When asked about the best division in mlbMost fans and analysts would probably have said AL East and NL West.
Formerly the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, and (surprise) Baltimore Orioles fighting for a playoff spot; While the latter has the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the capable San Diego Padres.
The collapse of the San Francisco Giants (54–57) probably meant that the NL West is no longer in contention for being the strongest division.
This honor may belong to a somewhat unexpected group: the NL East.
MLB Metrics tweeted, “Half of the top 6 teams in MLB are in the NL East right now.”
Half of the top 6 teams in MLB are currently in the NL East. pic.twitter.com/VuZqAIOYKM
— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) 12 August 2022
A strong division with many 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 20 games at 66-46 over .500.
There is actually a third strong team: the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phils are 62-49, 10.5 games behind the Mets and currently in possession of a postseason berth at the end of the season.
The Phillies will be second only to the Dodgers in the NL West and will be the leader of the NL Central, which is currently held by the 61-50 St. Louis Cardinals.
The NL East is likely to get three of the six National League playoff spots.
The 50-61 Miami Marlins are not particularly strong, but are far from a weak team and could reasonably compete next year.
Despite the Washington Nationals being the worst team in the National League, the NL East deserves more respect in discussions about the best division in the league.