American League Report: Team Recaps and Biggest Questions

Baseball, MLB article at Knup Sports

Check out our American League Report where we go over all of the teams and the biggest questions.

AL East

Tampa Bay Rays (35-21) – Currently the Rays sit atop arguably the best division in the American League. They have been led by the bats of Joey Wendle and Austin Meadows who is currently 9th in home runs on the season. The Rays rivalry with the Yankees has intensified after defeating the Yankees 3-2 in the ALDS last season.

The Rays have been able to stay fairly healthy throughout the season and have been very quiet as far as transactions go.

Question: When will they call up top prospect Wander Franco to continue to bolster their already hot lineup?

Boston Red Sox (32-22) – After week 1 the Red Sox looked like they may have been a lost cause for the 2021 season. However, Boston found a way to break through and their bats have been hot ever since. Four every day starters in Devers, Verdugo, Bogaerts, and Martinez are all batting over .275.

Boston has had some questions in their rotation, ranking in the bottom 3rd of the league in opponent batting average. They have one of the lowest average IP per starting pitcher in the entire MLB. However their bullpen has been able to pick up this slack ranking 5th in Holds as a unit.

The next question for the Red Sox is when will Chris Sale be able to return and will he be able to return to the 2017-2018 Chris Sale or will he continue to struggle as we saw in 2019?

New York Yankees (30-25) – The Yankees have been considered disappointing by most thus far in the season. Not a single Yankee who qualifies is batting over .300 Aaron Judge being the closest at .297. DJ Lemahieu has not played anywhere close to the level he played last season

The Yankees have been plagued by injuries this season missing first baseman Luke Voit for most of the year and center fielder Aaron Hicks was just placed on the 60-day IL.

The Yankees currently have the 5th worst batting average in the entire major league.

Gerrit Cole has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball up to this point, ranking top 6 in wins, ERA, and strikeout per nine innings. However, the same cannot be said for the rest of the Yankee rotation which has been extremely inconsistent.

New York acquired Rougned Odor who has also struggled since joining the team.

Question: Can the Yankees get healthy and can they start to hit the ball consistently?

Toronto Blue Jays (28-25) – The Blue Jays have the youngest lineup in baseball and find themselves right in the mix. This team could be a real threat in the future.

It seemed like only a matter of time before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had his breakout. It came in a huge way. He leads the league in home runs with 17, is second in RBIs with 45, and sits at third with a .337 batting average. Vladdy is currently in contention for the first triple crown since Miguel Cabrera.

Marcus Semien who was signed in the offseason is rounding out the lineup batting .300 on the year.

This is a solid team who is 2nd in the league in batting average and home runs.

The Blue Jays pitching has let them down this season. At some points ace Hyun Jin Ryu looks untouchable, but at some points he finds himself getting shelled. After Ryu and Steven Matz the Jays have struggled to round out their rotation.

Question: Can the Blue Jays hot lineup get support from its pitching staff?

Baltimore Orioles (18-37) – The Orioles got off to a hot start. Then proceeded to sink to the worst record in baseball.

Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini have led the batting for the Orioles both having solid seasons.

Mancini’s success has developed into a great story after his return from cancer.

Orioles lefty starter John Means threw a no-hitter which was one of the only highlights of the Orioles season thus far.

The Orioles are in the bottom 3rd of the league in both hitting and pitching and do not look like they will be in contention any time soon.

Question: How will the Orioles compete with a division that just seems to have endless talent?

AL Central

Chicago White Sox (33-22) – The White Sox currently sit atop one of the weakest divisions in baseball. They have found success within their young lineup. They hold the 4th best batting average in the major leagues with rookie Yermin Mercedes leading the way batting .304 on the season.

Tim Andersen and Yoan Moncada are both ranked in the top 25 in the majors for batting average.

The White Sox have found this success despite last year’s AL MVP, Jose Abreu not playing at the same level this season.

The White Sox also rank 5th in ERA. Although he does not currently qualify, Lance Lynn has quietly become a dominant force in the White Sox rotation boasting a 6-1 record and a 1.37 ERA.

The White Sox have been without the power bat of Eloy Jimenez and AL rookie of the year runner up Luis Robert who are both expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Question: Can the White Sox continue their success with the bats and can their fairly untested bullpen rise to the occasion when called upon down the road?

Cleveland Indians (30-24) – The Cleveland Indians have been able to keep their heads above water despite what on paper looks like an extremely below average team.

After trading away both Mike Clevinger and Francisco Lindor the team’s future was definitely one that was uncertain.

Jose Ramirez leads the Indians in just about every relevant batting statistic. Despite him leading the team his numbers don’t exactly jump off of the page he is batting just .258 with a respectable 13 home runs to this point.

The reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber has been far from dominant. Although he has fanned the most hitters thus far he holds a 3.08 ERA and has allowed a .220 batting average to opposing players.

Despite all of this the Indians have been able to hold an above .500 record and would be the 3rd Wild Card team if the season ended today. The Indians who have the 3rd worst batting average in baseball cannot continue to win at this rate.

Question: Who is going to step up and stand out with the former face of the franchise Lindor being traded to New York?

Kansas City Royals (27-26) – Since the Royals back to back world series appearances in 2014 and 2015 they have not held an above .500 record or had a playoff appearance. The Royals are beginning to mold back into a playoff team.

The Royals have found success in the bats of Andrew Benitendi who they acquired from Boston and Salvador Perez. They currently hold a top 10 batting average in the league. However, they rank in the bottom half with runners in scoring position.

Power hitter Jorge Soler has been an extreme disappointment batting just .178 with 4 home runs.

The team has not found an ace however and is still looking for consistency within their rotation. Out of all of their starters with double digit starts not a single one has an ERA below 4.50.

The Royals have missed out on speedster Aldaberto Mondesi who has appeared in just 7 games. Jorge Soler is also currently day-to-day along with starting pitcher Danny Duffy who is on the 10-day IL but will return soon barring any setback.

Question: Can the Royals begin to string together some quality outings from their rotation and can the lineup string together some solid situation hitting?

Detroit Tigers (23-32) – The Tigers have been one of the streakiest teams in baseball. Out of their 17 series this season they have been swept four times and hold 4 sweeps themselves.

This is a Detroit team that just currently lacks starpower. In 2012 Miguel Cabrera won the triple crown and became one of the biggest stars in Tigers history. The Tigers have yet to find another player like Miggy.

The Tigers currently rank in the bottom 5 in hitting and the bottom 10 in pitching, but have been able to keep themselves within striking distance of the Wild Card. However, it seems like the Tigers are in rebuilding mode.

Despite the poor starts from their pitching staff many believe this rotation can develop into a strong one with 4 solid starters. They have one of the youngest rotations in baseball and once these guys like Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, and Casey Mize develop you could be looking at a dangerous rotation.

Question: Who will fill the superstar role in Detroit that has been left open by Miguel Cabrera?

Minnesota Twins (22-32) – The Twins have had an extremely disappointing season up to this point. They are currently ten games below .500 and sit last in the AL Central.

Up until his injury, Byron Buxton was having one of the best seasons of his career and was looking to become one of the biggest breakout stars in the league this season. He was batting .370 and has been rehabbing and the Twins hope to have him back soon.

Veterans Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz have had fairly average seasons batting .274 and .241 respectively.

The pitching staff has lacked, holding the 6th worst ERA in the majors which has led the team to one of the worst records in the AL.

Question: Will the Twins deal their veterans before the deadline or will they position themselves to make a run at the playoffs?

AL West

Oakland Athletics (32-25) – Despite their current spot at the top of the AL West the A’s are another team searching for their identity.

The Athletics are in the bottom half of the league pitching wise and the bottom 5 in batting average. However, they are top ten in opponent batting average with runners in scoring position. This has allowed the A’s to stay in games and scrape together some wins.

Ramon Laureano leads the team with 1.9 wins above replacement. He has been a key with his defensive prowess and has been able to find his way on base with a .332 on-base percentage.

Yusmeiro Petit has been one of the best relievers in baseball bolstering an undefeated 7-0 record. He has been one of the first relievers to insert his name into the Cy Young conversation in years.

Question: Will the A’s make any moves before the trade deadline to improve their struggling lineup?

Houston Astros (30-24) – The most hated team in the majors is quietly playing their way into title contention.

The Astros currently have the best lineup in baseball. They lead the league in batting average and runs and also have 6 players batting above .270. Yordan Alvarez (.315) and Jose Altuve (.303) are 7th and 11th respectively in league batting average.

The pitching staff has been an issue with ace Justin Verlander out for the season and an aging Zack Greinke not producing the numbers he once had. The bullpen has the 20th ERA out of all teams and this has held the team back from having one of the best records in the league.

With Verlander missing the Astros could be in the talks for a pitcher before the trade deadline rolls around.

Question: Can anyone stop the hot bats of the Astros and will the pitching staff be enough to allow the Astros to contend for the World Series?

Seattle Mariners (28-28) – Average is the perfect way to describe this Mariners team. This is a team that could definitely contend in the future.

The Mariners are one of the youngest teams in baseball and have a team that could breakout in the coming years. They certainly have all the right pieces to do so.

Mitch Haniger is having a solid season with 14 home runs and batting .264.

Former AL Roty Kyle Lewis has been hurt for a large portion of the season and is currently rehabbing and will be optioned to the minors to get back in the swing.

The rotation is a big question for Seattle; they have received many short outings from their starters. They have 3 top 100 prospects in their farm system that could develop into solid pitchers in the coming years.

Question: Are the Mariners willing to wait it out or will they make changes in the front office?

Los Angeles Angels (25-30) – Another non exciting year for a team with two of the most exciting players in baseball.

Mike Trout is never injured. So this injury came as a surprise to everyone. Before Trout went out with a lower leg injury he was batting .333 which is expected from the best player in baseball. Mike Trout has only reached the playoffs once in his career and the Angels were swept in three games.

Shohei Ohtani has hit 15 home runs and has a respectable 2.72 ERA. The Angels have been unable to string together wins which has been consistent for most of Mike Trout’s career.

The Angels have always built solid rosters around Trout, but they can never seem to put together any wins. Dylan Bundy who is viewed as the Angels ace has an 0-6 record and one of the worst ERAs out of qualified pitchers.

Question: What do the Angels need to become a playoff team and will Mike Trout stick around to find out?

Texas Rangers (22-34) – Not many expected much from the Rangers this season. However, I think the Rangers have made the most out of what they currently have.

Adolis Garcia has broken out batting .285 and has the 3rd most home runs in baseball with 16. He has been the bright spot in an otherwise dark season for the Rangers.

Kyle Gibson has also been extremely solid. He is 3-0 in 10 starts with 9 quality starts. The rest of the pitching staff has not been able to deliver the same numbers as Gibson.

Question: Will the Rangers try to develop what they already have or will they search for new players?

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