Will the Division Leaders Keep Their Top Spots in the Second Half?

Will the Division Leaders Keep Their Top Spots in the Second Half?

1. NL WEST DIVISION LEADER

Who else but the Los Angeles Dodgers? With the best record in the entire league at 53-25, the Dodgers will almost surely keep the top spot in the NL west barring a once-in-a-century collapse. Their pitchers are dealing with a combined ERA of 3.16, which doesn’t really tell the whole story either. Their “worst” starter is Kenta Maeda who is 7-4 with a 3.87 ERA which almost any team would love to have those stats be their worst starting pitcher. Not only is the Dodger’s pitching on fire, but their All-Star MVP candidate Cody Bellinger is off to an unbelievable start batting 3.53 with 25 HR with 61 RBI’s while also boasting a 1.153 OPS AND a WAR of 6.3. It’s hard to believe that anybody in the NL West let alone anyone in the league will catch this team, but will they keep it up enough to win their first World Series since 1988?

2. NL CENTRAL DIVISION LEADER

This division is by far the most consistently competitive year after year. While the Cubs are leading the division at the moment by a mere half a game over the Brewers, it’s unlikely that the Cubs will keep that spot the entire time from the always persistent Cardinals and the over-achieving Brewers. The Brewers have their reigning MVP Christian Yelich leading the charge with their unsuspectingly good starters Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies overperforming so far, they have a chance to snag first place. The Cardinals are not far behind either at 40-36 and only one game back. They have had their struggles with pitching this year but have somehow managed to keep it together with winning at the right time against the right teams. Their reliever John Gant has saved them on more than a few occasions, with his 7-0 record and 1.54 ERA pitching 38 innings in 34 appearances. All in all, the Cubs have the better roster with the most talent, but it is unknown if their pitching can keep the pace they are at now.

3. NL EAST DIVISION LEADER

The surprising leader of the NL East is none other than the Atlanta Braves. Their youth movement has propelled them to the top spot with a record of 45-32 and 5.5 games ahead of the second place Phillies. Their young players like Ronald Acuna Jr, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley on offense have really carried this team. While none of them are rookies except Riley, they are all still at the beginning of their careers and really meshing and creating offense well. Their two young pitchers Max Fried and rookie Mike Soroka have been pitching extremely well with Fried having an 8-3 record and Soroka having a great rookie year with an 8-1 record and a minuscule 2.12 ERA, they are looking really good for keeping that top spot in the NL East. The Phillies aren’t far behind and could make a run, but if the Braves keep hitting like they’ve been, it’s all but said and done in the NL East.

4. AL WEST DIVISION LEADER

Let’s be honest, did we really expect the leader to be anyone but the Houston Astros? They are 48-30, and that is with them going 2-8 in their last 10. They are 6.5 games ahead of the comeback team of the year Texas Rangers who nobody thought would be in second place let alone have a winning record right now. Houston has a very good offensive attack led by Alex Bregman who is batting .263 but has 21 home runs and 51 RBI’s while playing stellar defense as usual. While the Rangers are only 6.5 games back, they would have to keep up their stellar play but unfortunately, their MVP and likely comeback player of the year Hunter Pence is on the DL.

5. AL CENTRAL DIVISION LEADER

Minnesota Twins. That is the name you will hear as the division leader at the end of this year. They have the second best record in the league at 50-26. They also lead the league in batting average at .275, OPS (.857), and home runs (137). While the Cleveland Indians are “only” nine games back, they will most likely be a seller at the trade deadline which will almost guarantee them being dropped out of contention and the rest of the AL Central is essentially a mess and will be rebuilding for years to come. Their time is now.

6. AL EAST DIVISION LEADER

New York Freakin’ Yankees. As much as everyone wants to hate on the Yankees for being the richest team and always buying their way to the top, that is not the case this year. While the Yankees have just recently got their stars Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back, they were on the IL for a good portion of this year along with the rest of the Bronx Bombers. They still have quite the injury list compared to the rest of the league. The Yankees have a record of 49-27 while being 5.5 games ahead of a Rays team that has excellent pitching and a somewhat average offense. Guys with not as much experience like Gio Urshela and Clint Frazier have been performing well with veterans like Brett Gardner and Dj LeMaheiu. As more and more Yankees come of the IL, it is almost a guarantee that they will keep a good hold on the top spot in the AL East.

Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

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