June is here, and the MLB is heading into the dog days of summer. This is the time of year when baseball gets intricate. Teams have established themselves and shown who is who. Now in June, they start to make adjustments, buyers and sellers become evident, and the top teams will get targets painted on their backs.
The good becomes significant, the bad have to adjust, and the injuries throw wrenches into the plan constantly. So let’s look at the good, the bad, and the injured in the MLB’s most competitive division, the American League East.
AL East: The Good
The Tampa Bay Rays (42-19) are the best team in baseball. They have been electric, exciting, and almost unbelievable. In spring training, we made a bold prediction about Randy Arozarena. He has been outstanding this year, leading one of the lowest payrolls in baseball to a historic 2023 season.
Between Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, and Wander Franco, the trio is hitting over .300 and is on pace for 80+ HR and 300 runs combined, costing just $12.5 million this year. That is by far the best value in baseball. Arozarena and Diaz are slugging it out in the mix for the AL MVP.
Speaking of AL MVPs, the New York Yankees (35-25), despite their early season struggles and creeping up the AL East standings on the massive shoulders of the reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge.
Judge is looking to repeat his MVP-winning season with a 1.078 OPS and is currently on pace for 59 HR, even considering his IL trip. In addition, he robbed another home run on Saturday while crashing through the outfield wall in Los Angeles, his fourth of the year and 11th of his career, tying Mookie Betts and one behind Michael Trout. The Gold Glove is on Judge’s radar, and it’s the last major award he has yet to win.
AARON JUDGE HOME RUN ROBBERY
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 30, 2023
The Yankees are holding down the final wild card spot and closing in on the Orioles despite starting May in last place in the AL East.
Through Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles (37-22) held the top Wild Card spot. One of the biggest surprises in the AL East, led by a foursome of all-stars in Cedric Mullins, Jorge Mateo, Austin Hays, and Adley Rutschman, they are solid up and down the lineup.
Then there is the quiet Anthony Santander, who is having a fantastic season in Baltimore. The 28-year-old-Santander is hitting .266 on the season with a .875 OPS and nine home runs with a wRC+ of 127. Then they add Aaron Hicks, one of the worst players in baseball, and he has blown up in Baltimore.
Aaron. Hicks. 👀 pic.twitter.com/PpWujCywOY
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 4, 2023
Baltimore is good but needs to buy some pitching, homers, and batting average before the trade deadline if they want to make a deep run.