NL Central still not as good as AL East

Although the Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team to reach 50 wins this season and soared to No. 1 in the ESPN.com power rankings, the NL Central could not slip past the AL East as the top division in ESPN Stats & Information’s Divisional Power Rankings for June.

The AL East’s worst team in May was the division’s best team in June. The Toronto Blue Jays had a 17-9 record and plus-42 run differential in June. The Blue Jays climbed above .500 for the season during an 11-game winning streak and entered this week as the No. 16 team in the ESPN.com Power Rankings -– still worst among the five AL East teams.

MLB Divisional Power Rankings

The NL Central is top heavy with the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals 1-2 in the team rankings, but the struggles of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs are holding the NL Central back from getting past the AL East.

Both teams are under .500, have negative run differentials, consistently hold spots at the bottom of the power rankings, and have only one pitcher or batter (Brewers’ Jean Segura) in the top 30 of the player rankings.

For the second straight month, the NL East is at the bottom of the rankings. The division that was ranked first several times last season has plummeted to the bottom partially because of the tough seasons for the Miami Marlins and New York Mets. The Atlanta Braves are the only team with a positive run differential.

For any explanation of the rankings system, click here.