2015 NL Central: One of the Best Divisions Ever?

For the first time ever in Major League history the top three winningest teams came from the same division in 2015. The Cardinals won 100 Games, the Pirates won 98 and the Cubs won 97. All three teams were very, very good. That’s nearly 300 wins from those three clubs; 295 to be exact. So with those three teams playing such great baseball, was the 2015 National League central the greatest division ever? The current system of three divisions per league was established in 1994, so that is what I have based my numbers off of. Going back to 1994 then that awesome trio only lands the 2015 NL Central in a tie for the 8th  most winning division ever? The terrible play of the Reds and the Brewers doesn’t even put them in the top 5. The Brewers and Reds combined for a total of 132 wins, and their poor showings brought down the overall totals of wins drastically for that division. Still a pretty good showing with 427 total wins from the 2015 NL Central, but let’s take a closer look at the top five winningest divisions of all time.

5. 433 wins from the 2013 American League East: The AL East dominates this list, and that is because the Yankees and Red Sox have been very good for a very long time. This was a very consistent division that saw the Red Sox lead the division with 97 wins. The lowest wins belonged to the Toronto Blue Jays who won 74 wins. The other four teams all had 85 wins or better including 92 from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series that year.

4. 433 wins from the 2008 National League Central. You may want to throw an asterisk here because there were 6 teams in the NL Central until 2013. Because of that I only counted the top five teams in this division. However, for almost every single year that six teams resided in the NL Central, the Houston Astros were one of the better teams and the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the cellar. It was no exception for 2008. The Pirates sat at the bottom of the division with 67 wins and as a result didn’t count towards the final outcome, while the Astros had 86 wins. As the division stands today there would have only been 414 wins, but that is not the fault of the NL Central, and so it is what it is. That said the Cubs led the National League with 97 wins and again consistency wins out as there were four teams with 86 wins or better.

3. 434 wins from the 2004 National League Central. The same rules as stated above apply here also. This time it was the Milwaukee Brewers whose record didn’t get counted. Again if you don’t count the Astros 92 wins and you add the Brewers then this division only has 409 wins. As it is the St. Louis Cardinals led the Major’s with 105 wins to give the division a good boost. Unfortunately for the Cardinals the lost the World Series as “The Curse of the Bambino” was broken by the Red Sox.

2. 435 wins from the 2008 American League East. The Rays had 97 wins, the Red Sox had 95, the Yankees had 89, the Blue Jays had 86. The Orioles dragged this division away from the number one spot, but all in all it is a lot of wins.

1. 436 Wins from the 1998 American League East. The “Devil” Rays lost 99 games that year. That is a large deficit to overcome, but the New York Yankees had one of the most dominating seasons of all time. They won a record 114 games that year and went on to win the World Series.

The Real Number 1. All of the previous numbers could have asterisks. The NL Central had six teams until 2013, so the American League West had 4 teams until 2013. The 2001 American League West had 366 Wins, and the 2002 American League West had 367. These are as good as most of the top fives top four teams. The 2001 Mariners broke the 98 Yankees record by winning 116 games. The A’s won 102 games that year. 218 wins from two teams in the same division is the most by any duo ever. If you add the Houston Astros who eventually join the division then you add 92 wins from them that would bring the total to 459. If you add the lowest amount of wins from the division it brings the total to 439 and if you add the average amount of wins from the four teams it would be 457 wins as those four teams averaged 91.5 wins per team. The 2002 AL West had three teams with 93 wins or better including the A’s with 103. If you follow the aforementioned what ifs then you would have 451 wins, 439 wins, and 459 wins respectively. They averaged 91.75 wins per team. So although we never know where they would officially land on the list, but we do know these were some great divisions.

So there you have it. Maybe this year we might see a new division take the crown. The Cardinals have a healthy Adam Wainwright, The Cubs improved, and the Pirates are always surprising. Then there is the AL East or the AL Central where literally any of the teams that could make the playoffs. Or how about the NL West where you have Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, James Shields, and Zack Greinke leading some fantastic pitching rotations.

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  1. Pingback: Discover: Weekend Warriors « MLB.com Blogs

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