NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox bats during the second inning of his final game at Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees on September 29, 2016 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The American League East is one of the toughest divisions to win in baseball. With the 2017 season just around the corner, we count down the five steps for victory for teams in the AL East.

5 Reasons to Be Excited About the 2017 American League East

  1. Get past Boston’s pitching staff

Boston had a great starting staff on paper in 2016. With the likes of Price, Porcello, Buchholz, Rodriguez, this is the first key to success against Boston. The team’s power doesn’t stop there, but success against this pitching staff is going to be slim pickings.

2. Take advantage of the ballparks

The American League East has some of the smallest ballparks in MLB—consider the short porches at Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards, and the Green Monster in Boston.  The AL East is known for allowing a ton of homers and that appears to be no different this season with the offensive additions made to each team’s lineup, save for Toronto losing Encarnacion.

3. Pitch better than your opponents.

The AL has been known for it’s amazing offensive capability, but it very rarely gets recognized for it’s pitching. With a Blue Jays rotation that features the likes of sophomore starter and MLB 17 The Show Canadian Cover athlete Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada, the Jays have their own weapons on the mound that aren’t far behind Boston. The rest of the AL East also has strong starting pitchers which could make this a strong year of close games amongst teams in the division.

4. Depth is key

The one thing that has and will always continue to haunt the American League East is depth. Some of the teams have really stocked up on acquiring depth, while others have opted for a more ‘win now’ mentality. The depth of these teams will be tested with several teams having injury-plagued seasons last year.

5. Bring the speed

The American League East is not known for producing piles of stolen bases, but perhaps that will change this year. With some teams trading in the home run ball for a more balanced attack, they will be relying on extra base hits and more stolen bases. Toronto has a speedster in Dalton Pompey who has yet to reach the surface of what he is able to do. The Yankees have their dynamic speed duo of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

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