Shane Lambert looks at the AmericanLeague East in Baseball and 6/1 about the Toronto Blue Jays with Paddy Power looks on the large side.
Paddy Power have priced the Toronto Blue Jays to be picked in the American League East. The defending divisional champs are 6/1 with that firm, a price that drifted out following Toronto's poor start to the 2016 season. However, of late, the Blue Jays have been playing much better as they are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
The Blue Jays' current streak includes a couple of series wins over divisional rivals. Last week the Jays were in New York and they took 2 of 3 away from the Yankees. Over the weekend, Toronto beat the Red Sox in two games that were played at the Rogers Centre. Those are two teams that the Jays could be competing with for another divisional title this season so the series victories are very positive.
One surprise with Toronto is that their main strength so far this season is actually pitching as opposed to hitting. They are third in AL team ERA heading into Monday with J.A. Happ 6-2 and posting a 3.20 ERA. Marcus Stroman also has an impressive record at 5-1; however he has surrendered a fair amount of earned runs with his 4.46 ERA thus far.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is currently injured, but even when playing his OPS this season has been below his career average. Currently it sits at .673 on the season versus a career average of .869. Long-time Jay Edwin Encarnacion is also below his average OPS. The DH is just .757 on the 2016 season which is nothing shabby, however it's still below the average OPS Toronto fans have seen over the last several seasons (it's been above .900 every year post-2011).
Ezequiel Carrera actually leads the Jays in OPS, but only as a platooner with 55 at-bats. If coach Josh Gibbons figures out that a guy with an OPS of .924 in 55 at bats should be given more work until he gives you a reason not to play him then Toronto could surge ahead in the standings. Chances are he will figure that out as the Jay is gaining a lot of attention in Toronto right now.
With most firms, the going rate on the Blue Jays is 4/1 or shorter so Paddy Power really have left Toronto a little bit long in the AL East divisional market.