The NL East pulled within 0.4 points of the AL East in the May edition of ESPN Stats & Info’s MLB Divisional Rankings, setting the stage for showdowns in June.
Every team in both divisions had a winning record at the time, so a debate ensued over which division was the strongest in baseball.
Luckily, the debate could be settled on the field. Every team in the AL East and NL East played at least four series against the other division in June, and the results were telling:
• The AL East won 39 of 66 games (.591 win pct) against NL East opponents in June.
• Led by the New York Yankees’ 12-3 record against the NL East, no team in the AL East had a losing record against NL East opponents in the month.
• The AL East swept six series versus NL East opponents.
Resulting from their dominant month, the AL East opened a 13.4 point lead over the NL East in the Divisional Rankings.
The NL East was hurt by particularly bad months by the bottom of the division. The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies had the two worst records in baseball during the month of June, combining to win 17 of 54 (.315 win pct) games. These struggles greatly impacted their places in the ESPN.com Power Rankings, as the two teams fell a combined 18 spots in the month of June.
Conversely, in the AL West, the Texas Rangers (19-9) and Los Angeles Angels (17-9) had two of the top three winning percentage in the month. The two teams combined to go 28-10 in games outside of the division, resulting in significant rises in the RPI and Power Rankings. The Angels jumped 15 spots in the power rankings in the month of June, the most of any team.
The NL West continued to fall after the LA Dodgers and Colorado Rockies struggled in June. Once ranked third in the preseason divisional rankings, the NL West has fallen every month since, largely due to a lack of offense.
Only one player in the NL West (Melky Cabrera) is ranked in the top 30 of ESPN’s Player Ratings for batters, and the division was shut out in 18 games in June, five more than any other division in baseball.
MLB DIVISIONAL RANKINGS
Ranking the divisions from strongest to weakest, using 5 criteria