MLB first quarter review: American League

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May 19, 2017 by salucco

Gary Sanches (left) and Aaron Judge (right) have fans excited about the Yankees this season. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Written by Alex Salucco

The Twins are leading the AL Central, the Sox are in third in the AL East and the Bronx Bombers are leading that division and are for real. One of those statements will remain true by the end of the season. Guys, the Yankees could make a deep playoff run.

AL East – When the Yankees aren’t retiring a players number just simply playing for the team, they are playing great baseball.

Their offense is clicking; they rank third in dingers, runs and OBP while ranking second in average and OPS. But it isn’t just their bats that are producing, their arms are also performing well.

Their staff is fifth in ERA, fourth in WHIP, third in runs allowed and walks and second in batting average against. They will undoubtedly be buyers at the deadline and this team will only continue to get better.

This is a three team race and, for the first time in a while, the Blue Jays are not one of those teams. Normally their offense keeps them in it, but they have only scored the 22nd most runs in the league thus far. Should they have resigned Edwin? Hmmm……

Buck Showalter’s Orioles always make it interesting, but their pitching is not consistent enough to keep them in the hunt come September. Their new rivals, the Boston Red Sox, have been disappointing thus far, but they are about to get David Price back…but will that help?

The staff of the Sox is already pitching well by ranking ninth in ERA, seventh in runs allowed and fifth in WHIP. Their problem is that they need to swing the bat. A lot of the pitching numbers come from Chris Sale who the team acquired from the White Sox for top prospects Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada.

Interesting enough is that  the teams of the feet blankets are exploring other deals.

But, as Carrabis would later tweet, the Sox do not have the farm talent to comfortably make a deal for either guy: especially Quintana who is under contract through 2020. Regardless, although it might look like it, the Sox biggest need is not another starter, it’s a bat. If they can get one, or if Xander could find his pop, the Sox should be able to make a bid for a ring.

But, for now, I have the Yanks taking the division.

AL Central – The Twins are ranked in the bottom half of just about every single major statistical category, but somehow they lead the central. I feel like that is all anybody needs to know about the Twins. Oh yeah, and maybe that Ervin Santana might be suspended for taking PEDs for a second time. Stay woke.

Are the Indians guaranteed the division? I don’t know. They haven’t stunk but they haven’t wowed me either. Lindor has looked good, even though people don’t want to admit that there are still clear flaws in his offensive game, and Miller has picked up where he left off. But, for the most part, the team has underperformed.

The pitching is more bad than good and the bats of Kipnis and Encarnacion have and APB out for them. Detroit is sneaking up, but they look like a similar team to me. Both teams have struggled and I think it’s going to come down to who stays healthier, or who sucks the least; take your pick.

AL West – The two teams from Texas have each won 9 out of their last 10 games but only one of them look like they are good enough to make the postseason.

I think people expected Houston to be good, but not this good. I said it at the beginning of the season; Keuchel needed to be an ace again. Well, Keuchel is an ace again. The southpaw is 7-0 with an ERA under 1.90 and a WHIP under 0.90.

I also mentioned that the offseason additions needed to contribute and they have. Veterans Josh Reddick and Brian McCann have provided patient at-bats to a lineup that features a lot of first pitch-swinging youngsters.

If you add these things to the season that Lance McCullers is having and this outstanding bullpen, we could be looking at a World Series favorite come October.

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