Is the NL East the Weakest Division in Baseball?

Standings from

Standings from

It’s WAY too early to know where any division falls in terms of strength or depth, but here are some random facts that I’ve noticed about the NL East so far:

  • The NL East is 10-15 against the Central and 4-5 against the West
  • Only one team in the East has a .500 record against another division – the Phillies are 3-3 against the West
  • The East’s third place team (Braves) have already had a stretch where they lost 7 out of 8 games, yet they are only 3.5 games out of first
  • The East’s first place team (Marlins) have already had a 7 game losing streak
  • The Marlins have 14 wins, including 13 wins against teams in the East. Six of those wins have come against the Nationals.
  • The Nationals have the worst record in baseball (5-16). All but one of those games have been played against teams in the East (the only other game was a 9-4 loss to the Cardinals)
  • 34% of the combined wins of the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Marlins have come against the Nationals.
  • The Nationals have announced their new closer will most likely be Joe Beimel. Beimel – who is normally a setup guy – won the closer’s job while on the DL
  • The Phillies lead the majors in fielding percentage, but the rest of the division is ranked much lower: Marlins (16th) Braves (18th), Mets (25th) and Nationals (30th)
  • The Phillies have a team ERA of 5.63, good for 26th place in the major leagues

What does it all mean? It’s too soon to tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend plays out over the course of the season, more or less…

If that happens, the divisional race is going to be chaotic. If the entire division is getting beat up by the Central and West, ANYTHING could happen.

The wildcard would most likely be out of reach, but the division would be up for grabs. Again, IF this happens, you really can’t count out the Mets (or any other NL East team, except for the Nationals who are just flat-out awful) until well into September.

So I guess what I’m saying here is, the division could come down to the final week of the season once again – but this year, the Mets and Phillies could have company.

John Fitzgerald is an independent film/TV producer. In 2007, he followed former Mets 2B Wally Backman and his minor league team for the TV show, "Playing for Peanuts." Click here for DVD ordering information NOTE: $5 from each sale goes to maintenance costs of
  1. Mark May 1, 2009 at 9:21 am
    Interesting look at the strength of the NL. April is definitely a check point and I think it can be debated whether or not this is “too early.”

    That being said I think it will turn around. A lot of key players were well below expectations in the NL East during the first month. David Wright, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Hanley, Ricky Nolasco, and Chipper Jones to name just a few. And then there’s the Nationals…well I can’t make a good defense for the NL East in that case.