We’re more than 15 percent of the way into the season at this point, and divisional battles are slowly starting to take shape. The AL Central continues to be MLB‘s most hotly contested division, and the Kansas City Royals are currently 1.5 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers. Will this division stay close all season, and how does it compare to other divisions across the league?
We should first take note of where KC’s rivals currently sit in the division, since one sits at the top and the other has fallen to the bottom in entertainingly embarrassing fashion. The Cleveland Indians have lost their last four to claim a comfortable two-game lead as the AL Central’s worst club. The Royals’ record through April is one of many statistics hinting that races for playoff berths in the AL will be tight this season.
The current standings indicate that the American League is, and will continue to be, much more hotly contested than the National League. While seven NL teams have a win or loss totals of 16 or more, only two AL teams have a 17 or higher in either column. Less than five wins separate the first and last place teams in two of three AL divisions, while more than nine wins separate first and last place in two of three NL divisions.
This plethora of competition puts everything the Royals do under a magnifying glass. Every pitch counts for every player when they’re part of a team that plays in the tightest division in the most hardily contested league in baseball.