AL East: Can All 5 Teams Finish Above .500?

by | Jul 15, 2022 | Baseball, Patriot Press

Everyone predicted the AL East would be a tough division this year but who knew we’d be so right.

Early in the year it seemed like there would be a 4-team fight for top of the division while the Orioles fell to their usual last place. Well don’t look now but the Orioles may be one of the two hottest teams in the MLB after ten wins in a row. In that span the Rays are the only other AL East team to have a winning record. Toronto fired their manager, and the Red Sox seem to be too streaky to be comfortable enough to win games. This win streak has brought Baltimore within four games of second in the division. Oh, and the other thing that happened is the entire division is now above .500 on the season.

In the recent era of baseball, typically referred to as the Wild Card Era, only one time has an entire division finished at or above .500: the 2005 NL East. Never have all five teams finished above .500, as the Nationals were 81-81 in that ‘05 campaign. This is not a first for the AL East, in 2012 all five teams were over .500 for a single day on July 15th. The only other time all teams have been above .500 this late in a season was the same ’05 NL East, but they were unable to all finish above an even record.

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This raises the question: what are the odds of it happening in the 2022 AL East?

We turned back to the Strength of Schedule model from June to determine the odds of each team getting to the necessary 82 wins. The Yankees are already at 62 wins with 74 games to go, their odds of reaching 82 wins are near 100%. For Tampa and Toronto, a slightly easier schedule gives them higher chances of reaching the mark than Boston and Baltimore. Boston has what is forecasted as the hardest schedule in the league at this point and Baltimore needs a 51% win percentage with 57% of their games still against AL East rivals. Overall, using a binomial distribution, this gives the odds of all five teams finishing at 82 wins or more at only 17.12%.

If we lower the standard to just the odds of each reaching at least .500 (only 81 wins instead of 82), we see a higher probability at 27.43%. The jump comes from a large increase of Boston and Baltimore, for example where Baltimore has a 53% chance of winning 81 games compared to 44% chance of winning 82 games.

The second half of the season after the All-Star break just got even more exciting because only three teams can win the wild card. Not to mention the resurgence of Seattle in the AL West in this mix and a few other teams right behind Baltimore in the standings. Let us see if history can be made on the road to October.

Current Odds to Win the Division

Yankees (-4000)

Blue Jays (+4000)

Rays (+6000)

Red Sox (+7000)

Orioles (+20000)

What are Odds?

Odds are the measure of how much you can win based on how much you bet, per $100. Odds are included in all forms of betting, whether it’s moneylines, spreads, totals, or props.

Example: -110 means you need to bet $110 to make a potential profit of $100 (or $11 for a $10 potential profit).

+110 means you need to make a $100 bet for $110 potential profit (or $10 bet for an $11 potential profit).

The plus odds refer to the underdog, while the minus odds refer to the favorite. So, if the Patriots are playing the Jets, the Patriots may be favored at -120. The Jets on the other side, being the underdogs would be set at +100.