Arizona Diamondbacks: Why DBacks Are NL West's Best Team
With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, the rosters of the three NL West contenders are basically set. That’s right, I said three NL West contenders.
“Crept,” though, is probably not the right word to use when describing how the best team in the division has begun to overcome bad luck and start winning games.
Fans of the Giants and Dodgers probably won’t want to hear this, but Arizona has the best run differential in the division by a mile. Check the numbers: Arizona has outscored their opponents by a total of 44 runs this season. The Dodgers have a plus-seven differential, while the Giants’ sits at just plus-five.
Contrary to those figures, the NL West’s top three are currently in the reverse order. The Giants sit one up on LA and Arizona is only two games back of the Giants after sweeping the Dodgers. (All figures current as of August 2).
So, what’s all that really mean? Will the Diamondbacks continue their winning ways and run away with the division?
But they’re more likely to do it than either the Giants or Dodgers, because run differential has proven to be a better gauge of a team’s future success than its win-loss record. That makes sense, if you think about it; a team can’t always control when (or against whom) they score their runs. The same is true of how a team allows runs. Luck plays a huge factor.
Without getting too technical, I’ll put it this way: the best teams have the widest margin between total runs scored and total runs allowed. How’s that for simple?
Right now, the Diamondbacks have the widest margin, by well, a wide margin. That means that their record, which is only 54-51 is likely to improve (relative to their division opponents) as their luck normalizes.
Sure, the Giants and Dodgers both made more meaningful roster additions than Arizona did at the deadline. That could have a positive effect on their differentials—and records—in the season’s final two months.
But it might not be enough to hold off the Diamondbacks, who, right now, are the NL West’s best team.
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