When asked about the best division in MLB, most fans and analysts would probably have said the AL East and the NL West.
The former has the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the (surprise) Baltimore Orioles fighting for playoff spots; while the latter has the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the competent San Diego Padres.
The fall of the San Francisco Giants (54-57) probably means that the NL West is not in contention to be the strongest division anymore.
That honor may very well belong to a somewhat unexpected group: the NL East.
“Half of the top 6 teams in MLB right now are in the NL East,” MLB Metrics tweeted.
Half of the top 6 teams in MLB right now are in the NL East. pic.twitter.com/VuZqAIOYKM
— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) August 12, 2022
A Strong Division With Several Postseason Contenders
In the NL East, we have the second-best team in MLB, the New York Mets, who have a 73-39 record before Friday’s games.
The Atlanta Braves are destined for another playoff appearance, and are 20 games over .500 at 66-46.
There is a third really strong team: the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phils are 62-49, 10.5 games behind the Mets and currently in possession of a postseason berth if the season ended today.
The Phillies would be second behind the Dodgers in the NL West and would be leaders of the NL Central, a position currently occupied by the 61-50 St. Louis Cardinals.
The NL East will likely get three of the six National League playoff spots.
The 50-61 Miami Marlins aren’t particularly strong, but are far from a weak team and could reasonably contend next year.
Despite having the worst team in the National League in the Washington Nationals, the NL East deserves more respect in discussions about the best division in the league.