The Seattle Mariners are 51-44, second in the Wild Card standings. But only in 3rd place in the American League West.
Their 51 wins are 10th best in baseball.
But it’s not all about the Mariners. Heck, they are still in 3rd place! What the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have done this season is really spectacular.
Oakland is 59-36, holding the best record in baseball despite losing two pitchers to season-ending injuries before the season even started. The Angels are 57-37 and finally playing like a team stacked with talent.
Though it’s not a coverall indicator of a team’s quality and success, the runs scored/runs against differential gives a good indication of the ‘best’ teams in baseball.
Oakland leads all of baseball with a run differential of +145, which is just absurd to think of. They’ve nearly doubled the second highest team…
The Angels, who now sit at a run differential of +89 on the season.
The Angels and A’s have the best records in baseball, and are 1 and 2 in the run differential standings. Even so, the Angels are still 56 lower than the A’s.
The third highest run differential in baseball belongs to the NL East division-leading Washington Nationals at +61.
And guess who has the 4th highest run differential in all of Major League baseball? You guessed it, the Seattle Mariners. Their +57 run differential comes from 378 runs scored while allowing only 321 runs.
Then rounding out the top-5 in run differential are the LA Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers, tied at +50.
But run differential isn’t the only reason the AL West is the best in the Bigs. The Angels lead all of baseball in runs scored with 478.
Guess who’s second? Oakland with 466. Unfortunately the Mariners only rank 11th in the AL in 18th in all of baseball.
Then, Oakland and Seattle are tied for baseball’s lead in fewest runs allowed at 321. Just think about that for a second: the Athletics are 2nd in the league in runs scored and T-1st in runs allowed.
They are a scary regular season team. And again the Angels are now slouch in the matter, ranking 6th in the AL and 14th in all of baseball.
Unfortunately the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers have struggled mightily this year, the former due to youth and the latter do to an exhausting list of season-ending and long-term injuries. But they’ll bounce back in the coming years.
And since it’s All Star Week it’s only appropriate to look at the number of players representing the AL West in the All Star festivities.
From the Oakland Athletics: 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson (starter); catcher Derek Norris; 1st baseman Brandon Moss; outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (who also won the Home Run Derby for the second year in a row); reliever Sean Doolittle; and starter Scott Kazmir. That’s 6 total Athletics– I am not including Jeff Samardzija because he made the NL roster as the Cubs’ representative.
From the Houston Astros: second baseman Jose Altuve. That’s 1 total Astro.
From the Seattle Mariners: starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (started the ASG for the AL); second baseman Robinson Cano; 3rd baseman Kyle Seager; and closer/reliever Fernando Rodney. That’s 4 total Mariners.
In all, the AL West had 15 representatives at the All Star Game.
There were 13 players from the AL Central– led by the loaded Detroit Tigers roster.
There were 12 players from the AL East.
All in all, the AL West was the most represented division throughout the All Star festivities.
It’s fair to make a case against the AL West for being the best division in baseball, but it’s hard to deny the facts behind this powerhouse division.
And these teams only stand to get better as the trade deadline approaches, and the top-3 teams in the division look to solidify a playoff push.
Though they may not be the deepest and best division in baseball most years (the AL East often takes that distinction), it’s hard to deny that the 2014 AL West is currently the class of the American League and all of baseball.