Saturday, July 12, 2008

What We Know

Last season the NL Central was widely considered to be the worst division in the league and deservedly so. Only two of the teams were over .500, the Cubs and the Brewers, and neither won more than 85 games. None of the six teams in the division were over .500 against any other division in the NL (although both the Cubs and the Brewers were over .500 against the AL). No other division was so completely futile against the rest of the league.

Things change, though, and they change quickly. While the NL Central was the laughingstock of baseball last year, I couldn't help shaking that as recently as 2005 the NL Central had the team with the best record in baseball (the Cardinals) and the NL Wild Card winner (the Astros). In fact, St. Louis had the best record in baseball and the Astros had won the Wild Card in 2004, as well.

In contrast, the NL West in 2007 was considered one of the strongest divisions in baseball, with four of the five teams finishing over .500. In 2005, however, the NL West was the laughingstock with San Diego winning the division with only 82 wins.

In the first half of this season fortunes have changed again. The landscape looks much more like 2005 than it does 2007, with none of the NL West teams having a record over .500 and the NL Central having three teams over .500, including the team with the best record in baseball (the Cubs). All six of the NL Central teams have respectable records against the other divisions in the National League.

So, again, things change and they change quickly. One of the things that makes this game great is that what we think we know about a team today can be 100% different tomorrow. Prior to September of 2007 most thought that the Mets were the best team in the National League. They ended up sitting at home in October. I can't wait to find out what happens in the second half to change what we think we know right now.

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