I will admit it: part of the reason I felt like writing a piece looking at how the AL East was shaping up this far in the season is because the Yankees are sitting on top. But regardless, things have been just about as tight and contentious in the division as you would have assumed they would be. Injuries have already played a big factor and certain players have surprised thus far, but everyone is still pretty bunched together. All five members have been mostly crummy and the division is the only one in baseball where every team has a negative run differential. Let's look at where everyone is as May has just begun.
New York Yankees: 15-12, - GB, -13 run differential, Pythagorean record: 12-15
You know these guys, so let's just move on.
Baltimore Orioles: 13-12, 1 GB, -3 run differential, Pythag record: 12-13
Free agent Ubaldo Jimenez was brought in to try bring more high-end depth to the Orioles rotation but has been awful (6.59 ERA, 5.31 xFIP). Like last year, it's been Wei-Yin Chen and not much else. Offensively, even with Chris Davis regressing from his Ruthian 2013 (.382 SLG) Nelson Cruz has bopped seven dingers and Matt Wieters has finally looked like the superstar catcher he was expected to be (144 wRC+). It's all offense for the O's again this year.
Toronto Blue Jays: 12-15, 3 GB, -6 run differential, Pythag record: 13-14
The Blue Jays have been the mirror of the Orioles, boasting a dangerous offense while sporting a tame starting staff. Jose Bautista (193 wRC+, .463 OBP) and Melky Cabrera (157 wRC+) both are healthy and back to how they were at their very best career points, which is particularly scary of Bautista since he was a really good hitter last year anyways. Mark Buerhle has been his normal steady self, and while R.A. Dickey continues to struggle Comeback Player of the Year candidate Drew Hutchison has given them a nice lift (0.9 fWAR, 10.36 K/9).
Tampa Bay Rays: 13-16, 3.0 GB, -10 run differential, Pythag record: 13-16
The injury bug crippled the Rays as Matt Moore went down for the season and Alex Cobb has thrown only 19 innings. David Price and Chris Archer both have an ERA over four, but their peripherals suggest they'll lower these very shortly. The normal crew of Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist have been good in the heart of the Rays order, while Desmond Jennings (138 wRC+) has developed into an excellent all around player. The Rays have been done no favors by intended closer Grant Balfour getting off to a terrible start (1.00 K/BB, 5.11 ERA) but his two saves yesterday may get him going.
Boston Red Sox: 13-16, 3.0 GB, -14 run differential, Pythag record: 13-16
The Red Sox lineup has been hit by the Regression Monster as Daniel Nava and Mike Carp are both well off their torrid 2013 paces (Carp 77 wRC+, Nava 36). Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have been solid, but the offense is just not near the juggernaut it once was. On the pitching side, Jon Lackey and Jon Lester are in the Top 25 in fWAR (Lester is second only to Jose Fernandez) while Jake Peavy has danced around unimpressive peripherals to the tune of an ERA under 3.00.
When you look at it, the Yankees should consider themselves pretty fortunate to be where they are. Aside from the run differential, they've been lucky to have their rivals either suffer major injuries or stumble out of the gate. They face a real test this weekend, as a bad series against the Rays could send them tumbling down the standings in a hurry.