We are at the midsummer classic in the baseball season. We have been watching these divisional races come together. This is what surprised me and did not surprise me.
The National League East is by far the biggest surprise at this point in the season. The Phillies were projected to be a third place team at the beginning of the season and the Braves were looking at a fourth place finish. These teams appeared to be a few years away from playoff contention. The Phillies and Braves have led the division almost the entire season. The Washington Nationals appeared as the front runner to win the division going into the season, with Bryce Harper in the final year of his contract with the team. This is opening the floor to debate whether or not the Nationals will be able to retain Harper in free agency this offseason.
The National League West is surprisingly weak in the first half of the season. The Dodgers are the leaders of the pack right now at 53-43. San Francisco is in fourth place, four games behind the LA Dodgers. The only team that is out of the race at this point is the San Diego Padres. The Padres hold the worst record in the National League.
The American League East is a two horse race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Yankees are four and a half back on the Sox, and the Red Sox have the best record in all of baseball. The Orioles are in a position to trade Manny Machado for good prospects and rebuild the franchise. They are currently in talks with the Phillies and the Dodgers to move Machado.
Both Central divisions are led by the teams that were projected to in the beginning. The Cubs are atop the NL Central and the Indians are above the rest in the AL Central. This is what was expected all along.