As of May 10th, the Royals, Blue Jays, and Rangers are leading their divisions in the AL. All three are unlikely teams in first place. The Royals and Rangers are perennial losers that both finished under .500 last season and the Blue Jays play in a loaded division with the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Rays. The question remains: who can hold on to there first place spot? Well, none of them.
The Royals are the team with the best shot of contending in their division after May. These lovable losers from theMidwest are young and fiery, but altogether inexperienced. KC’s pitching is a big reason for their success. Starting pitcher Zack Greinke is 6-1 with a nasty ERA of 0.51. Pair Greinke with closer Joakim Soria and the KC has an automatic win. The Royals have the lowest ERA in the AL with 3.49 and the lowest WHIP in the AL with 1.29. Youth and inconsistent hitting will be the Royals achilles heel. The Royals ranked in the bottom half of almost every major batting statistic, including 12th (out of 14) in batting average. You can’t get by in this league on pitching alone.
The Blue Jays are at a disadvantage of playing in such an outstanding division. Lead by the pitching of Roy Halliday (6 wins), the Jays have jumped to a 21-12 record. However, the Red Sox are getting hot and are 19-12, and the Yankees have just gotten A-Rod back, which could jump start their season. The Blue Jays have been hitting better than any team in the league, ranking first in batting average and runs scored, and ranking second in on base percentage. Toronto has troubles closing out games, though, recording only 6 saves as a team on the season. The Blue Jays need a consistent closer to finish of games, especially in divisional games.
The Texas Rangers are a peculiar team. They don’t have any superstars, nor any players that are dramatically overachieving. Yet, they are getting by and are currently holding a 1 game lead on the Angels for first. 34-year-old pitcher Kevin Millwood leads the team with 3 wins, but also has three losses. Third basemen Michael Young is having himself a productive year, but nothing spectacular. With the Angels heating up, I don’t see the Rangers picking up their level of play. They are faceless and don’t have any real leaders, they will sputter out soon.