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Taking a look at the top of the American League

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the 2015 season, and there are some familiar names atop the standings in the American League. Last year’s American League champion, the Kansas City Royals, have been humming right along at the top of the AL Central.

The Royals are 24-14, one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers, who have consistently been near or at the top of the division in recent history. Kansas City has been dominant, arguably the most dominant team in the AL or even the majors, with an Al-best +55 run differential. Both the Royals and Tigers have been hitting the ball well, as Kansas City is first in the majors in batting average (.287) with Detroit in second. (.281)

Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

Four players with over 100 at bats are hitting over .300 for the Royals, with another just below that mark. Eric Hosmer is leading the way with a .324/.402/.554 split. The Tigers also have four players hitting over .300 with over 100 at bats. Miguel Cabrera continues his dominant ways, hitting .336/.437/.614 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI.

Kansas City’s pitching has been strong, too. The Royals rank sixth in the majors in ERA at 3.38 despite the starting pitching staff struggling. That’s because the bullpen is basically unhittable. Detroit ranks 11th in the majors in ERA.

Looking at the AL East, it’s the New York Yankees on top with a record of 22-17. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have been belting out dingers, as Teixeira has 11 bombs and A-Rod has 10. That and a lot of walks have helped make up for a rather mediocre team batting average.

The pitching staff has been solid despite C.C. Sabathia struggling and Masahiro Tanaka dealing with arm problems. Michael Pineda has excelled as a starter, and the Yankees have one of the best 1-2 bullpen punches in the game with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. That duo has combined to give up 11 hits and 0 runs in 36 innings of work, all the while striking out 61 batters. Filthy stuff.

However, despite all that I’ve mentioned already, the team with the best record in the AL currently resides in Houston. The surprising Astros are 25-13 and lead the AL West by six games.

Houston is doing it with power, speed and strong pitching. The Astros’ team batting average ranks near the bottom of the majors, but they’re first in home runs and second in stolen bases. Luis Valbuena has 10 dingers, while Jose Altuve has been great again in nearly every hitting category.

On the mound, Dallas Keuchel is 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA. None of the other starters have stood out that much, but that has been fine with Keuchel being so dominant.

While Houston has the best record in the AL, they currently have the worst odds of these four teams to win the pennant at 9/1, per Bovada. The Royals are the favorite at 13/4, while the Tigers are at 7/2 and Yankees are at 7/1.

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