The Colorado Rockies and the rest of the baseball of the world are roughly one-quarter of the way through the 2022 season. Up until recently, all five teams in the NL West were above .500 but even entering play on Saturday, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks are each only one game below .500.
The other three teams (the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants) are all on pace for 94+ win seasons.
If that pace continues, the 2022 NL West could very well be the best division in MLB history. But let’s take a look back at who the competition is.
The 2022 NL West could become the best division in MLB history
You don’t have to look far back at all to see a very strong division that the 2022 NL West would be in stiff competition with … if you are looking at the top of a division.
The 2021 AL East is probably the strongest in recent history when you look at the top four teams.
- Tampa Bay Rays, 100-62
- Boston Red Sox, 92-70 (1st AL Wild Card)
- New York Yankees, 92-70 (2nd AL Wild Card)
- Toronto Blue Jays, 91-71 (one game back of the 2nd Wild Card spot)
However, bringing up the rear of the division was the Baltimore Orioles. They went 52-110. Neither the Rockies nor the D-Backs will lose 110 games this year.
In 2016, the AL East was similar in that they had four teams above .500 but only one of them (the Red Sox) won more than 90 games (93).
The 2015 NL Central was also very good at the top of their division.
- St. Louis Cardinals, 100-62
- Pittsburgh Pirates, 98-64 (1st NL Wild Card)
- Chicago Cubs, 97-65 (2nd NL Wild Card)
But the rest of the division was bad.
- Milwaukee Brewers, 68-94
- Cincinnati Reds, 64-98
The 2008 and 2010 AL East also had four teams with 85 or more wins but the Baltimore Orioles went 68-93 and 66-96.
But there were two MLB divisions that had all of their teams finish at or above .500
There are only two divisions in MLB history that had all of their teams finish at or above .500. One of them was the 2005 NL East.
- Atlanta Braves, 90-72
- Philadelphia Phillies, 88-74 (one game out of the lone NL Wild Card spot)
- Florida Marlins, 83-79
- New York Mets, 83-79
- Washington Nationals, 81-81 (their first season in Washington D.C.)
That was also the year that the NL West was really bad, so the East really beat up on the West.
- San Diego Padres, 82-80
- Arizona Diamondbacks, 77-85
- San Francisco Giants, 75-87
- Los Angeles Dodgers, 71-91 (Colorado Rockies fans would love to see this again for a few seasons currently)
- Colorado Rockies, 67-95
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Even more remarkably, the other division that accomplished this feat was the 1991 AL West. The reason why this is more remarkable is that this was before the Central division and, therefore, before the Wild Card era, so the division had seven teams in it. All were .500 or better.
- Minnesota Twins, 95-67
- Chicago White Sox, 87-75
- Texas Rangers, 85-77
- Oakland A’s, 84-78
- Seattle Mariners, 83-79
- Kansas City Royals, 82-80
- California Angels, 81-81
The 1979 AL East had six of their seven teams finish above .500 but the Toronto Blue Jays (in their third season ever) went 53-109.
In fact, the AL East nearly accomplished the feat three years in a row from 1979 through 1981. However, the Blue Jays finished with 109, 95, and 69 losses in the three seasons (only 69 losses in 1981 due to the MLBPA strike but they only had 37 wins). Also, in 1980, Cleveland went 79-81 (with two games that were canceled).
In 1982, the AL East had three teams finish below .500 but none of them were worse than 78-84.
At this current pace, though, the 2022 NL West would have three teams with 94+ wins and two teams on pace for 79-83, essentially, creating both scenarios that we have mentioned (three teams that are playoff-bound and two that could be at or above .500).
If the Rockies and D-Backs can up their win total pace to 81+ games and the top three stay on their pace, the 2022 NL West will be the strongest division in MLB history, which would be truly remarkable considering that three of the five teams were under .500 last year and the D-Backs lost 110 games.