When you look at the New York Yankees roster, it’s easy to predict that they will contend for the World Series once again, but they’re the second-best team in the AL East. Although the sportsbooks have the Yankees as the betting favorite, the Toronto Blue Jays are, in fact, the best team in the division.
Aaron Judge was a much-deserved AL MVP winner last season, but the Blue Jays are no slouch with their own superstar in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Although last year was a “down-year” for him with 32 HR and 97 RBI, it was only two years ago that Guerrero Jr. led MLB in homers. As much as you’d think he was in his late 20s by looking at his swing and his career stats, Guerrero Jr. will only be 24 years old when the season starts, so the best is yet to come.
Don’t get me wrong, the Yankees are going to be a very good team this year, but their age can be troublesome. At 33 years old, Giancarlo Stanton can still hit a baseball to the moon, but there’s no way he’s going to play every day. If he can play more than the 110 games he played last year, then the Yankees have a chance at winning the division, but it should worry every Yankees fan that he probably won't actually do that.
Toronto Blue Jays Will Battle Yankees in AL East
Besides Judge in right field and Gleyber Torres at second base, the Blue Jays have an advantage at every position. Although Judge is the best player in the outfield, due to his offensive output, the Blue Jays’ combination of George Springer, Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho will form one of the best defensive outfields in baseball, which could arguably be more important than Judge's bashing by itself.
Judge may generate more offense, but the Blue Jays defense will deny their opponent from scoring many runs, as those three will have every gap covered.
As for the pitching, Gerrit Cole has the most notoriety, due to his awards, but you can’t sleep on Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt and even Jose Berrios. If Berrios can return to the pitcher he was with the Minnesota Twins, this rotation could be deadly every single night.
Luis Severino, Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes and Cole should still be a good rotation that wins a lot of
games, but I’d rather have the Blue Jays' combination ahead of opening day.
Odds and predictions don’t matter until these two teams start playing meaningful games in a few weeks, but the Bronx Bombers should be worried about their foes up north. Move over, Red Sox, the Yankees will have a new rival for the 2023 MLB season, as all 13 games against the Blue Jays this year should be epic.