MLB Power Rankings: Which division will be the toughest in baseball?

Not all divisions are created equally, as illustrated by these power rankings of the MLB standings.
Dennis Santana, Austin Wells, New York Yankees
Dennis Santana, Austin Wells, New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages

It is not even the middle of April, and we can probably cross a few teams off the list of making it into the postseason as Wild Card teams, or at least as division winners ... for now. Baseball has started to become part of our everyday routine. Even the most casual of fans are getting used to checking the start times of their favorite team's games, hoping this year is going to be one worthy of celebrating.

However, for someone to be good, somebody else has to be bad. While it is way, way too early to crown a division champion, this may not be a year worth celebrating if you happen to root for the Chicago White Sox, the Colorado Rockies or the Miami Marlins. Conversely, there seem to be good things happening with the Boston Red Sox, the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates ... for now.

So what I am going to do today is take a look at each of the six MLB divisions as a whole, and assess where they stand collectively. Some teams that are bad don't know that they are bad yet, whereas some teams that should be good just haven't found their stride just yet. This is not an adequate sample size, but there is enough of one to put forth a series of unhealthy baseball discussions.

Without further ado, let's rank some MLB divisions, shall we? These early findings are a tad revealing.

6. AL Central

Here is what the AL Central standings looked like heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. Cleveland Guardians 7-2
  2. Detroit Tigers 6-3
  3. Kansas City Royals 6-4
  4. Minnesota Twins 3-4
  5. Chicago White Sox 1-8

Despite the Detroit Tigers (6-3) and the Kansas City Royals (6-4) overachieving, I have the AL Central as by far and away the worst division in baseball. There is no team in this division I think can win multiple playoff series. We are likely looking at one team getting the No. 3 seed in the AL postseason, with maybe one other vying for one of three wild card berths, and that is probably it. Let's dig into it!

The Cleveland Guardians (7-2) at the top of it is not surprising. Seeing the Minnesota Twins (3-4) nearly the bottom of it sure is. While the Chicago White Sox (1-8) are probably going to be terrible, I think either Detroit or Kansas City will make things interesting with Cleveland and Minnesota, assuming the Twins get their groove back. Either Detroit or Kansas City will fade, but let it all unfold.

The best thing for this division is for either Detroit or Kansas City to come out of nowhere and win it.

5. NL Central

Here is what the NL Central standings looked like heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2
  2. Milwaukee Brewers 6-2
  3. Chicago Cubs 6-3
  4. Cincinnati Reds 5-4
  5. St. Louis Cardinals 5-5

I like the NL Central considerably more than I do the AL Central. While it has the same finite ceiling as its AL counterpart, the NL Central has not revealed to us a putrid team just yet. That might be the St. Louis Cardinals (5-5), but don't count on it. While I expected the Chicago Cubs (6-3) to be good, I am pleasantly surprised with how well the Pittsburgh Pirates (8-2) have played to start the 2024 season.

Chicago was my pick to come out of the NL Central. I thought Pittsburgh and the Cincinnati Reds (5-4) would challenge the Cubs for the division crown, but come up short. Give the Milwaukee Brewers (6-2) credit for not falling off like I expected they would. Right now, this division looks to be very competitive top to bottom, but I cannot say for certain that the Pirates' hot start is more than a trend.

I like the NL Central's chances of getting two playoff teams in, but neither will play for the NL pennant.

4. AL West

Here is what the AL West standings looked like heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. Texas Rangers 6-3
  2. Los Angeles Angels 5-4
  3. Seattle Mariners 4-6
  4. Houston Astros 3-7
  5. Oakland Athletics 3-7

Admittedly, I had a hard time slotting the AL West in at No. 4, but somebody had to go here, and a lot of thought went into it. Seeing the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers (6-3) at the top of it does not come as a surprise. However, seeing the Houston Astros (3-7) with the same record as the soon-to-be-moving Oakland Athletics (3-7) does not land well with me. To me, this hurts the division.

While I don't expect for the Astros to be down for too long, I don't trust either the Los Angeles Angels (5-4) or the Seattle Mariners (4-6) to emerge as the AL West's second-best team if the Astros no longer have it in them. I still think the AL West will end up getting two teams into the playoffs, but right now, it feels closer to the one I have reserved for the AL Central than the three I have for the AL East.

Texas is holding up its end of the bargain, but it has become clear Houston needs to carry its weight.

3. NL East

Here is what the NL East standings looked like heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. Atlanta Braves 6-2
  2. Philadelphia Phillies 4-5
  3. Washington Nationals 3-6
  4. New York Mets 3-6
  5. Miami Marlins 1-9

We have arrived at my division, the one I know so well. While it is great to see the Atlanta Braves (6-2) atop the NL East yet again, how sure are we that this division is going to be as good as advertised? I still believe the Philadelphia Phillies (4-5) will end up being the Braves' most formidable challenger, just like I still believe the New York Mets (3-6) can never be trusted. After that, it is a sad bag of crap...

While it would be cool to see the Washington Nationals (3-6) start to turn the corner, the Miami Marlins (1-9) are probably gearing up for another Tobias Funke "Oh my god! We're having a fire! ... sale." The late Wayne Huizenga is probably doing cartwheels, wherever he is, over this. Miami should not be this bad. Factor in New York not living up to the hype, per usual, I have to put the NL East No. 3.

Atlanta and Philadelphia will probably end up being postseason teams, but what if it is just Atlanta?

2. NL West

Here is what the NL West standings looked liked heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4
  2. San Diego Padres 5-7
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks 4-6
  4. San Francisco Giants 4-6
  5. Colorado Rockies 2-8

I don't love to give the Los Angeles Dodgers (8-4) participation trophies, but they sure love to rub them in everyone's face when they get one. Regardless of how you feel about Team Mickey Mouse, the Boys in Blue are still one of the four best teams in baseball. However, I don't know if there is a great No. 2 team in-division just yet. I think it is the Arizona Diamondbacks (4-6), but I may be wrong.

Arizona's bullpen woes on the road vs. Atlanta should certainly have alarm bells ringing in the Valley of the Sun. While the San Diego Padres (5-7) are one game better than them, who cares, honestly? The San Francisco Giants (4-6) could be a decent challenger to the rival Dodgers but may be looking up at the Diamondbacks as well. The only thing that can save the Colorado Rockies (2-8) is nothing.

The NL East and NL West are fairly evenly matched, but I like the middle of the NL West a tad more.

1. AL East

And here is what the AL East standings looked liked heading into the week, April 8-14.

  1. New York Yankees 8-2
  2. Boston Red Sox 7-3
  3. Baltimore Orioles 5-4
  4. Tampa Bay Rays 5-5
  5. Toronto Blue Jays 4-6

This was the best division in baseball entering the season, and it has only gotten better. Somehow, someway, the Boston Red Sox (7-3) are only a game back of the first-place New York Yankees (8-2). The rest of the division in the Baltimore Orioles (5-4), the Tampa Bay Rays (5-5) and the Toronto Blue Jays (4-6) are all within a game of .500. This is the only division I know will get three of its teams in.

It is still early, but the only team I can say right now that feels like a postseason lock in the AL East would have to be the Yankees. After that, I cannot definitively pencil anybody else in, nor can I cross anybody else off. That is how you know you have the best division in baseball. The AL East has a juggernaut at the top, a highly competitive middle and a bottom better than some divisions' tops.

All I know is these in-division games within the AL East will be so incredibly crucial for all them to win.

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