AL East: 5 Things To Watch In 2024

Pop quiz. Since 2008, how many times has a single division had four teams finish with a .500 record or better? 

Answer? Ten.

Pop quiz question number two. How many times has that feat been accomplished by the AL East? 

Answer? Eight. 

It is not an opinion or some hometown fan playing favoritism when it is stated that the American League East has been the best division in baseball for quite some time. And, considering that each of the last three seasons the AL East has had four teams finish with records above .500, it is clear that the goliath of baseball divisions has never been stronger. Here are, in no particular order, five hot topics surrounding the AL East as we head into the new campaign.

AL East: 5 Things to Watch In 2024

1. Expectations in the Inner Harbor

One of the most exciting young teams in the sport last year was the 101-win Baltimore Orioles. So, it should be no surprise that they are without a doubt something to pay attention to in the AL East this year. They are young, energetic, and talented. And now, with the additions of names like Craig Kimbrel and Corbin Burnes, they are a legitimately complete team. With the incredible amount of young talent the Orioles possess (only eight players on the entire 40-man roster are over the age of 30), they should be a real threat in the league for years to come. 

The one big question here, which will be fascinating to watch, is how these young kids respond to expectations. Last year was house money, in a sense: Young talent, looking to make a name for themselves. Well, the name has been made, and the expectation has now been set.

What was it that Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker at the beginning of Spiderman? “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, in a similar sense, these Baltimore Orioles have infused a ton of hope, promise, and expectation into the fan base in the inner harbor.

How will Adley Rutschman perform now that he is looked at as one of the premier catchers in the sport? Will Gunnar Henderson be able to take the next step forward in his development? Can Kyle Bradish go back-to-back sub-3.00 ERA seasons? What will happen with the ultra-talented Grayson Rodriguez? These are all questions that will be exciting to see answered as this highly anticipated season begins in Baltimore.

2. Juan Soto

One of the unfortunate truths about superstars playing out west is that some of the biggest markets in the sport don’t get to see much more than an ESPN highlight of these guys playing. The 10:00 pm first pitch is a killer for baseball fans on the East Coast hoping to catch a glimpse of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, or Fernando Tatis Jr. But fret not! Arguably the best pure hitter in the sport is back on the East Coast! And not in some mid-market area like Washington, but in the pinnacle of the sports world, New York City. 

The daydreaming about what Juan Soto will do in a Yankee uniform is hard to turn off. Without allowing the thought that this might be a one-year deal to creep in, Yankee fans are euphoric over what this season might look like with Juan Soto hitting in front of Aaron Judge. Not only will the on-base king continue to use his selective approach at the plate to feast, but he will inevitably see better pitches to hit with pitchers afraid of putting him on base in front of the Yankee captain. He is a gap-to-gap threat, sure. But the fact that he is now going to be taking his swings in a stadium that was originally constructed for left-handed power bats, he should be able to make a run at a career-high in the home run department (a personal record he set last season with 35 long balls).

The “Soto Shuffle” alone will get people to tune in this summer. But perhaps the greatest attribute that Juan Soto brings with him to the Bronx, is availability. After all, they say that the best ability is availability. And Juan Soto is always available. If you believe in jinxes, skip ahead and don’t read the next few sentences. But the fact is that one of the Yankees issues in recent years has been the fact that their big superstars spend a lot of time on the IL. Juan Soto played in 162 games last year, 153 games in 2022, and 151 games in 2021. Yankee fans should be salivating at those numbers alone.

3. The Yankees Starting Rotation

Perhaps the true wild card in the entire division this season will be the Yankees starting rotation. Should the rotation perform, the Yankees should be able to make a run at a World Series title number 28. But the honest reality for Yankee fans is that this rotation is a complete question mark outside of the reigning Cy-Young winner, Gerrit Cole (who, of course, is now looking at an extended absence himself).

It is possible that Carlos Rodon will return to his 2022 form and strike out 200+ batters while pitching to a sub-3.00 ERA. The reality is that he has made 25+ starts only three times in his first nine seasons, and has battled injury after injury after injury throughout his career.

It is possible that Marcus Stroman comes in and his intense “gamer” mentality helps him deliver in the pressure cooker of New York. The reality is that Stroman’s ERA has been on a steady incline the last three seasons and he has folded under some of the scrutiny that comes with major market spotlights. The 2022 Nestor Cortes may be back after an injury-shortened 2023. The reality is that Nestor still only has one full season as a starter where he delivered a sub 4.90 ERA.

You get the point. Yankee fans know that the lineup will produce. But will the rotation pull their weight? If they do, watch out. If they don’t, it will be yet another year added to the World Series drought that Yankees fans are desperately trying to rid themselves of.

4. Who is the “best of the rest”?

This isn’t meant to be an insult. And obviously, anything can happen over 162. That is the beauty of this sport. But the truth is that on paper, the Orioles and the Yankees are the teams to beat in the AL East heading into the season. So it will be interesting to see how the rest of the division shapes up.

The Rays are still without a doubt the franchise that does the most with the least in the entire sport. They have become perennial contenders in the division and have not finished a season below .500 since 2017.

Randy Arozarena has become a household name, Yandy Diaz has seen his batting average steadily rise since becoming a full-time starter and hit .330 last year. Isaac Paredes was a two-run homer short of 100 RBIs and both Lowe’s (Josh and Brandon) have the potential to provide additional pop throughout the lineup. The big issue here is that they lost Tyler Glasnow to the Dodgers. But again, this team does more with less than anyone else, and they always seem to find ways to pitch and pitch well. 

North of the border poses a threat in this division as well. Toronto has plenty to offer heading into this season. A lineup featuring Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, and George Springer is not one that an opposing pitcher can take lightly. And the rotation, at least on paper, possesses incredible potential.

Kevin Gausman has watched his strikeout numbers jump up over the last three seasons while simultaneously posting the three lowest ERA totals in his career. Chris Bassitt has become a beacon of consistency as he has made at least 25 starts in every season dating back to 2019 (excluding the COVID season of course) while posting sub 4.00 ERAs. And names like Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi have the potential to turn in an all-star season at any moment. 

While this leaves Boston as probably the favorite to finish last in the division this year, even they have enough names in the lineup to provide a sense of excitement for the season. Who will be the best of the rest? Will these three franchises challenge the favorites at the top of the pecking order? The answers lie at the end of the summer.

5. Jackson Holliday

MLB’s number one prospect is here in the AL East. So of course this is something to pay attention to this summer. Jackson Holliday has been on the radar of any MLB fan for a few years now, and this might be the summer when the prospect becomes professional.

The first-round draft pick has dazzled in his short time in the minor leagues and hit .323 last season over 125 games at four different levels. However, what is perhaps the most impressive accomplishment is the fact that Holliday walked 101 times. That level of patience in a young, and highly anticipated, prospect is extraordinarily promising. As if the fans in Baltimore needed anything else to get them excited this year, the thought of Jackson Holliday being added to this already impressive and young roster is a cherry on top of what should be a fun season.

Time Will Tell

Ultimately, time will tell whether or not this powerhouse of a division continues to be the toughest one in the sport. But there is a lot to look forward to throughout the American League East this year. Young, budding talent? Check. Deep and threatening lineups? Check. World Series caliber rosters? Check. This should be a fun 162 for AL East fans this summer.

Main Image:  Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

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Soto for MVP baby! Weather is warming and baseball is back baby! Can’t wait!


Cole’s injury has severely dampened my excitement for the season. Unfortunately. Yanks might not have a shot vs the O’s with no Cole imo

jose realll



get ittttt


Good article very professional👍

Cathan Farah-Ancona

Good Job. Ryan Curto is my 8th Grade history teacher.


can your next article be about basketball please? This one was good but i’m more interested in basketball.


Love the article

Adam Medina

All of these things to watch are so good, I’m not even sure where to start!! Keep it up 🤫🧏


Awesome site, looking forward to more !




fire article


fire article dude keep it up man

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