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What is the Weakest Division in Baseball?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

By: Jacob Rayyan and Tyler Heyl

The MLB regular season is coming to a close soon, with around 15-17 games left in the schedule for most teams. As has been the case most years since the introduction of the two team Wild Card format, there are tight races in both the American League and the National League.

Unlike 2015, when the three best teams in MLB were all from the NL Central, 2016 has very balanced divisions. This can be seen from the AL Wild Card race. The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have the two Wild Cards and four other teams are within four games of a playoff spot.

While there is no particular division that stands out, the weakest division in 2016 would be the National League West. As of Saturday, The Los Angeles Dodgers have a narrow lead in the division at four games, a far cry from other division leaders in the National League (The Chicago Cubs currently have an 17-game lead and the Nationals have a nine game lead).

Furthermore, as a division leader, the Dodgers rank in the middle of the pack in runs scored (17th in MLB ) and have been able to maintain their division lead through consistent pitching.

Clayton Kershaw, who was out for about three month with injury, has rebounded nicely from his start back and threw five shutout innings, only allowing one hit. However, he will be on a pitch limit for at least his next start and would still needs time to get back to his dominant self. Even if Kershaw is full go come playoff time, his playoff struggles are well known and wouldn’t necessarily provide the dodgers a boost.

Another reason why the Dodgers have been able to hold a lead in their division is because of the San Francisco Giants. The team has gone an abysmal 21-37 since the All-star break, second worst in the majors. For a team that was 57-33 before the All-Star Break, which was the best record in baseball, to be 79-69 in the middle of September doesn’t make it too difficult to overtake them in the standings.

The NL West has some horrendous teams in or near the cellar. The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres are currently 62-85 and tied for last place in the division. The only team with a worst record in the NL is the Atlanta Braves, who are starting to improve with via young players, like rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson.

The Rockies, who are 70-77, and have had a mediocre season. It seems like the Rockies can not get over the hump, their last winning season was 2010.

Even though there has not been one overpowering division in MLB this season, the NL West have been the easiest path to the playoffs. The NL West has two of the worst teams in MLB, and the top of the division has been relatively inconsistent through the season. The Dodgers have dealt with so many injuries this season, including ace Clayton Kershaw. The Giants were the best team in baseball before the All-Star Break, but have been one of the worst teams in baseball since and are barely hanging onto a playoff spot. The NL West has not been as competitive as other division in baseball.

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