Less than two months ago, each team in the American League East and National League East had a winning record, and the debate was which division was the best in baseball.
However, after the struggles of the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and New York Mets, who went a combined 52-92 from June 4-30, a third division has joined the debate – the American League West.
The East and West divisions in the American League are vying for the top spot in ESPN Stats & Info’s Divisional Rankings. After the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners combined to go 57-41 through July, it’s the West that sits at the top of the rankings.
The four teams in the AL West have excelled in games outside of the division. Their combined win percentage of .547 in non-divisional games is the best in baseball.
Divisional Power Rankings
Through July 30
Highlighted by the A’s going 15-3 against non-divisional opponents, the division went 43-28 in non-divisional games. This surge in non-divisional wins has helped Oakland gain more than six points since June in the category that measures non-divisional win percentage.
Conversely, no team in the American League East had a winning record against non-divisional opponents in July. As a result, the division lost 3.8 points in this category.
The AL West’s July record has lifted three of the four teams into the top eight of ESPN.com’s Power Rankings. No other division has more than two teams in the top 10, and only the New York Yankees rank higher than 14th among the five teams in the AL East.
The acquisition of big-name players before the trade deadline, combined with injuries to players including David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, also moved the West ahead of the East in the category that measures individual players. Zack Greinke (Angels) and Ryan Dempster (Rangers) both rank in the top 25 among pitchers. They have added depth to the AL West, which already had four top-25 pitchers even before those two deals were made.
The National West has also added depth at the trade deadline with the acquisitions of Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez (both traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers) and Hunter Pence (San Francisco Giants). These additions could help the division climb out of last place in the rankings.
(Click here to understand how the divisions are ranked.)