Remember the days when the Yankees and Red Sox defined a bipolar world of superpowers, with the Devil Rays (sic), Blue Jays, and Orioles representing little more than bystanders? That’s long gone.
Nick Cafardo writes that even though the Red Sox are projected as winter AL East favorites, the division appears once again to be one of prevailing parity.
It’s hard to imagine anyone taking umbrage with that sentiment given the extreme redefinition of the division this decade. From 1998 through 2006, it’s worth recalling, the Yankees won the division nine straight times; in most years, the only real question within the division was if the Red Sox had a chance to put up a credible challenge for the division or if their focus would be on the wild card.
But in the last 10 seasons, only one team (the 2011-12 Yankees) has won back-to-back division titles. Even more impressively, all five of the division’s members has claimed an AL East title in the last six years. How does that stack up to the other divisions in that time?
Division champions, 2010-15
AL East: 5
AL Central: 3
AL West: 3
NL East: 4
NL Central: 3
NL West: 3
The most top-heavy division in the game has become its most balanced – yet another sign of the declining significance of financial might as a decisive factor in team success.
Follow Alex Speier on Twitter at @alexspeier.