Photo Credit: Orange County Register
Having one great team can boost how good an MLB division is even if the division itself isn’t that great from top to bottom. With just eight teams in the MLB currently sitting at more than three games above .500, it was not easy to decide which divisions are currently the best from top to bottom. These rankings are based on the entire division and not just who the best and worst teams are in each; all teams factored into these rankings in some way. All records and team rankings within divisions referenced are from ESPN’s MLB Standings page.
All records are accurate as of 2:00 AM ET on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017.
6. National League East
The NL East is by far the worst division in baseball. Aside of the Washington Nationals leading the way like usual, this division has no contenders. As of this moment, the 2nd best team in the division, the Atlanta Braves, are the only 2nd place team with a losing record. The 3rd place Miami Marlins and the 5th place Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball by far, also have the worst winning percentages in the league among teams in 3rd and 5th place in their divisions, respectively. 80% of this division is a complete disaster.
5. National League Central
The NL Central is the division that has the leader with the worst record. The Milwaukee Brewers are leading the way at just three games above .500, and the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs haven’t quite hit their stride yet either. What saves this division from being ranked last on this list is the fact that all five teams are hanging around with the Brewers and no team is completely out of it, even the Cincinnati Reds in last place…that, and the fact that the NL East exists.
4. American League Central
The AL Central is like the NL Central in that the division leader isn’t too far above .500. But from top to bottom, the AL Central is the better division. The Cleveland Indians, the division leader, are hotter than the Brewers and they have a better record than them as well. Also, the AL Central’s last place team, the Chicago White Sox, are closer to Cleveland in the standings than Cincinnati is to Milwaukee and they have a better record than the Reds do to go along with it. The AL Central takes the #4 spot by a nose.
3. American League West
Some may consider the AL West a one-team division like the NL East, as only the Houston Astros have a winning record. However, they do have the best record in the MLB, and three more teams, the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Ranges and Seattle Mariners, are all hovering around .500. The #3 spot in these rankings may make this division seem a bit overrated, but even with only one team over .500, the AL West deserves the #3 spot. The #2 spot is pretty far ahead of this division, though.
2. American League East
The AL East is a solid #2 and has a nice gap on #3, but it’s not as close to being #1 as you may think. Sure, the New York Yankees were hot out of the gate and the Boston Red Sox have been a solid team all season so far, and those teams do have two of the top three records in the American League. But neither is truly an elite team right now. However, with the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles following the Yankees and Red Sox all within two games of .500, this division’s depth seals them the #2 spot.
1. National League West
The NL West is the #1 division in baseball, and it isn’t even close. While the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants are bringing up the rear with two of the three worst records in the entire MLB, the NL West also happens to have the teams with the best three records in the entire National League as well as three of the top four records in baseball. All three of those teams, the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks, have been streaking as of late and have three of the top six run differentials in the sport, with the Dodgers sitting at #1.