Division Debate: A Ranking of MLB's Six Divisions, Part I
Major League Baseball is split up into two leagues, the American League and the National League. Each League is divided into three Divisions: East, Central, and West. It is fairly easy to determine the best and the worst, especially the latter.
We'll start from the bottom and work our way up from the worst to the best, or at least in my own humble opinion.
Number Six out of Six: NL West
Even nicknamed the NL Worst, the National League West has quickly become one of the biggest disgraces in baseball. Their leader is the sub-.500 Diamondbacks, who had a terrific start to the season, but who just haven't been the same since May.
Their catalyst, Eric Byrnes, has been injured often, and their clean-up hitter, Conor Jackson, has had just three home runs since the beginning of May. They have arguably the strongest 1-2 punch in Brandon Webb and Danny Haren, but have not been able to get the rest of their rotation going since Micah Owings in April.
Despite all this, they are the envy of the rest of their division. The Dodgers are just out of the lead (and their record is tied with the Orioles, who have played much better teams over in the AL East). I'm sure they are feeling really good right now about those two highly paid center fielders they have over there.
Andruw Jones is the highest paid bust in the major leagues whose name is not Barry Zito. I'll bet Joe Torre misses the Bronx just a bit. San Fransisco is doing surprisingly well for a team with no big names besides Lincecum, Cain, and Rowand.
And they have the big name and big wallet of Barry Zito, but his stint in the bullpen has pretty much spoken for the fact that he is the highest paid pitcher in history.
Their farm system is hardly worth mentioning as of right now. The only reason they are in third is because of the collapse of Colorado and San Diego. And let's be honest, if somebody had told you before the season that at the All-Star break Brian Wilson would lead the National League in saves, would you have believed them?
The Rockies expected to be in the hunt for a second straight pennant this year, after their miraculous 21-1 run last season. Unfortunately, they got hit with injuries, and then they came back to earth. They have a strong young core of Tulowitzki, Holliday, Hawpe, Ianetta, and Ian Stewart down in Triple A.
Their hitters just haven't been performing, and their pitchers are awful. I'll be honest, I expected the Padres to compete this year. What I didn't expect was for them to compete for the worst record in the MLB. They have no offense, except for Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley.
And their pitching staff has the sensational Jake Peavy, and that's about it in terms of bright spots. I'll just stay away from that bullpen. (Anybody agree that Trevor Hoffman should have retired after save number 500?)
All in all, this division is pathetic, and better pray for a serious infusion of talent in the coming offseason if they want to come even within shouting distance of marginal respectability. Parity has been becoming more and more prevalent in baseball, but the NL West has just been a huge disappointment. I hope that these GMs have the determination to fix things, and fix them fast.
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